These 2 states want manufacturers to recycle their own packaging waste – here’s why it’s a great idea

Unsorted trash in a bin
Manufacturers in most states are not responsible for their own packaging waste management.

  • Two states have introduced laws that require manufacturers to foot packaging waste removal bills.
  • The companies will have to recycle and dispose of their own cardboard cartons, plastic wrap, and food containers.
  • UC Berkeley professors Jessica Heiges and Kate O’Neill say this could have a big impact on sustainability.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Most consumers don’t pay much attention to the packaging that their purchases come in, unless it’s hard to open or the item is really over-wrapped. But packaging accounts for about 28% of US municipal solid waste. Only some 53% of it ends up in recycling bins and even less is actually recycled: According to trade associations, at least 25% of materials collected for recycling in the US are rejected and incinerated or sent to landfills instead.

Local governments across the US handle waste management, funding it through taxes and user fees. Until 2018 the US exported huge quantities of recyclable materials, primarily to China. Then China banned most foreign scrap imports. Other recipient countries like Vietnam followed suit, triggering waste disposal crises in wealthy nations.

Some US states have laws that make manufacturers responsible for particularly hard-to-manage products, such as electronic waste, car batteries, mattresses, and tires, when those goods reach the end of their useful lives.

Now, Maine and Oregon have enacted the first state laws making companies that create consumer packaging, such as cardboard cartons, plastic wrap, and food containers, responsible for the recycling and disposal of those products, too. Maine’s law takes effect in mid-2024 and Oregon’s follows in mid-2025.

These measures shift waste management costs from customers and local municipalities to producers. As researchers who study waste and ways to reduce it, we are excited to see states moving to engage stakeholders, shift responsibility, spur innovation, and challenge existing extractive practices.

Holding producers accountable

The Maine and Oregon laws are the latest applications of a concept called extended producer responsibility, or EPR. Swedish academic Thomas Lindhqvist framed this idea in 1990 as a strategy to decrease products’ environmental impacts by making manufacturers responsible for the goods’ entire life cycles – especially for takeback, recycling,› and final disposal.

Producers don’t always literally take back their goods under EPR schemes. Instead, they often make payments to an intermediary organization or agency, which uses the money to help cover the products’ recycling and disposal costs. Making producers cover these costs is intended to give them an incentive to redesign their products to be less wasteful.

The idea of extended producer responsibility has driven regulations governing management of electronic waste, such as old computers, televisions and cellphones, in the European Union, China, and 25 US states. Similar measures have been adopted or proposed in nations including Kenya, Nigeria, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa.

Scrap export bans in China and other countries have given new energy to EPR campaigns. Activist organizations and even some corporations are now calling for producers to become accountable for more types of waste, including consumer packaging

What the state laws require

The Maine and Oregon laws define consumer packaging as material likely found in the average resident’s waste bin, such as containers for food and home or personal care products. They exclude packaging intended for long-term storage (over five years), beverage containers, paint cans, and packaging for drugs and medical devices.

Maine’s law incorporates some core EPR principles, such as setting a target recycling goal and giving producers an incentive to use more sustainable packaging. Oregon’s law includes more groundbreaking components. It promotes the idea of a right to repair, which gives consumers access to information that they need to fix products they purchase. And it creates a “Truth in Labeling” task force to assess whether producers are making misleading claims about how recyclable their products are.

The Oregon law also requires a study to assess how bio-based plastics can affect compost waste stream sand it establishes a statewide collection list to harmonize what types of materials can be recycled across the state. Studies show that contamination from poor sorting is one of the main reasons why recyclables often are rejected.

Some extended producer responsibility systems, such as those for paint and mattresses, are funded by consumers, who pay an added fee at the point of sale that is itemized on their receipt. The fee supports the products’ eventual recycling or disposal.

In contrast, the Maine and Oregon laws require producers to pay fees to the states, based on how much packaging material they sell in those states. Both laws also include rules designed to limit producers’ influence over how the states use these funds.

Will these laws reduce waste?

There’s no clear consensus yet on the effectiveness of EPR. In some cases it has produced results: For instance, Connecticut’s mattress recycling rate rose from 8.7% to 63.5% after the state instituted a takeback law funded by fees paid at the point of sale. On a national scale, the Product Stewardship Institute estimates that since 2007 US paint EPR programs have reused and recycled almost 24 million gallons of paint, created 200 jobs and saved governments and taxpayers over $240 million.

Critics argue that these programs need strong regulation and monitoring to ensure that corporations take their responsibilities seriously – and especially to prevent them from passing costs on to consumers, which requires enforceable accountability measures. Observers also argue that producers can have too much influence within stewardship organizations, which they warn may undermine enforcement or the credibility of the law.

Few studies have been done so far to assess the long-term effects of extended producer responsibility programs and those that exist do not show conclusively whether these initiatives actually lead to more sustainable products. Maine and Oregon are small progressive states and are not major centers for the packaging industry, so the impact of their new laws remains to be seen.

However, these measures are promising models. As Martin Bourque, executive director of Berkeley’s Ecology Center and an internationally known expert on plastics and recycling, told us, “Maine’s approach of charging brands and manufacturers to pay cities for recycling services is an improvement over programs that give all of the operational and material control to producers, where the fox is directly in charge of the hen house.”

