Fun and unusual things to do in every corner of Massachusetts


Find great, fun things to do and fresh places to explore in the Bay State for every age and taste, from antique shopping to rock climbing to slithering through a water park. Check attractions' websites for updates to scheduling and other details, especially for activities affected by weather.

Every region, from the historic homes and gardens of the Berkshires to the beaches of Cape Cod; the Pilgrims’ footsteps at Plymouth to the historic textile industries of Merrimack, have fun and memorable adventure for the whole family.

66 Thunder Mountain Road Charlemont, MA, 01339 Phone: 413-339-6617

Featured by USA Today as one of the Top Ten Zip Lines of the United States!

Berkshire East is New England's largest zip destination with three tours to choose from. The Base Tour is our introductory course… give zipping a try! Then move on to fabulous views of the valley on the Mountain Top Tour. Mountain Top zipping is a great family experience and summer memory.

Ready for tour number three? The Valley Jump is fun to the extreme. You will love it. Two 1/2 long mile zips, approaching 200' off the ground. This tour has been featured in the Washington Post.

Come, fly above the tree tops!

1098 Fall River Avenue Seekonk, MA, 02771 Phone: 508-336-8307

Everybody drives

Experience the wildest Go Kart action at this state of the art facility offering competitive fun at an affordable price. Challenge family and friends on more than 60 arcade games including Guitar Hero, Ski Ball, Air Hockey and Dance Dance Revolution. The Family Track, the longest in New England, features tunnels, hairpin curves and straight-aways and new two-seater go-karts. Little guys and gals get in on the action with the new Rookie Track, with the Kiddy Track and Beginner Track just ahead. Bump and bounce your buddies in bumper cars and boats and finish the day off with a friendly game on the adventure mini golf course.

Route 2 (Mohawk Trail) Charlemont, MA, 01339 Phone: 800-532-7483

11 zip lines, 2 sky bridges and 3 rappels

Try Zoar Outdoor’s newest adventure on a Deerfield Valley Canopy Tour in Charlemont Massachusetts. Our 3-hour-long zip line canopy tour leads adventurers on an aerial trek through the woods by means of 11 zip lines, 2 sky bridges and 3 rappels suspended in the trees in the northern Berkshires and connected through platforms that sit high above the forest floor. Our double-cable construction provides an extra margin of safety and hand braking (with backup brakes on each zip) allows you to control your zip speed with a gloved hand and keep from "spinning out". Our guides are trained in both safe zipping practices and in interpreting the environment around you so you can fully appreciate this unique journey through the forest canopy.

Historic Shore Street Falmouth, MA, 02541 Phone: 508-540-3000 Toll-Free: 800-352-7100

An old-fashioned Cape Cod vacation like your grandparents remember

If you want to experience Cape Cod the way your grandparents remember it, the place to stay is ShoreWay Acres Inn in Falmouth. We're family owned and family run. The main part of our inn is an historic sea captain's home, built in 1806 and located in downtown Falmouth. That means we're within walking distance to everything -- the beach, the village, bird sanctuary, day spas, shops, galleries, museums, churches, trolley stop, library, and more than twenty restaurants, pubs, and sidewalk cafes. With short notice we can prepare a traditional Cape Cod clam bake -- with lobster, steamers, corn on the cob, and watermelon -- or a cook out, with hot dogs, hamburgers, and BBQ chicken. These meals are served on the lawn, so it's come as you are. Bare feet and bathing suits are fine.

222 Harrington Way Worcester, MA, 01604 Phone: 508-929-2700

Summer learning fun, in and out of doors!

Established in 1825, today Worcester's fascinating and educational EcoTarium is one of the top science museums for kids in the country. With three floors to wander, exhibits and activities abound. There are outdoor explorations on the 55-acre grounds, from tree canopy walkway and a nature trail through forest and meadow, plus the Explorer Express Train. With preschool programs and school vacation week and summer camp sessions, youngsters get hands-on experiences that might include wearing a mask to soar like an eagle, or dancing and drumming to West African rhythms. Groups can arrange an overnight adventure, choosing from among a half-dozen nature and science themes. And why stay earthbound? Partnered with National Geographic, EcoTarium’s Alden Digital Planetarium even takes kids to the stars.

50 Ferncroft Road Danvers, MA, 01923 Phone: 978-777-2500

The Largest Indoor Water Park in New England!

Make a splash with the family at the largest indoor water park in Massachusetts. A tropical indoor paradise where it’s always 84 degrees and open every day for every kid of every age. There are water slides, a lazy river, a splash pad and dip-in-the- theater arcade, private, cozy cabanas and lots more where they came from. Hold one of a kind birthday parties, group swims, or even buy out the whole park for a day. Then enjoy a night at the Doubletree Hotel Boston North Shore adjacent to the Park with luxurious bedding and jumbo pillows, flat screen television, on-demand movies and premium cable channels. Look for Coco Key Discounts and packages that include overnight accommodations, water resort access, and breakfast in the family-friendly TradeWinds Restaurant.

200 Massachusetts Avenue Boston, MA, 02115 Phone: 617-450-7000

Explore an Amazing World

This beautiful library and museum, originally built for the Christian Science Publishing Society, has become an historic landmark in Boston’s Back Bay celebrating the life of Mary Baker Eddy. Born in rustic Bow, NH in 1821, Eddy lived an extraordinary life as founder of the Christian Science movement and whose work lives on through the Christian Science Monitor and in reading rooms across the globe. You’ll find books, documents, photographs, and exhibits as well as the Mapparium, a three-dimensional perspective of the world of 1935 and a symbol of the global outreach of The Christian Science Monitor. A World of Ideas illustrates how ideas cross time and geography to change the world. Activities include special events, webcasts, and children’s programs.

