A MAZE OF one-way streets and the interminable Big Dig, a 14-year tunnel project, have turned Boston into the hectic city you love. But sometimes you gotta have elbow room; here's where to find it, from Vermont's hills to Martha's Vineyard's cliffs.

Sep 1, 2002
Outside Magazine
The Wilderness Foray

SPEND THREE DAYS and two nights sea kayaking through the protected coves of Muscongus Bay, about three and a half hours north of Boston, camping out on spruce-covered islands inhabited by puffins, ospreys, and seals. Contact Maine Sport Outfitters ($395 per person; 207-236-8797,

Pedaling off that cheddar in Vermont.

BLOW OUT OF TOWN on Friday afternoon heading north to Quechee, Vermont (I-93 to I-89 to U.S. 4 west), a tranquil pocket of gentlemen's farms and general stores two hours and 20 minutes from Boston. Check into the white clapboard Quechee Inn at Marshland Farm (doubles, $90-$240, including breakfast; 802-295-3133, Grab your fishing gear (or rent it from Wilderness Trails, $6-$30; 802-295-7620; in the red barn in back of the inn) and cross the street to the edge of Dewey's Mills Pond for a little pre-dinner bass fishing.

After a 7 a.m. breakfast, hop on your road bike and turn right on Main Street to kick off a somewhat hilly 25-mile, three-hour loop through the rolling farmlands of Woodstock, South Pomfret, and North Pomfret. Post-pedal, pick up Vermont cheddar and munchies at the Taftsville Country Store on U.S. 4 (800-854-0013), then head for the Kedron Valley Stables in South Woodstock, about 12 miles away, for a one-hour trail ride ($35 per person; 802-457-1480, If you're game for a four-mile paddle on the Connecticut River, drive about 25 miles to the North Star Canoe Livery in Cornish, New Hampshire (canoe rental, $15 per person; 603-542-5802,; the put-in is just north of the 450-foot Cornish-Windsor covered bridge, the nation's longest. After you take out, drive five miles north to Plainfield and the Home Hill Inn, a trs French provincial mansion across the road from the river (doubles, $175-$325; 603-675-6165,
On Sunday morning, drive south about 20 miles on New Hampshire 12A to the Morningside Flight Park in Charlestown for a 20-minute tandem hang-gliding aero-tow flight ($125 per person; 603-542-4416, Back on earth, cross the Connecticut River to Vermont and head for 3,144-foot Mount Ascutney, which you can climb via the Windsor Trail (5.5 miles, round-trip). After descending, cross back into New Hampshire and follow New Hampshire 11 to Lake Sunapee, about 50 minutes away. Rent a kayak in George's Mills at Sargents Marina ($25 per half-day; 603-763-5036, to paddle around Sunapee Harbor before heading back to Boston.

THIRTY-THREE TIMES A YEAR, from May through October, scheduled dam releases turn the Monroe Bridge Dryway on the Deerfield River in western Massachusetts (a little less than three hours from Boston) into ripping, technical Class IV whitewater—and the most exciting rafting in New England. If you don't want to go it alone, join Zoar Outdoor ($93-$97 per person, including lunch; 800-532-7483,

CHECK OUT THE LATEST all-terrain toy at Sunday River Ski Resort in Bethel, Maine—the Diggler Mountain Scooter, which carves like a snowboard and tracks like a bike. Hit the jumps, ramps, and rolls of the lift-served (and newly expanded) South Ridge mountain park ($35 per day, including rental, lift, and trail access; 207-824-3000).

THE OUTERMOST INN (doubles, $210-$340, including breakfast; 508-645-3511, sits alone on 20 Martha's Vineyard acres atop the red-clay Gay Head Cliffs. Owners Jeanne and Hugh Taylor (yes, brother of James) have kept the place free of the cute-bombs that have gone off in other island inns. Walls are painted white, wood floors are exposed, and curtainless picture windows frame sensational water views in three directions. And there's a quiet beach below the cliffs, a ten-minute walk away.