Northeastern United States: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A map of the Northeastern United States. The dark red areas are the commonly accepted definition of the Northeast while the pink areas are the outer boundaries.

The Northeastern United States (sometimes called simply the Northeast) is a region of the United States.[1][2] According to the definition used by the United States Census Bureau, the Northeast region consists of nine states: the New England states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania[3]. Major cities in this area include New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, Jersey City and Buffalo.

The Northeast, as defined by the Census Bureau, is the wealthiest region of the United States; New Jersey and Connecticut have the highest median incomes in the country after Maryland, while Massachusetts is ranked fifth. Pennsylvania also ranks high in per capita income, with Chester County coming in on the list of wealthiest counties.[4] It also accounts for approximately 25% of U.S. gross domestic product as of 2007.[5] All eight Ivy League schools are located in the Northeast. New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts rank in the top 15 states in terms of population.

Other states are sometimes included in the definition of Northeastern United States. The International Nuclear Safety Center included on a map of nuclear reactors in the Northeastern United States those reactors that are located in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada.[6] The National Assessment Synthesis Team of the U.S. Global Change Research Program included West Virginia and Maryland in the Northeastern United States in its analysis of climate change in a 2001 report.[7] The same report included Virginia in the Southeastern United States.[8] In a 1961 book, French geographer Jean Gottman described what he called the Northeast megalopolis to include as far south as Washington, D.C. within the megalopolis, though he did not define the Northeastern United States.[9]



The Northeast region is the smallest in area of the four Census Bureau-defined regions of the US. The region's landscape varies from the rocky coast of New England to the fertile farmland of the Ohio River Valley behind the Allegheny Front in Pennsylvania. Beginning at West Quoddy Head Peninsula in Maine, the easternmost point in the United States, the Atlantic coastline is largely rocky, with jagged cliffs rising up to a hundred feet above the ocean. South of the Isles of Shoals near the Maine/New Hampshire border, the coastline begins to subside to sandy beaches which extend through the rest of the Northeast's Atlantic coastline.

Four major rivers pierce the coastline to empty into the Atlantic: the Delaware at the New Jersey/Delaware border, the Hudson at the New York/New Jersey border, the Connecticut in Connecticut, and the Kennebec in Maine. A fifth river, the Susquehanna, is the longest river on the east coast of the United States and flows through New York and Pennsylvania but reaches tidewater in the South Atlantic region of the country. Two of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, form part of the northern border of the region.



Despite being geographically one of the smallest regions of the United States, the northeastern states possess a wide range of climates. Rainfall varies from over 50 inches (1.3 m) annually in some coastal areas, to 32 inches (810 mm) in the western part of Pennsylvania and New York. Snowfall can range from over 100 inches (2.5 m) per year in Upstate New York to only a foot or so in the coastal areas of southern New Jersey.

Generally, northern New England, the parts of New York north of the Mohawk River, highland areas in the Appalachians and some coastal areas possess a warm summer humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfb), with warm, humid summers and snowy, often bitterly cold winters. Cities in this zone include Syracuse, New York; Burlington, Vermont; and Portland, Maine. Portland's winters are softened because it is on the coast.

Below this line, much of the region (except for the higher elevations) has a hot summer humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa), with hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. Much of New England and the northern part of the Mid-Atlantic States have this climate. Boston, Hartford and Pittsburgh have this climate. Portions of extreme southern New York State including New York City; northeast, central, and southern New Jersey; extreme southeastern Pennsylvania including Philadelphia; and southwestern Connecticut have a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers and more mild winters.


The Census Bureau classifies Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, as part of the South Atlantic region,[1] part of the Southern United States. Maryland and Delaware had a colonial immigrant history associated with the Chesapeake Bay Colony, similar economy for years, and more extensive slavery that contributed to a different culture and demographic pattern for centuries from that of most of the Northeast.[citation needed] Between the American Revolution and the eve of the Civil War, however, because of changing agricultural needs, Delaware freed most of its slaves, and close to half the blacks in Maryland were also free by 1860.[10] When these immigrants came to the North East Region they usually worked in factories.[citation needed] These factories were known as sweat shops.[citation needed]


New England

New England is perhaps the best-defined region of the U.S., with more uniformity and more of a shared heritage than other regions of the country.[citation needed] New England has played a dominant role in American history.[citation needed] From the late 17th century to the mid to late 18th century, New England was the nation's cultural leader in political, educational, cultural and intellectual thought.[citation needed] During this time, it was the country's economic center.

The earliest European settlers of New England were English Protestants who came in search of religious liberty. They gave the region its distinctive political format — town meetings (an outgrowth of meetings held by church elders), in which citizens gathered to discuss issues of the day. Town meetings still function in many New England communities today and have been revived as a form of dialogue in the national political arena.

