Discover More, New England by Cara Llewellyn in New England

We sent Cara out with a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: New England to get her perspective on what it means to use a travel guide in her local area.

New Englanders are a lot like the lobsters they catch: independent, tough­-skinned, and perhaps a bit pinchy on the outside. But once you get through their hard exteriors they are pretty sweet on the inside. They also tend to turn red when exposed to heat.

Name:Cara Llewellyn

Can you sum up New England? An artist once told me that he lives in New England because he can’t stand to reside anywhere that isn’t on the edge. (He meant the sea, of course; New England is far from edgy). The cities and towns along the coastline are steeped in history and tradition, just as tea was once steeped in the Boston Harbor. Besides the abundance of historical sites, New England’s character varies widely with the seasons: snow-piled winters, tempestuous springs, blazing summers, and spectacularly colored autumns change the landscape drastically throughout the year.

What was it like looking through a travel guide for your own local area? I loved flipping through the book and seeing in print the landmarks I pass by every day. It got me really excited to revisit old haunts through the eyes of a tourist. I actually had a lot of trouble reading through the guidebook at home because every page made me want to get up and run out the door to the next adventure!

Did you find anything new or inspiring about your area in the book? I found so many new and interesting vantage points around the city of Boston. Since I live in the South End and work in the Back Bay, a lot of the northern parts of the city were less familiar to me. Through the book I discovered that you can go up to the roof of the Custom House, which I highly recommend doing at sunset for some amazing views of the harbor and financial district. Just be careful not to disturb the peregrine falcons nesting up there!

How did the guide influence the photos you took of your area? I picked several of the full page chapter opener images and explored the places they depicted. This ended up being a really fun plan of attack since it meant I got to visit both well-known and close-by landmarks while also seeking out hidden gems farther afield.

Tell us about the photos you shot for this project. I wanted to show both the city and the amazing coastline farther from the urban center. All of my images were taken within a half day’s drive of Boston, and yet they depict three different states. I was also excited to explore some of the landmarks in the book in different weather and light. I love how thick fog or a clearing storm can change the mood of a place in minutes.

Occupation: Graphic design & photography.

What is a perfect day in New England? I would grab a cold brewed iced coffee from The Thinking Cup on Newbury Street and then drive up to the north shore. There would be swimming and a sand-dollar hunt at Crane Beach, then a short hop to Essex for fried clams at Woodman’s, and finally back to the city in the evening for a walk around the South End. Dinner out on the patio at Coppa would be the perfect end to the day.

What do you love about New England? No one ever says this, but I love the crazy intense weather! The sky and light are changing all the time, and even the long snowy winters are gorgeous. Just make sure you have a thick coat.

What do you dislike? I’m pretty sure Boston wins the worst dressed city award every single year, so it could definitely use more fashion sense and creativity. That, and the drivers could be a little nicer.

What would be surprising about New England to an outsider? You can easily take a short ferry ride from Long Wharf to many of the little islands in the Boston Harbor. Each island has its own personality, activities, and landmarks. There’s a super cool old fort on one island, campsites on another, and you can even run a 5k race on Spectacle Island in the spring.

If New England was a character who would it be? A lobster!

What was your impression of the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide? I loved how the interior design and layout of the book made the information easy to absorb. It’s pretty hard to walk around a bustling city with your nose in a book, and the at-a-glance sections really convey everything you need to know quickly so that you can focus on exploring!


We have teamed up with our friends at DK Eyewitness Travel to bring you a VERY exciting giveaway. 20 DK Eyewitness Travel Guides and two big Global Yodel prints are up for grabs! Who wants them? Jump over HERE to win! 




Name:Cara Llewellyn


Boston, Massachusetts

Best place to eat: 

Brunch on the roof of the Taj Hotel (where the views of the public garden and Boston Common are to die for), lunch at Shabu Zen in Chinatown (try the watermelon smoothie), and dinner at Myers + Chang in the South End (if you like a bit of spice get the cold dan dan noodles).

Best place to drink:

Hop over to Fort Point for a craft cocktail at Drink (don’t be worried by the absence of a menu, they’ll make a special concoction just for you), or head to the The Beehive in the south end for some live jazz with your drinks.

Best place to shop:

Michelle Willey for home goods and striped shirts, the SOWA market on Sundays for artist crafts and vintage finds (SOWA stands for the hip area South Of Washington Street), and Bobbi from Boston — the most amazingly curated thrift store you’ll ever find.

Local tip:

Go have lunch (and spend some time with your guide book) in the central courtyard of the Boston Public Library. It’s the best secret garden in town, and the cafe food is quite yummy.

Must do:

After taking in all the Boston sights I would insist on driving up to Mount Desert Island for a few days to explore Acadia National Park. The park has a wealth of the most stunning scenery in Maine, most of which is accessible from old winding carriage trails. Stay at a B&B in Bar Harbor or better yet bring your tent and camp at Mount Desert Campground. If you’re lucky enough to get a waterfront site you’ll be lulled to sleep by the lapping water of the only true fjord in North America!