Find family, history, & cultural activities from Boston to Berkshires, indoors and out
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 offers memorable adventures for the whole family. Plan a getaway to the cultural and historic sites of Boston and spring for a luxury hotel or waterfront lodging in this “Athens of America.”
Route 2 (Mohawk Trail)
Charlemont, MA, 01339
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.
66 Thunder Mountain Road
Charlemont, MA, 01339
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!
231 River Street
North Adams, MA, 01247
MassMoCA and more in quaint and quirky North Adams
Visit the world renowned Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) and stay across the street at this fascinating lodging in restored Victorian row houses. You’ll enjoy the relaxed, cozy atmosphere and quirky and colorful spirit within. Architectural framings and angles vary. Individual decors give a distinct personality to every space. No two rooms are alike and the comforts are everywhere from lofts and/or spiral staircases, separate living rooms, working fireplaces, to private slate floored baths with Jacuzzi, claw foot tubs, and separate shower stalls. There’s complimentary continental breakfast, a heated outdoor pool, fitness center and lobby bar. The museum highlights the northern Berkshire’s arts and crafts scene while quaint, walkable North Adams offers great shopping, restaurants, galleries and more.
40 Doaks Lane
Marblehead, MA, 01945
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.
30 Main Street
Stockbridge, MA, 01262
Make the Red Lion Inn your headquarters for Berkshire memories
There is everything to like about a visit to Stockbridge, MA. There’s two plus centuries of America’s history. Here’s the adopted home of Norman Rockwell not far from his celebrated museum. The studios and creations of famed artists, musicians, and authors are within easy reach. The outdoors offers hiking, biking, skiing, water sports and more. In short, there is something for everyone. The Red Lion Inn has it too. Rooms with complimentary WIFI, air conditioning, cable television, and cozy plush bathrobes. There’s great food rooted in the region’s traditions. Enjoy the fitness room, the partners spa, a heated outdoor pool, a porch with rocking chairs, a gift shop, nightly entertainment at the Lion’s Den, and a very curious lobby cat.
50 Walkers Brook Drive
Reading, MA, 01867
Exciting indoor ropes course adventure in Reading
Jordan’s BeanStalk™ Adventure Ropes Course in Reading Massachusetts, gets you moving from one activity to the next to test your agility and balance. Make your way across this one-of-a-kind sky ropes course and head up 12 or 24 feet onto zig zag beams, crisscross angled rope ladders, and spaghetti hand lines. Walk the plank at 24 feet then travel out on a 6 inch standalone beam, pivot and return. Enjoy two levels of challenging ropes course, 30 exciting activities and for young adventurers, there’s BeanSprout™, a specially designed course for children 2-7. Adventurers must be at least 48" tall or 42" if accompanied by a chaperone. Groups of 10 or more paying on the same transaction receive a 10% discount.
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, off Route 20
Sturbridge, MA, 01566
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.
15 Arlington Street
Boston, MA, 02116
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.
149 Pond Street
Stoneham, MA, 02180
A century’s old great place to visit
This popular century old year round attraction sits on 26 acres and is home to exotic animals from around the world. You’ll meet “Major” the Polar bear and an arctic fox, bald eagle, black bear, lynx and reindeer in Yukon Creek. There’s Boston’s only white-cheeked gibbon exhibit featuring monkeys, lynxes, snow leopards, Mexican gray wolves, river otters, and the capybara. There’s a free-flight aviary plus macaws, flamingos, tamarins, and porcupines in Windows to the Wild. See jaguars, cougars, coyotes, and Gila monsters at the Treasures of the Sierra Madre exhibit. The Safari Grill offers kid friendly food and you’ll find gifts and souvenirs at the Peacock Place Gift Shop. Opening Thanksgiving evening is Zoo Lights that runs through January 4.
Lenox, MA, 01240
Endless adventure and recreation in a Berkshires vacation
The Berkshire Hills has it all. And you can have it too at this magnificent and secluded resort set on a picturesque 223 acre estate. Your home away from home can be a one or two bedroom condominium with master bathroom and Jacuzzi, a fully equipped kitchen, fireplace, living and dining areas, sleeper sofa, television, stereo, DVD player and a deck overlooking the pond. Right outside your door are gas barbecue grills, tennis, shuffleboard, bocce courts, a playground, indoor and outdoor pools, exercise room with hot tub and sauna, rowboats and canoes, trails for walking and cross country skiing. Within a short drive, enjoy Berkshire’s history, art, music, old inns and taverns, great food and shopping. Breathtaking mountain scenery included.
