A few months ago I wrote about some of the great free things to do in Boston. But if you’ve come all this way, you probably want to check out a few more things around the New England area. You don’t need to go far – Massachusetts has a lot going on, and within a short drive or ride on public transport and you’ll find yourself in another state!
So where to go for the day? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Martha’s Vineyard is not a vineyard, but a charming island full of classic New England experiences. Getting here requires some pre-planning, as you’ll need to make sure you catch the ferry in and out without issue. You can drive to take the bus (you can fly too, but perhaps that’s just a touch overkill) – it’s about 90 minutes each way, depending. Once there, you can stroll around the harbour with an ice cream cone, looking at all the old Victorian architecture that surrounds you. There are restaurants, art galleries, and don’t miss taking a spin on America’s oldest working carousel.
Many folk have heard of Cape Cod, but Cape Ann is the local’s recommendation for one of the most picturesque spots in all of the state. It’s north of Boston along the coast, about 30 miles away (halfway to the border with New Hampshire). Given its natural beauty it has been the backdrop for several films, and it’s a great place for a clambake or to hop on one of the whalewatching tours. There are plenty of beaches too. Cape Ann is best reached and explored by car.
A short trip on Boston’s commuter rail or on an express train with Amtrak will drop you in Rhode Island’s capital city of Providence. Recently it’s been calling itself the Creative Capital, to try and highlight some of the local arts culture, which is quite developed actually. From the Rhode Island State House (the second largest marble dome in the world after St Peter’s Basilica) to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum (one of the largest art collections in the country), there’s plenty to see and do. Other interesting stops include Waterplace Park as well as a photo stop at the world’s largest (wooden) termite. Oh the irony.
Catch a train and head for Concord, where you might find some of the inspiration that great authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau’s famed Walden Pond is here in Concord (pictured above, in fact), so if you wanted you could sit here and read this classic tale. If you’re not so much of the literary type, Concord has a lot of historical ties as it was one of the starting places of the American revolution. There’s also a large wetlands conversation area, as well as a “cute” downtown area. You can combine a trip to Concord with a visit to Lexington (connected by a trolley) where you’ll find several more historic attractions.
Posted : Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 at 12:59
Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. When not criss-crossing the world to have his next travel adventures, he is spending time hanging out on his own website, Sharing Travel Experiences.