Massachusetts is a US state in New England famous for its rich colonial history. Massachusetts is actually the most populous state in the whole of the New England region of the Northeast. It is best known for the efforts towards the American Revolution from as early as 1775. The capital city, Boston, is famed for the Freedom Trail as well as the Museum of Fine Art among many other must-see institutions. Some recognizable landmarks once acted as pilgrim settlements while others were battlefronts. Also worth noting is the fact that Massachusetts is currently a global leader in biotechnology, higher education and engineering.
The tourist activities and attractions in the Old Colony State include patriotic landmarks, tranquil beaches, juicy seafood, laidback islands and classical music by the symphony orchestra. You also get to shop for classy clothing at the vibrant Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Finally you get to meet the rolling mountains, rocky shores, hard-hitting waves, farmlands, deep forests and picture-perfect villages when you tour the landscapes of Massachusetts.
Here are the 12 best places we managed to select for your satisfying vacation in the Bay State.
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Located on Massachusetts Bay, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is the number one whale-watching destination in the USA. This 2200-square-kilometer sanctuary is marine-protected and very well maintained. You get to watch the various whale species alongside seals and white-sided dolphins at this underwater plateau in the Atlantic Ocean. The best way to view the giant sea creatures is via a cruise from Provincetown or Gloucester. While at it, you may consider looking for a trained naturalist to accompany you and provide clarification on the species and behavior of the Whales.
Old Sturbridge Village
This living history museum in Sturbridge, Massachusetts recreates the rural life in New England in the 19th century. One of the most-visited places in the Pilgrim state, the Old Sturbridge Village is dotted with over 40 historic homes in the 200-acre site. Also available on site are farm houses, stores, craft shops and mills. You are guided around the extensive village by costumed interpreters who are well versed with all corners of the historic Museum. The guides also offer insights into the daily tasks of the craftsmen, blacksmiths and farmers of the New England village. A hands-on experience for both adults and children further helps demonstrate the early gardening techniques to visitors. The functioning of the wool and timber processing mills are also shown to guests during the tour.
All music lovers and musicians shift attention to Lenox every summer. The Tanglewood Music Center offers concerts and master classes as well as workshops for professional musicians from all over Massachusetts. The resident and guest artists get to rehearse in the historic Koussevitzky Music Shed as well as the Ozawa Hall. From a full symphony orchestra to chamber group and soloists, the Music Center has all the best performances lined up for you. Some of the performers you expect to dance to include the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Boston University Tanglewood Institute as well as singer Tony Bennett. Old and new meet at the Tanglewood Music Center as they showcase both medieval and contemporary works. Classics, jazz, opera and string quartets are some of the most notable styles on display. Audiences also enjoy some of Tanglewood’s most popular concerts seated on the well-kept lawns.
Martha’s Vineyard – Massachusetts Island of Life
Located in the south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard is a well-known affluent summer colony of New England. The popular island is often hit by hurricanes and storms that separate it from the smaller Chappaquiddick Island. Martha’s Vineyard has a rolling landscape with miles of beaches and sand bluffs as well as shingle houses and lighthouses. You could kayak or sail in the ocean surrounding the Island. The most welcoming aspect of the island, however, is its laidback lifestyle and the relaxed vibe.
There are also lavish estates owned by wealthy New Yorkers and Bostoners. The history of the Vineyard with cottages and posh estates go back to the 19th century. Oak Bluffs still has rows of cottages in the former Methodist Camp as well as the oldest merry-go-round – Flying Horses Carousel. Finally, head to the Vincent House Museum that is the oldest clapboard building in the tree-lined streets of Edgartown.
Norman Rockwell Museum
This Museum showcases all of the good work done by the beloved American artist Norman Rockwell. It characterizes American life and especially the small towns. The humorous, gentle methods with which Norman portrayed his subjects added an immense amount of appeal and warmth to his work. The paintings were often used on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post.