55 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA, 01609
Discover a great museum in central Massachusetts
This central Massachusetts museum is considered one of the finest mid-sized museums in the country. Follow history’s path through 50 centuries of the world’s antiquities, paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, decorative arts, arms, armor, and more. There’s an exciting arms and armor demonstration, Art Carts, and interactive programs for children and families. WAM features a 37,500-piece collection including works by Cassatt, Gauguin, Goya, Monet, Sargent and Homer. You’ll find floor mosaics from the ancient city of Antioch, a medieval Chapter House and cutting-edge contemporary art. Exhibits change regularly showcasing masterworks, gems, and important works on loan. Enjoy lunch in the Museum Café and unique gifts and mementos in the museum shop. For exhibition and program schedules, check the museum website.
1098 Fall River Avenue
Seekonk, MA, 02771
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.
Visitor Center - 134 Court Street
Plymouth, MA, 02360
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.
45 Hull Shore Drive
Hull, MA, 02045
Great seaside fun just south of Boston
Just minutes from Boston on the waterfront in Hull is this charming and fun filled resort that’s perfect for a quick getaway or longer stay. Set on a 3-mile stretch of sandy white beach you’ll enjoy spectacular sunrises and views of three of Boston's historic lighthouses. You’re at the gateway to historic Plymouth and Cape Cod, and to many of New England's most popular tourist attractions and historic sites. Full service amenities include an indoor pool and fitness club, an on-site restaurant, and an oceanfront conference center for meetings, celebrations and special events. With walking distance are a variety of fine and casual restaurants, eclectic shops and boutiques.
Historic Shore Street
Falmouth, MA, 02541
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.
65 Main Street
Watertown, MA, 02472
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.
50 Ferncroft Road
Danvers, MA, 01923
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.
1 College Street
Worcester, MA, 01610
A museum with a mission
If you’re someone who appreciates art, you’ll always find something fascinating at the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross located in Worcester. Offering a series of loan and original exhibitions throughout the academic year, frequently curated by distinguished faculty members of the College, the Cantor Gallery regularly hosts receptions, guest lectures, readings, and student presentations. The Cantor Foundation Resource Gallery highlights selections from the permanent collection or exhibitions of community interest. The Cantor Gallery’s mission is to educate the community about social, cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic issues encountered through art.
5 Pine Street
Carver, MA, 02330
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.
200 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA, 02115
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.
75 Falmouth Heights Road
Falmouth, MA, 02540
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.
300 North Main Street
Florence, MA, 01062
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
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.
61 Market Street, Unit 1C
Lowell, MA, 01852
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.
1090 Main Street
Williamstown, MA, 01267
Williams Inn places you amidst wonderful things to do in the Berkshires
The Williams Inn on the campus of Williams College offers a cozy and well-serviced home base for your explorations of the Berkshires of Massachusetts – among the most beautiful and culturally rich places in all of New England. The campus wears the classic images of ivy and old stonework, and the inn embraces classic Colonial architecture with comforts like fireplaces, tavern dining, sauna, hot tubs, and heated pool. Stepping out, you can enjoy art treasures at the nearby Clark Institute and professional theater at the Williamstown Theatre Festival (in summer). Fans of outdoor life are near Stone Hill Trail, endowed with views of Vermont mountains, and the scenic drive up Mount Greylock. Doing business with the college? Stay here but slip away for unforgettable Berkshire explorations.
Come play in the sweet mountain air this winter
Less than three hours from New York City and Boston, the Berkshires of Western MA offer culture and adventure year round. In winter, though, it is the crystal-clear blue skies… snow-topped mountains and fields calling out for ski and snowshoe tracks that make us an ideal vacation destination. So, too, are leisurely visits to our first-class museums, soul-satisfying meals at our many gourmet restaurants or simply finding the perfect fireplace to relax in front of at one of our cozy New England bed and breakfast. 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 is a welcome respite in the winter. To learn more visit us at berkshires.org or find us on Facebook at Visit the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.