The cluster of top-ranking universities and colleges in New England—including four of the eight schools of the Ivy League - Harvard, Yale, Brown and Dartmouth; as well as MIT, NESCAC schools, Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern University, Brandeis University, Tufts University, and numerous other colleges and universities—is unequaled by any other region.[citation needed] Many of the graduates from these schools end up settling in the region after school, providing the area with a well-educated populace and its most valuable resource, as the area is relatively lacking in natural resources other than "ice, rocks, and fish".[citation needed] Soon after many descendants of original New England settlers migrated westward in search of land, new waves of immigrants from Canada, Ireland, Italy, and Eastern Europe moved into the region to take industrial jobs. Many of their descendants became educated and joined the middle classes. Despite a changing population, New England has maintained a distinct cultural identity. As a whole, the area of New England has tended to be liberal in its politics. It is has been strongly supportive of education and community-building.[citation needed]

Certain architecture and sights have come to stand as New England icons:[citation needed] the simple woodframe houses and white church steeples that are features of many small towns, and lighthouses that dot the Atlantic coast. New England is well known for its mercurial weather, its crisp chill, and vibrantly colored foliage in autumn. In colonial times, the colder weather killed off germs and gave the region a healthier environment than that of the Chesapeake Bay Colony, where settlers suffered from summer illnesses and mortality was much higher.


These areas provided the young United States with heavy industry and served as the "melting pot" of new immigrants from Europe.[citation needed] Cities grew along major shipping routes and waterways. Such cities included Philadelphia on the Delaware River and New York City on the Hudson River.

Dutch immigrants moved into the lower Hudson River Valley in what is now New Jersey and New York State. An English Protestant sect, the Friends (Quakers), settled Pennsylvania. In time, all these settlements came under English control. With the great shipping ports of Philadelphia and, later, New York City, the region continued to be a magnet for business, industry, and peoples of diverse nationalities.

Early settlers were mostly farmers and traders, and the region served as a bridge between North and South. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania midway between the northern and southern colonies, was the site of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates from the original colonies that organized the American Revolution. The same city was the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution in 1787.

The Mid-Atlantic, with two of America's largest cities, New York City and Philadelphia, has been a center for industry and international trade.[citation needed] Many immigrants are attracted to the region.[citation needed] New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey are rich in immigrant culture. Still rich in cultures influenced by European heritage, the region has recently attracted more Asian and Hispanic immigrants.[citation needed] African immigrants also have many centers in urban and suburban areas.[citation needed]

Urban, suburban, and rural

The entire population of the northeastern United States is estimated at 54,680,626. Much of the history of the Northeast is characterized by archetypical medium and large manufacturing cities.[citation needed] The sometimes urban character of the region gives it a strange mix of reputations, and many view Northeastern cities as places of economic opportunity. In major Northeastern cities, ethnic enclaves are common. Most of the cities have large, and at times, provocative, artistic and theatrical scenes.

New York City, the largest city in both the Northeastern United States, and the United States as a whole

Older religious and ethnic factionalism have become relatively minor concerns. At the same time, the major cities are expensive and have large economic disparities, often giving them a reputation of being impersonal and aloof.[citation needed]

The deindustrialization of the mid to late 20th century caused major job losses in the Northeast.[citation needed] Notable examples of cities left damaged and often severely depopulated from loss of manufacturing include Yonkers, Utica, Buffalo, Syracuse, and even parts of New York City in New York state; Newark, Trenton and Paterson in New Jersey; Lowell, Lawrence, Worcester and Springfield in Massachusetts; Hartford and Bridgeport in Connecticut; Pittsburgh, Scranton, Allentown, Reading and Harrisburg in Pennsylvania; and Providence in Rhode Island.[citation needed] However, examples dot the entire region and much of the neighboring region of the American Midwest.[citation needed]

Some of these cities, though, have enjoyed revivals in the last generation, replacing their economic reliance on manufacturing with job development in the medical, technical and educational industries.[citation needed] Pittsburgh, for example, now counts 23% of its workforce in blue collar occupations, according to a 2005 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.[citation needed] The last of the city's steel mills closed in 1998.[citation needed]

Though it generally is seen as having a very urban character, at least in its most populated areas, the Northeast was one of the first regions to undergo heavy post-World War II suburbanization.[citation needed] The most notable of these early suburbs was Levittown in the Long Island region of New York, east of New York City; Levittown is often regarded as the archetype of the "cookie-cutter" suburb.[citation needed] Since its early years, however, successions of owners have added to and altered their houses to introduce considerable variation. New Jersey also has suburban sprawl and some urban decay. It does have the region's lowest murder rate in the United States.[11]

Today, suburbanization is a rampant trend in United States housing development outside of the Northeast, driven by widespread use of the automobile and de-emphasis on mass transit and commuter railroads as popular forms of transportation.[citation needed] Nonetheless, the iconic New York subway system is widely used, as is the PATH system connecting Newark, Hoboken, Jersey City, and Manhattan. The New York metropolitan area's Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad, and New Jersey Transit commuter rail are the three largest regional rail systems in the country and together transport about one-third of commuters who use rail transportation in the United States each day.

Many of the major and secondary cities in the region also utilize mass transit. Systems that provide both rail and bus service include Boston's Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Buffalo's Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA), Philadelphia's SEPTA and PATCO, and Pittsburgh's Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT). Many other smaller cities have smaller, bus-only systems. In Pennsylvania, new commuter rail projects, such as CorridorOne, are being undertaken to expand service between Harrisburg and Lancaster. Three states - Connecticut, New Jersey, and Rhode Island - have public transit providers that cover much or all of their respective states.

