|June 10 - June 23, 2013|
The areas to the north, south and west of Boston reveal facets of Massachusetts not found on the Freedom Trail, in Copley Square or across the river in Cambridge. Each area possesses unique qualities and presents countless opportunities for exploring. If you enjoy ‘antiquing’ your way through quaint villages, walking along sandy beaches, inhaling fresh air, visiting museums and homes which bring the history of New England to life, then plan a glorious day outside the city. You won’t have to venture far in any direction to discover coastal art colonies, county fairs, theatre, great shopping and seasonal celebrations that entertain as well as educate. First, however, you must decide where your day will take you. To assist you in planning your expedition, we offer the following suggestions of areas to explore.
Thirty miles off the coast of Massachusetts, Nantucket offers perfect beaches, quaint villages with wonderful shops, and streets paved with cobblestones that were once ballast for sailing ships. The entire island has been declared an historic district and there’s much to see and do.
Just a one hour car or train ride north of Boston is, fittingly, the North Shore. Travelling via commuter rail to the last stop lands you in Rockport, a charming, coastal community known for its artists and the infamous fishing shanty Motif #1, arguably the most painted landmark in the United States.
Whether driving, busing or ‘commuter railing’ north, you must first pass through Salem, founded before Boston, and the site of the infamous Witch Trials of 1692. There are several spooky, even macabre sights, from that legendary period. Call the National Park Service Visitor Center at (978) 740-1680.
North of Salem finds you in historic Gloucester, America’s oldest seaport and the famed fishing haven chronicled in Sebastian Junger’s best-selling novel The Perfect Storm. Established in 1623, it is the heart of New England’s fishing industry. Whale watches, museums and art colonies promise fun and relaxation. Call the Gloucester Welcome Center at (978) 283-1601 for local events.
Slightly west of Boston is the historic community of Concord, where the word ‘historic’ is an understatement. Relive 1775 with the Battle of Lexington and Concord or the battle at Old North Bridge. Traverse the shores of Walden Pond and the walkways where Thoreau, Emerson, Hawthorne and the Alcotts were inspired to pen their prose. Driving time from Boston is a short 25 minutes on Route 2. Contact the Concord Chamber of Commerce at (978) 369-3120 for information.
If you wish to fly south as well as travel back in time, spend a day in historic Plymouth—site of the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620. Renowned for honoring our nation’s ancestors with re-creations of the Pilgrims’ homes and lifestyles, its streets and museums (virtually frozen in time) offer a unique glimpse into history. Plymouth is a 40-minute ride on Route 3 south from Boston. Contact Plymouth Visitor Information at 1-800-USA-1620.
If it’s simple R & R you’re looking for, you’ve undoubtedly heard of "The Cape." This strange curl of land extending from the southeast corner of the state is one of the most popular resort areas in the country. Stroll along quiet beaches inhaling the fragrant, salty scent of the ocean. Waterfront mansions complement the coastline and countless restaurants tempt you with traditional New England seafood.
If you’re feeling landlocked, ferries depart regularly from Hyannis and the village of Woods Hole and shuttle you to the famous island getaways of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket where many celebrities make their escape. Steal away to a stress-free world of cobblestoned streets, superlative dining and quiet strolls along the surf. Contact the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce for more information at (508) 362-3225.
Directly south of Boston, following Route 128 to I-95 for a mere hour, is artsy Providence, Rhode Island, capital of the smallest state in the country. Providence offers an impressive selection of museums and restaurants, yet if it’s scenery and sheer opulence you crave, head to Newport. Tours of the spectacular mansion-riddled coast are offered regularly. Later, sip tea at a sidewalk café or peruse the intriguing jewelry shops and boutiques of Newport’s shopping district.
No matter which direction wins the coin toss, your scrapbook will overflow with
reflections of your adventures beyond Boston. It’s impossible to choose the
wrong road. Sometimes being lost and finding your way home is the greatest adventure