Travel Advice 101: Explore Outside Your Comfort Zone
My advice is pretty simple: If a location is known for something, it's usually for good reason (except most tourist destinations in South Dakota - a Corn Palace, really?) So, check it out/eat it/drink it up/ and bring some back for me. Ok, you don't have to bring some back for me, personally, but you may want souvenirs for yourself and/or friends.
For example: If you're going to Napa Valley, it wouldn't be advised to go out of your way to skip the wineries. In Cairo? I hear there are some pretty cool ancient wonders of the world there. Or, when in Rome, eat the pasta, per favore.
I bring this up because there are a lot of enthusiasts out there of various crafts, hobbies, collectibles. But even a movie buff would probably enjoy a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland - while still being able to enjoy where such movies were filmed like Happy Gilmore, Deer Hunter, Major League and Christmas Story.
My point is - sure be a connoisseur of wine or beer, an expert on mini-airplanes, a collector of Hot Wheels.
But, seriously, don't limit yourself to just these things when planning or experiencing a trip. There's so much more out there. And, who knows? You might find another hobby/interest along the way.
For inspiration, a list of some Northeast states and the things they're known for. Maybe it matches up to your interests, but even if it doesn't - check it out:
Maine - Rocky Beaches, Lobster, Tracking down Stephen King, Acadia National Park, LL Bean
New Hampshire - Hiking, Hampton Beach, No Taxes
Vermont - Breweries, Dairy Products (Got Ben and Jerry's?), The Outdoors, Weed, Champ the lake monster
New York - Finger Lakes/Long Island Wine, Apples, NYC Hot Dog Stands, Buffalo Wings, Niagra Falls
Massachusetts - Heavy Metal Shows, Art Museums/Inspirations, Whale Watches, Massholes, Cape Cod
Connecticut - Old Colonial Ships, Really Big Casinos
Rhode Island - Oceanside Mansions, Legal Prostitution, Colonial History
Pennsylvania - Milk Chocolate - do you need another reason?
New Jersey - Jersey Shores, Nude Beach, GTL, Theme Parks, Taffy