Let's face it. Whether you're visiting all of New England or merely bopping by Cape Ann or Kennebunkport, you're not going to be able to do and see everything, no matter how long you stay. And while it's always advantageous to know your travel options, a ceaseless onslaught of information can be off-putting. Guidebooks crow about being "comprehensive," but do you really want to wade through descriptions of every hotel, restaurant, museum, park, and monument? With too much input to sort out, preparing for a vacation can begin to feel reminiscent of work. If you've got limited time for planning a trip, why not use a guidebook that does some of the sorting for you?
Anne Wright excels at organization, and her carefully selected lodging, food, and entertainment options represent the best New England has to offer. It's a pleasure to plan a route and make travel decisions based on her quality choices. A map of New England folds out from inside the front cover, setting a tone of user-friendly practicality. What follows are some suggested itineraries for seeing New England in one to three weeks, a nature-lover's tour, an arts and culture tour, an itinerary for families, and another for history buffs--all with individual maps, time suggestions, and recommended sights. Wright includes a mileage chart of distances between major cities, a summary of New England's many attractions (food, outdoor activities, the arts, and the history), then gets pragmatic with cost estimates, climate charts, transportation options, and a list of tourism resources. For the cities and regions themselves, Wright provides an introduction, a map, the perfect one-day itinerary, a compendium of sights, and a healthy (but not comprehensive) selection of places to stay and eat for varying budgets. Wright's guide is skillfully put together and a joy to use. Travel preparation should always be so easy. --Stephanie Gold