Northern New England only has a population of 3.3 million people (or 1.1 percent of America’s population), but we sure are cleaning up on the national awards that one could classify as “quality of place” awards.
This one comes from Travel + Leisure Magazine which ranks the top 27 of “America’s Greatest Main Streets.” Each state in Northern New England had a town recognized–Woodstock, Vermont at #7, Bath, Maine at #11 and Littleton, New Hampshire at #16.
Here is what Travel + Leisure had to say about Woodstock, Vermont:
Walk along Center Street, with its boutiques and bakeries, and you’ll soon understand why this bucolic river valley town of 3,200 now attracts well-off rusticators, drawn by the quiet life and grand historic homes. There’s little trace of Woodstock’s heritage as a prosperous 19th-century center of industry; even the power lines have been buried. Center Street divides at The Green, an oval park fronted by colonnaded houses and its own covered bridge.
Dry docks and cranes rising from the shipyard along the banks of the Kennebec River just south of downtown speak to the town’s nickname, the City of Ships. Bath itself is compact, brick-solid, and walkable. Explore leafy Front Street, with its brick buildings and an outpost of Reny’s, a small discount department store chain that’s a throwback to an earlier era. Detour down side lanes for bakeries, restaurants, and variety shops.
It’s a long drive from anywhere to Littleton in northern New Hampshire—so good thing that this community of 6,000 along the Ammonoosuc River has a vibrant, self-sufficient Main Street. The streetscape is a pastiche in progress, with everything from the Neoclassicism of the 1850Thayers Inn up to the austere Modernism of the last mid-century. Chutters sweetens the neighborhood and boasts the world’s longest candy counter at 112 feet.
Congratulations to these towns . . . and if you are “from away” make sure you put them on your travel calendar 🙂