Rank Metropolitan Area State(s) and/or Territory July 1, 2007
Population Estimate
1 New York CT, NJ, NY, PA 18,815,988
2 Philadelphia DE, MD, NJ, PA 5,827,962
3 Boston MA,NH 4,482,857
4 Pittsburgh PA 2,355,712
5 Providence MA, RI 1,600,856
6 Hartford CT 1,189,113
7 Buffalo NY 1,128,183
8 Rochester NY 1,030,435
Rank City State(s) and/or Territory July 1, 2007
Population Estimate[12]
1 New York NY 8,274,527
2 Philadelphia PA 1,449,634
3 Boston MA 686,919
4 Baltimore MD 636,591
5 Pittsburgh PA 311,218
6 Newark NJ 280,135
7 Buffalo NY 272,632
8 Jersey City NJ 242,389
9 Rochester NY 206,759
10 Yonkers NY 199,244

The Northeast as a megalopolis

Today, the coastal Northeast is said to resemble a megalopolis, or megacity, an interdependent network of cities and suburbs that blend into each other.[citation needed] It is linked largely by the I-95 Interstate, which runs from Florida through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and up to Boston and into Maine. By rail, the cities are linked by Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. Suburbs of Boston as far north as New Hampshire and even Maine, as well as Washington's suburbs in Northern Virginia are all part of the region.[citation needed]

Along New Jersey's Gold Coast, the area across the Hudson River from New York City, population density has become so great that the state built the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system to decrease traffic congestion.[citation needed] This system complements the PATH system, New Jersey Transit commuter bus and rail service, a complex highway transportation system, and Port Authority Airports.[citation needed] Future expansion of Hudson-Bergen Light Rail may go to Staten Island in New York City to the south, and throughout Bergen County to the north.[citation needed] Similarly, since the 19th century both Boston's and Philadelphia's have connected their cities with surrounding suburbs by rail and bus. Further, much of the Northeast region is heavily linked by state-run commuter trains and Amtrak.[citation needed]

Despite the heavy urban/suburban characteristics of the coastal region, many rural areas survive. Much of Upstate New York, and even parts of Westchester County closer to New York City, have decidedly rural characteristics.[citation needed] The Pine Barrens and the part of northwestern New Jersey known as the Skylands[13] are known as retreats from the urban areas of the Northeast. In fact, New Jersey is more rural than most people realize despite its stereotype of urban and suburban sprawl. Both Long Island and western New York have well-known wine-producing regions.[citation needed] New York is a heavily agricultural state.[citation needed] Even New York City's boroughs of Queens and Staten Island had farm production well into the late 20th century. Small towns and cities dot western Massachusetts' Berkshire region, as well as Vermont, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.

While formerly important rural industries like farming and mining have decreased in importance in recent decades, they persist.[citation needed] Artisan dairy and cheese producers and organic farmers are becoming more important in upstate New York and New England, where they are building relationships with major universities and urban farmers' markets.[citation needed] Pennsylvania also emphasizes programs for farmers' markets and community-supported agriculture in the "Buy Fresh; Buy Local" movement.[citation needed]


Until World War II, the Northeast's economy was largely driven by industry.[citation needed] In the second half of the 20th century, most of New England's traditional industries have relocated to states or foreign countries where goods can be made more cheaply.[citation needed] In more than a few factory towns, skilled workers have been left without jobs.[citation needed] The gap has been partly filled by the microelectronics, computer and biotech industries, fed by talent from the region's educational institutions.[citation needed]

Like New England, the Mid-Atlantic region has seen much of its heavy industry relocate elsewhere. Other industries, such as drug manufacturing and communications, have taken up the slack.[citation needed] The economy of the New York City sub-regions is more complex; its fortunes are heavily (but far from completely) dependent on the financial industry and the stock market.

As the service sector is less dependent on heavy labor than the formerly dominant industrial sector, the incentives unskilled immigrants and unskilled laborers once had to move to the Northeast have diminished. They lack the skills to compete in, for example, the financial, technical, educational, and medical markets. However, the Northeast remains a magnet for skilled workers from around the world.


The Northeast area is the wealthiest region of the country.[citation needed] The Upper East Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan hosts the largest concentration of individual wealth in the world.[citation needed] Maryland, Connecticut and New Jersey are the wealthiest states in the union in terms of both per capita and household income.[citation needed] Also, in history, the Northeast was always known for its trading because of its location on the Atlantic Ocean, and its abundance of harbors.[citation needed]

Although many places are richer than other parts of the United States, one exception is the city of Camden, New Jersey.[citation needed] Camden has a poverty rate of 38.6% for individuals, and 52.3% of those under age 18 living below the poverty level.[citation needed]

Median Household Income by State[14][15]
Rank State 2008 2007 '04-06
1 Maryland $70,545 $68,080 $62,372
2 New Jersey $70,378 $67,035 $64,169
3 Connecticut $68,595 $65,967 $59,972
4 Alaska $68,460 $64,333 $57,639
5 Hawaii $67,214 $63,746 $60,681
6 Massachusetts $65,401 $62,365 $56,236
7 New Hampshire $63,731 $62,369 $60,489
8 Virginia $61,233 $59,562 $55,108
9 California $61,021 $59,948 $53,770
10 Washington $58,078 $55,591 $53,439
Top 10 states by millionaire households in 2009[16]
State Percentage of millionaire households Number of millionaire households
Hawaii 6.41% 28,363
Maryland 6.26% 133,299
New Jersey 6.22% 197,694
Connecticut 6.15% 82,837
Virginia 5.51% 166,596
Massachusetts 5.50% 137,792
Alaska 5.39% 13,348
New Hampshire 5.34% 27,562
California 5.28% 662,735
(Washington, D.C.) 5.00% 13,028

