Six best beaches in New England

Get your tan on in the sandy white beaches of the northeast

The northeast isn't too famous for its mild winters, but our summers can get quite hot. When late May hits, New Englanders grab their sunscreen and iced coffees and hit the beach to bask in the scorching sun. Here's six fantastic beaches if you ever find yourself in New England.

1. Hammonasset Beach State Park, Connecticut

Hammonasset Beach — or Hammy as I like to call it — is the perfect mini vacation. It's got soft sand, good seafood restaurants and a campground just a short walk from the beach. The water gets warm pretty fast and when the late afternoon sun hits, you just have to take a nap under the umbrella. When I want some more sun during my summer camping trips, Hammy's my go-to.

It's about $20-$80 a night depending if you want a standard tent site or a cabin. The campground has a store, a recreation center and surprisingly clean bathrooms with showers. There's also a lot of parking at the beach and grassy areas all around if you don't like the sand.

2. Hampton Beach, New Hampshire

Not to be confused with The Hamptons, Hampton Beach is a long stretch of sand in New Hampshire that attracts mostly families. The sand is almost white and so soft that you'll immediately want to take off your flip flops.

The boardwalk boasts all types of different foods, stores and activities that both children and adults could explore. On special occasions, there'll be fireworks and sand sculpture competitions along with other events.

If you go, be sure to arrive early — parking spots fill up QUICK. And after you manage to squeeze in between two SUV's, you still have to pay the meter. It is worth the trouble, though, trust me.

3. Old Orchard Beach, Maine

Old Orchard is a beach town on the coast of Maine that I'll probably end up retiring to one day if the Maldives doesn't work out. Shops and restaurants line the streets of Old Orchard Beach along with arcades and fast food. Along the boardwalk, you can find all kinds of trinkets and specialty items — I highly suggest trying anyone's root bear float.

There's even an amusement park on the beach, as scary as that may sound — and look. The ride prices can get a bit high so if you have kids, I'd either steer them away or just get one ride for the memories.

4. Narragansett Town Beach, Rhode Island

If you think Rhode Island is too small to have beaches, you're wrong. Narragansett is one of the cleanest beaches I've ever visited — the dirtiest being Revere Beach in Massachusetts. Narragansett is also a beach town like Old Orchard, but you have to pay $8 per person for admission in addition to parking.

If it lacks in things to do, this beach makes up for it in land. The beach is nearly 20 acres long and has beautiful waves to go along with it. If you get bored simply get up and go for a stroll — super relaxing and calm.

5. Good Harbor Beach, Massachusetts

Good Harbor Beach is one of the many sandy coastlines Massachusetts offers. Next to Wingaersheek Beach, Good Harbor has a small area — but giant waves. It can get pretty crowded during the weekends, but there are lots of hidden spots where you can set up.

Parking is $25-$30 depending on which day you go and if the lot fills up, you'll have to see which residents are willing to take you. Most of them are pretty nice and will let you park for the normal beach fee.

There aren't that many amenities around other than a few restaurants within a mile so be sure to bring some reading and beach toys.

6. Fire Island, New York

New York isn't technically a part of New England, but I had to sneak this one in. Fire Island is a peculiar case because while you can camp there like Hammonasset, they also offer wilderness camping which lets you sleep right on the beach. With a reservation and a permit, you can have the beach 24/7.

Fire Island does get pretty busy during this time of the year because it's only about an hour away from the city. New Yorkers tend to get out of the hot concrete jungle and indulge in the cool sea breeze. If you're going to be wilderness camping, you'll probably want to book early in the spring.

If you do find yourself at Fire Island, be sure to visit the lighthouse and Watch Hill which will give you beautiful views.

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!