New England shunpiking


For those who prefer the back roads, T. J. Harvey of Southbury, Conn., arranges self-driving tours through the New England countryside, with overnight stops at country inns. He calls it shunpiking, a word that has its origins in the Colonial era, when travelers sometimes took lengthy detours to avoid paying tolls to property owners.

According to the client's needs, Mr. Harvey devises an itinerary and writes a guidebook specifically for the trip, tailored to such interests as antiquing, outlet shopping or visiting historic sites.

He may suggest a trip along the New England coast, starting, for example, in Mystic Seaport, Conn., and continuing along the Rhode Island shore to Cape Cod or a trip inland through the Berkshires of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Each night is spent at a country inn.

"We won't use resorts or motor courts or vacation complexes or taverns with rooms upstairs, not to mention chain motels that call themselves inns," he said.

Prices range from $420 (four nights, breakfast included) a person, double occupancy, to $1,410 (16 nights) and $2,070 (24 nights). Price includes tips and taxes on lodging and meals, but not car rental or air fare. Dinner may be included for a higher fee. Information: (800) 695-0115.

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