Real estate

The Northeast has the highest home prices in the nation.[17] In December 2008, sales of existing homes dropped 10% from the preceding year. The median home price fell 8% to $268,200.[18]


The Northeast led the nation in nursing home costs in 2009. A private room in Connecticut averaged $125,925 annually. A one-bedroom in an assisted living facility averaged $55,137 in Massachusetts. Both are national highs.[19]


The Northeast region has been known recently for its political liberalism.[citation needed] For example, every state in the region had a majority vote for John Kerry in the 2004 election and Barack Obama in the 2008 election. However, both Pennsylvania and New Hampshire were considered "battleground states" in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections, meaning that they were seen as winnable by both political parties.[citation needed] New Hampshire did vote Republican in 2000, as George W. Bush won the state by a close one percentage point. Pennsylvania voted for Al Gore in 2000 by a 51-47% margin. In 2004, both New Hampshire and Pennsylvania gave Democratic candidate John Kerry a 51-49% victory. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama easily carried both states; he won Pennsylvania with 55% and New Hampshire with 54% of the vote.

In addition to the region's increasing loyalty to the Democratic Party at the presidential level, the region is also increasingly Democratic at the state and congressional levels as well. As of 2009, Democrats hold all of New England's 22 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and 27 of New York's 29 seats. Three of New England's 12 U.S. Senators are Republicans, down from 6 of 12 a decade ago. There are no Republican senators from the Northeast outside New England.

Colonial to 1960s

The Northeast was a Federalist, Whig and Republican from 1800 to the late 19th century.[20]

During the early 19th century, the Republicans appealed to the Northeast by advocating public education, freedom of movement, entrepreneurial solutions, and open markets. They tried to encourage industrialization and endorsed the concept that laborers have the right to sell their labor in exchange for wages. In part because the North developed a different labor market, its residents were able to abolish slavery locally with little economic impact, although its wealth had been built on trading, shipping and manufacturing linked directly to the slave economy.[citation needed]

Abolitionists became active in the Northeast.[citation needed] Republicans generally opposed labor unions and slavery.[citation needed] Greater New England voted Republican in Presidential elections from 1856 until the 1960s. The 60s marked major cultural and political realignments across the nation. The Republican regional identification was even stronger at the Congressional level.[21]

From the American Civil War until the Great Depression, Northeastern and Midwestern Republicans and allied business interests tended to dominate American politics. The wealth and power of the Northeast during this period generated animosity in regions of the country with more agrarian interests, in part because of Republican domination.[citation needed]

Most immigrants and working class residents of major cities were organized by, and therefore more likely to support the rival Democratic Party. Then often became linked to powerful political machines that dished out patronage. The Tammany Hall machine in New York City continued its dominance into the 1960s. Immigration to Northeastern cities rapidly pushed the population of the region upwards from the 1790s until World War II. However, it was not until the 1920s and 1930s that ethnic voters became more important to the Democratic Party in the north. The Democratic Party often won the support of immigrants through aid and political patronage.

In the 20th century, there were major demographic changes from two waves of the Great Migration of African Americans, from 1910-1970 overall. In multiple acts of passive resistance, African Americans fled the lynchings, segregation and disfranchisement of the South to move to northern and midwestern cities for new industrial jobs and better opportunities for education.[citation needed] During this period, half the African-American population went from being rural to becoming urbanized. They joined and greatly expanded black populations that had increased after the Civil War in cities like New York and Boston, and also migrated to such cities as Philadelphia, Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Hartford, New Haven and Pittsburgh. In the 1920s New York's Harlem became a center of black intellectual and artistic life for the nation. A total of seven million blacks migrated to the North, Midwest, and West, especially to California. From the administration of FDR during the Great Depression on, many African Americans became Democrats.

1960s to present

When the Democrats began softening their economic policies in the early 1990s, suburban northeastern voters responded favorably and became more supportive of them. On the federal level, sufficient northeastern voters abandoned the Republican Party, resulting in Democratic victories. Even though the local Republican Party in much of the Northeast tends to be more socially liberal than in other regions of the country.

Since the late 20th century, the region's politics have been largely explained by a strong coalition of demographics predominant in the North that are overwhelmingly Democratic. These groups include the majority Catholic population with a significant urban, Democratic legacy (this would apply to the Jewish population as well), artists, educators, and intellectuals of New York City, Boston, New Haven, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, and Ivy League university towns; the large minority populations of those same cities; a large socially conservative but economically liberal blue-collar population throughout the region; and the often socially liberal suburbanites of New Jersey, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Pro-business policies espoused by the national Democratic Party since the election of Bill Clinton in 1992 have drawn many upper-class white professionals into the Democratic fold who would have been Republicans as late as the 1980s.

This also continues its contrast and rivalry with the more conservative South, where a majority of white conservatives have supported national Republican candidates in recent decades.[citation needed] Within the Northeast, there are significant political and demographic differences between the cities and the suburbs that surround them, with even more differences from the more thinly populated outlying areas. This is particularly prominent in Philadelphia, and New York City (which even has a secession movement). Cities must compete with the suburbs and rural areas for state funding.

