How can you visit all six New England states in less than one hour? Visit The Big E, the only fair in the country with multiple states participating! Take a stroll along the Avenue of States and see impressive replicas of each New England state’s original statehouse sitting on land actually owned by that state. Take a step inside and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and tastes and of quintessential New England.
Though America was at war in 1918 and the Eastern States Exposition temporarily halted, Joshua L. Brooks used his powers of persuasion to convince the Massachusetts Legislature and a highly skeptical governor to spend $50,000 to erect the Massachusetts Building. Architect James H. Ritchie was hired to design an almost perfect replica of the old Massachusetts Statehouse. The building was dedicated in 1919 by then Gov. Calvin Coolidge and marked the official launching of the Avenue of States. Today the building features agricultural and horticultural exhibits as well as tourist attractions and performing groups from throughout the state. You’ll also find a variety of home-grown tastes, from scrumptious cranberries to selections from the sea, as well as Massachusetts-crafted products and travel information, in the Massachusetts Building.
ConnecticutGovernor Wilbur C. Cross placed the cornerstone of the Connecticut Building on Sept. 20, 1938, just as the mighty “Hurricane of ’38” hit the fairgrounds. The building was officially opened and dedicated the following year. At a cost of $85,000, the fifth addition to the Avenue was modeled after the Old Statehouse in Hartford. With its famous Bulfinch front, the building features brownstone, brick and dignified wooden columns. In Connecticut you’ll learn about the history, agriculture, commerce, natural resources and industries of the Nutmeg State. The Connecticut building also features exhibits on popular tourist attractions and a wide variety of native products.
Click here to download your audio tour of the Connecticut Building
Maine became the next state after Massachusetts to erect a building along the Avenue. The dignified colonial structure was built in 1925 at a cost of $50,000. Just a short walk from Massachusetts and located directly behind the clock tower, the building features local food and products and a wealth of vacation information about this beautiful northeastern-most state. You’ll have a chance to try Maine’s famous blueberries, smoked salmon, devour a Maine baked potato with all the fixin’s, a Maine lobster roll or a “Wicked” Whoopie Pie. The public can participate in special Maine Day activities showcasing the Pine Tree State. Information on hunting, fishing, camping, snowmobiling and skiing is also available in the building.Click here to download your audio tour of the Maine Building
The $150,000 Rhode Island Building was dedicated in 1957, marking the completion of the Avenue of States and the realization of Joshua Brooks’ dream. The building is a replica of the Old Statehouse that is now preserved as a shrine in Newport. In Rhode Island you’ll see exhibits featuring fine gold and sterling silver, posters and handiwork or sample some Rhode Island sea foods. You’ll also find information about the state’s beautiful coastline and inland attractions that may just entice you to pack your bags and head for the Ocean State.Click here to download your audio tour of the Rhode Island Building
The Avenue’s third addition appeared in 1929 with the construction of the Vermont Building, a Georgian structure that boasts marble corners, windowsills and columns, at a cost of more than $60,500. In Vermont, you can check out clothing that will keep you looking sharp in all seasons, breathe in the fragrances of candles and coffee beans or tempt your tastebuds with fresh apple pie and cheddar cheese – two delicious reasons to visit the Green Mountain State. From ski vacations to maple syrup and gourmet ice cream, the Vermont Building offers something for everyone.
Click here to download your audio tour of the Vermont Building
Although the country was in the midst of the depression in 1930, the New Hampshire Building was constructed at a cost of $75,000. This majestic structure was built using New Hampshire granite for its columns and trim and features a curved porch and tall columns similar in style to the White House.
A state map is built into the main entrance walk showing the state’s counties and major cities. As a visitor to New Hampshire you can enjoy special demonstrations representing the Granite State, including wood and decoy carving, cheese carving, spinning and weaving, stenciling, basketmaking and much more.Click here to download your audio tour of the New Hampshire Building
N.E. Grange Building
The presence of what many fairgoers refer to as the big “White House,” located across from the Rhode Island Building, plays an important role in The Big E’s agricultural heritage. Tell any Granger you’d like a tour of the building. Learn all about the formation of this great farm family and community service organization that has been a part of the agricultural community since the Civil War, its mission to promote agriculture, and its building history at The Big E (built through the cooperation of the six New England Granges and dedicated during the Hurricane of 1938).
And, take a moment to learn about the Junior Grange, too!
See a variety of exhibits of prize-winning needlework and handmade crafts. Shop the Grange Country Store for your favorite jams, jellies and relishes, alongside potholders, dish cloths and other kitchen helpers. And on some days of the Fair, see knitters, quilters and crochet champs hard at work. Also, last year’s calming sounds of live piano music many evenings in the Grange Building returns this year!
And, the “Scenter of The Big E” can be found on the lower level of the New England Grange Building, where you’ll find the Yankee Candle Shop filled with familiar aromas of every season. Browse the store for you favorite Yankee Candle big or small, the newest scents, beautiful ceramic lampshades and candle trims galore.
Yankee Candle Shop Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.