Come play in the sweet mountain air this spring & summer

Less than three hours from New York City and Boston, the Berkshires of Western MA offer culture and adventure year round. The allure of the Berkshires in spring is a savory blend of sweet mountain air, migratory birdsong; rare wildflowers found in forests and open fields, and the return of locally grown foods to our tables. Nature, like us, sheds its winter coat and greets the season with a warm welcome. Journey here as a couple or pack up the entire family, get out & about in the Berkshires. Whether you choose to spend your time indoors or out, the Berkshire region comes alive in spring. Come discover all the possibilities the Berkshires has in store during the most-welcomed season of all. To learn more visit us at berkshires.org or find us on Facebook at Visit the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.

75 Falmouth Heights Road Falmouth, MA, 02540 Phone: 508-548-4800

Great places start with a great journey.

As if Martha’s Vineyard wasn’t enough of a great place to travel to, getting there only adds to the fun. From May through October, climb aboard the Island Queen in Falmouth, MA on ol’ Cape Cod and settle in for a sweet 35 minute mini cruise across beautiful and historic Vineyard Sound. The sea along the Massachusetts Coast is your soothing backdrop for 35 minutes of relaxation, conversation and a refreshing touch of sun, sky and salt air that fills the lungs and lifts the spirit. Passengers only are welcome aboard along with their bicycles, kayaks, paddle boards and pets. No passenger ferry reservations are required while groups of 20 or more can make group reservations.

40 Doaks Lane Marblehead, MA, 01945 Phone: 781-990-3552

Harbor fun on the water all summer long

Kayak and Standup Paddle Board FUN for the whole family at Boston's North Shore hidden gem Little Harbor Boathouse! Just 15 miles north of Boston, spend the day at our pristine beach, paddle around Little Harbor Islands and Marblehead Harbor and stroll our historic seaside village shops & cafes. Choose from pedal, paddle and sail Hobie Kayaks (singles & tandems) and Standup Paddle Boards. Hourly rentals and Groups of up to 50 paddlers are welcome. Summer Adventure Program (ages 8-14), Guided Tours and Kayak Fishing Guides. Helping people have unforgettable on-water experiences is what we’re all about.

Visitor Center - 134 Court Street Plymouth, MA, 02360 Phone: 508-747-7533 Toll-Free: 800-872-1620

Where will your visit begin?

We have a variety of activities on land or on the water. The Atlantic Ocean itself is our playground! Trips such as whale watches, lobster excursions and pirate adventures are popular with visitors both young and not quite as young. Our beaches and parks offer families a place to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. Enjoy great seafood, fairs, festivals, the arts, a distillery, a winery or a brewery. Ride a narrow gauge train ride through acres of cranberry bogs at Edaville USA. Experience living history at Plimoth Plantation, depicting life in Plymouth in 1627. Please call 1.800.USA.1620, or visit our website to learn more about these activities and others to prepare for your trip to Plymouth.

1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, off Route 20 Sturbridge, MA, 01566 Phone: 508-347-3362 Toll-Free: 800-733-1830

A trip to historic, authentic and tasty

One of Massachusetts’ 50 great things to do has 50 great things all its own to enjoy when you arrive at this celebrated living history destination, one of the nation’s largest. Settle in at the Old Sturbridge Inn or Reeder Family Lodges. Savor authentic New England cuisine, cozy rooms and fireplaces, and delicious sweets from Ye Old Bake Shoppe. Then step into the 18th century and watch and participate in what people did then. Costumed interpreters will guide your visit on foot, on a stagecoach or standing beside a potter’s wheel or the blacksmith’s forge, or meeting with farmers and their animals at work. The 19th century is here, too, in 40 antique homes, buildings and water-powered mills in this most scenic town. Open year-round. Seasonal hours may vary.

300 North Main Street Florence, MA, 01062 Phone: 413-584-5457

An all-day wonderful place to play!

This magnificent park is set on 150 landscaped acres of pure delight with many attractions free of charge. Every day from 7AM-sunset, enjoy a grand day out. Walk into gardens, around a lake and through covered bridges. Feed animals at the zoo, many of them rescued, including fallow deer, a bald eagle, pygmy goats and more. Bumper boats prowl the lagoon, pedal boats roll through Willow Lake and a water spray park cools you off. Hop aboard the miniature steamer train, play 18 holes of miniature golf, or tennis on six courts. There are picnic areas and pavilions for dining beneath the trees or you can savor a delicious meal at Look Park Grill and ice cream at the Sweet Shoppe.

Route 28 on Pleasant Bay Chatham, MA, 02633 Phone: 508-432-5400 Toll-Free: 800-225-7125

Tots to teens to Moms and Dad’s will find something to make their day

The family friendly resort features tennis, eighteen holes of championship golf, two beaches and two magnificent pools. Private cabanas offer views of Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and all the relaxing extras. The Annual Cape Cod Jazz Festival, free and open to the public, has a lineup of the region’s hottest jazz artists and is one of the most anticipated events of the summer. The Children's Center offers educational, fun and whimsical programming for children 2-12. The kids will love the high tech amenities, a nautical themed playground with a "tot lot" for the youngest children and "children's area" for those over five. During the summer there is an aquatic playground as well as Drive-In Movie Family Fun Night, Teen Gaming Night, tennis, swimming and sailing lessons.

65 Main Street Watertown, MA, 02472 Phone: 617-926-2562

Explore three millenia of rich culture and history

You don’t have to be Armenian to find something fascinating at this premier destination for student groups, families and tourists. Discover the rich culture and 3,000-year history of this resilient people by exploring galleries that hold ancient artifacts and textiles, as well as exhibits celebrating Armenian art and artists. Permanent displays include the photography of Yousuf Karsh (containing his iconic portraits of Winston Churchill, Mother Teresa, and many others), along with an exhibition on the history and effects of the Armenian Genocide. Click on our link above to plan your visit and learn more.

61 Market Street, Unit 1C Lowell, MA, 01852 Phone: 978-459-6150

Great things await in the Greater Merrimack Valley

There’s no end in sight to the great things waiting for you just 30 minutes north and west of Boston In the scenic and vibrant Greater Merrimack Valley. A singular leisure and business travel destination the valley offers charming towns and cities each with their own unique flavor, not-to-miss attractions and activities, and a history dating from the very beginnings of the nation. There’s fun to be found in fairs and festivals, sightseeing adventures, shopping, sports and entertainment; things to learn in museums, educational tours and programs; and health benefits to savor in spas and retreats. Get out into the Valley’s state and national parks, watch a concert, hold a meeting, shoot a film. You can do it all here.