We believe the Maine and Oregon laws could inspire jurisdictions like California that are considering similar measures or drowning under waste plastic to adopt EPR themselves. Waste reduction efforts across the US took hits from foreign scrap bans and then from the COVID-19 pandemic, which spurred greater use of disposable products and packaging. We see producer-pay schemes like the Maine and Oregon laws as a promising response that could help catalyze broader progress toward a less wasteful economy.

Jessica Heiges, PhD candidate in environmental science, policy and management, University of California, Berkeley and Kate O’Neill, professor of global environmental politics, University of California, Berkeley

< This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article />
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Republican lawmaker attends anti-vaxxer rally just days after his unvaccinated wife died of COVID-19, reports say

State Rep Chris Johansen
State Rep. Chris Johansen lost his wife to COVID-19, according to reports.

  • A GOP lawmaker attended an anti-vaxxer rally shortly after losing his wife to COVID-19, the Daily Beast reported.
  • State Rep. Chris Johansen and his late wife Cindy had not been vaccinated, the Bangor Daily News said.
  • Cindy Johansen died on August 10, according to reports, but her husband has not publicly confirmed her passing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Republican lawmaker in Maine who reportedly lost his unvaccinated wife to COVID-19 attended an anti-vaxxer protest just over a week after her death, according to the Daily Beast.

State Rep. Chris Johansen, who has vocally opposed coronavirus restrictions, joined GOP lawmakers at the Augusta rally to protest Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’s mandate that all healthcare workers get vaccinated, Newsweek reported.

At the Tuesday event, a Republican colleague reportedly compared Mills to Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who performed cruel experiments on Jewish prisoners at death camps during the Holocaust, the Daily Beast said.

According to the media outlet, Johansen’s wife, Cindy Johansen, died a week earlier on August 10.

Although Chris Johansen has not publicly confirmed his wife’s death, a Maine Republican Party spokesperson told the Daily Beast that she had passed away.

The Aroostook County Democrats posted a condolence message on Facebook on August 15.

Per the Bangor Daily News, neither Johansen nor his late wife had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

She reportedly started experiencing symptoms in late July. Cindy Johansen shared several Facebook posts alluding to her COVID-19 diagnosis, and on August 7, her husband wrote: “It was all bad news today. Cindy has suffered several major setbacks.”

Insider reached out to Johansen for comment, but he did not immediately respond to our request.

Read the original article on Business Insider

You can buy this entire village of 19th-century houses in Maine for $5.5 million – see inside

TutHill, an antique village in Maine, is for sale for $5.5 million.
  • This antique village in Maine is listed at $5.5 million – current residents say it’s not haunted.
  • The compound was built by artist Kenneth Tuttle. His son is selling it to search “a simpler life.”
  • The TutHill property includes nine homes, two shops, one church, and multiple barns – see inside.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
A 19th-century village in Maine has been listed on Zillow for $5.5 million. The 55-acre town known as the “TutHill” compound includes 9 residential homes, a church, and multiple barns and garages.

antique village for sale in Maine

TutHill was originally created by local artist Kenneth Tuttle, who died in 2002. According to Anna Boucher, Tuttle’s daughter-in-law and the property’s listing agent, two of the buildings were transported to the compound on flatbed trucks.

antique village for sale in Maine

After the property went viral on Twitter, many users commented that TutHill’s low price implied a potential haunting. Boucher said she’s lived on the property for years and has never experienced any supernatural experiences.

antique village for sale in Maine

Boucher said Tuttle was in love with the architecture of antique houses, and that the village doubled as a passion project and profitable business. She lives in the main house with Tuttle’s son Nathan and rents out the remaining buildings to tenants.

antique village for sale in Maine

Tuttle started his career as a house painter, then began selling antiques and started his own antique shop. “He just had this crazy idea in his head at one point in time that he wanted his own antique village,” Boucher told Insider.

antique village for sale in Maine

While many social media users expressed concern over haunted spirits, Boucher said “If there were ghosts here, they would be a good kind.”

antique village for sale in Maine

The property listing says the Maine village is “a true collector’s dream” and has “enough room to store all your favorite things while generating rental income.”

antique village for sale in Maine

TutHill is located in Gardiner, a small town in Maine located approximately 15 minutes outside of Augusta, the state’s capital.

antique village for sale in Maine

Boucher said her husband Nathan decided to sell the property because “he wanted a simpler life” than running the compound allowed.

antique village for sale in Maine

The village is close to the main road, downtown area, and local schools. Gardiner is about one hour away from Maine’s southern coast, where many beaches are located.

antique village for sale in Maine

According to the Zillow listing, the property also includes “two shop spaces, a nine-bay garage, seven-bay garage, an 80 x 100 office/showroom/garage with plumbing and heating, another 50 x 60 heated garage with 5 9ft. wide doors, a back storage room, and storage above.”

antique village for sale in Maine
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A Maine restaurant is cutting opening hours because it can’t get enough ingredients to serve diners. It says it’s ordering 8-ounce burgers and receiving 2-ounce patties.

restaurant server plates
Restaurants across the US have been raising their menu prices because of supply chain issues.

  • Brady’s Restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, cut opening hours because it can’t get enough food.
  • Its owner said that suppliers are hiking prices and substituting some orders.
  • “You order an 8-ounce patty, they’ll send you a 2,” she said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The owner of Brady’s Restaurant in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, says supply shortages have forced it to cut its opening hours.

“Our food supply chains have gotten real sketchy,” owner Jennie Mitchell told Insider.

The restaurant now closes an hour early every day, and closes completely for an extra day each week, too, The Boothbay Register first reported.

