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New England Attractions: Outside Boston and Cambridge

1 May 2014 No Comment
Samuel Cook, Scott Evans, Robert Goldman, and John McKenzie

    In addition to numerous attractions within Boston and Cambridge, there are many historical and cultural destinations a little farther away. Below are some locations that JSM attendees and their families might consider for a day visit, weekend adventure, or vacation-length holiday.

    To the west of Boston are the towns of Lexington and Concord. They are the sites of the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War that took place on April 19, 1775. Patriot’s Day, the closest Monday to April 19, is a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine. Located within the towns are Minute Man National Historical Park and the National Heritage Museum, which presents exhibitions on a variety of topics in American history and popular culture.

    In the mid-19th century, Concord was a center of American literature. Among the residents of the town were philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, authors Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau, and philosopher Bronson Alcott—the father of Louisa May Alcott. Guided walking tours of the town can be found at the Concord Visiting Center. Walden State Pond also is located in Concord.

    On the north shore of Massachusetts is the city of Salem. It was one of the most noteworthy seaports before and after the American Revolution. The also city is known as the location of the Salem witch trials of 1692. These trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft.

    Salem is the home of the Peabody Essex Museum, which was established in 1799, making it one of the oldest continuously operating museums in the United States. Based upon gallery space footage and endowment, it is among the top 20 North-American art museums. It holds a major collection of Asian art. Also among its 840,000 works are collections of maritime art and history, American art, oceanic and African art, and Asian export art.

    Within easy driving distance of Boston are the White Mountains, located in the states of New Hampshire and Maine. They are a northern component of the Appalachian Mountains.

    The Coast of Maine is also in close proximity to Boston. Visitors may enjoy lobster from a shack or in a restaurant with a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean. They also may discover the area’s art museums.

    South of Boston is the coastal town of Plymouth. Here is Plymouth Rock, said to be the disembarkation site of the pilgrims, but without any historical evidence, and the Plimoth Plantation. It is a living museum, which shows the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony.

    Further south is the Cape Cod region of Massachusetts, which includes Cape Cod, and the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Cape Cod is an internationally known location for its beautiful beaches with rolling dunes, water sports, golf, and countless kid-friendly activities. At the extreme tip of the cape is Provincetown. Its population grows in the summer to approximately 60,000 from a year-round population of 3,000. It is a 90-minute ferry ride from Boston to this town known for its artist colony. There is also ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket from Cape Cod. Both islands are tourist destinations with summer colonies. “The Vineyard” is the largest island not connected to mainland by a bridge or tunnel on the East Coast.

    Sixty miles west of Boston is Old Sturbridge Village (OSV), a living museum that re-creates life in rural New England during the 1790s through 1830s. Costumed interpreters speaking in modern language help visitors understand 19th-century life.

    Two popular Olympic sports were invented in neighboring communities in Massachusetts in 1891 and 1895. Their halls of fames are 30 miles west of OSV: the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Springfield, and the Volleyball Hall of Fame, in Holyoke.

    In the northwest section of Massachusetts is Tanglewood. Located in Lenox and Stockbridge, it is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and home to two schools of music. In addition to classical music, Tanglewood hosts the Festival of Contemporary Music.

    Also present in western Massachusetts are many art museums. Among them are The Norman Rockwell Museum at Stockbridge, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, and the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown.

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