15 Arlington Street Boston, MA, 02116 Phone: 617-536-5700

Rooftop Sunday Brunch with spectacular views of the Public Garden and Boston

Enjoy traditional breakfast preparations, contemporary New England cuisine, and Indian specialties, alongside a bounty of dessert items made in-house by our talented pastry team.

Every Sunday, April-November, with seatings from 10:30am - 2pm. Reservations suggested.

5 Pine Street Carver, MA, 02330 Phone: 508-866-8190 Toll-Free: 877-332-8455

The perfect recipe for a fabulous, fun filled, family adventure

Start with a family outing. Add some cranberries, some cotton candy and kettle corn, maybe a hot delicious barbecue. Throw in a mix of carnival rides, a towering Ferris Wheel and a vintage carousel. Sprinkle in an indoor play area, a dash of Thomas the Tank Train, a pinch of the National Cranberry Festival, and a cup of the Christmas Festival of Light. Now pour all around the neatest narrow gauge railroad in the east to take you all on fantastic journeys through cranberry bogs in the fall and unbelievable light shows in the winter. Stir vigorously. Then taste one fabulous “Family Fun Park” that Ellis D. Atwood (old EDA himself) started in the 1940’s and passed along for generations to enjoy. Sip slowly. Continue until done.

55 Salisbury Street Worcester, MA, 01609 Phone: 508-799-4406

Release the Picasso inside you at the Worcester Art Museum

Spend a day at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM) and explore magnificent artwork from over fifty centuries of world cultures! WAM is world-renowned for its 38,000-piece collection of antiquities, paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, decorative arts, arms and armor, and more. View works by Cassatt, Gauguin, Goya, Monet, Sargent and Whistler; admire floor mosaics from the ancient city of Antioch; enjoy the serenity of our medieval Chapter House; see cutting-edge contemporary art; and discover many other treasures. Check out our changing special exhibitions that showcase masterworks, seldom-seen gems, and important works on loan. Don’t miss our interactive arms and armor demonstrations, Art Carts, and fun for kids in Helmutt’s House. Top off your art-filled day at WAM with lunch in the Museum Café and a stop in the Shop for unique gifts and mementos.

5 Water Street Fall River, MA, 02721 Phone: 508-678-1100 Toll-Free: 800-533-3194

A day out you won’t forget

Teachers, students, tourists, Moms, Dads and kids will be inspired by this magnificent living history museum on the water in Fall River. A great attraction year round brings you up close to some very big players in America’s storied naval history. Ships that participated in definitive battles like the USS Massachusetts; protected the coast and brought home astronauts from their landings in the sea like the USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.; and PT boats engaged in the Pacific theater are here in the world’s largest collection of US naval ships. Myriad inspiring exhibits enhance the stories told. The Pearl Harbor Experience is the only outdoor multimedia reenactment anywhere while year round maritime camps, girl scout overnights and family nautical nights make this a highly unique and memorable adventure for all.

Find the Right Book at Mitchell’s

Whether you are in Nantucket in the chillier months, needing a good book with tea and a window seat, or in the summer, hankering for a beach book, you are welcome at Mitchell's Book Corner at 54 Main Street in Nantucket. New titles and classics. Also, the book stores hosts author talks and signings and even a taste of wine and cheese with conversation from time to time. Phone: 508-228-1080

Wildflower Garden Tours at Green Briar Nature Center

The wonderfully intimate and welcome Green Briar Nature Center at 6 Discovery Hill Road in Sandwich offer many pleasures, including the literary history of Thornton Burgess, author of children’s books; a busy jam kitchen and many gardens and nature-themed events. Try to be there on any Tuesday morning from June to August for an information tour of the prize-winning wildflower garden. Located next to the 1780 homestead, the garden covers a locust-shaded bank, a sunny meadow, and an open swamp bordering the Smiling Pool. The garden was designed for teaching; native plants are identified. Gardeners will appreciate information about each plant, including information on propagation, weeds to avoid, and what conditions are advantageous for growth. 508-888-6870.

Corn as a Window to Pilgrim Life

The Plimoth Grist Mill , on Spring Lane and next to Town Brook in Plymouth, tells the story of the corn grinding mill, an essential feature of daily life, built in 1636 by the Pilgrims in Plymouth Colony. This reproduction of the 1636 mill is a place for visitors to learn about the importance of mills in the 1600s, the process of grinding corn, and the ecology of the Town Brook area, including the annual herring run. On days when the mill is active, you can watch as the miller orchestrates the water wheel, gears, and stones to turn out fragrant cornmeal. At the mill museum shop, you may buy fresh cornmeal and sample and other culinary treats, as well as books and souvenirs. Phone: 508-746-1622.

Eyeball an Octopus at New England Aquarium

Face time with an octopus? Here’s your chance, at the exhibit Tentacles, at the New England Aquarium, 1 Central Wharf in Boston.The giant Pacific octopus is stretching out in its expanded habitat starting April 15, 2016. Watch the cuttlefish levitating in its tropical tank while the chambered nautilus jets through its inky dark display. These guys are fascinating! Who wants to be an marine biologist? Phone: 617-973-5200

Contra Dance at the Tip of Cape Cod

Come and join the contra dance , happening the third Friday of every month, at different locations around the Outer Cape, like Wellfleet and nearby towns. If you can walk you can dance, or alternately, sit on the sidelines and just enjoy the music. You don’t need to bring a dance partner; everyone mixes around the group. There is a community potluck beforehand at 6:30 p.m. and dancing starts at 7:30 p.m. Contra dancing is the old time dance of New England; music – performed by live musicians -- is exuberant reels and jigs from the traditional repertoires of the British Isles, Canada and America. Everyone is welcome, including children. This is an alcohol-free event.