However, because of the increasing integration of the Northeast megalopolis combined with the more centrist Democratic Leadership Council's appeal to free trade advocates, ideological differences have softened between city and suburb in recent decades, strengthening the Democratic Party overall.[citation needed] Residents of first-tier suburbs have begun facing changes once regarded as uniquely urban, such as gangs, urban crowding, and drug abuse, while becoming increasingly ethnically diverse.[citation needed] In addition, they often found that unbroken Republican Party leadership resulted in corruption and poor practices, as in Nassau County on Long Island.[citation needed] Both Nassau County and Suffolk County have elected Democratic County Executives in recent years.[citation needed]

Post-war migration patterns weakened the Northeast's power considerably.[citation needed] Industry often relocated to the West Coast and South since land was less expensive, the areas were less crowded, and they were little unionized.[citation needed] By the 1970s, California had surpassed New York as the most populous state, and by 1994 Texas had pushed New York to third place.[citation needed] Secondary cities in the northeast region, such as Buffalo, never regained their economic foothold after the decline of industry. Larger cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia have developed service and knowledge industry economies.

In 2007 the population was approximately 50 million, compared to 434,373 in 1790.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Census Regions and Divisions of the United States". US Census Bureau. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ US Regional Divisions, accessed 16 Apr 2008
  4. ^ Income 2006 - Two-Year-Average Median Household Income by State: 2001-2006
  5. ^ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by State
  6. ^ International Nuclear Safety Center. "Maps of Nuclear Power Reactors: US NORTHEAST". Argonne National Laboratory. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  7. ^ Barron, Eric (2001). "Chapter 4: Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the Northeastern United States". in National Assessment Synthesis Team, US Global Change Research Program. Climate Change Impacts on the United States: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-00075-0. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  8. ^ Burkett, Virginia, et al. (2001). "Chapter 5: Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the Southeastern United States". in National Assessment Synthesis Team, US Global Change Research Program. Climate Change Impacts on the United States: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-00075-0. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 
  9. ^ Gottmann, Jean (1961). Megalopolis: the Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States. ISBN 0-527-02819-3. 
  10. ^ Peter Kolchin, American Slavery: 1619-1877, New York: Hill and Wang, Paperback, 1994, p.82
  11. ^ Murder Rates 1996 - 2006
  12. ^
  13. ^ Northwest New Jersey Skylands Guide
  14. ^ "Median Household Income (In 2007 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars)". US Census Bureau. 
  15. ^ "Median Household Income (In 2008 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars)". US Census Bureau. 
  16. ^ Phoenix Marketing International Research Shows Steep Decline In Millionaires in U.S.
  17. ^ Real Estate Home Appreciation - Last 12 Months
  18. ^ Elphinstone, J.W. (January 27, 2009). Home sales, prices drop in Northeast. Burlington Free Press. 
  19. ^ "Health care services". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. 1 May 2009. pp. 10C. 
  20. ^ David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, paperback, 1991,
  21. ^ David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, paperback, 1991, pp.856-880

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

New England is a six-state region in the northeast corner of the United States of America. Although it is one of the oldest settled parts of the US, most of the area (except the coastal areas of eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and southwestern Connecticut) retains a rural charm and low population. Most of the area is well-travelled and has a thriving tourist industry. Although some of the popular attractions may seem corny to some people, there are many hidden gems to be found in New England.

Map of New England
Map of New England
New Hampshire
Rhode Island


There are many cities in New England; these are some of the major ones.

Typical rural New England scene
Typical rural New England scene

There's an expression in New England: "If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes." The expression refers to New England's location on the eastern side of North America's continental climate. New England's coastal location does somewhat modify continental temperature extremes; but storminess is enhanced by New England's relatively rough topography. Northern New England winters can seem especially harsh -- if you plan to visit between December and mid-March, be prepared for freezing temperatures, wicked winds, and chills that take a couple of cups of coffee to dent. "Dress warmly" is an understatement -- in northern New England "prepare for nuclear winter" might be more accurate advice for travellers. The best advice, though is to dress in layers that include an outer layer to block the wind, plus a sweater or jumper to be removed when exerting oneself. Generally, the only areas of New England that are somewhat comfortable in the winter are the southern coastlines of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, which are warmed by nearby unfrozen salt water. For the visitor prepared for cold weather, northern New England's deep snows and crisp air can be exhilarating.

The months of April and May can be New England’s best-kept secret. In southern Vermont you will find off-season rates in many historic inns, but as noted local Robert Frost once so eloquently put it, "Nature's first Green is Gold." The area is bursting with daffodils, tulips & lilacs and the temperatures are mild with cool nights, just perfect.

New England summers can range from mild to uncomfortably humid. They provide a beach season of mid-June to mid-September. Most warm weather tourist destinations have a season from mid-May to mid-October. Areas right along the shoreline are often cooler and more temperate than inland areas.

New England shines during autumn. New England foliage is world-renowned for displays that rival pyrotechnics for their intense colors, rapid appearance, and equally rapid disappearance. Peak season ranges from early September at the farthest north points of Maine to early November for Southern Connecticut. Combine that with local festivals, hay rides, fresh-pressed apple cider, and fruit harvesting, and you have the recipe for a wonderful time.

As in upstate New York and along the Eastern Seaboard, many New England towns grew up around textile mills or other kinds of factories. When those industries relocated and/or shut down during the 1900s, several of those towns fell into a depression, where they remain.


