United States of Design Road Trips: A Northeastern Route

United States of Design Road Trips: A Northeastern Route

Janel Laban
Jul 11, 2011

The USA is a big, beautiful country, with design destinations from coast to coast and nothing is more American when it comes to summertime travel than the road trip. So, in honor of our love of design and the lure of the open road, we're building a few suggested itineraries for style-centric trips. First, up, the Northeast. Pack a bag, pop on your sunglasses, don't forget the camera and be sure to leave room in the trunk for some stellar secondhand finds…

Our Northeast United States of Design itinerary starts in Maine, meanders south through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and ends up in the center of it all, NYC. We'll leave the exact route to you (and your GPS) but here are a few suggested stops to pick and choose from when plotting out your driving directions:

Art Museums:

Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland

Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick

Interesting Homes to Tour:

Victoria Mansion, Portland

The Olson House in Rockand, which just became a US National Landmark.

The Wadsworth–Longfellow House, Portland

Places to Stop, Stay and Visit:

Traditional Meets Modern: Hidden Pond Cottages , Kennebunkport

Angela Adams, Portland

Eli Phant: A Gallery of Handcrafted Goods, Portland

Northern Style: DeLise Decor , Portland

Maine's Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Rockport

Apartment Therapy Reader Insider Tip:

Growing up in southern New Hampshire I can attest to the great antique shopping. If anyone is making the trek be sure to include the "antique highway" from the Lee traffic circle to the Epsom traffic circle. There has got to be over 30 stores just on this one route alone. - Imblebee

Art Museums:

Currier Musuem of Art, Manchester

Hood Museum of Art, Hanover

Interesting Homes to Tour:

Victorian Home Tours in Manchester's North End

Jon Brooks' Home in New Boston, on Apartment Therapy

Frank Lloyd Wright's Zimmerman House in Manchester, on Apartment Therapy

Flea Markets and Antique Fairs:
Mid-Week in Manchester Antiques Show

Manchester Pickers Market Antiques Show

Art Museums:
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

MASS MoCA, North Adams

Interesting Homes to Tour:

Gropius House, Lincoln

Codman Estate, Lincoln

Places to Shop, Stay and Visit:

Vinny's Antiques Center, Seekonk

Lekker, Boston

Ward Maps, Cambridge

Shaker Workshops, Arlington

Topia Inn, Bershires

Restoration Resources Architectural Salvage, Boston

Flea Markets and Antique Fairs:

Grafton Flea Market

Brimfield Antique Show

Apartment Therapy Blogger Insider Tip:

What to Bring to Brimfield
- water (its hot!)
- bug spray. Brimfield is held in acres and acres of fields. In July there can be black flies.
- tape measure
- backpack
- folding bag to put things in
- cell phone, especially if you're with a friend and get split up. This is not only to find each other, but you
can also send each other photos of things you like!
- fold-up rain poncho. Even if it's not raining when you leave home, Brimfield has its own unique weather which can be significantly different from towns even close by. But don't worry if you forget yours, you can always buy one there.
- a friend, preferably someone who's not afraid to tell you that if you buy that giant cigar store indian, it might scare you in the middle of the night.
-stamina. You'll never get through even half of the market in a day.
- Jeanine Brennan

Art Museum:

RISD Museum of Art, Providence

Interesting Homes to Tour:

The Newport Mansions, Newport

The Babcock-Smith House, Westerly

Governor Henry Lippitt House, Providence

Places to Stop, Stay and Visit:

The Stone House, Little Compton

Frog and Toad, Providence

Craftland, Providence

Sue Casa: Elegant Nautical Style, Bristol

Rose Island Lighthouse Sleepovers

Art Museums:

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield (p.s. - I met my husband here, so I highly recommend this one!)

The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven

Art Trail, 15 locations

Interesting Homes to Tour:

The Glass House, New Canaan

Gores Pavilion (featuring furnishings by Jens Risom), New Canaan

Gillette Castle, East Haddam

Flea Markets and Antique Fairs:

Elephant's Trunk Country Flea Market, New Milford

97 Orchard Street (Home of the Tenement Museum) photo by Frances Meda,1979

Art Museums:


Museum of Arts & Design



The Met

Interesting Homes to Tour:

Tenement Museum

Van Cortlandt House Museum

Merchant's House Museum

Places to Stop, Stay and Visit:

Too many to list! But here are two guides to get you started:

Our guide to shopping in SoHo

Our guide to shopping in Brooklyn

Flea Markets and Antique Fairs:

Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene

GreenFlea, Upper West Side

This list is just a start - we know that YOU know some great places to add to this itinerary - please share your favorite shouldn't miss stops in the Northeast with us all in the comments below...

Images: Main Illustration by Allard Laban, Maine: designatednaphour on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons, Massachusetts: Wes & Kayla, Connecticut: Alena

Re-edited from a post originally published 7.11.11 - JL

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