Beautiful Marsh Welcomes Walkers

Cutler Park on Kendrick Street in Needham, at the Newton border, is the largest fresh water marsh on the Charles River. The marshland and small lake attract more than 100 species of birds. A trail goes around Kendrick Pond (also called Cutler Pond). A new trail extends from the pond trail and goes to Powell's Island canoe landing, doubles back and goes under the MBTA commuter rail and out to the Great Plain. A right turn leads to a boardwalk through a cattail marsh and ends up on Needham Street in Dedham. A left turn leads down the wide path alongside the elevated railroad line all the way to the Charles River. In summer, hiking, canoeing, and fishing are welcome. Phone: 617-698-1802

Walking Tours at Tower Hill Botanic Garden

Tower Hill Botanic Garden I Boylstonhosts great special events and exhibits at all time of the year, but you can come for walks and tours held every weekend. A walking garden tour, included in the cost of admission, happens every Sunday at 2 p.m. See highlights like camellias in the Limonaia and subtropical plants in the Orangerie, and the beauty of bark and berries in the Winter Garden. Learn about the history of the Worcester County Horticultural Society and learn about the future plans for the garden. Also, the garden welcomes people to bring their dogs to wander the dog walking trail on weekends from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bed, Breakfast, and Bicycling

Clamber Hill in Petersham and the Centennial House B&B in Northfield have teamed up to create an exciting two-night bed, breakfast, and biking vacation. Start at either B&B on day one and then bike to the next inn on day two. From Clamber Hill you would bike around the north end of the Quabbin Reservoir, through Wendell State Forest to Millers Falls and along the scenic Connecticut River Valley to Northfield Center. It is a gorgeous 30 mile trip along the back roads of central and western Massachusetts. A suggested route is mapped out for you.
Leave your car at one B&B and we'll ferry your bags between inns for just $25. Gourmet breakfasts and top quality accommodations with private baths are waiting for you at the end of the ride. Both B&Bs have been recognized by Yankee Magazine as "Best in New England." Price is $325 double occupancy for two nights including a gourmet breakfast and arrival snacks at each location. Phone: Clamber Hill at 978-724-8800 or Centennial House B&B at 413-498-5921.

Old-Time General Store is a Cape Cod Favorite

The Brewster Store on Route 6A in Brewster was built as a church in 1852 and converted to a general store in 1866. It has served residents and visitors to Cape Cod for more than 140 years. The Brewster Store features a broad assortment of merchandise: coffee, pastries and morning newspapers, penny candy, t-shirts and sweatshirts, toys, lamp parts, kitchen gadgets, original Coke in glass bottles, books, greeting cards and many unusual gifts. Put a quarter in the old nickelodeon to hear an old time tune, enjoy the roasted peanuts, or just sit on the benches and watch the world go by. Phone: 508-896-3744.

Come Explore Lowell National Historical Park

During the mid-1800s, Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation into a new industrial era. Among others, the mills and their labor needs deeply affected immigrant families, early female factory workers, and the early days of the labor movement. The Lowell National Historical Park at 304 Dutton Street in Lowell is a living history museum of the region’s early industrialization within an active city. Lowell's 5.6-mile canal system is the centerpiece of the historic city, offering structure to the cityscape, spaces for recreation, connections to nature, the inspiring power of flowing water, and reminders of the city's history. Lowell National Historical Park offers a wide variety of tours by canal boat, trolley, and on foot. Fascinating and inspiring. Phone: 978-970-5000.

Blaschka Glass Flowers Delight for Over 100 Years

One of the treasures of the Harvard Museum of Natural History on Oxford Street in Cambridge is the Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, called the “glass flowers." This collection of over 4,000 models was created by the glass artist Leopold Blaschka and his son. The commission began in 1886 when the Botanical Museum wanted life-like representatives of the plant kingdom for teaching botany. The exhibit re-opens May 21, 2016, after a detailed six-month renovation. Phone: 617-495-3045.

Walk Into the Minds of Arctic Explorers

The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Hubbard Hall at Bowdoin College, 9500 College Station in Brunswick is built around historic objects donated by Donald B. MacMillan during his long career as an Arctic explorer. The museum offers insights and artifacts from the expedition of daring men into the forbidding terrain of the Arctic. Exhibits include Robert E. Peary and His Northern World, Through the Lens: Arctic Biodiversity, and art works of native Inuit people. Guests who come for tours can try on Inuit snow goggles, try a bow-drill, feel various furs, and hold a walrus tusk! Tours can be customized to focus on Arctic exploration, the environment, or Native peoples. Open daily except Mondays. Phone: 207-725-3416.

Whaling by Sail in the Tough Old Days

Commercial whaling conveys a very different scent in the 21st century than it did in the 1700s and 1800s when ships went to sea to capture animals that helped producd the cleanest light ever known. New England’s whaling industry ended by about 1900, but the stories of the unbelievable hardy men who went to sea hundreds of years ago still can shiver our timbers. New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, operated by the U.S. Park Service, tells the dramatic story of the old whaling industry in the very streets and buildings where ships departed and sometimes returned after years of chasing the wind around the globe. Stroll the cobblestone streets and see the world’s largest whaling museum, a merchant’s home, a whalemen's chapel, and a 19th-century schooner. Phone: 508-996-4095.

PaintNite Unleashes Your Inner Artist

Paint your own happy way at the creativity-and-cocktail-driven Paint Nites, at various locations throughout Massachusetts and South of Boston. No experience is necessary, and all your materials will be provided for you on site. People ages 21 and up can experience a night of food, drink, and art at this sip-‘n-paint event. Paint an original work of art, or follow the guidance of a professional artist, then take your painting home as a souvenir of a relaxed but fruitful evening out on the town. E-mail: info@paintnite.com

Hug a Tree

In the Jamaica Plain section of Boston lies an oasis of meadows, forest, ponds, and wildlife. No, it’s not an urban mirage, it’s the Arnold Arboretum, where you can find thousands of different varieties of plants, hiking and biking trails, and world-renowned horticultural collections surrounded by 15,000 gorgeous trees. Arnold is the oldest public arboretum in North America. The extensive Bonsai collection, a cultivated Herbarium, majestic snow-covered cedars and pines in the winter, and nearly 200 different varieties of blooming lilacs in May are just a few of the reasons to spend a day here every day of the year. The arboretum hosts free walks guided by expert docents on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Phone: 617-524-1718‎.

