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How New England Are You?

13. Make a Fool of Yourself Playing Candlepin
With an all-time high score of 245 (out of a possible 300), candlepin is a game that refuses to be mastered. Some say the small balls and tiny pins make for a game of grace and precision; others claim they’re punishment from God to humble smug ten-pin bowlers. Either way, the first time you strike the two center pins–and nothing else–you should learn to laugh at yourself, because everyone else at the alley already is.

14. Take a Whirl Down Maine’s Snow Bowl
The toboggan run at the Camden Snow Bowl is not your neighborhood sledding hill. The piercing squeals, the throaty primal whelps, are an involuntary (and universal) response to New England’s longest toboggan chute, a 440-foot straightaway that’s 30-mph fast. It’s over before you know it; with your heart still in your throat, you may just want to come back for seconds.

15. Save Your Pennies
Since its founding in 1946, the original Vermont Country Store in Weston has been serving up the expected (maple syrup and wheels of cheddar) and the unexpected (pants stretchers, anyone?). But it’s at the shop’s sprawling penny-candy counter where nostalgia is sold by the scoop. From Mary Janes to Bit-O-Honeys to Root Beer Barrels, there are hundreds of options. It’s all self-serve–open a paper bag and get to work.

16. Find Yourself on Sugar Hill in June
Acres of purple, pink, and blue lupine blossoms … the Presidential Range all around … and the inns of this old New Hampshire resort open for teas and tours. What possible reason could there be not to see this at least once?

17. Drink Your Coffee Milk
Hey, it’s Rhode Island’s official state drink. You don’t think a million people could be wrong, do you?

18. Ride the Scenic Railroad
Unless you’ve ridden the Conway Scenic Railroad through Crawford Notch in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in autumn–chugging through the color, across a trestle so narrow that it seems to have no visible means of support, spanning a rushing stream 94 feet below–you’ve never seen the region like this before.

19. Get the Best Seat at the Finest Sculling Race in the World
The site: Boston’s Charles River. The competition: 8,500 rowers. The fans: 300,000 of them, lining the banks to watch the three-mile-long Head of the Charles Regatta. But only the most knowledgeable will be perched at the absolute best lookout during this two-day autumn competition: Off Memorial Drive, in the shadow of Mount Auburn Hospital, there’s a turn in the river just before it gets to the Cambridge Boat Club. From there, you can see the racers stroking furiously as they jockey for position heading under the Eliot Bridge arch. These are the most dramatic moments of the competition. Arrive early, put down blankets, and if you stroll, have friends hold your spot. There’s competition on land, too.

20. Brown-Egg It
The health benefits may be debatable, but New Englanders know that when it comes to the almighty egg, those bigger, tastier brown-shelled varieties (thank you, Rhode Island Red!) put the whites to shame.

Bring Your Appetite to These Iconic New England Restaurants

21. Locke-Ober
Since the 1800s, Boston’s Locke-Ober restaurant has been serving New England cuisine to well-heeled Bostonians in search of elegance. For years it was a men-only establishment, so the steak au poivre and lobster dishes became a rite of passage for the male graduates of our local colleges and the place where many a business deal was transacted. It’s still a celebratory spot, and we’re happy to report that women are now not only welcome, but the joint’s co-owner is chef Lydia Shire.

22. J. T. Farnham’s or Woodman’s
It’s not strictly necessary, but a slight sunburn and some post-Crane Beach sand in your suit add to the ambience of a fried-clam roll at J. T. Farnham’s or Woodman’s in Essex, Massachusetts. Both offer briny, fresh, local clams battered and fried to perfection.

23. Moody’s
About halfway up the Maine shoreline on Route 1 in Waldoboro, you’ll find Moody’s Diner, a seemingly run-of-the-mill roadside eatery–that is, until you try the Grape-Nut pudding. No frills, no bells or whistles–just good, honest Yankee seacoast cooking.

24. Pepe’s, Sally’s, or Modern
There’s pizza, and then there’s apizza (pronounced ah-beetz)–and in New Haven, Connecticut, there’s a lot to go around. These crazy-good, thin-crusted Neapolitan-style pies got going at Pepe’s many decades ago, but Sally’s and Modern are doing their fair bit of work to keep the dough rolling.

25. Autumn Rendezvous at Dead Creek
In late October, about 12 miles northwest of Middlebury, Vermont, in a wildlife sanctuary at Dead Creek, nearly 15,000 wild snow geese rise out of classic fields for their morning and afternoon fly-abouts, filling the sky with the scintillating light of their wings and the echoes of their calls. Autumn in New England has arrived.

26. This Land Is Tuttle Land
Talk corn, or summer squash, or blueberries with Will Tuttle, an 11th-generation farmer whose family has been working the same patch of earth (120 acres and counting) in Dover, New Hampshire, since 1632, making it America’s oldest family farm in continuous operation.

Updated Monday, August 16th, 2010

Bring New England Home

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