Welcome to Massachusetts - North of Boston / Merrimack Valley / Cape Ann
North of Boston/Merrimack Valley/Cape Ann
The North of Boston region consists of two different and fascinating faces. One is the North Shore -- including Cape Ann -- with a string of seaside towns like Marblehead, Salem, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Gloucester, and Essex. The other face is the inland Merrimack Valley area, where Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill preserve the story of America’s Industrial Revolution in the early textile mills where American industry was born.
Attractions for visitors on the coast include beautiful vistas; lots of art galleries in Gloucester, Rockport, and Newburyport; whale watching trips out of Gloucester; historic sites in towns like Salem; and great gift shopping. In the Merrimack Valley visitors enjoy tours of historic mills and museums that celebrate American industrialism, outdoor fun like hiking and biking, and dining at creative culinary hot spots.
North Shore/Cape Ann/Merrimack Valley highlights:
Things to See
On the shore, visit Rockport for shopping and seaside vistas, including the famous red fish shack known as Motif #1 in innumerable pictures. Marblehead has probably the most majestic and beautiful harbor on the Eastern seaboard. People take home lifelong memories of the thrills of spotting a whale during whale watch trips out of Gloucester or Newburyport. Newburyport is a delightful resort town with a spacious brick square flanked on all sides with neat shops and restaurants and a busy arts center. The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln is a sweeping, park-like property dotted with sculpture.
What to Do
Excellent museums in almost all towns tell stories of art, history, and human works. Salem has the Peabody-Essex Museum of art and, nearby, the Salem Witch Museum, which describes the witch trials of the 1600s. Also in Salem is the House of the Seven Gables, immortalized by author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Further inland, the Lowell National Historical Park and the Lowell Heritage State Park display the canals and mills that sustained the city's manufacturing work. With such a depth of history, the North Shore and Merrimack Valley host fun and interesting fairs & festivals and lots of great things to do for families.
Places to Stay
The inns and hotels of the North Shore, Cape Ann, and Merrimack Valley offer luxury and comfort unrivaled anywhere. Some are on the shore, with beautiful ocean vistas. The town of Newburyport, located at the mouth of Merrimack River as it enters the Atlantic, has elegant and historic bed-and-breakfasts within the brick-faced center of town. In fact, historic B&Bs are a tucked throughout the region. Hawthorne Hotel in the heart of Salem is a historic place and the epicenter of many Salem Haunted Happenings events. This beautiful region is ideal for romantic getaways, for instance at gorgeous lodgings like the Inns of Rockport.
Wining and Dining
Like much of New England, the North Shore, Cape Ann, and Merrimack region is seafood country. Seafood -- think lobster in particular -- can be eaten in the rough or in white-tablecloth surroundings. One of the top places for fine dining is The Grand Café at the Emerson Inn By The Sea in Rockport. Another great dining room -- this at an in-town historic hotel -- is Nathaniel's at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead offer intimate dining in the historic harbor district. It is one center of action during the town's over-the-top Fourth of July fireworks festival and display.
Events - Find Out Where and When
- Festival of Trees at Berkshire Museum -- Pittsfield, MA
- Christmas Festival of Lights – Carver, MA
- Bright Nights Outdoor Holiday Light Show -- Springfield, MA
- Salem Holiday Happenings -- Salem, MA
- Gardens Aglow 2013 -- Sandwich, MA
- “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens -- Salem, MA
- Christmas By The Sea -- Chatham, MA
- Christmas Tours at the Gables -- Salem, MA
- Holly Days at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens -- Boylston, MA
- Holiday with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall -- Boston, MA
- “A Tuna Christmas” -- Salem MA
- “A Christmas Carol” -- Beverly, MA
- Heritage Holiday at Historic Deerfield -- Deerfield, MA
- Holiday Pops Kids Matinees -- Boston, MA
- An Artisan Christmas -- Marion, MA
- The Christmas Revels In Celebration of the Winter Solstice -- Cambridge, MA
- A Christmas Carol by Elements Theatre Company -- Orleans, MA
- "A Christmas Carol" -- Pittsfield, MA
- The Connoisseurship of Currier & Ives at the Springfield Museums -- Springfield, MA
- Christmas Celtic Sojourn 2013 -- Boston, MA
- Kwanzaa Workshop -- Boston, MA