Enhancing Established Appeal

New England's calling cards have a timeless appeal. Coastal vistas, small country villages, cultural vitality and outdoor recreation -- these are the qualities that have long attracted visitors to New England.

Following is a state-by state update of recent and upcoming developments.

Connecticut

Last August, the $350 million made its debut in Ledyard, home to Foxwoods Resort Casino. The facility explores the history of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and its land, a journey that started 18,000 years ago. There are interactive computers, 13 films and videos, re-created environments, art, two research libraries (one for children), a shop and restaurant.

A $52 million expansion and makeover of the Mystic Marinelife Aquarium is nearing completion. On May 1, a new, one-acre Alaskan Coast marine mammal habitat that will host beluga whales and seals will debut. Opening this summer is the Challenge of the Deep exhibit center, designed to allow visitors to experience deep-sea exploration.

Visitors to Connecticut's Mystic Seaport this year can view shipbuilders at work on a $2.8 million reproduction of the schooner Amistad. The site interprets the story of enslaved Africans who seized control of the original 19th-century schooner and made their way to freedom, a story that was dramatized by the Steven Spielberg film "Amistad." After the ship is launched in July 2000, it will serve as a floating classroom for young people.

In Norwalk, the Stepping Stones Museum for Children, an interactive learning center for children ages 1 to 10, is slated to open in late autumn of this year. Also in the city, a $10 million expansion at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is scheduled for completion in spring 2000.

Hartford is anticipating a major boost to downtown renaissance efforts, thanks in part to an agreement by the NFL's New England Patriots to move out of Massachusetts into a new 68,000-seat stadium that's scheduled to open in 2002. The plan calls for the development of an adjacent complex that will contain a convention center with 558,000 square feet of usable space, a 700-room hotel, an NFL interactive center, retail space and housing.

Maine

Visitors can sample the wares of locally produced fresh food and goods at the new Portland Public Market, which opened downtown last October. More than two dozen vendors sell specialty foods, flowers, baked goods, cheeses, seafood and meat for eat-in or take-out at the market.

In Bar Harbor, a June opening is planned for the Atlantic Brewing Company's new estate brewery. Situated on 10 acres and open for free tours, the brewery will also feature a cafe, play area, a restored farmhouse, hop arbors, orchards and a tasting room.

The New England Outdoor Center in Millinocket, operator of whitewater rafting trips on Maine's Kennebec, Penobscot and Dead rivers, has expanded operations with the purchase of two competing outfitters. The firm plans to construct additional guest houses this summer. The New England Outdoor Center also is expanding its lineup of commissionable packages.

Massachusetts

An alliance of tourism interests, historians and business leaders has launched a Literary Trail of Greater Boston. The 20-mile trail links historic literary landmarks such as the Longfellow House in Cambridge and the Concord home of Louisa May Alcott. The Literary Trail is the first of four heritage routes being planned: Boston by the Sea is slated to open on Memorial Day weekend; a family history and immigrant trail will debut in July.

Old Town Trolley of Boston has introduced two new programs this year. A 21/2-hour Big Dig at Night Tour explores Boston's massive $11 billion highway construction project during the hours when work is at full throttle, and a Boston Sports Lovers Tour features historical and landmark sports sites and a visit with a sports celebrity.

This fall, Amtrak will launch high-speed train service linking Boston and New York via Providence. Electric trains will make the trip at 150 miles per hour, cutting travel time from 41/4 hours to less than three hours.

Captain John Boats of Plymouth has introduced one-hour land-water tours that visit Plymouth's historic district and cruise Plymouth harbor.

In Agawam, more than $30 million in new attractions and improvements will be on display at Riverside-The Thrill Park when it opens for the 1999 summer season.

New Hampshire

One of the country's most outstanding scenic roadways, the White Mountain Trail, has been designated a National Scenic and Cultural Byway. The popular driving route, which includes the Kancamagus Highway, has been extended into a 102-mile loop and enhanced with improved signage and visitor information. The White Mountain Trail begins at the White Mountain Visitor Center in North Woodstock.

New Hampshire has established a new tourism region in the northern part of the state -- the Great North Woods Region. The area, which encompasses vast stretches of untouched wilderness, is being promoted for outdoor activities such as wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing and hiking.

Rhode Island

An August opening is scheduled for the Providence Place Mall, which will contain 1.25 million square feet of retail shops anchored by Nordstrom's, Filene's and Lord & Taylor. The mall will

contain an IMAX theater, a 20-screen movie complex and a

restaurant complex. Located downtown between the Westin Providence and the Rhode Island State House, the mall will be linked by free shuttle to Providence neighborhoods.

The New England Sports Museum, formerly located in Cambridge, Mass., is moving to Providence just across the street from the Rhode Island Convention Center. The museum is due to open in its new location this summer.

Heritage Harbor, a $2.8 million cultural center and state history museum, is being developed in a turn-of-the-century landmark building on Providence's downtown riverfront. A 2001 opening is planned.

Vermont

Stowe Mountain Resort now offers a Mountain Biking Center featuring lift-served biking on Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. The center provides bicycle rentals, private and group instruction and guided tours; there are about 20 biking trails on Mount Mansfield and 12 on Spruce Peak.

In Burlington, Lake Champlain Chocolates has moved into a new factory store that includes an observation deck and enlarged retail space. The chocolate maker offers free factory tours by appointment.

The family-owned Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge offers free tours and tastings year-round. The winery also sells Vermont specialty products, historical furniture and the handicrafts of local artisans.

For tool lovers and clients intrigued by the way things work, Windsor's Precision Museum is a new highlight. Located in a historic building, the museum tells the story

of a manufacturing system that was key to the Industrial Revolution.

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