Essex: Tiny Town Builds Plenty of Ships

A visit to the Essex Shipbuilding Museum at 66 Main Street in Essex is a wonderful way to become immersed in the ship-building culture of Massachusetts. The museum tells the story of a New England village that built more two-masted wooden fishing schooners than any other place in the world. Exhibits and archives are housed in the old Essex Central School House, built in 1835. Features include antique tools, photographs, documents, and exhibits portraying the shipbuilding industry. Tours include video presentations and hands-on activities. A gift shop offers ship plans, maritime gifts. Hours: June-October, Wednesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; at other months, weekends, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Phone: 978-768-7541

On the Road to Better Beers

Along the Massachusetts Craft Brewers Trail sit the Bay State’s best breweries and pubs, awaiting your appraisal. Download and print the Craft Brewers Trail Map for a self-guided driving tour of any region of the state, concentrating on craft breweries.
The best part of this event is that it never ends – there is always another brew to be sampled!

Nosh and Learn

The Boston Public Market will be the site of a demonstration kitchen, opening August 16 2015. Visitors can stop in to see demos and learn about food and food prep over a wide variety of topics. For example: America’s Test Kitchen will offer weekly “You Can Cook” classes. The Boston Children’s Museum will lead workshops to promote healthy eating for families. Project Bread will lead free “Cooking on a Budget” classes. UMASS Amherst will lead talks and demonstrations about the environmental and health impacts of the food we eat. The Kitchen is located right along the Greenway in Boston, adjacent to Haymarket, a block away from Faneuil Hall. The Kitchen is an independent space with a signed entrance on Congress Street and a Market Hall entrance.

Charming Neighborhood With Deep History

The Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, located in the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, is a neighborhood of hundreds of colorful, ornate gingerbread cottages that are a delight to the eye and great fun to see and photograph. The neighborhood has its roots in the religious revival camp meeting movement of the 1850s. Members of the campground – originally a tent community -- conducted popular Bible meetings where the cottages are now.

History of Boston on Display Along This Walk to the Sea

Boston is now home to a great, free activity that is ideal for families and people who love history, urban architecture, and the outdoors. The new Walk to the Sea is a self-guided trail that encompasses four centuries of Boston history. Beginning at the State House on Beacon Hill, overlooking Boston's ancient Common, the Walk passes among historic landmarks and skyscrapers. The walk from summit to sea, spanning one mile and descending a hundred feet, brings Boston history to life. Large panels are situated along the walking trail to guide and educate walkers.

Sculpture In the Outdoors

deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum at 51 Sandy Pond Road in Lincoln is a significant premier destination for contemporary art and sculpture, a mere 20 miles west of Boston. The vast grounds, covered with lawns and copses of woodlands, are the backdrop to a constantly changing landscape of large-scale, outdoor, modern and contemporary sculpture. Indoor space in the museum building also has exhibit space. The park and museum offer year-round activities, like snowshoe tours, yoga outdoors, nature tours, artist conversations, and screenings. Enjoy revolutionary artistic visions and stretch your muscles outdoors. Phone: 781-259-8355

Mission: To Surprise and Delight

Nantucket Bookworks at 25 Broad Street in Nantucket, declares that its mission is “surprise and delight visitors.” This is a full-service, general interest bookstore selling new books, with a small selection of out-of-print Nantucket titles. There is an extensive children's room, card room, young adult section, and Nantucket Book section. Also, you never know what kind of eclectic sidelines might wind up in the store. The store sells and accepts ABA gift cards, good for use at more than 200 participating independent bookstores across the country. Open daily, year-round. Hours vary seasonally. Phone: 508-228-4000

Movie Costuming on Display at Heritage

The featured exhibit at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich for the 2016 season is Cut! Costume and the Cinema,on display April 16 through October 2016. Five centuries of fashion and style as interpreted by costume designers and worn by favorite stars will be on display along with props, movie clips and photos and movie memorabilia. Forty-three costumes worn Scarlett Johansson, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Maggie Smith, Heath Ledger, Ralph Fiennes Randy Quaid, Minnie Driver, Jude Law, Robert Downey, Jr., Keira Knightley and others are included in this star-studded exhibition of movie costume excellence. More than 30 characters are represented from some 25 films. Cinephiles, take note! 508-888-3300

Yiddish Books & Jewish Storytelling

The Yiddish Book Center at 1021 West Street in Amherst tells the story of the Jewish people by rescuing, translating, and disseminating Yiddish books. The public is welcome to visit, read, listen, and learn. Inside the center’s doors, you will enter a lebedike velt, a lively world of Jewish culture: a million Yiddish books, exhibits, galleries, a bookstore, and two performance halls. Put on headphones and listen to Yiddish radio, or settle in to watch classic Yiddish cinema. Picnic in our park-like grounds in summer, or curl up in our reading library in winter. Open year-round, Sunday to Friday. Guided tours. Phone: 413-256-4900

Stretch Out on Cape Cod

Wellfleet Preservation Hall at 335 Main Street in Wellfleet is a genuine town center, “celebrating arts, culture, and community,” according to its motto. Its dynamic presence in the town sometimes moves at a slower pace, though, at the many movement classes held throughout the week and the year. Among them: Zumba, slow flow yoga, Kripaulu yoga, and Capoeira (a Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music). Whether you live nearby or you’re spending vacation time on Cape Cod, you’re welcome to drop in; classes are held almost every day of the week, at morning and afternoon hours. Loosen up for an even better stay at one of the dreamiest places in New England. 508-349-1800.

