jean - totally agree with you about Newport. I was actually there for a few days exactly one year ago. Loved it even though hardly any of the mansions were open. It was still April and I think a few were going to open in May for the season, and maybe this year more are open. But from the outside they certainly looked like France or England.
jasmin - glad to hear that, I will definitely check out Butterfly Beach in Montecito
Silas Marner - I hadn't thought about Amish country but we will probably be going right by there so will check it out, I have been to the region but it was decades ago.
Carol - that is of course essentially what I'm doing. But I like to have a 'theme' to my travels. Last year we went as far west as Arizona and we concentrated on National Parks. This time I was thinking we'd do more towns/cities (but still a few National Parks) and as I'm missing Europe I'm drawn to places that will remind me of it. I just love 'being in' Europe so figured places in the US that have that look to them we be interesting.
Amy - that's interesting about Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon. Not exactly what I was thinking of but could be interesting.
periscope - definitely visit those places as a 'tourist'. I'm from NYC (and visited relatives who lived in Boston many times) but to go to those places just as a tourist is a whole different thing and very worthwhile.