One Franklin Park Road
Boston, MA, 02121
Meet the animal kingdom in Boston’s largest park
There is not a drop in the excitement at this magnificent Zoo no matter your age. Part of Boston’s famed Emerald Necklace, this 72 acre natural setting is Boston’s largest park and home to wildlife from around the world. Three exhibit areas including the Tropical Forest, the Kalahari Kingdom and the Giraffe Savannah offer up lions, zebras, giraffe, lowland gorillas, lemurs, mandrills and other fine beasts. The Aussie Aviary features a free-flight, interactive bird adventure. You’ll find programs and classes for families and school groups and facilities for birthday parties and corporate events. The Things Wild Gift Shoppe has what you’re looking for, and the southwestern-themed Giddy-Up Grill and Kalahari Kitchen serves great food and snacks. Franklin Park Zoo is open year-round except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
5 Water Street
Fall River, MA, 02721
A day out you won’t forget
In 1964, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, including over 6000 school children, banded together to save the battleship, USS Massachusetts, from being scrapped, and bring her to the waterfront of historic Fall River on June 12, 1965.
During her dedication on August 14, 1965, the battleship’s historic significance was further recognized as she was made the official World War II Memorial for the Commonwealth and opened as a public museum. Over the years, she has been joined by the destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the submarine Lionfish, PT 617 and PT 796, and the Soviet built missile corvette Hiddensee to form the largest collection of historic naval ships in the world, America’s Fleet Museum at Battleship Cove.
Today, Battleship Cove stands as one of the region’s most popular attractions. Visitors can take a voyage through this country’s incredible wartime maritime history on 6 different ships. Guests can even stay overnight!
Real Pirate History and the Loot to Go With It
The Whydah Pirate Museum
, opening June 2016 at 674 MA-28 in West Yarmouth
, is a 12,000-square-foot treasure house, so to speak, of pirate history and pirate lore. The brand-new interactive science museum welcomes people to see, touch, and handle authenticated pirate treasure, discovered in 1984 off the coast of Wellfleet. The Whydah was a fully-rigged British ship that traveled between Africa, the Caribbean, and Great Britain. In 1717, it was captured by the pirate Samuel Bellamy and used over the next year to board 53 vessels, collecting their riches and treasures. During a storm off the coast of Wellfleet the Whydah ship sunk in 1717. The Whydah Pirate Museum provides an interactive and fun learning experience for children and adults. Open daily.
A highlight of natural beauty on Martha’s Vineyard is Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge
on Chappaquiddick Island
, adjacent to Martha's Vineyard. Chappaquiddick Island’s eastern edge is a barrier beach that extends for seven miles, passing the Cape Poge Lighthouse to the Gut. The refuge offers 14 miles of beachfront and oversand vehicle and walking trails. Facilities include picnic tables, bike rack, restrooms, which are open May 30 to October 30. Tours include a natural history tour, a wildlife kayak or canoe tour, a fishing discovery tour, and Cape Poge Lighthouse tour. Open year-round, daily, with an entrance fee May 30 to October 15. Phone: 508-627-8390.
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.
Visit a 1636 Working Grist Mill: Pilgrims! Gears! Cornmeal!
So many stories are packed into the reproduction on Town Brook in Plymouth
of the 1636 Plimoth Grist Mill
built here by the Mayflower travelers. People gather at noon on Fridays to see the 2,500-pound pill stones moved, positioned, and used to grind corn, a huge
improvement in the lives of the English newcomers. What else? Kids and adults love to see the mechanics of the water wheel, gears, stones, and grain hopper. In spring, watch the herring alewives fight the current up the adjacent fish ladder to go upstream to reproduce. Buy cornmeal and learn about Pilgrim cooking and dining. Gift shop, too! You will remember this visit long after you return to the 21st century. 508-746-1622.
We Take the Name “Emporium” Seriously
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.