Mitchell said that the US labor shortage hadn’t directly hit the restaurant – most of its staff had been there for years – but that it had disrupted supply chains, causing a “ripple effect.”

Read more: These 9 food tech startups are capitalizing on the labor crunch with tools that help franchisees hire or automate the restaurant workforce

Mitchell said that she hadn’t been able to get pineapple juice for around three weeks earlier in the summer, and that some of her orders, such as salad dressing, were still being substituted for other items that were lower quality or different size to what she had ordered.

“Meats, they’re doing stuff like you order an 8-ounce patty, they’ll send you a 2, just to get you product in the door,” she said.

As well as shortages and substitutions, Mitchell said that food prices had gone up across the board, and that beef in particular had “gone through the roof.” In June, beef and veal cost 13.2% more than in February 2020, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

“In the food industry it’s just about everything,” Mitchell said, discussing rising prices. “It rotates, you never know what it’s gonna be.”

As a result, restaurants across the US have been raising their menu prices. The owner of Manville Pizza in Manville, New Jersey, told Insider that he’d had to raise menu prices for chicken wings by more than 50%.

“Ultimately it’s got to go on to the consumer,” Mitchell said.

The supply chain disruption comes as tourists are returning in droves.

“We haven’t seen crowds like this in Boothbay Harbor since 1976” during the bicentennial, Mitchell said. “You can’t get a hotel room in this town.”

Brady's Restaurant in Maine is full with diners
Mitchell said Boothbay Harbor hadn’t been so busy since the bicentennial.

“It’s a good problem to have,” she said, but explained that she had had to adjust Brady’s opening hours to ensure food supply could stretch to meet growing demand.

“I’d rather make people a little upset on the front end” and not seat customers, rather than find out after the diners have ordered that they don’t have enough food, she said.

Brady’s is one of the lucky ones. Three other restaurants in Boothbay Harbor had closed “directly a result of having no staff,” Mitchell said.

A third of former hospitality workers said in a Joblist poll that they wouldn’t return to the industry. Alongside rising food costs, the labor shortage is causing some restaurants to cut opening hours and increase menu prices.

Got a story about how your business is responding to the labor and ingredients shortages? Email this report at gdean@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

31 of the best Airbnbs in New England for all seasons, including beach cottages, mountain lodges, and cozy cabins

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Maine  Cottage with a lobster boat lounge in Machiasport

  • New England is a worthy destination in all seasons for hiking, beaching, leaf-peeping, and skiing.
  • We found some of the best Airbnbs in New England, from Maine to Connecticut.
  • Our list ranges from quaint beach cottages to cozy A-frame cabins.

From Connecticut to Vermont and beyond, New England is a year-round vacation destination for scenic waterfront activities, gorgeous leaf-peeping, and skiing. New England is also known for wide-open spaces that make it easy to practice social distancing, especially if you opt for a private vacation rental.

In fact, experts say Airbnb is safe, especially compared to hotels, given that private vacation rentals minimize interactions with others, and Airbnb hosts must follow enhanced cleaning procedures. However, there’s still an inherent risk to traveling and we recommend following CDC guidelines, practicing social distancing, double masking, and washing hands frequently.

Wondering where to vacation in New England this summer? Start with these vacation rentals below, based on our knowledge as long-time residents and visitors to the area. They’re all within driving distance of most East Coast cities, and include some of the coolest Airbnb homes, from a beach cottage to homes with private pools, and a treehouse Airbnb.

Browse all listings below, or jump to a specific area:

Here are the best New England Airbnbs, sorted by state and price.

Travel Hotel Reviews Sub banners Connecticut

A contemporary cabin

Best Airbnbs in New England CT 1

Book this Connecticut Airbnb cabin

Self-described by the host as a “contemporary treehouse,” this Brookfield property is reminiscent of a classic cabin with a spacious deck, high ceilings and windows, and a polished wooden exterior. Inside, there’s a slotted spiral staircase and tons of natural light, plus eco-friendly features such as solar panels.

The host offers private lessons to guests in activities ranging from paddleboarding to yoga, and this property is less than two hours from New York City. It’s surrounded by gorgeous hiking trails, parks, and lakes.

Coastal chalet with a private beach

Connecticut  coastal chalet with a private beach in East Lyme

Book this Connecticut Airbnb

Skip the crowds at the state parks and carve out your own stretch of sand in this A-frame chalet in the coastal community of East Lyme.

Tucked behind a quintessential clapboard facade, this home plays up its beachside location with seaside design motifs and nautical blue-colored accents. There’s a lofted sleeping nook perched atop a spiral staircase (note that there’s no door to fully close the space off from the living area below) and an open floor plan that includes a plush couch, small table and chairs, and a cozy kitchen with a farmhouse vibe. Laundry is available too, hidden inside a whimsical bathroom done up with wallpaper adorned with sailboats and fish.

The home has deeded beach rights to a private beach that’s less than a mile away and a peaceful deck offers seating for laidback days. East Lyme is well-placed to explore the Niantic Boardwalk, Mystic Seaport, Essex Village, and more.

Chic guesthouse

Best Airbnbs in New England CT 2

Book this Connecticut on Airbnb

The wooden wall that accents the entirety of this home adds a sophisticated, cohesive feel, especially when complemented by wide-spanning glass doors that lead to an outdoor balcony. The minimalist design feels reminiscent of a modern hotel, yet the pond on the premises serves as a calming reminder of the surrounding suburban nature. 