The authentic English settlement of the 18th century features 14 beautiful houses showcasing the early New England life. Well preserved Colonial and Federal homes also hold a collection of American quilts as well as beautiful Chippendale furniture. The history of Pioneer Valley Village is told beautifully in the galleries containing over 27,000 items previously used in America. A walk through the Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery, for instance, opens you to some of the best collections of American textiles and costumes. You are also introduced to detailed demonstrations of early American craft, skills and cooking methods during your tour.
Salem’s Historic Houses
Salem offers the most attractive variety and quality houses in New England. These showcase the best of Salem’s rich history that began with the famous Salem Witch Trials of 1692. The immortalized house of Seven Gables is the other must-see historic Salem architectural piece. Most of the houses have furnished period interiors and are open to the public for tours. They are also members of a group of historic structures. The Hawkes and Derby houses for instance belong to the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. The Crowninshield-Bentley, John Ward and Gardner Pingree Houses are on the other hand part of the Peabody Essex Museum Complex. Peabody Essex Museum serves to showcase the very best of the China Trade. It displays collections from the traders as well as their homes and lifestyles.
This Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts is a living history museum that showcases the history of the Plymouth Colony. These 17th century English colonists were the first to settle in the New England while escaping the Church of England. Today, the plantation recreates what it felt like to live in the colonial America. There is a live recreation of their gardening, cooking, military training and craftworks. The tours are guided by costumed interpreters and craftsmen who use authentic 17th century tools to recreate historic objects. The Native American home in Wampanoag Village explores the dwellings, gardens and artifacts from the natives. The tour around Plimoth Plantation peaks at the Mayflower II, where the interpreters recreate the historic voyage complete with passengers and crew.
Faneuil Hall – Boston, Massachusetts
The renowned Boston Marketplace is home to unique retail lines, sumptuous cuisines and unending party life. It comprises three historic market buildings – Quincy Market, North and South Markets, a promenade and several restaurants and stores. A public meeting hall used by the Protestants during the colonial era also still remains as an important piece of American history in the 1740 Hall. Finally, walk through the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Museum in the first floor to witness artifacts from the Revolutionary War. The hall also hosted the anti-slavery meetings and speeches of the mid-19th century.
Minute Man National Park
This historic park commemorates the opening battle of the revolution that gave birth to the nation. Visitors to the park get to explore battlefields and associated structures and witness the writings exuding the spirit of revolution. The tour starts at the Minute Man and North Bridge Visitor Centers with artifacts, uniforms and historical films of the battle. Down the bridge, you meet the famous Minuteman Statute by Daniel Chester French. This is the most revered historical piece in the entire park as it celebrates the brave colonial soldiers who were ready to go to war any minute. A short trip down to Lexington Green opens you the site where the first shot of the battle was fired. The events of the battle are reenacted every year during the anniversary commemoration.
Cape Cod – Summer Hub of Massachusetts
The hook-shaped Peninsula off the Atlantic is strewn with quaint harbors, beautiful beaches, glorious dunes and astonishing lighthouses. The long Cape Cod shoreline is mostly decorated with white-sand beaches that have more than enough space for everyone. However, most beaches are quite crowded and noisy in the summer. To escape the congested shorelines, you may decide to head a little northward to the Chatham and Orleans beach fronts. These are also stretching white-sand beaches but with quieter surroundings that guarantee peaceful you-time. You could also hike through the Atlantic white cedar woodlands and view the beautiful birds and other wild creatures. The Visitors Centers – Salt Pond and Provincetown – are important stopovers before you commence your journey. The Centers hold maps, passes and important information that will be crucial in your tours.
The Freedom Trail – Boston, Massachusetts
The 2.5-mile trail in downtown Boston passes through 16 historically significant locations of the US history. The most iconic colonial landmarks are found along the winding trail through the old City’s narrow streets. Hike through the trail guided by a brick-red line and brass medallions in the pavements. The tour starts at the Visitor Center in the Boston Common and ends at the Charlestown Navy Yard. You must also see the Old State House, the site where five brave colonialists were infamously murdered by British soldiers.
Other notable attractions along the Freedom Trail include the ‘the Cradle ofLliberty’ – Faneuil Hall, Paul Revere House and Old North Church.
Images via Planetware
Originally posted 2017-05-23 07:30:32.