Massachusetts was one of the original thirteen American colonies so it is studded with important historical sites. These coupled with its classic natural beauty at either end of the state, both in the Berkshire Mountains and the coastal areas to the east make this state an extremely popular vacation spot for both Americans and foreign tourists. Here are my choices for the best of this New England state.
1. Boston – The quintessential early American city, Boston is replete with history as well as Arts. There are numerous activities available for almost any interest and age.
2. Cape Cod – The quaint, sleepy villages of Cape Cod come alive in the summer (and the traffic becomes unbearable), but the ambience is always lovely.
3. Salem – Here, the topic is always witches. Salem is particularly popular with those who enjoy haunted places, and eerie, often bizarre stories.
4. Martha’s Vineyard – This island is easily accessible via ferry from several places in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Take your car to explore the fairly large land mass, or hop on and off the island buses which stop at many of the popular locations on the island.
5. The Berkshires – Especially scenic in the fall, this area revolves around a range of the Appalachians. The best time to visit, however, is during the summer when the Boston Symphony plays at Tanglewood.
6. Plymouth – The first of the northern colonies in the New World has preserved its historical significance both at Plimoth Plantation, an open-air museum devoted to the early 1600’s, and at the harbor, the location of a replica of the Mayflower.
7. The North Shore (Gloucester and Rockport) – These sea-faring towns are pleasant to stroll and allow visitors the opportunity to explore the world of the fisherman.
8. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame – This recently renovated testament to the sport of basketball contains much memorabilia associated with the college and professional version of the game. It is a must-see for the true fan.
9. Sturbridge Village – This open-air museum depicts life in the early days of Massachusetts with participants dressed in clothing of the day and engaged in activities which would have been commonplace in the original village.
10. Nantucket – Another island off the southeastern coast, Nantucket is smaller and a bit less accessible but much more walkable.
Other sights considered:
Minuteman National Historical Park
New Bedford Whaling Museum
Norman Rockwell Museum