Although this property does not have a kitchen, its amenities include nearly all other necessities such as air conditioning, heat, Wi-Fi, and bathroom essentials. It is an Airbnb Plus verified home and is located just a half a mile away from the coast, and the host specifically notes that beautiful bird watching and beaches are within the area. 

Cottage with hot tub and private pool

Connecticut  Cottage by the sea with hot tub and pool in Guilford

Book this Connecticut Airbnb with a pool

Another Guilford gem, this small cottage feels like a boutique villa with access to a serene pool outfitted with five-star fittings such as plush towels, loungers, umbrellas, and a hot tub.

The home is a guest cottage, so your host will be on-site, but there’s plenty of privacy within the design-forward home that includes one bedroom, a nice kitchen, and a calming blue and white color palette. At night, sink into the bed with goose feather duvets and shut the blackout blinds for a restful night’s sleep.

In addition to the pool, the home enjoys water and marsh views from every room, a boon for bird watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. This is a place to unplug as there is no TV, however, Wi-Fi is available.

Nautical-inspired beach house

Best Airbnbs in New England CT 3

Book this Connecticut Airbnb beach house

If New England feels synonymous with beach stays and boating, this Mystic home hits the ideal tone. Between the nautical furnishings and bedrooms named after ship quarters, this property takes the maritime theme to lofty levels.

And while themed homes can often lean kitschy, that’s far from the case here. The farmhouse kitchen leads to an abundance of open space, and the overall design feels contemporary. The four-bedroom home can house up to 10 guests and there’s even a second guest house included for additional space. Amenities run the gamut from a private back patio with a grill to an outdoor shower, bikes, kayaks, and even baby essentials. 

The best part? You’re just steps away from the water, so a real boating experience is just as attainable as the theme suggests.

Home with a private pool

Connecticut  Home with a pool in Litchfield

Book this Connecticut Airbnb with a pool

Ideal for a group or family getaway, this resort-style home boasts four bedrooms, a spa, and its biggest draw, a sprawling heated pool.

Ensconced within the rolling hills of Litchfield County, this home is located on a quiet country road but close to wineries, antique shops, horseback riding, dining, and shopping.

The master bedroom suite includes a King-sized bed, ensuite bathroom with a large jetted tub, and walk-in shower that’s practically the size of a large walk-in closet. There are also three additional bedrooms, a finished basement with a bar, and a sleek kitchen for gourmet cooking. Well-kept grounds include a large grassy fenced-in yard, a generous deck, and a stone patio that wraps around the pool.

Just note that the pool and spa are only open from April 1 to October 15.

Read more: The best Airbnbs in Connecticut

Travel Hotel Reviews Sub banners Massachusetts

Brightly colored home with character

Best Airbnbs in New England MA2

Book this Salem Massachusetts Airbnb

The cheery pink exterior of this apartment building permeates through the home, which comes with a full-sized kitchen with wooden cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops. The space is framed by a calming blue wall, and complemented by pops of red found in the quirky, yet elegant living room. 

The bedroom and bathroom feel as homey as they do meticulously crafted, while small details like built-in bedroom shelving, a walk-in closet, and a shower light offer convenience that doesn’t skimp on beauty. 

Salem, and all of its haunted happenings are within a 10-minute walk. 

Cape Cod cottage with sea views

Massachusetts  Coastal cottage with sea views in Cape Cod

Book this Cape Cod Airbnb

Stick your toes in the sand within minutes of arriving to this beachfront cottage on the Cape. Located in Yarmouth and facing the Nantucket Sound, you’ll wake to waterfront views every day in this quintessential gray clapboard Cape home.

Inside is light and bright with white-washed wood walls and furnishings set against splashes of cool blue and light wood. The space is intimate and best suited to a couple or a solo traveler planning a beachy getaway.

Yet, there’s still a nice-sized living room, full kitchen, air conditioning, and bedroom with a Queen-sized bed. There is a brick-lined patio with outdoor seating, though it appears to be shared with other cottages. As expected, most of summer is booked up, however, there are still some dates in May and August, and wider availability from September onwards, which is a wonderful time to visit when most crowds have left but the weather is still plenty nice.

Cozy waterfront Cape Cod home

Cape Cod airbnb rental

Book this Cape Cod Airbnb beach house

Although unsuspecting on the outside, this sweet home delivers on location, amenities, and hospitality. Inside, the open floor plan, cozy breakfast nook, and hardwood floors are all eye-catching and the fenced-in yard is welcoming to furry friends. Ample seating, including a hammock, is flanked by a grill and fire pit for tranquil nights.

The property sits just steps away from Swan Pond, and beaches are two miles away as well. The home is also near plenty of restaurants and shops, as well as a bike path. 

Read more: The best Airbnbs in Cape Cod

Berkshires mountain retreat

Berkshires airbnb home

Book this Berkshires Airbnb

This design-forward abode is nestled amid the Berkshire mountains, directly between the alluring towns of Stockbridge, Lenox, and Great Barrington, with easy access to fall foliage, ski, hike, or soak up culture.

The ample home includes two bedrooms with Queen-sized beds, as well as an additional lofted space with two Murphy beds. During the day, light pours in through graciously appointed windows, while the space exudes warmth at night from chic lighting fixtures and a fireplace. Plan to savor a meal in the gorgeous dining room and admire contemporary touches in the bright kitchen and subway-tiled bathroom with a deep soaking tub. The look is highly curated, blending natural elements such as wood and stones with an urban mindset.

There’s also a funky bar area, screened-in back porch, and a patio with fire pit.