English is, as with the rest of the US, the de facto official language. Some areas with large Hispanic populations might have a majority speaking Spanish, but most have at least basic English skills (and these are off the tourist path). French is also spoken in Northern Maine, near the Quebec/New Brunswick borders. There is a rich French-Canadian heritage in Biddeford, Maine, and Manchester, New Hampshire's largest city. Though the demographics are changing, it is still possible to find shops that cater to French speakers and churches that conduct Mass in French. In truth, though, not much is done to accommodate visitors who do not speak English.

Along with Southerners, New Englanders have a reputation for a distinct flavor of English speech. This is an overly broad generalization. The accents of Senators Kennedy and Kerry are rarely heard. The typical "pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd" Boston accent prevails in eastern Massachusetts, but is losing ground even there. There are some distinctive vocabulary words. "Bubbler" refers to a drinking fountain. Carbonated sweet drinks called "pop" in other parts of the United States and Canada are called "tonic" or "soda" in New England. "Wicked", an adjective interchangable with "very", is frequently used by young New Englanders, though the once-common phrase "wicked pissah", meaning "excellent", has faded considerably and is used primarily by either the older generation or misled tourists. A relatively common New England traffic intersection not encountered much elsewhere in the United States would be called a "roundabout" in the United Kingdom, but is called a "rotary" in New England. When given directions on how to exit a "rotary" the driver would be instructed to "bang a right" in Boston. Large clams are called "quahaugs" in southern New England. In Maine an inland vacation home is called a "camp" while one on the coast is called a "cottage." Mainers also add the definite article "the" to the official names of roads, but not streets or avenues; and the tree that others might call an aspen is called a "popple" by Mainers.

Get in

By air

New England is served by several airports: Logan International [1] in Boston, TF Green Airport [2] Warwick, RI, Bradley International [3] Windsor Locks (between Hartford, CT, and Springfield, MA), Tweed New Haven [4] in New Haven, Burlington International [5] Burlington, VT, Portland [6], Bangor [7], and Manchester [8] Airport, to name a few. Logan is by far the largest. Amongst discount airlines, JetBlue [9] serves Boston, Nantucket, Burlington, and Portland; while Southwest Airlines [10] serves Hartford/Springfield, Providence, and Manchester; and Air Tran Airways [11] serves Portland and Boston.

By car

New England is served by several interstate highways. I-95 enters from the New York City area and links five of the six states together. I-90 and I-84 both come in from the west out of Albany and southern New York, respectively. I-91 links New Haven with Hartford, Springfield and eastern Vermont. I-89 connects Burlington, VT with Concord, NH. I-93 runs through New Hampshire, connecting St. Johnsbury, VT with Boston.

By train

Amtrak [12] operates several routes into New England, most notably the Northeast Corridor, which connects New York City to Boston via New Haven and Providence. As well, the Vermonter goes from New York City and Washington, DC to Connecticut, western Massachusetts and Vermont. New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority's MetroNorth [13] trains run between Grand Central Station in midtown Manhattan and New Haven, stopping in many Connecticut towns en route.

By bus

The Chinatown Bus [14] goes from New York to Boston for about $30 round trip. Greyhound [15] also offers slightly more expensive bus service to and from other areas of the country, as does Peter Pan [16]. From Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City buses serve western New England. Vermont Transit [17] offers service from Montréal. Boston's South Station is a hub for bus travel to and from New York and to and from all other areas of New England.

Get around

It is possible to visit New England without an automobile. Doing so requires the visitor to study schedules very carefully, purchase tickets in advance when possible, limit visits to one or two destinations, and keep in mind that local public transportation operates infrequently, if at all, at night, on weekends, and during the middle of the day. The visitor may also sign up for a group tour by bus or cruise ship. Bus tours and cruise ships visit all the major tourist destinations, if only to drive by with expert commentary by tour guides. Group tours do have the advantage of eliminating all worries about destinations, lodging, and meals, although they have inflexible schedules, offer virtually no opportunity to meet local people, and perhaps too much acquaintance with one's fellow passengers.

By train

Amtrak covers urban New England pretty extensively with the Northeast Corridor (Boston-Rhode Island-Connecticut), the Vermonter (Connecticut to Vermont), and the Downeaster (Boston to Portland). Note that Boston has two train major stations, South Station and North Station. Trains from South Station serve areas to the south of the city, and North Station trains serve areas north of the city. All Amtrak trains to and from Boston, except the train to Portland are available at South Station, but not North Station. The train to Portland is available only at North Station. There is no direct connection between the two stations. Those wishing to connect between the two stations must either take a taxi, or take two subway lines, or walk about 2 km/ 1.2 miles through busy city streets. Information and train schedules are available from Amtrak's [18] web site.

Commuter rail and bus lines radiate out from New York City and Boston for a distance of about 50 km/30 miles. The MBTA [19] covers the greater Boston area with its commuter rail network, including Providence, Lowell, and Worcester. The MTA Metro North [20] provides very frequent and affordable service between New York City and New Haven; at New Haven there are numerous connections to points north and east. Remember, though, that commuter service is infrequent outside of weekday morning and evening rush hours.

By bus

Greyhound [21] has several routes in New England. New Hampshire and Maine are served by Concord Coach Lines [22]. The primary intercity bus service in southern New England is Peter Pan Bus [23]. Their web site allows the user to determine the schedule of all buses serving two destinations in southern New England.

