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New England luxury yacht charter: Fall foliage and fresh lobster delights

Nestled in the northeastern corner of the United States lies a region adorned with breathtaking natural beauty, steeped in maritime history and with a coastline perfect for exploring by luxury charter yacht. Six states – Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine – hug the Atlantic coast creating a wonderful, compact cruising area which will delight visitors with its diversity and charm.

New England is sailing territory, with Newport being home to the iconic Americas Cup sailing event, but yachts of all shapes and sizes are available for charter in the area. This Rhode Island town perfectly showcases the region’s colonial architecture, stunning cliff walks and iconic jazz scene, making it a popular starting point for yacht charters. Sitting on the headland of Aquidneck Island, the town is surrounded by water and boasts numerous marinas from where you can pick up your charter. Before you set off, be sure to explore some of the grand summer ‘cottages’ like The Breakers and The Elms: as far from being cottages as you could imagine, they take visitors on a unique journey through 250 years of American history, architecture and landscaping. 

Bock Island is a short cruise southeast of Newport and presents a quintessential island experience -think food and drinks overlooking the ocean, boutique-lined streets and some of the most unspoiled white sand beaches in the country. Fishing around Block Island will have you hooked from the moment you start, and the island extends plenty of opportunities for both seasoned anglers and newcomers to the sport. Many yachts come equipped with state-of-the-art fishing equipment, plus captains and crew who know all the best spots and will guide you every step of the way – the chef will even cook your catch for dinner. For those who prefer to enjoy their fish more leisurely served with a glass of wine, there are plenty of wonderful seafood restaurants including fine dining at The Atlantic, the fun-filled resort of Ballard’s and the first-come-first-served simplicity of beachfront Beached.

One of the best things about chartering your own private yacht is the freedom to plan your itinerary around your own interests, without the constraint of ferry timetables and overbooked day trips. Working with a professional yacht charter broker enables you to create a bespoke vacation in advance. But don’t be afraid to trust your yacht’s captain and crew if they suggest alternative activities while on board – often local, they can recommend hidden gems and seasonal highlights in your chosen destination.

As the playground of America’s political elite for many years – notably the Kennedys, the Clintons and the Obamas – the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard conjures up images of vast estates and compounds owned by the rich and famous. However, the island is not only for the elite: pristine beaches, rolling farmland, and picturesque towns are a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. From the colourful gingerbread cottages of Oak Bluffs to the historic whaling village of Edgartown, the island is a patchwork of quaint communities each with its own distinct character. Cruising by private yacht allows guests to take in the miles of scenic coastline, stop off along the way to indulge in fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants, or simply unwind on deck as the crew serves cool drinks and your private chef prepares dinner on board. The chef will prepare meals based on your party’s preferences: your charter broker will send you a preference sheet to complete in advance and the crew and chef will provision the yacht and plan cuisine based on these.

A couple of hours cruise away finds Nantucket Island which despite being only 26 miles from mainland USA, feels a world away. With its abundance of natural beauty and tranquil waters, it will come as no surprise that outdoor activities thrive on Nantucket – whether swimming in the Sound, fishing offshore or paddleboarding along the coast, there is something for everyone. Most charter yachts carry a selection of water toys on board, so you can take your time and try your hand at everything. The crew will anchor in any number of peaceful coves to set up the toys, open the swim platform and start up the tender – which can pull towables and water skis or take guests ashore to explore. After pre-dinner drinks on board, the tender can also escort guests to dinner at one of the amazing seafood restaurants including Cru Oyster Bar, a casually elegant venue serving perfectly shucked oysters and beautiful wines at sunset. For special occasions, try The Galley Beach where you can book the captain’s table or dine directly on the beach – perfect for leisurely family meals. Laid back Millie’s, serves coastal fare and their signature Madaket Mystery cocktail in a casual, beachfront location. The crew will welcome you back on board with a nightcap before you retire to your luxury cabin where the bed will have turned down and blinds drawn to guarantee a good night’s sleep.

The iconic peninsula of Cape Cod juts into the Atlantic and boats are protected to this day by the abundance of historical lighthouses peppering the coastline and what better way to appreciate their charm, than from the deck of a luxury yacht. Whale watching is another popular pastime here thanks to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a rich feeding ground for humpback, minke and pilot whales. Life is relaxed in Cape Cod and centres around sharing good food, relaxing on beautiful sandy beaches and being with family and friends. But there is more than just a laid-back atmosphere: the cape boasts 83 museums and theatres and no fewer than 42 premiere golf courses. Your charter broker and crew can organise visits, tickets and tee-off times to suit the itinerary and will take you ashore on the tender, collect you at the end of a busy day and have dinner and drinks waiting for you on your return.  

For an extended charter, travel further on into Boston Harbour, where a visit to Rowe’s Wharf and Faneuil Hall will satisfy guests who have a desire to shop or visit the fascinating Boston Tea Party Museum. Continue up the coast to Maine where you will discover the sheer scale of the region and appreciate why it is dubbed The Pine Tree State: much of the 400km of coastline is covered in beautiful forests. Hiking through the Acadia National Park or taking part in a deep-sea fishing expedition should not be missed. But there is also plenty of activity to be seen from the sun deck of your luxury yacht as traditional lobster and clamming boats pass by. The chef might even be able to purchase lobster and other fish for dinner, direct from the yacht – seafood as fresh as you can get.  

New England’s culinary landscape is well known for its lobster which reigns supreme, with its sweet and succulent meat, whether served steamed with drawn butter or in a hearty lobster roll. Equally iconic is New England’s prized shellfish, including plump oysters harvested from the region’s pristine bays and succulent clams perfect for chowders or served raw on the half-shell. Scallops, harvested from the cold Atlantic waters, have a delicate flavour and tender texture, while flaky cod, haddock, and halibut are staples of the region’s seafood-centric cuisine. Whether enjoyed at a rustic clam shack overlooking the ocean or savoured in a fine dining establishment, New England seafood is a culinary delight reflective of the rich maritime heritage of the region. If seafood is not for you, then your private onboard chef can prepare food to suit any taste, ensure there is plenty on offer for the children and cater for special dietary needs.

The accessible coastline of New England can be sailed in as little as a week but has enough to offer visitors for extended charters. The primary charter season runs from May to October when the summer breeze is at its strongest and most reliable. If you want to witness the picture postcard fall season, when the trees show off their kaleidoscope of gold, orange and red – then mid-October offers the most impressive show, while the sun still maintains its warmth.

As the sun sets over the tranquil waters of New England, casting a golden glow over the horizon, one thing is clear: embarking on a private yacht charter in this picturesque region is an experience like no other.

Trina Howes

Trina Howes is a Director of CharterWorld America. CharterWorld America is a luxury private yacht charter company that creates outstanding vacations with excellent yachts at amazing prices – worldwide. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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