Travel Hotel Reviews Sub banners Maine

Cozy secluded cabin

Best Airbnbs in New England Maine 1

Book this Maine Airbnb cabin

This cozy cabin is a welcome respite for a snug couples’ getaway in the winter months, while the outdoor patio provides an inviting oasis in fall, spring, and summer.

Although the space is relatively small and unpretentious, its kind hosts and quirky traditions make it feel just as familiar as home. Our favorite: the “take a beer, leave a beer” policy, which encourages guests to try a new beer from the home while leaving one of their own for the next guest.

The town of Freeport is home to L.L.Bean, so the oversized L.L. Bean boot is certainly a top attraction, as is the Adventure Schools of L.L.Bean.

Sophisticated Kennebunk loft

Best Airbnbs in New England Maine 3

Book this Kennebunk Airbnb

An elegant couples retreat, this tiny but mighty home oozes coziness. The Murphy bed creates a comforting nook, while the couch, flat-screen TV, kitchenette, and full-sized bathroom ensure every need is met.

The property sits on 13 acres of private land with an outdoor shower available for rinsing off sandy feet after a day spent at nearby beaches and lakes. In the cooler fall months, breathtaking hiking and foliage is also available right near the home. 

Bayfront cabin

maine airbnb cabin

Book this Maine Airbnb cabin

Lined from floor to ceiling in light blond timber and framed by wraparound views of a peaceful bay, this two-bedroom Bowdoinham home channels Scandinavian minimalism with all the rustic accouterments of a remote cabin.

The living space feels open and bright thanks to ample sunlight through many windows, as well as beamed ceilings. There are five beds, a full kitchen, and a gas-powered fireplace. Other perks include free Wi-Fi, a private patio and fire pit, access to a shared dock, and a prime location for fishing and hunting, shrouded in lush leafy scenery. 

Cliff-perched cottage with private hiking trails

Maine  Cliff perched cottage with private hiking trails in Machiasport

Book this Maine Airbnb cottage

This Maine stunner was designed to feel like a ship, which is an easy feat given its location perched atop a 130 foot cliff overlooking the ocean and surrounded by over 30 acres of woods, wildlife, and beaches. In fact, 12 acres include private hiking trails for guest use. 

Known as The Prowhouse, this home was designed by Machiasport poet and sea captain Phil Rose with a distinctive, angular ‘prow’ like that of a boat. Floor-to-ceiling windows are found in most rooms and two bedrooms include a master overlooking the ocean and a smaller cozier room, though, it is missing a door. 

On themed motifs include a telescope, teak and brass accents, and blue and gold-colored nautical maps of New England. Most of the furniture, art, and design are by mid-century Modernists Paul McCobb, Norman Cherner, Percival Lafer, and Curtis Jere, and there is also a library corner with a Danish desk for the work-from-home crowd. 

Cottage with a lobster boat lounge

Maine  Cottage with a lobster boat lounge in Machiasport

Book this Maine Airbnb cottage

Enjoy the allure of the sea in this whimsical cottage with ocean views and full access to an adjacent docked lobster boat that’s been revamped and fashioned as a lounge and library.

Water views are available throughout the main house, which is complemented by midcentury furniture and maritime-inspired accents like a modern sailboat sculpture. Pops of yellow add a subtle dose of whimsy, too.

Though, it’s the lobster boat that really dazzles. A rusty dinghy adorned with barnacles it is not, but rather, a thoughtfully furnished space with vintage pieces such as a tasteful upholstered chair, a low slung leather sofa, and an attractive console table. With so much ’60s nostalgia, it’s practically begging you to sip on a martini while snacking on some fresh lobster, natch.

Modern Kennebunkport farmhouse

Maine  Modern farmhouse in Kennebunkport

Book this Kennebunkport farmhouse Airbnb

A restored barn is now a contemporary oasis with minimal Scandinavian-inspired modern furnishings, a farmhouse kitchen, and lots of wooden touches. However, there’s also a strong upscale feeling with a subway-tiled walk-in shower set behind a sleek glass panel wall that’s stocked with Kiehl’s toiletry products. Other features include modern light fixtures, soaringly-high windows that pour in light, and a nice patio. There are two bedrooms, plus an air mattress that is available for the sleeping loft. 

In the summer months, grab the provided beach chairs and cooler and head to Kennebunkport’s famous beaches, or take advantage of the bikes and helmet for a ride around town.

Read more: The best Airbnbs in Maine

Travel Hotel Reviews Sub banners New Hampshire

Trendy Portsmouth condo

Best Airbnbs in New England NH 3

Book this Portsmouth Airbnb

With a central beach location, sleek decor, and an array of amenities, this home makes a comfortable base for an attractive New England trip at any time of year.

Highlights include the inviting, clean lines of the design and furniture, which feel new and vibrant, complemented by exposed brick behind the TV and a bright blue printed rug that ties the entire space together. 

Outside, downtown Portsmouth is a bustling New Hampshire town. Stop by Market Square for the city’s top dining, shops, and nightlife.

Elegant studio loft

New Hampshire airbnb

Book this New Hampshire Airbnb

From the wood-paneled bedroom wall to the baby blue kitchen counters, as well as the electric fireplace built into an accent wall, this apartment feels whimsical yet modern.

Although the small space sits lacks a full kitchen, it does offer contemporary fixings and a small outdoor seating area to enjoy during the warmer months. 