By ferry

New England has many offshore islands that are attractive destinations reachable only by ferry. Typically, these islands are compact enough that the visitor does not require a car to visit them. Relatively flat coastal terrain and light traffic makes it easy to get around them by walking or bicycling. Taking a car on the ferry is expensive and usually requires reservations long in advance. In any case, many ferries are for passengers and bicycles only.

By car

Much of rural New England is under-served by bus/train, and driving is required to visit much of Vermont, New Hampshire, western Massachusetts, and Maine.


There are many historical sights in New England, including many colleges, universities, monuments and architecture. Yale University in New Haven and Harvard University in Cambridge, MA are destinations, offering a variety of interesting museums, as well as nonstop cultural activities. Throughout the region there are small college towns, such as: Kingston Rhode Island; Storrs, Hamden, and Middletown Connecticut; Amherst, Northampton, and Williamstown Massachusetts; Burlington and Middlebury Vermont; and Brunswick, Waterville, and Orono Maine; that offer cultural diversions.

The history of New England is re-enacted at several collections of historical buildings: Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Ledyard, Connecticut for Native American history; Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts for early European settlement; Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut for maritime history; Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts for early 19th century history; Shelburne Museum just south of Burlington, Vermont; and Historic Deerfield in Deerfield Massachusetts as well as many other locations. New Hampshire offers colonial-era re-enactments and revitalized buildings at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth and the Fort at No. 4 in Charlestown.

Stop in some of the historical mill towns like Lowell, Massachusetts and Manchester, New Hampshire that have been revitalized.

In its small area New England packs a lot of natural beauty. Highlights would include: pastoral villages with white-steepled churches throughout rural New England; sandy beaches and moorlands along the southern coastal area of Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, including Cape Cod and adjacent islands; the more rugged rocky coast and cliffs of Maine; the nearly alpine scenery of Vermont, northern New Hampshire, and western Maine; and dense forests everywhere.


Skiing and summer mountain activities

Ski or snowboard in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Green Mountains of Vermont and the mountains of western and central Maine. In southern New England, Connecticut and Massachusetts have small local ski areas with vertical slopes of less than 300 meters/1000 feet. There are many ski areas for everyone from beginners to advanced skiers/boarders. Many areas extend their seasons to year round by providing alpine slides and summertime activities. See the state articles for ski area listings.

New England skiing is unlike skiing in the western United States. Instead of open slopes above tree line, New England ski areas have relatively narrow trails carved through thick woodlands. New England's variable weather continues in winter. The skier or boarder may experience mild weather with temperatures above 10 Celsius/50 Fahrenheit or bitter cold with high winds delivering wind chill temperatures of -30 or less. Rain or snow may fall at any time. Rain often coats the snow with ice, and snow is often wet and sticky. The result of these conditions is that skiing and snowboarding in New England require attention to conditions. To deal with mild or dry conditions, all major New England ski areas make snow through the night and groom their slopes in the early morning.

Traditional Summer Activities

Beaches abound along New England's coastline from Connecticut to just south of Portland, Maine. Here vacationers may swim or simply soak up the sun. Swimmers may find the waters north of Cape Cod to be cold, especially in Maine. Inland, swimming is available in New England's thousands of lakes and ponds, and the water is usually warmer. Almost every New England town has at least one "swimming hole". Swimming areas include those operated by the federal National Park Service in Cape Cod National Seashore and Acadia National Park, large state-owned beaches with parking for hundreds of cars, and local city or town beaches. In addition, local inquiries may reveal the locations of unmapped swimming areas, some quite scenic, along local streams or shorelines.

New England also offers plenty of opportunity for boating whether it be in sheltered bays and harbors along 9,900 km/6,100 miles of coastline, or on inland lakes, ponds, and rivers. Local yacht clubs usually conduct sailboat races for many different classes. Offshore cruises are offered from coastal tourist towns. These cruises include "whale watch" boats, other nature cruises to observe shore birds, and sailing on traditional sailboats such as Maine's "windjammers". Those cruising out to sea north of Cape Cod should bring a jacket or sweater no matter how hot it may be on land. Inland, outfitters offer whitewater rafting on Maine's rivers. Kayakers and canoers have plenty of opportunity to put their craft into local lakes, ponds, and rivers at state-owned boat launching areas. Rentals are often available in larger waterfront towns. Be advised that many local areas ban jet skis and have "no wake" areas for motor boats.

Bicycling is popular in New England. Being densely populated with lots of traffic, the southern New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island present little opportunity for road biking. However, they make up for this with "rail-trails", which are paved sections of abandoned railroad track dedicated to bicyclists and pedestrians. Information on rail-trails is available from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy [24]. In northern New England there is less traffic on roads, however, they are hillier than roads in southern New England. Many of New England's state parks have trails for mountain biking. These trails follow old dirt roads. Mountain biking on hiking trails is usually prohibited. Both Cape Cod National Seashore and Acadia National Park offer ample opportunity for bicycling along scenic routes free of motor vehicle traffic. Biking opportunities abound on New England's many offshore island destinations where roads are usually flat and cooled by sea breezes. Most major tourist destinations have shops that rent bicycles.