You Like Candles? We Got Candles
This is one of New England's most popular destinations, with lots of fun shopping and holiday spirit. Yankee Candle Village
on Routes 5 and 10 in South Deerfield
offers a unique shopping, entertainment, and dining experience. Explore the largest selection of Yankee Candle fragrances and styles. Stroll through the Bavarian Christmas Village, Nutcracker Castle, and Home Store. Enjoy fabulous candle, home décor, and holiday shopping. Savor freshly made fudge and other sweet treats in the Fudge Shop. Dip your own candles and watch history brought to life in the Candlemaking Museum. Open daily. Phone: 877-636-7707.
Thoreauly Antiques Preserves History One Artifact at a Time
The home of Minute Man National Historical Park and many New England literary giants, Concord
is an uber-historic place, even for New England. Thoreauly Antiques
– its name a nod to one of the area’s most-beloved writers -- at 25 Walden Street in the center of town is crammed with unusual antiques from early America, Europe and beyond. Only 16 dealers present their collections here, and the dealers’ names on the website testify to their willingness to stand behind their choices. (Open daily; 978-371-0100) Browse awhile and then enjoy a gracious lunch or dinner at Concord’s Colonial Inn,
welcoming guests since Colonial times.
Wet Paint All Winter at Dyer’s
Does life stand still in Provincetown during winter? Summer visitors might think so, but, no, it does not. Many lodgings close down, but Dyer’s Beach House
landed on the brilliant idea of inviting an artist to live and work at the guest house all winter. The artist’s work is displayed in guest rooms and sold at the guest house the following summer. In 2017, come enjoy the work of guest artist Peg Reynolds
. Provincetown has a long history of innovative art. 508-487-2061.
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.
Yo, Ho, Ho and a Beverage of Your Choice
Forget Talk like a Pirate Day. Do you want to sing like a pirate, or a sailor of any description? The USS Constitution Museum at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown
hosts a Chantey and Maritime Sing
on the third Saturday of every month from 2 to 5 p.m. These monthly gatherings, on the 3rd Sunday of every month, are family friendly and open to anyone who would like to participate. Bring singers; enjoy the museum. 617-426-1812.
See Deerfield Through 19th Century Artist’s Eyes
In a place with such natural beauty as Massachusetts’s Pioneer Valley region, it is reasonable that painters have worked there to re-create the countryside on canvas. A painter from the 19th century named James Well Champney worked in Deerfield
and much of his work now graces the walls of the Deerfield Inn
and its bright, airy Champney’s Restaurant & Tavern. Deerfield Inn is among the several New England lodgings lucky to show original art, often by local artists. A visit to his historic town and inn, or a meal of fresh-cooked New England dishes at Champney’s puts you in the middle of a 19th-century vision of this unique place.
Country Store Fuels Your Day in Plymouth
A visit to Bramhall's Country Store
at 2 Sandwich Road in the Chiltonville section of Plymouth
will immerse you just as deeply in a traditional New England experience as will the store’s next-door neighbor, Plimouth Plantation, The 1750s-period saltbox structure houses a family business founded in 1828 by the present owner’s great-great-great-great grandfather. Let’s think of our gtaste buds: the store serves a New England triumvirate: lobster rolls, local corn, and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, along with local produce, smoothies, and other treats. Perfect for fueling the family on a Plymouth getaway. 508-746-1844.
In the Footsteps of Pilgrims
Pilgrim Spring Trail and Small's Swamp Trail
, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, are easy loop trails about one mile long, accessible off Route 6 at the Pilgrim Heights area sign in North Truro
. The trails wind around a kettle swamp and marsh and offer wonderful views of Pilgrim Lake, sand dunes, the salt meadow, and the Atlantic Ocean. A stone marker identifies the site of the first fresh water the Pilgrims found. Trails are marked with information about local history and nature. This is a fine, easy walk for people of all ages, with views of typical Cape Cod landforms and living creatures.
It might seem like all your trendy friends are heading off to yoga class these days, but the folks at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health
have been doing it and relatged health treatments for more than 30 years. Tucked away in the beautiful Berkshires of western Massachusetts, Kripalu offers a multitude of classes, workshops, and weekend retreats. Different yogic programs focus on writing, creativity, relationships, body detoxification, cooking, dancing, and even snow-shoeing. So whether you’re a long-time yoga practitioner or a dedicated couch-potato, it’s a safe bet that a stop at Kripalu will make you feel peaceful and rejuvenated. Phone: 866-200-5203.