The property is a short drive to major cities, but its tiny size and secluded location position it as an ideal remote spot for solo travelers or couples. Even at peak pricing, the home remains relatively affordable.

Chic mountain lodge

New Hampshire  Mountain lodge in Intervale

Book this New Hampshire Airbnb cabin

This creative chalet appears unassuming from the outside but inside, delightfully blends midcentury design, tribal prints, and pops of blue and orange with a wood-beamed ceiling, stone fireplace (nonworking, however), and plenty of rustic wood.

There are three bedrooms set under the A-frame structure, with a master on the main floor that may be configured as a King-size bed or two twins. And while the home is very much a woodsy cabin, comforts such as multiple air conditioning units promise to keep things cool and comfy in the summer months. Take in the mountain views from the large deck, and feel free to bring your pup; dogs are allowed with a small fee.

Cottage right on the lake

New Hampshire  Cottage on the lake in Northwood

Book this New Hampshire lake house Airbnb

We love a good lake house and this charmer with a bright blue exterior and knotty pine walls lining the inside is no exception.

This simple home is nothing fancy but has all new appliances in the full kitchen, multiple living spaces to spread out, and books, games, and puzzles for relaxing nights in. A wall of windows line the front of the house facing the lake making it a serene spot to sip your morning coffee. When it’s time to venture out, descend the stairs to your own dock where rowboats and kayaks are available to use from May through October. Or, settle in the fenced in yard with a hammock, fire pit, and outdoor seating.

Cabin in the woods

Best Airbnbs in New England NH1

Book this New Hampshire Airbnb cabin

Reminiscent of a woodsy ski lodge, this home features wintry delights including stacks of firewood, a sun and game room with a ping pong table, and a wooden dock for sunbathing and grilling. 

The home is set deep in the woods for an intimate family getaway, yet shops, restaurants, and the slopes are all just a short drive. The host also makes a point to note that the surrounding area is kid-friendly. 

Scenic Bear Ridge lodge

New Hampshire  Bear Ridge Lodge in Franconia

Book this New Hampshire Airbnb

Views abound in this impressive large log cabin-style family home. There’s plenty of wood and stone to go around but the feel leans more luxury than rustic thanks to Scandinavian-inspired decor such as platform beds, low slung seating, and a minimal but calming color palette. Contemporary light fixtures dangle from sky-high cathedral ceilings and soaring windows allow tons of light to shingle through. 

In winter, the stone fireplace makes for a cozy central gathering space, while the expansive front deck with a covered porch is a coveted perch come summer for sunbathing. And, year round, you can’t beat those views.

Other amenities include rain fall showers, a library and reading loft, as well as a family room with a seven speaker home theater for movie nights, a workspace, and a toddler play area.

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Tiny house with a big personality

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Book this Rhode Island Airbnb

“Tiny” may describe the size of this Rhode Island home, but elements like the teal front door, walk-in closet, and even a washer position this home as anything but small when it comes to worthy amenities.

Thoughtfully and creatively crafted for both vacations and the work from home lifestyle, the host notes a workspace in the bedroom, pull-up bars on the ceiling, and super fast internet.

The house is within walking distance to Pawtuxet Village, the harbor, and plenty of shops and restaurants. Downtown Providence is just a 10-minute drive away. 

Waterfront beach home

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Book this Rhode Island Airbnb beach house

French doors open up to a breathtaking bay view on this home’s massive deck, making a socially distant beach vacation incredibly attainable. The floor plan inside feels nearly as open as the water beside it, while amenities include a full-sized kitchen and washer-dryer.

If you are able to tear yourself away from the view, the property is a 10-minute walk from downtown Providence and historic Pawtuxet Village, dotted with shops and restaurants. 

Sea-inspired Newport apartment

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Book this Newport Airbnb

Be it the whale pillow on the bed, model ships placed around the house, or the anchor doormat, this home subtly pays homage to its nautical-adjacent location throughout the home. These accents are accompanied by a full stainless steel kitchen, a crisp white color scheme, and even a clawfoot tub. 

The Airbnb Plus verified home also includes a grassy backyard with a grill and two-floor deck. Newport’s shops, restaurants, and attractions are a five-minute walk away, and the host notes Bellevue Avenue as a highlight for runners. 

Family home with a garden

Rhode Island  Family home with a garden in Jamestown

Book this Rhode Island Airbnb

While most crowds flock to nearby Newport, Jamestown is another coastal island gem with a quieter vibe while still being steeped in ample history, natural beauty, and quaint New England charm.

This posh home is well-suited for a family with two bedrooms and two baths. There’s a true luxury feel here with indulgent amenities such as a walk-in marble rain shower, a chic stone gas fireplace, a large glam chef’s kitchen, and generous living and dining areas. For entertainment, break out one of the provided board games or watch a movie on the smart TV with access to multiple streaming services. There’s also a magnificent stone patio with plush chaise lounges, a large dining table, and a verdant not-so-secret garden.

Boathouse cottage

Boat house cottage in Tiverton

Book this Rhode Island Airbnb boathouse

This once-abandoned home was discovered by its hosts half-submerged into the water below and was masterfully renovated to its current incarnation which appears more like a boutique hotel. The design is immaculate, boasting a clean, light, white palette brightened by lush green plants and black wood floors. Bedding and linens exude luxury vibes down to the provided robes hanging in the closet. 

There’s also a gourmet chef’s kitchen (with fishing rods available to catch your own dinner), a private beach, three bedrooms, one bathroom, kayaks, outdoor lounge areas, and spectacular views from almost every room. 

