New England

Tests of Time | Inside Yankee

It is human nature to explore, to want to discover the new, and then to celebrate when we find it. This is why we travel. But there is also pleasure in those places and experiences that have stood the test of time, where what you see and feel has been seen and felt in almost […]

By Mel Allen

Apr 23 2019

MelAllen

Yankee Editor Mel Allen

Photo Credit : Lori Pedrick
Editor Mel Allen
Photo Credit : Lori Pedrick

It is human nature to explore, to want to discover the new, and then to celebrate when we find it. This is why we travel. But there is also pleasure in those places and experiences that have stood the test of time, where what you see and feel has been seen and felt in almost the same way by someone long ago. 

Henry David Thoreau was a bit of a prophet when, after a three-day walk along the outer Cape in 1849, he predicted, “This coast will be a place of resort for those New Englanders who really wish to visit the seaside.” He would be astonished at how Cape Cod and its islands, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, have become some of the most recognized destinations in the country, but much of what he described remains today: The waves broke on the bars at some distance from the shore …10 or 12 feet high, like a thousand waterfalls, rolled in foam to the sand. There was nothing but that savage ocean between us and Europe.

Our “63 Reasons Why We Love the Cape and Islands” [p. 64] is filled with suggestions on how to enjoy these storied places, just as visitors have been doing for so long. In putting this package together, we sought out locals such as writer Kate Whouley, who for more than two decades has played flute in the Cape Cod Concert Band, and Kim Grant, whose many travel books on the Cape and Islands have guided tens of thousands.

A summit ride aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway [“The Cog Turns 150,” p. 102] remains one of the most memorable train excursions anywhere. The views and intermittent gasps of awe as the Cog climbs the steep mountainside would likely have been shared by President Ulysses S. Grant in the summer of 1869 when he, too, rode the new train to the top.

When Yankee deputy editor Ian Aldrich brought his 7-year-old son, Calvin, to the classic Vermont camp known as Quimby Country, he was following the tradition of families who have vacationed there since the 1890s [“Disconnect to Connect,” p. 92]. Vacations like these can feed our desire to escape while also providing the comfort of continuity. More than anywhere else, as these stories show, New England gives these twin gifts of summer.

One final note: Wherever you travel this season, look for a new book close to my heart, a collection of stories by Geoffrey Douglas titled The Grifter, the Poet, and the Runaway Train. Each of its stories has graced this magazine and stood the test of time. They are among the very best we have ever published.

Safe travels. Try to get lost on winding roads, and let our editors’ picks [p. 109] lead you to adventure and unforgettable moments in this region we are lucky enough to call home.

Mel Allen editor@yankeemagazine.com