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.
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.
Mission: To Surprise and Delight
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
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: email@example.com
Walking Tours at Tower Hill Botanic Garden
Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston
hosts 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.
Plum Island Is a Peach
is an 11-mile long barrier Island off the shore ofNewburyport
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.
Cranberry Wine is a Unique Bay State Taste
The family-owned Plymouth Bay Winery
, at 114 Water Street in
, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Delicious Bites of Far Away in Northampton and Amherst
In the sister college towns of Northampton and Amherst, several intriguing eating places opened or expanded in 2016. Falafel fix at Pita Pockets
and gourmet doughnuts at Glazed
are now available in both towns. The Northampton Nourish Juice Bar opened the full-service Nourish Wellness Café
, serving juices and smoothies and a signature Wellness Bowls. Foreign food choices in Amherst also now include Lebanese cuisine at Malek Shawarma
and food of Nepal, India, and Bhutan at Himalayan Friends Corner.
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.
Celeste Offers a Big Greeting at Hotel Marlow
Hotel art aims for the bold statement even before you enter the Kimpton Hotel Marlowe
. Guests are greeted in the courtyard by “Celeste,” a 25-foot-tall, moving, Steampunk-style sculpture made of reclaimed industrial parts that echoes the technological spirit of nearby MIT and the Boston Museum of Science. Klimpton hired Bruce Rosenbaum, owner of ModVic, and experts from Salmon Studios in Florence, MA, to fabricate this dramatic creation, a 6,000-pound reminiscence of the astrolabe, using by ancients to study the sky. Sophisticated art that celebrates the locality is showing up in New England lodgings like Hotel Marlowe, where guests find a comfortable nest to explore Boston’s treasures of all kinds.
Pittsfield Hops with Shopping and Browsing Fun
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.
Botanical Garden Offers Herbal Beauty Year-Round
Plant lovers can find a place of peaceful, studious beauty at the Botanic Garden of Smith College
on College Lane in Northampton. The garden includes thousands of plants, of course, under glass in the Lyman Conservatory and outdoors in various not-so-secret gardens. There is also a collection of dried plants. There are 60,000 pressed specimens available for research in the Herbarium. The public is invited to explore the campus arboretum and specialty gardens. Open daily, year-round. Phone: 413-585-2740.
The Irish Made Their Mark in Boston
The Irish Heritage Trail
meanders among landmarks that honor and celebrate the contributions of Irish people to the story of Massachusetts. It is a great walking lesson in history, for descendants of the Emerald Isle and anyone else interested in U.S. history. If you get tired, sit and chat with the late Boston politician James Michael Curley. Sites include the Rose Kennedy Garden, City Hall, the Irish Famine Memorial, Old Granary Burying Grounds, the State House, and much more. Phone: 617-696-9880
Scones and Clotted Cream
Brits R U.S.
at 16 Armory Street in Northampton
is a dream come true for fans of all things from across the pond.
Featuring a variety of English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish products, from sweet treats to meat pies. Anglophiles are swarming the place for delicious tidbits from the old Empire. The staff is sweet and helpful. Stop in a Christmas for pudding. 413-770-1608
Private Poet on Display in Amherst
Emily Dickinson was a loner, a recluse and a rogue female
poet who is said to have spent much of her life hiding out at home. At the
Emily Dickinson Museum
in Amherst, Massachusetts, Dickinson enthusiasts can tour that home, and the landscaped grounds that
inspired so much of her poetry. Visitors can take a guided walk through the
house and learn all about the poet’s idiosyncrasies, 19th Century architecture,
and the Dickinson family drama. See the room where the prolific poet wrote her masterpieces and
learn why, 1,800 poems later, her life and work have generated more than a
century of scholarly debate. Phone: 413-542-8161.
