New England

Making A Scene

A Hollywood tribute to being outdoors in New England.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 28 2021


Making A Scene

Photo Credit : John S. Dykes
Making A Scene
Photo Credit : John S. Dykes

1. Queen of the Sea (1918) Forget seal-spotting: Spectators lined Acadia National Park’s Ocean Drive to spy “mermaids” frolicking on the rocks for the filming of this lost-to-history silent film.

2. Carousel (1956) Yes, Boothbay Harbor is just the spot for a real nice clambake. And the fact that one of its wharves stood up to the pounding of Hollywood hoofers is testament to Yankee workmanship.

3. The Whales of August (1987) Whale watching has never been more poignant than in this tale of two elderly sisters, filmed on Cliff Island and starring the peerless Bette Davis and Lillian Gish.

4. The Good Son (1993) The ice-skating sequence on Jackson’s lovely Mirror Lake—ooh, that really gives us chills.

5. On Golden Pond (1981) Squam Lake gets its close-up, and a tremolo-voiced Katharine Hepburn gives a master class in loon calling.

6. The Trouble with Harry (1955) In this Alfred Hitchcock–directed dark comedy shot primarily in Craftsbury, a beautiful Vermont fall day lends itself to hunting, hiking, sketching en plein air, and burying the odd dead body.

7. Sweet Hearts Dance (1988) Don Johnson trades in his Miami Vice linen suits and bundles up for winter camping, skating, and tobogganing with Jeff Daniels in the landscape around Hyde Park.

8. The Four Seasons (1981) As a director, Alan Alda showed solid judgment in picking Stowe, VT, for his winter scenes. (As a skier, though, he showed appalling form.)

9. Funny Farm (1988) This Chevy Chase comedy makes being outdoors in southeastern Vermont look terrific. Except for all those pesky lake snakes.

10. The Cider House Rules (1999) Novelist John Irving’s home state shows up for a scene paying homage to that classic summer pastime: the drive-in movie (shot at the Northfield in Hinsdale, NH).

11. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) He pilots a dune buggy at Crane Beach! He rides a polo pony at Myopia Hunt Club! And while Steve McQueen didn’t actually fly that famous sailplane over Salem, NH, he looks darn good in that cockpit!

12. Little Women (2019) If you’re going to have your heart broken, it might as well be while strolling atop a glorious autumn hillside at Groton’s Gibbet Hill Farm.

13. The River Wild (1994) Meryl Streep having a morning row on the Charles River is three minutes of pure outdoor Zen.

14. The Lightkeepers (2009) Can’t make it to the Cape this summer? Take a virtual vacation with this seaside period film shot largely at Race Point Lighthouse.

15. One Crazy Summer (1986) You can practically smell the sunscreenin this Nantucket-set teen romp that revolves around beaches, boats, and summer romance.

16. Jaws (1975) Beforethat dorsal fin pops up,let’s face it: People are #lovingbeachlife on Martha’s Vineyard.

17. Sabrina (1995) From sailing to bicycling to picnicking on the beach, Harrison Ford shows how to use the Vineyard to pitch maximum woo.

18. Grown Ups (2010) New England native Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and the rest of the gang make a splash at East Wareham’s iconic Water Wizz water park (which movie buffs will also recognize from 2013’s The Way, Way Back).

19. Wind (1992) Though many of the racing scenes were shot Down Under, this film’s boats look right at home swanning in and around Newport Harbor (where you can actually go cruise on retired America’s Cup yachts today).

20. The Great Gatsby (1974) Cast as Jay Gatsby’s Long Island abode, the opulent Newport mansion Rosecliff hosts what might just be the splashiest summer backyard bash ever.

21. Moonrise Kingdom (2012) In this offbeat homage to summer camp, director WesAnderson brings the eccentricity, and southern Rhode Island brings the scenic beauty.

22. A Birder’s Guide to Everything (2013) As teen birding enthusiasts pursue a supposedly extinct duck, Connecticut’s second-largest state forest, Cockaponset, plays a starring role.

23. And So It Goes (2014) Generations of New Englanders will recognize Lake Compounce (here dubbed “Bristol Park”) as the amusement park visited by Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas as they give romance a whirl.

24. Friday the 13, Part 2 (1981) Shot mainly on Kent’s North Spectacle Pond, this goofy, gory flick makes being outdoors look like a very, very bad idea. On the other hand: marshmallow roast!

Find more in “Take It Outside,” our 2021 guide to the best ways to love the New England outdoors.