Boston from the Sidewalk

Boston calls itself the birthplace of the American Revolution, and you are likely to agree after taking an information-packed stroll with Boston CityWalks, which offers several walking tours that show off the old and contemporary beauties of this world-class city. The various walks may touch on the Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, the Public Garden, Back Bay, and Copley Square. Walkers may choose to have lunch at an outdoor café on Newbury Street, shop in Copley Place and Prudential center, or visit one of Boston’s fine museums. Walks are held daily, year-round. See website for schedule and tickets. Call to confirm. Phone: 866-939-2557.

Plum Island Is a Peach

Plum Island is an 11-mile long barrier Island off the shore ofNewburyport, with miles of public beaches and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, home to over 800 species of birds, plants and animals. Sandy Point State Reservation on the southern tip of Plum Island is a wonderful place to swim or explore the life of the tide pools (kids love this!). the Audubon Society's Joppa Flats Education Center is located on Plum Island Turnpike on your way to the island. Find chances to join bird watching tours and other educational programs for adults or the whole family. Join a kayaking excursion with Plum Island Kayak – entrancing! Or, you can spend the day deep sea fishing with Captain’s Fishing Parties – which also offers sunset dinner cruises.

Old Italy Flavors at Caffe Vittoria

You would expect a certain old-world ambiance in any of the Little Italy neighborhoods that bright American cities, and Caffe Vittoria, at 296 Hanover Street in Boston does not disappoint. Established in 1929, Caffe Vittoria declares it was the first Italian caffe in Boston’s North End district. Coffee, Italian pastries and fine beverages are the specialties here. With four levels of seating and three full liquor bars, there is something for everyone. Taste the caffe’s grappa from its extensive collection. This is a sweet stop at any time of the year, with marvelous people-watching just outdoors in one of the liveliest ethnic enclaves in New England. Phone: 617-227-7606.

Rinse Off the Beach Sand & Head to the Theater

Take a 19th century Cape meetinghouse, an extraordinary history, and more than 80 seasons of top-notch professional theater, and it’s easy to see why the Cape Playhouse, at 820 Route 6A in Dennis Village, is one of the most famous summer theaters in the country. On the schedule for the 2016 are “The Last of the Red Hot Lover,” “Music Man,” “Talley’s Folly,” and “Cabaret,” “The Mousetrap” and more. On Thursday and Friday mornings in summer, theater programs designed for children bring classic tales, zany humor, beloved stories and lively music for young ones. Phone: 877-385-3911.

Wilbur Theater Is a Historic House of Hits

The Wilbur Theatre at 246 Tremont Street in Boston -- the heart of the city’s theater district -- originally opened in 1915 and was resurrected in 2008 by Bill Blumenreich, former owner of Comedy Connection. Almost every week’s schedule include A-list talent in the world of comedy as well a live music from national acts. Shows in 2016, for instance, include Comedians Kathy Griffin and Tracey Morgan and Lisa Lampanelli; along with Artie Lange, Frank Caliendo, Leon Russell with Dave Mason, tommy Emmanuel, and Thunder From Down Under, and many more. Phone: 617-248-9700

Antiques Are Plentiful at This Cambridge Market

For general browsing and entertainment, or for a hard-target search for a special antique-purchasing need, Cambridge Antique Market at 201 Msgr. O’Brien Hwy. in Cambridge is a gold mine. More than 150 dealers on five floors are selling furniture, lamps, art, paper goods, sports memorabilia, glass, ceramics, photos, books, silver, textiles, tools, kitchenware, toys, dolls, advertisements, religious items, and costume jewelry, hats, gloves, and accessories. The market is across the road from the MBTA Lechmere Green Line Station. It also has a sister business in Provincetown. Phone: 617-868-9655

Cranberry Wine is a Unique Bay State Taste

The family-owned Plymouth Bay Winery , at 114 Water Street in Plymouth, overlooking Plymouth Bay, produces cranberry and other fruit wines. The winery is located in the heart of Plymouth's historic waterfront district, close to the Mayflower II, Plymouth Rock, and other historic attractions and great places to dine. The owners welcome the public for tastings, saying, “There isn't an event or holiday that cranberry wine won't serve as a warm embrace.” Open daily, March 1 to December 31. Free tastings, with no appointment necessary. Phone: 508-746-2100.

We Take the Name “Emporium” Seriously

North Adams has a fun and busy downtown center bookended by the art museum, MASS MoCA, on one end and the Berkshire hills on the other. Among the distinctive shops on the Main Street – where you are likely to enjoy browsing and to find a perfect tidbit for yourself or a friend, is Berkshire Emporium & Antiques, a mammoth shop of two floors and several rooms, at 59 Main Street. This attractive shop is stocked with local products, antiques, and specialty gifts. No need to take a long break at meal time; within the emporium, you can buy edibles off the shelf or visit Luma's Muffin & Mug café, serving sweet and savory crepes made to order, and delicious coffee, all within the store. 413-664-4032.

Peaceful Hike in Serene Woods

Highfield Hall & Gardens at 56 Highfield Drive in Falmouth is a historic home surrounded by beautiful gardens and wood. Adjacent Beebe Woods has a large network of walking trails over miles of wooded ridges and steep hollows and around a pond called the Punch Bowl. The Hall is also home to several arts groups, and special events are held here periodically. People are welcome to visit April 1 through October, daily except Saturdays. Guided tours of Highfield Hall take place year-round for groups. The Hall holds a guided nature walk on the fourth Tuesday of each month. Phone: 508- 495-1878

Poke Into the Lives of the Seals

Monomay National Wildlife Refuge is on a lanky drip of an island off the southeastern tip of Cape Cod. The Monomoy Island Ferry Rip Rider , docked at 30 Wikis Way in Chatham, on the mainland, takes visitors on a 90-minute tour along the west side of the Monomoy Islands, with views of the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, ample views of lots of seals, and the Monomoy Lighthouse. A new, naturalist-guided walking on the island tour offer guests a chance to walk out to the Monomoy Lighthouse, looking for deer, owls, seals hauled out on the beach, and innumerable shore and song birds. This would be one of your most brilliant Cape Cod vacation memories. Phone: 508-237-0420

Zeiterion Brings Great Theater to New Bedford

For lively, dynamic, creative entertainment of all stripes, stay tuned to the Zeiterion Theatre on Purchase Street in New Bedford. This historic performing arts center is located in a restored 1923 vaudeville house, and its programs include summer musicals, comedy, great American music, dance, special events, and family fun. The 2016 season includes performances by Trombone Shorty, the Peking Acrobats, a Night of Queen, St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn, Doo-wop 12, Kenny Barron, “Where the Wild Things Are,” "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," “Grease,” and much more. Check the theater’s website for schedules. Phone: 508-997-5664.

