So long, summer: Ideas for (unofficially) the last weekend of the season
The unofficial last weekend of summer is upon us, and we’ve got a few days left to savor the season. From stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Champlain to worth-the-trip ice cream in Maine, we’ve rounded up some of the best spots in New England for one last hurrah.
Paddle and pedal like a champ
One of the best ways to take in the beauty of Lake Champlain is to stand on it. Rent a stand-up paddleboard, or a kayak or canoe, from Community Sailing Center, and paddle the majestic waters of Burlington, Vt. Look out for Champ, Vermont’s own fabled version of Loch Ness’s Nessie. 234 Penny Lane. 802-864-2499. communitysailingcenter.org.
Afterward, rent a bike from Local Motion and take one last summer ride on the Burlington Bike Path, part of the 14-mile Island Line Trail, which connects Burlington with South Hero on the Champlain Islands (1 Steele St. 802-861-2700. www.localmotion.org). Then pedal over to the flagship Ben & Jerry’s for a cone of Totally Baked. 36 Church St., 802-862-9620.
Last day of camp
If you love the idea of camping, but hate the reality of sleeping on the ground, slapping mosquitoes, and going without fresh coffee, fear not. Go glamping. At Sandy Pines Campground in Kennebunkport, Maine, you have the choice of bringing your own tent — they’ll provide the picnic table, fire pit, electricity, cable, WiFi — or kicking it up a notch at one of their aptly-named glamp sites, from “Seagrass” to “Wildflower Retreat.” Each offers 430 square feet of leg room, king-size bed, mini fridge to keep those brews cold, and a personal deck. There’s also access to a bathhouse, communal grilling and picnic area, and a firepit for s’mores. The site is near Goose Rocks Beach, so you might want to rent a bike or kayak. Afterward, soak in the heated saltwater pool, and order lobster dinner from the snack bar. 277 Mills Road. 207-967-2483. sandypinescamping.com.
Winvian Farm in Morris, Conn., is a splurge, and way more glamp than camp. Here, you have a choice of some 18 themed cottages, such as “Stone,” Stable,” Library,” or “Greenhouse.” “Treehouse,” for example, suspended 35 feet above the forest floor, boasts king-size bed, fireplace, steam shower, Jacuzzi, wood burning fireplace, and full bar. “Beaver Lodge,” meanwhile, is a Hobbit hole come to life, all warm wood and soft river stone, with a spiral staircase winding around a tree trunk. Don’t bother packing beans and wieners: Winvian’s on-site restaurant offers farm-to-table fare. 155 Alain White Road, Morris, Conn. 860-567-9600. www.winvian.com.
Last beach day (and dinner)
Don’t want to mess with Cape traffic? Try Westport, a slice of Cape, off-Cape. About an hour south of Boston, the coastal town boasts miles of sandy beaches, including the popular Horseneck Beach State Reservation, with an abundance of shoreline, open ocean, and campgrounds. Pack some binoculars — the reservation encompasses some 600 acres of salt marsh and estuary that make it a prime birding spot. 5 John Reed Road. 508-636-8816. www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/region-south/horseneck-beach-state-reservation.html.
After a day of sun and surf, head nearby to The Bayside for a last supper of summer, with views of Buzzards Bay and an Audubon wildlife sanctuary. You might dine on lobster and asparagus salad, fish tacos with cilantro-cabbage slaw, panko-breaded fried scallops — or one last cheeseburger in paradise. 1253 Horseneck Road, Westport. 508-636-5882. www.thebaysiderestaurant.com.
Head to Easton’s Beach, or First Beach, in Newport, R.I., for an old-fashioned New England beach day lifted from a postcard: carousel, boardwalk, snack bar, sweeping expanse of white sand, ocean dotted with surfers and steady stream of joggers, rollerbladers and cyclists down Memorial Boulevard. 175 Memorial Blvd., 401-845-5810.
Refuel a stone’s throw from the water at Flo’s Clam Shack, one of the best seafood joints in New England. With salt-stained wood, weathered deck, and old fishing buoys dangling from rope, it oozes authentic New England summer. Because, post beach-day, the happiest meal is chowder, fried clams, french fries, and homemade coleslaw. 4 Wave Ave., Middletown, R.I. 401-847-8141. www.flosclamshacks.com.
For a small beach away from the madding crowd, head to Odiorne Point State Park in Rye, N.H., about a 10-minute drive from Portsmouth. A shorter hike by marsh and forest will take you to a slice of secluded beach with great views and rocky outcrops (570 Ocean Blvd., Rye, N.H. 603-436-7406. www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/odiorne-point-state-park.aspx). Afterward, head to Portsmouth for a warm buttered lobster roll at Row 34. Summer in a bite. 5 Portwalk Place. 603-319-5011. row34nh.com
Make your last cone of summer an ice cream to remember. Acushnet Creamery is something of a locals’ secret, a small stand churning out some 50 homemade flavors, from Birthday Cake to Chocolate Almond Joy, Salted Caramel to S’mores. End summer with a bang with a Cookie Jar Sundae — layer of chocolate chip cookies, layer of hot fudge, ice cream, more cookies, more hot fudge, whipped cream, topped with a Hershey bar. 264 Main St., Acushnet. 508-995-9909. acushnetcreamery.com/menu.
If Willy Wonka opened an ice cream shop in Maine, it would be Toots Ice Cream, which offers nearly 100 flavors. Because the ice cream is handmade in small batches, flavors are constantly rotating, but may include Caramel Pecan Cheesecake, Bananas Foster, Bailey’s Coffee, Grandma’s Peanut Butter Fudge, or Junior Minty. Two of the most popular flavors? Royal River Brownie Sundae — caramel base with salty cashews, gooey brownies, and a fudge streak — and Coconut Willy — coconut ice cream loaded with chunks of homemade Needhams — Maine’s version of a Mounds bar. 137 Walnut Hill Road, North Yartmouth, Maine. 207-829-3723. www.tootsicecream.com.
If you’ve got a refined ice cream palate, beeline to Mount Desert Ice Cream, an artisanal craft creamery with three locations in Maine. This is where vanilla and strawberry step aside for Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Lemon Poppyseed, Honey-baked Pralines and Cream, Maine Sea Salt Caramel, Baked Honey Apple, Vegan Chocolate, Boiled Coffee, and cantaloupe sorbet. 325 Main St., Bar Harbor, maine, 207-801-4006; 7 Firefly Lane, Bar Harbor, Maine, 207-801-4007; 51 Exchange St., Portland, Maine, 207-210-3432.