Hiking is popular in New England. There are long distance hiking trails in the region, including the Appalachian Trail, which courses through all of the New England states except Rhode Island to its terminus on Mount Katahdin in Maine, and the Long Trail, which traverses Vermont from Massachusetts to Quebec. Although there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in the region's state and federal parks, bear in mind that most hiking trails do cross private property, and the owner's rights are to be respected. Most of New England's mountains are thickly forested, but there are extensive areas above the tree line in Vermont and especially New Hampshire and Maine. On these mountains climate conditions are similar to those in Labrador far to the north, and the lack of trees affords wonderful long distance views. The Appalachian Mountain Club [25] (AMC) has its headquarters in Boston and local chapters throughout the region. AMC operates campgrounds and lodges throughout the region, most of which are reachable only by hiking. New England's trails are generally maintained by volunteers organized by AMC's chapters or other organizations such as the Green Mountain Club [26] or the Connecticut Forest and Park Association [27]. These organizations offer detailed maps and other hiking information.


New England's cities and tourist areas have a wide variety of excellent restaurants. A few famous items of local cuisine include New Haven's pizza, Vermont's maple syrup, Southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island's Portuguese cuisine, and Maine's lobster and blueberries. Everywhere along New England's coast there are local restaurants offering fresh seafood, fried clams, and clam chowder. It can be kitschy, but there is a certain pleasure in spending a summer afternoon at a New England seaside restaurant eating seafood and watching boats come and go in the local harbor.

A special local treat is to attend a clam or "lobsta" "bake" or "shore dinner" at a coastal location. These venues typically serve only a complete clam or lobster dinner at a fixed time that includes all the ingredients of a traditional New England clam or lobster bake, including, of course, steamed clams or lobster, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, baked beans, and traditional desserts. Sometimes steak or hamburger is offered to those who will not eat lobster or clams. Inquire locally in seaside communities for locations and times.

Some of New England's smaller towns have old restored taverns which in the 18th and 19th centuries provided lodging and food for weary travelers. Most of these restored taverns no longer offer lodging, but offer meals featuring typical "New England fare" such as pot roast and a variety of steaks and poultry. Many of these restaurants also offer seafood.


Boston is known for its drinking establishments known locally as bars or taverns or pubs, including the Cheers bar of TV fame. (See the section in the Boston article.) New Haven is home to hundreds of bars and restaurants, and has a thriving scene including the Playwright, the largest Irish Pub on the East Coast, a huge space holding two thousand people built out of church parts salvaged from Ireland. In addition, several other cities in the region have an active nightlife. Microbreweries and wineries are also located throughout the region, and many can be visited by travellers.

Be aware that New England states have strict laws on driving while under the influence of alcohol. Some New England police departments enforce these laws by stopping traffic near popular bars and interviewing drivers, or by stationing unmarked police cars in or near the parking lots of popular establishments.

Types of stores that sell alcohol for off-premises consumption vary from state to state. Generally, wine and beer may be purchased in groceries and convenience stores but harder liquors may only be available from retail liquor stores known locally as "package stores" or "packies". While former "Blue Laws" prohibited the sale of alcohol on Sundays in Massachusetts, those laws have since been repealed. However, some cities and towns remain "dry" or do not allow for the sale of alcohol. Other New England states have slowly repealed such alcohol sales bans, but be aware of this odd tradition.

Stay safe

New England is one of the safest regions of the country overall, but it is no stranger to crime. All of the region's towns and cities, regardless of their size, have areas that should be travelled with caution at night. Larger cities are the best-known for crime because of media publicity but most crimes in big cities occur among friends and acquaintances. Random acts of violence can happen anywhere, even in smaller towns. It is also best not to hitchhike.

Furthermore, as with other areas of the country, take care while driving. You are 200 times more likely to be injured or killed in a car accident than in any random act of violence. Particular areas to use caution are small, winding roads away from major interstates where cars can travel erratically and at high speeds. Hikers leaving an automobile at trail heads in remote areas should take care not to leave valuables in the vehicle.

As in the rest of the USA, 911 can be dialled for emergencies, even from pay-phones.

Dangerous animals are hardly a concern in New England. During May and early June hikers may want to avoid thick woodlands in northern New England or risk being plagued by hordes of tiny black flies. The best time for hiking is September and October when cold nights have suppressed insect activity. That said, however, there are many trails with locations exposed to wind and sunshine and minimal contact with biting and stinging insects. There are rare encounters with poisonous snakes in southern and western parts of New England, but hardly any deaths. These snakes are so rare that they are considered endangered and it may be against the law to kill them. The hiker will encounter no poisonous snakes in Maine or northern New Hampshire. The most dangerous animal likely to be encountered by a hiker in New England is the deer tick, a tiny creature no more than about 2 mm in diameter. Deer ticks carry Lyme Disease, which can engender severe medical symptoms in the victim. The best defense against the deer tick is to use insecticides and wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Wild turkeys, bears, and coyotes abound in New England but almost always avoid humans. Moose can be dangerous to motorists speeding along dark roads in northern New England. These animals are large and their massive bodies will go right through the windshield when struck by a smaller automobile. The best defense is to drive slowly through moose crossing areas and watch carefully for moose stepping into the road.

Get out

Travellers continuing to Canada may take Interstate 89 North from Burlington, Vermont to Montreal or Maine state highway 9 East from Bangor, Maine to the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. An interesting way to leave New England during the summer is to take the Cat Ferry [28] from Bar Harbor or Portland, Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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