HyArts Shanties on Hyannis Harbor

A gaggle of artists’ shanties lines the boardwalk along Hyannis Harbor in Hyannis, beckoning to visitors to enjoy manmade art on one side and the beauty of the harbor on the other. Works may include photography; painting; jewelry; ceramics; mosaics; mariner knot work; tapestry; fiber art and much more. Eight-five artists will rotate in and out of the shanties during the season; many work there and enjoy talking with visitors. Stroll the boardwalk and visit artists and plan to eat a picnic in the park. Or, there are plenty of waterfront restaurants at the harbor and on Main Street. Live music nearby on Saturday evenings, 6:30 p.m., in July and August. Shanties are open weekends from mid-May to mid-June and daily thereafter through Columbus Day. 508-862-4767

Seaside and in the City, Interesting Birds Flock in Massachusetts

Massachusetts’s skies host more than 300 different species of birds. A fine place to find bird watching resources is Mass Audubon, which can give you comprehensive information on programs, bird walks, and resources. Here are three special birding areas: Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island near Newburyport. This beautiful and unspoiled barrier island is one of the top 10 birding sites in the country. The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham, out on the elbow of Cape Cod, is a rest spot for migrating sea birds and winter home for sea ducks. You can get to the island via the Monomoy Island Ferry. For urban visitors, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge is a beautiful and peaceful garden cemetery with flowers and vistas. It also is an oasis for songbirds on their northward migration in April and May. The cemetery’s website even has a page about bird watching on the property.

Climb Toward the Light

In earlier centuries, the dangerous sandbars off the shore gave Cape Cod the nickname of the Grave of the Atlantic. Early lifesaving techniques and lighthouses were the first weapons against tragedy on the sea flanking the Cape. Highland Light, Cape Cod’s oldest light house, built in 1797 (and rebuilt twice since then), on Highland Light Road, stands as a beacon looking eastward over the Atlantic from the cliffs of North Truro. It was built by permission from President George Washington, and it stands 120 feet above the ocean, shining a beam of light 174 feet above sea level. Visitors (above 48 inches tall) may climb the lighthouse every day from mid-May to mid-October; tours are offered from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Astonishing Nature Lessons

There is always something interesting to see and learn at the Harvard Museum of Natural History on Oxford Street in Cambridge. Classes and lectures for kids and adults on many fascinating subjects – from the source for our food to nature drawing -- are ongoing. For fun with kids, explore the Dinosaur Walkabout. Using the Dinosaur Walkabout guide, search for corresponding labels in the museum's galleries to find real scientific evidence of a dinosaur world more astonishing than anything you could imagine. Phone: 617-495-3045

Laugh Boston Comedy Center Cackles Year-Round

Laugh Boston is a vibrant center of comedic culture where teens and adults will delight in a full schedule of year-round events, including weekly special shows, comedy festivals and free showcases, big-name comedy acts and blooming local stand-up comedians! Located at 425 summer Street, Laugh Boston is one of the city’s big and cozy hubs for comedy performance. Click the above link to find more special events and festivals for this summer and fall. Laugh Boston is home to all kinds of comedians, from dorky improv players to tricky hypnotists. Phone: 617-725-2844

Bike to Cape Cod's Beaches

Get out and be active at this Province Lands Bike Trail located in Provincetown. This 5.25 mile ride begins at the Province Lands Visitor Center where informational movies, exhibits, a book store, and the observation tower are located. Ranger guided tours are provided to explore sand dunes and hollows. The bike trail explores every aspect of the landscape from the cranberry bogs, marshes, and saltwater kettle ponds. The trail has extensions that provide access to Race Point and Herring Cove beaches. Look for signs for the Province Land Visitor Center at the end of Race Point Road for the entrance to the bike trails. Phone: 508-957-0738

What’s Better Than the Butterfly Place?

What’s not to like about a visit to the butterflies? At the Butterfly Place at 120 Tyngsboro Road in Westford a massive glass atrium building contains up to 500 butterflies of 50 species from around the world. Display cases contain butterflies at various stages of development. This area also includes a 15-minute video describing the life cycle of a butterfly. At the Show & Tell Bench, experts can tell you all about discuss these fascinating creatures. Gift shop features butterfly hatching kits. Open daily, from Valentine’s Day to Halloween. 978-392-0955

Pittsfield Hops with Shopping and Browsing Fun

Pittsfield is a lively town centrally located between other stars of the Berkshires, like Stockbridge, Lenox, Williamstown and North Adams. The downtown is a fun place for dining, browsing and shopping (with lots of seasonal festivals and public entertainments). If you need a gift for yourself or anyone else, the options here are delightful: the stylish shop, Circa, is a place to fine mid-century antiques, and a toothsome selection of vintage clothing and jewelry. Paul Rich and Sons Home Furnishings has made a name for itself in the town over a long period to time. Shop here for high-quality furniture. One of our weaknesses is for charming clocks, and that’s what you will find at West Side Clock Shop. And, be sure to investivate Whitney Center for the Arts, for year-round arts and cultural programs.