Folk Artwork Makes Unique, Personal Gifts
Visit the Ten Thousand Villages
store at 82 Main Street in Northampton
to browse and purchase beautiful folk art, ceramics, textiles, baskets, jewelry, wall hangings and wall art, pillows, rugs, mirrors, vases, incense, candleholders, and furniture handmade by artists in developing parts of the world. Each product reflects the traditions and cultures of its maker. Enjoy the international music, smell the aroma of gourmet coffee, and taste the luxuriously rich chocolate. Your fair trade purchase of handmade jewelry, home decor and gifts helps improve the lives of thousands of artisans in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Phone: 413-582-9338.
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
Meet Underwater Pacific Life in Boston
Having trouble scheduling a side trip to the Pacific Continental shelf off the coast of Washington? No problem! New England Aquarium at 1 Central Wharf in Boston
has renovated and expanded its Olympic Coast exhibit
to display the fascinating plant and animal life of the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, an underwater national park that protects 135 miles of shoreline along Washington State. Come and watch the activities of tide pool invertebrates like hermit crabs, sea stars, sea cucumbers, snails, and anemones. The Olympic Coast is also home to the giant Pacific octopus, the largest known species of octopus. Kids are tickled by some of these wacky-looking critters. 617-973-5200.
In the 19th century, hundreds of ships passed by Nantucket Island each day. Unpredictable storms, dense fog, and strong currents could catch the most experienced sailors off guard. Treacherous shoals and inclement weather led to over 700 shipwrecks near Nantucket, causing the area to be dubbed “a graveyard of the Atlantic.” The Nantucket Shipwreck and Lifesaving Museum
at 158 Polpis Road, Nantucket
, preserves the memory of Islanders who risked their lives to save shipwrecked mariners. The museum takes visitors inside maritime history, featuring over 5,000 objects from famous shipwrecks and lifesaving equipment used to save seafarers in trouble. Open daily, late May through Columbus Day.
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.
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.
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
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.
Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides Near Mount Greylock
Dave Larabee of Sweet Brook Farm
and his team of Belgian horses, Bob and Bud, will tour you through the farm's beautiful property with a unique view of Mount Greylock on runners coasting over the snow. Sleigh rides last approximately 45 minutes with a break for hot cocoa in "The Old Sap Bucket Inn," a cozy cabin in the woods. If no snow is available, the wagon is used at sleigh prices. Rides are available daily, operating at 11 a.m., noon, 1, 2, and 3 p.m. 413-441-4302
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
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.
Book Lovers, Dig In on Nantucket
For some of us, vacation and the beach are the time and place to dig into a great (or silly, or sentimental) book. The little island of Nantucket can solve your book-buying needs year-round at at least two well-used bookstore. Mitchell’s Book Corner
on Main Street is open-year round, and visitors praise its travel section, with lots and lots of titles – fiction, non-fiction, and coffee-table books -- about Nantucket history (508-228-1080). Nantucket Bookworks
at 25 Broad Street gets big huzzahs from visitors who love books. It is near the ferry terminal and visitors say you will find a big selection of new books. It is welcoming to kids, and you can also shop here for board games, cards, calendars and silly gifts (508-228-4000).
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.
Morgan’s Mansion Hosts Lots of Fun Seasonal Events
Call him a robber baron, but at least J. P. Morgan took care of his kid sister; the mansion built for her in 1893 is a testament to that. Ventfort Hall
is an imposing Jacobean Revival-style mansion with a history dating back to the grandeur and opulence of the Gilded Age. Despite its brush with demolition in the 1980s, today the mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and declared an official project of “Save America’s Treasures.” Visitors can tour the grand estate, peruse the art gallery, or simply enjoy the architecture. Open daily year round. Phone: 413-637-3206.
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.
Join In and Get Out
Bring a group and join the latest in team building exercises, the escape room! Head to RoomEscapers
-- in one hour or less, solve mysteries, search for clues, find answers to riddles and puzzles that will lead you out the door! In this creative way to build teamwork by clever strategizing, you’ll forget the clock and get caught up in the fun! With two themes to choose from, a modern-day tech startup time machine and a voodoo-haunted pirate bar to the tune of Captain Jack Sparrow, the stories come to life with you as the detective! Recommended for ages 14 and up. Children age 6-14 should be accompanied by an adult. Phone: 857-900-9144
Beautiful Marsh Welcomes Walkers
Cutler Park on Kendrick Street
, 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