As one of the original 13 colonies and birthplace of the American Revolution, it is no wonder Massachusetts is renowned for its rich history. It was here in the early 17th century that the first colonists arrived and set up settlements. Tucked away in the northeast of the United States in New England, its long Atlantic Ocean coastline is dominated by the three ginormous Bays that shape it, while countless historic sites litter the Bay State. It also has scenic spots such as Cape Cod for holidaymakers to enjoy. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Massachusetts.
Cambridge: A World Leader in Higher Education
Cambridge is home to both Harvard and MIT, two of the most prestigious universities around. Lying just across the Charles River from Boston, it has historic campuses to tour around with impressive buildings and museums dotted here and there. Often considered part of Boston, Cambridge is very much a city in its own right. Though much of town life revolves around its famous universities, at Harvard Yard, for instance, you can see amazing old halls and charming libraries, while Kendall Square is known as the most innovative square mile on the planet.
The Berkshires: Nature and the Arts
Exist compatibly in the Berkshires, a hilly area in Western Massachusetts. Most of the hills are under 1200 feet high, though a couple do climb higher to the sky. The Berkshires are filled with hiking trails, including parts of the Appalachian Trail. The highest waterfall in Massachusetts, Bash Bush Falls, is located here. Travelers who get tired of hiking can take in an art museum or two, including the Norman Rockwell Museum or a concert at Tanglewood Music Center.
Minuteman National Historic Park
Commemorating the opening battle in the American Revolutionary War is the Minuteman National Historic Park just outside Concord. Here, you can see the exact route marched by the British from Boston and where the Colonials first engaged them in battle on April 19, 1775. At the Historic Park, visitors can cross over North Bridge, the site of the skirmish, and walk along the battle Road Trail. Restored colonial buildings highlight key events, while uniforms and artifacts are shown in its Visitor Center.
Nantucket: A Popular Summer Tourist Destination
The island of Nantucket is a popular summer tourist destination with a population that jumps from almost 11,000 year-round residents to 50,000 in the summer. It offers quiet harbors, dramatic cliffs, sandy beaches, and beautiful old mansions. The history of Nantucket properly begins in 1659 when it was purchased for 30 pounds and two Beaver hats by Tristam Coffin from its original settler. There’s evidence of its long history in almost everything about Nantucket, from the charming cobblestone Main Street and the Jethro Coffin house all the way to the Brant Point light established in 1746.
New Bedford: The Whaling City
Located on the southern coast, New Bedford is known as The Whaling City as it was one of the most important dwelling ports in the world during the 19th century. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the largest museum in the United States devoted to whaling. Across the street from the museum, Siemens Bethel is the chapel that was immortalized in Moby Dick. Visitors can also tour a whaling merchant’s home, as well as museums devoted to art and firefighting equipment.
Martha’s Vineyard: A Popular Destination with the Rich and Famous
Lying just to the south of Cape Cod, the magnificent Martha’s Vineyard has long been popular with the rich and famous. Despite the wealth of artists, celebrities, musicians, and presidents who vacation here, New England’s largest island has a lovely laid-back air with pretty and picturesque scenery to discover. Dotted about the quaint countryside are small towns and villages full of cozy inns, boutique hotels, and exquisite restaurants, while scenic beaches line its shores. Besides its fine dining and relaxing retreats, there are also many excellent outdoor activities to partake in, including cycling and golfing.
Salem: Home of the Famous Witchcraft Trials
Travelers who aren’t afraid of ghosts and goblins may want to spend Halloween in Salem, home of the famous witchcraft trials in the days when Puritans ruled the city. Haunted happenings take place all over Salem then, but those who visit at other times can learn about witches at a special museum devoted just to them. Even before the trials, Salem had a long and proud history on the sea. Its beautiful waterfront isn’t just for picnics and beach days. Here, you can explore ancient ships and custom houses and buildings still standing from the 1600s.
Plymouth: Where It All Began
Back in 1620, Plymouth is where it all began. Travelers can transport themselves back in time at Plymouth Plantation, a living history museum that shows how the pilgrims lived in 1627. Next comes a tour of Mayflower 2, a replica of the ship that carried the pilgrims to the new world, or they can be one of the estimated 1 million visitors a year to Plymouth Rock, the site where the pilgrims supposedly stepped ashore. Travelers can also tour a cranberry farm, visit historic homes, or play a round of golf on more than a dozen courses.
Cape Cod: An Arm-Shaped Peninsula
Cape Cod is an arm-shaped peninsula located on the easternmost part of Massachusetts. It has developed into one of the most popular destinations in the state. In the summer, lighthouses, cranberry bogs, sandy beaches, and walking and biking trails dot the Cape Cod National Seashore. The popular resort town of Provincetown at the very tip of the peninsula is the site of the first landing of the pilgrims. While Cape Cod is known for its artist colonies and quaint villages, it’s the village of Hyannis that put the cape on the map because it is the summer home of the Kennedy family.
Boston: Loaded with History
Boston is loaded with history, from being one of the oldest cities in the United States to hosting the world’s most famous tea party. Visitors can relive Boston’s participation in the American Revolution by walking the Freedom Trail, but the Commonwealth’s capital is so much more than history. The largest city in New England, it’s also home to successful professional athletic teams, as well as the Boston Pops Orchestra. Whether travelers are visiting Paul Revere’s house or Fenway Park, cultural activities and fine dining opportunities abound in this eastern city by the bay.
In conclusion, Massachusetts is a state full of history and natural beauty, and there are plenty of exciting places to visit for all types of travelers. From the world-class universities of Cambridge to the tranquil beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, there is something for everyone in this New England gem. So, plan your trip to Massachusetts and explore the best of what the Bay State has to offer!