Today, New England is the least religious region of the U. In , less than half of those polled in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont claimed that religion was an important part of their daily lives.
Many of the first European colonists of New England had a maritime orientation toward whaling first noted about  and fishing, in addition to farming. New England has developed a distinct cuisine , dialect , architecture , and government.
New England cuisine has a reputation for its emphasis on seafood and dairy; clam chowder , lobster, and other products of the sea are among some of the region's most popular foods. New England has largely preserved its regional character, especially in its historic places. The enduring European influence can be seen in the region in the use of traffic rotaries , the bilingual French and English towns of northern Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire, the region's heavy prevalence of English town- and county-names, and its unique, often non- rhotic coastal dialect reminiscent of southeastern England.
Within New England, many names of towns and a few counties repeat from state to state, primarily due to settlers throughout the region having named their new towns after their old ones. For example, the town of North Yarmouth, Maine was named by settlers from Yarmouth, Massachusetts , which was in turn named for Great Yarmouth in England.
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New England maintains a distinct cuisine and food culture. Early foods in the region were influenced by Indian and English cuisines. The early colonists often adapted their original cuisine to fit with the available foods of the region. New England staples such as johnnycakes , succotash , cornbread , and various seafood recipes reflect the convergence of Indian and Pilgrim cuisine. New England also has a distinct food language.
A few of the unique regional terms include "grinders" for submarine sandwiches and "frappes" for thick milkshakes , referred to as "Cabinets" in Rhode Island.
Other foods native to the region include steak tips marinated sirloin steak , bulkie rolls , maple syrup , cranberry recipes, and clam chowder. There are several American English dialects spoken in the region normally north of Connecticut , including New England English and its derivative known as the Boston accent ,  which is native to the northeastern coastal regions of New England. The most identifiable features of the Boston accent are believed [ by whom? Another source was 17th century speech in East Anglia and Lincolnshire , where many of the Puritan immigrants had originated.
The Boston accent and those accents closely related to it cover eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Some Rhode Islanders speak with a non-rhotic accent that many compare to a " Brooklyn " accent or a cross between a New York and Boston accent, where "water" becomes "wata".
Contra dancing and country square dancing are popular throughout New England, usually backed by live Irish, Acadian, or other folk music. Fife and drum corps are common, especially in southern New England and more specifically Connecticut , with music of mostly Celtic, English, and local origin. Traditional knitting , quilting , and rug hooking circles in rural New England have become less common; church , sports, and town government are more typical social activities.
These traditional gatherings are often hosted in individual homes or civic centers. New England leads the U. New England was an important center of American classical music for some time. Prominent modernist composers also come from the region, including Charles Ives and John Adams. Quincy, Massachusetts native Dick Dale helped popularize surf rock. The leading U. New England Cable News is the largest regional hour cable news network in the U. New Englanders are well represented in American comedy. Writers for The Simpsons and late-night television programs often come by way of the Harvard Lampoon.
SNL cast member Seth Meyers once attributed the region's imprint on American humor to its "sort of wry New England sense of pointing out anyone who's trying to make a big deal of himself", with the Boston Globe suggesting that irony and sarcasm are its trademarks, as well as Irish influences. New Englanders have made significant contributions to literature.
The first printing press in America was set up in Cambridge, Massachusetts by Stephen Daye in the 17th century. The literature of New England has had an enduring influence on American literature in general, with themes that are emblematic of the larger concerns of American letters, such as religion, race, the individual versus society, social repression, and nature.
Hartford, Connecticut resident Harriet Beecher Stowe 's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was an influential book in the spread of abolitionist ideas and is said to have "laid the groundwork for the Civil War ".
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Higgins , and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Boston was the center of the American publishing industry for some years, largely on the strength of its local writers and before it was overtaken by New York in the middle of the nineteenth century. Boston remains the home of publishers Houghton Mifflin and Pearson Education , and it was the longtime home of literary magazine The Atlantic Monthly. Merriam-Webster is based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Many New Englander poets have also been preeminent in American poetry. Cummings , Edna St. Vincent Millay , Robert P.
Coffin , and Richard Wilbur. Robert Frost who was descibred as an "artistic institution"  frequently wrote about rural New England life. New England has a rich history in filmmaking dating back to the dawn of the motion picture era at the turn of the 20th century, sometimes dubbed Hollywood East by film critics. A theater at Washington Street in Boston was the second location to debut a picture projected by the Vitascope , and shortly thereafter several novels were being adapted for the screen and set in New England, including The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables.
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The New England area became known for a number of themes that recurred in films made during this era, including the development of yankee characters, smalltown life contrasted with city values, seafaring tales, family secrets, and haunted New England. Since the turn of the millennium, Boston and the greater New England region have been home to the production of numerous films and television series, thanks in part to tax incentive programs put in place by local governments to attract filmmakers to the region. A full list of those from Massachusetts can be found here , and a listing of notable films and television series produced in the area here.
There are many museums located throughout New England, especially in the Greater Boston area.
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These museums include privately held collections as well as public institutions. The oldest public museum in continuous operation in the United States is the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts , which opened in The Boston Public Library is the largest public library in the region with over 8 million materials in its collection.
The largest academic research library in the world is the Harvard Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The W. Du Bois Library of the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the tallest academic library in the world. There are also many historical societies in the region. Historic New England operates museums and historic sites in the name of historical preservation. Many properties belonging to HNE include preserved house museums of prominent figures in New England and American history.
New England has a strong heritage of athletics, with many now internationally popular sports having been invented and codified in the region. Sports developed in New England include basketball , volleyball , and American football. Football is the most popular sport in the region and was developed by Walter Camp in New Haven, Connecticut , in the s and s.
The Patriots have won six Super Bowl championships and are one of the most winning teams in the National Football League. There are also high-profile collegiate and high school football rivalries in New England.
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These games, most often played on Thanksgiving Day are some of the oldest rivalries in the United States. The high school rivalry between Wellesley High School and Needham High School in Massachusetts is considered to be the nation's oldest football rivalry, having started in Baseball is considered to be one of New England's most beloved pastimes. Before the advent of its modern rules a different form of baseball was played. Called the Massachusetts Game , this version of baseball was an early rival of the Knickerbocker Rules of New York and was played throughout New England.