Read more: The best Airbnbs in Rhode Island

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Treehouse in the woods

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Book this Vermont treehouse on Airbnb

If your childhood dreams of a backyard treehouse were sadly never fulfilled, this may be the place for you.

Hidden in the woods of Hardwick, this one-bedroom New England treehouse has all the offerings of a traditional home including a stunning chandelier, a fireplace, and a kitchenette, yet it’s perched amid rich foliage and leafy trees. The only caveat is that the bathroom doesn’t have a shower. Though, the hosts welcome guests to use their bathroom through a separate entrance if needed. 

Guests also enjoy access to a porch, hammock, shaded seating area, grill, and a designated spot for campfires. Hardwick Village, filled with restaurants and farmer’s markets, is three miles away. 

Alpine A-frame in the woods

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Book this Vermont Airbnb cabin

Inside and out, this alpine A-frame is stunning, from the bright blue walls to the enchanting interiors crafted from solid wood, flanked by a wood-burning stove, midcentury modern furniture, and a cozy bedroom with a Nectar Queen-sized mattress and organic linens. 

Small details shine, from the lighting that includes both a sleek installation and fairy tale twinkle lights, as well as a record player, farmhouse-inspired kitchen, and creature comforts such as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and P.F. Candle and Beekman 1802 products.

The home is dog friendly (for a small fee) and includes a fire pit and deck with Weber grill and outdoor dining set for a meal under the stars. A short stroll away is a lovely lake and hikes, skiing, shopping, and state parks are all nearby.

Lake home with gorgeous views

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Book this Vermont Airbnb lake house

Situated facing a gorgeous lake, this beachfront home is a great reminder that Vermont isn’t just for forests and ski bunnies. 

With a nautical white and blue color scheme, a serene kitchen, and a living area surrounded by nearly floor-to-ceiling windows, the design of this lakefront getaway is seemingly immaculate. The bedrooms are also well-styled alongside an updated bathroom, and the upstairs terrace offers dramatic views of Shelburn Bay. Outside, find additional seating, a grill, fire pit, plus the free use of kayaks in the summer. 

The home is tucked amid farmland and hiking trails, and bread and cheese-making classes are available nearby.

Stowe canopy house

Vermont  Canopy house in Stowe

Book this Stowe Airbnb

Every detail in this gorgeous A-frame home is purposeful and thoughtfully designed by an attentive host. White, blonde, and dark wood contrast with precision alongside green leafy plants, mountain-inspired art, tribal decor, and furnishings done up in hues of cream, beige, and other neutrals. 

There are two meticulously curated living areas, three well-appointed bedrooms, and two dazzling bathrooms with spa-like subway-tiled showers. There’s also a working fireplace, a six-person hot tub, and a lovely deck with a grill and outdoor seating where you may likely find yourself stargazing while strumming on the provided guitar.

Read more: The best Airbnbs in Vermont

FAQ: Everything to know about booking an Airbnb in New England

Is it safe to book an Airbnb right now?

Medical and cleaning experts told us that private home rentals on Airbnb are safe, especially compared to hotels. They eliminate interactions with others outside of your group, and hosts must follow enhanced cleaning procedures. However, there’s still are risks with traveling and we recommend following CDC guidelines, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing and sanitizing your hands frequently.

How do I book a home on Airbnb?

Whether in New England or across the world, search for homes on Airbnb based on location, price, date, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, features, and more. Once you’ve found a home, review the final price and don’t forget to check the cancellation policies, too. For a full breakdown on how to book on Airbnb, click here.

What is Airbnb’s cancellation policy?

Cancellation policies on Airbnb differ for each home and are set by the individual host. Here’s a closer look at Airbnb’s cancellation policies.

Are there travel restrictions in New England?

There are no blanket New England travel restrictions. Most states offer their own guidelines on recommendations around self-quarantine based on recent travel and activity. It’s best to look up each state’s individual policy before booking a vacation rental such as Airbnb.

Is it safe to travel to New England?

Despite the COVID vaccine rollout, there is still no guarantee when it comes to safety with travel, though staying in a private home such as those found on Airbnb will lower your risk of exposure. Be sure to take added precautions recommended by the CDC including social distancing, wearing a mask, and hand washing. Consider postponing travel if coming to or arriving from a hotspot.

More of the best East Coast Airbnbs

Haystack Haus Airbnb
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A 2-year-old shot his parents and wounded himself after finding a handgun on their nightstand

Handgun on a table
A stock photo of a 357 Caliber handgun on a table.

  • A two-year-old boy shot his parents and wounded himself after finding a gun on a nightstand.
  • An investigation is underway to understand how the young boy gained access to the gun.
  • A Maine gun safety group is now pushing for a bill that would require gun owners to keep firearms locked away.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A two-year-old boy shot his parents and wounded himself with a handgun after he discovered the weapon on his parents’ nightstand on Wednesday morning, the police said.

The child’s 25-year-old father was shot in the head and his mother, 22, suffered a leg wound, according to Sagadahoc County Sherriff Joel Merry.

The toddler was struck in the face by the recoil of the handgun, Merry added.

All three were transported to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Maine. They were treated for non-life-threatening injuries, the sheriff said.

An investigation is underway to understand how the young boy gained access to the gun.

Read more: Joe Biden has a 2nd chance to take on the NRA with action on background checks for gun sales

“The question of how the boy was able to pick up and fire the weapon is of great concern and is being investigated,” Merry told reporters. “This situation, while disturbing, could have had an even more tragic ending. We are thankful that the injuries were not more serious.”