Fateful Voyage to the New World

Visiting Mayflower II, a reproduction of the original Mayflower located at State Pier in Plymouth, is an extraordinary experience. The details of the ship, from the solid oak timbers and tarred hemp rigging to the wood and horn lanterns and hand-colored maps, are re-created to exactly resemble the original 17th-century vessel. Come aboard and learn about the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower and the perils of maritime travel. In 2016, the ship is open to the public from mid-June to November 27, daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It then leaves Plymouth for extensive repairs, returning in 2019. Phone: 508-746-1622.

Dune and Beach Walks Near Provincetown

Never dismiss the Outer Cape as a romantic winter destination. Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet all have a core group of restaurants and bars dishing up warmth and sustenance. You will be looking for both after a vigorous walk onto the Province Lands, north of Provincetown. On a bright winter day, the views are glorious. Start at the Province Lands Visitor Center on Race Point Road, off Route 6. Walking routes can be adjusted for shorter and longer distances, with wonderful views of the Province Lands, Race Point Lighthouse, the Coast Guard Station, and more.

Biking the Beautiful North Shore

Great Freedom Adventures and its experienced guides offer narrated biking trips -- usually involving overnight stays -- is places of great natural beauty and history. The company's Boston’s North Shore Bike, Hike, and Kayak Adventure Trip starts in Ispwich and covers territory that includes Plum Island and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Crane Estate, Salem, Rockport and a bit of kayaking in the Essex River basin. Phone: 508-545-1864.

Marine Life Exhibit Is a Floor-to-Ceiling Show

The new Marine Life exhibition, opened late November 2015 at the Harvard Museum of Natural History at 26 Oxford Street in Cambridge invites visitors into a floor-to-ceiling re-creation of life in New England’s coastal waters. Step through and watch the models of jellies, a giant sea turtle, and other sea animals appear to swim your head. Explore displays of real fishes, mollusks, crustaceans, corals, and other marine organisms and learn about research happening now. An ocean exploration theater takes you on a trip into the surface and deep oceans of the world. Open year-round, daily. Phone: 617-495-3045.

Sketch; Improve; No Comedic Holds Barred

You never know what’s going to happen at ImprovBoston comedy club at 40 Prospect Street in Cambridge. It is known for sketch and improve comedy, but also offers stand-up comedy. Fans have favorite: Battle Royale, Harold Night, Naked Comedy Showcase. Most of the comedians are engaging and hilarious. Tickets are only $10 to $18. Take in dinner at a nearby eatery, then the show, and finish the experience with a nightcap at The Field, the next-door the bar and comedian hangout. Phone: 617-576-1253

Peaceful Refuge for a Variety of Critters

Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary at 37 Eddy Street in Norton is a nonprofit stay-for-life animal reserve established to care for abused and abandoned farm and exotic animals. Visitors can take a tour the farm, meet the animals who live there, and enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of the season. Winslow Farm also offers a nature trail, full playground, birthday parties, perennial garden, and many activities throughout the year, like the October Festival, Sheep Shearing, Easter Egg Hunt, Green Sprouts, Renaissance Faire, Yuletide Festival, and Arts and Craft Faire. Open daily except Tuesdays, year-round. Phone: 508-285-6451.

Unique Knitwear at Isobel & Cleo

Isobel & Cleo is a beautiful knitwear shop just a few steps from the dock in Nantucket, off of Straight Wharf. The shop’s knitted designs for sweaters, pants, scarves and other items are absolutely unique. Charlotte Hess, the company’s head knitwear designer, is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and The Glasgow School of Art. The shop is open from June to mid-October and the two women work at the studio at 2 Union Street the rest of the year. This is artistic clothing and the shop is so-o-o easy to find.

“Speak for Yourself, John”

John Alden and Priscilla Mullins Alden, travelers aboard the Mayflower, settled and raised their 10 children in the town of Duxbury. Their home still exists at the Alden Historic Site on Alden Street in Duxbury. Here you can find out the backdrop to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1858 poem “Courtship of Myles Standish,” a fictionalized version of the love triangle among John and Priscilla and Myles. The Standish homesite is nearby. Open June to September, Wednesdays through Saturdays; and Saturdays in October. Phone: 781-934-9092.

See Boston From the Top of the Prudential Tower

You’ve enjoyed seeing Boston up close; now try the view from a distance. The public may visit the Prudential Tower (“the Pru”) at 800 Boylston Street and ascend 52 floors to visit the Top of the Hub and the Skywalk Observatory. Open daily, but hours vary by season (check website). The fee is $11 to $16, based on age, and it includes an audio tour and entry into the Dreams of Freedom Museum, which tell the story of immigration in Boston. But call ahead because the skywalk closes for special events and bad weather.

Yo, Ho, Ho …

Remember, from history class, the Triangle Trade? If you do, you know that rum was one of the points of the triangle. Now, a Massachusetts-based run distiller, Privateer Rum, is reviving the New England rum tradition, producing silver and amber rums using time-honored techniques. Privateer, at 28 Mitchell Road in Ipswich offer tours of its distillery, where people can visit the barrel rooms; see where rums are filled, sealed, labeled, signed and packaged by hand; and taste a flight of rums including unreleased batches. These 75-minute tours are offered Fridays and Saturdays by appointment for $25 per person. Leave your parrot and cutlass at home. Phone: 978-356-0477

It’s Summer: Dance!

You’re on Martha’s Vineyard; you’re on vacation; life is beautiful. What’s the next move? For some of us the answer is clear: dance! DancetheYard, in the town of Chilmark is the island’s dance collective. At the Yard’s monthly DanceHall events, the public is invited to drop in and do what needs to be done. Bring your dancing shoes, whatever they may be and expect the music to be loud and joyous. Artists featured at DanceHall have included island rocker Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, NYC’s DJ Rekha, father and daughter duo Arlen and Lexie Roth, guitarist Garrett James, and many others. See the Dance The Yard website for schedule of DanceHall nights. Also you should know that Dance The Yard hosts occasional afternoon pop-up performances in the Mytoi Gardens on Chappaquiddick Island. DanceTheYard quietly invigorates the Japanese-style gardens with improvised solos, duets, trios, and quartets. Family friendly and free. 508-645-9662