In response to the shooting, the Maine Gun Safety Coalition (MGSC) is pushing for a bill that requires gun owners to keep loaded guns out of children’s reach.

The MGCS is supporting Bill LL 759, WMTV reported. If passed, the law would hold gun owners criminally responsible if a child can access and use a loaded firearm that was not properly stored.

“Even toddlers know where guns are kept. So, these guns need to be secured,” Rep. Vickie Doudera, who is sponsoring the bill, told WMTV. “They need to be in a locked safe, or they need a trigger lock, a slide lock, or something that keeps a kid from being able to fire it.”

Only one US state – Massachusetts – legally requires gun owners to keep firearms locked away, according to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Dollar General at center of labor unrest controversy after frustrated workers walk off job in Maine citing low wages and understaffed stores

dollar general maine
  • Dollar General employees quit in protest over understaffing and low pay at a store in Eliot, Maine.
  • “They figured that they had me trapped in a job that I couldn’t get out of. To some degree they were right,” one worker told Insider.
  • The walkout at the Dollar General follows much labor unrest in the state in recent months.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Berndt Erikson worked as the nightly closer and key-holder at a Dollar General in the small town of Eliot, Maine. After every shift, he’d count up the money generated by the store and clean up before heading out.

But when he closed up shop on May 3, he knew he wouldn’t be going back.

Erikson and his fellow employees walked out of the store that day, leaving signs on the windows highlighting what they say were unacceptable working conditions at the retailer.

He said that understaffing, low wages, and frustration over a lack of communication from the company’s district management ultimately led to his decision to move on. In total, two employees and a manager quit the store, leaving one sole staffer remaining.

“Out of respect for these individuals, as well as the value we place on open and direct communication with our employees, we do not plan to comment on their employment status further,” Dollar General told local news station WMTW in a statement. “Our Eliot store remains open to provide the York County community with convenient, affordable access to everyday essentials.”

The company did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Erikson had started at the Maine Dollar General in January 2020, after getting laid off from a local Super Shoes store. But very quickly, he said, the Dollar General began hemorrhaging workers. Pay for workers stayed around $13 an hour on average, which Erikson says was not a living wage in that part of Maine.

“People started to try to find better jobs, or they just had enough of being worked to death and being disrespected by both corporate and customers,” he told Insider. “We were already understaffed the entire time I had worked there, but it got to a point where we were not able to keep up.”

Keeping lean store staffs is a part of Dollar General’s business model, and one of the reasons the chain has been able to expand its footprint at such a rapid rate. In 1992, the company operated 1,522 stores in the US. As of February 26, 2021, Dollar General has a fleet of 17,266 stores across 46 states.

However, critics say that having so few employees to man the stores creates an unsafe environment, leaving workers as targets for robberies and violence. In Erikson’s case, he said that anti-maskers and anti-vax customers often screamed at employees, adding further tension to an already-difficult work environment. Meanwhile, requests by store managers that he receive a raise for his work were often ignored.

“They figured that they had me trapped in a job that I couldn’t get out of. To some degree, they were right,” he said.

But eventually, Erikson said, he decided that it would be better to seek out work with a different employer. And he’s not alone. As the coronavirus pandemic winds down, many business owners have complained about a tightening labor market, with employees quitting their minimum wage jobs to seek higher-paying roles.

The day before Erikson quit, the store manager left. He later called the acting district manager numerous times to say that he couldn’t man the entire store from opening to closing, but never heard back. Fed up, he and his coworker wrote up the signs – even including a special message to Joe, a beloved regular customer who’d often buy them sodas – and locked up the place at 4 p.m. that day.

The store opened back up the next day, with assistance from the acting district manager.

“The Dollar General walk-out in Eliot is yet another example of service sector realizing the true value of their labor after suffering with low wages, poor treatment and lousy working conditions,” Maine’s AFL-CIO union communications director Andy O’Brien said in a statement to Insider. “While business owners are constantly whining and complaining about how they can’t find enough people to work for them, they still refuse to pay living wages to attract employees and the workers are fighting back.”

O’Brien added that, in the case of Dollar General, workers say the company expects in-store salaried employees work 70 to 80 hours a week. O’Brien said that a bill in the Maine legislature could make most salaried employees earning up to $55,000 a year eligible for overtime pay, which would “prevent the kind of blatant exploitation of salaried employees that Dollar General continues to get away with.”

The walkout at the Dollar General in Eliot isn’t the only flicker of labor unrest to occur in the state in recent months. According to O’Brien, “the pandemic and the sacrifices frontline workers have had to make” have sparked a recent victory for striking shipyard workers, an ongoing strike by delivery drivers and mechanics, and successful union drives among nurses and museum workers in the state.

“When working people win, other workers become inspired and that’s why we’re seeing more of these kinds of wild cat strikes and walk outs,” O’Brien said. “It’s an exciting time to be alive.”

Erikson told Insider that he’s well aware that he may be retaliated against, or black-balled from future retail jobs. But he said he’s glad that his story has resonated with frustrated retail workers around the country, based on the reaction on social media. He also said that, in a way, his experience at Dollar General has helped bolster his self-esteem.

“I eventually got fed up with it and started to see my own self worth,” he said. “I actually gained the confidence to fight back, which is probably what led to me leaving in style. So thank you, Dollar General.”

Are you a Dollar General employee or a retail worker with a story to share? Email acain@insider.com.

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