Boston 101: Day-Trips & Travel


WEEKEND OR DAY TRIPS

Seasonal Activities
Following are just a few ideas for fun things to do during the coming seasons:
FALL
• Pick your own apples
• Take a hike through the White Mountains
• Take a foliage drive through Pickity Place, Mason, NH.
WINTER
• Cut a Christmas tree at Lahti Tree Farm
• View holiday displays in Boston Common or Newport, RI.
• Cross Country Ski
SPRING
• See beautiful flowers at the Public Gardens or
Mt. Auburn Cemetery
• Go sugaring at Parker’s Maple Barn, Mason, NH.
• Join the Make Way for Ducklings Parade
SUMMER
• Take a whale-watch cruise
• Go to outdoor concerts
• Take a canoe trip

One pleasant surprise awaiting newcomers to Massachusetts is the closeness of Maine,
Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire—all wonderful opportunities for weekend
getaways or day trips. Several areas you can explore are listed below.
The Massachusetts Department of Travel and Tourism offers a Spirit of Massachusetts
vacation information package which contains a map of the state and lots of information
about sites and events throughout the state. You call can this office at 617-973-8500 or
check out their website at www.mass-vacation.com.
CAPE ANN, MASSACHUSETTS From 128 take Rt. 1A or Rt. 62 at Beverly and follow to
Rt. 127. Rt. 127 makes a loop around Cape Ann, through Manchester, Gloucester,
Rockport, and Annisquam back to Rt. 128.
Gloucester—stop at Hammond Castle. Even if you don’t take the tour, walk around
the grounds and enjoy the view out to sea. Stage Fort Park is just off Rt. 127 as you
enter Gloucester. It has huge climbing rocks with many paths that kids love and is a
good place for a picnic.
Rockport—for over 100 years, Rockport has been home to artisans, writers, and musicians.
Originally settled in the 1690s, Rockport takes you back in history while
strolling through the art galleries, shops, and seafood restaurants that surround the
waterfront. Hint: Great-tasting, inexpensive ice cream!
Points of interest include the Wharf (one of the most picturesque harbors in America);
Motif #1, the ultimate artist’s subject of the New England coast (it’s a fishing shack
built in the 1850’s and rumored to be the most painted in America); and the shops
along the walk from Dock Street to Bear Skin Neck.

CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS Take I-93 South to Route 3 South. From there you have
the choice of scenic Route 6A or speedy Route 6. A popular Boston weekend getaway
destination and the cause of much Friday evening traffic in the summer. It’s best to
visit after Labor Day when prices for food and lodging drop. Beautiful white sand
beaches and legendary scenery. Home to Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard and
Nantucket. Don’t miss the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory.

KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE Take I-93 North to I-95 North. If you would like to take the
beautiful scenic route, after getting on I-95 North, go east on Highway 1A which runs
along the New Hampshire and Maine coast. A wonderful New England town. Don’t
miss the Lobster Stew. About an hour and a half drive.

MT. MONADNOCK, NEW HAMPSHIRE Mt. Monadnock (3,165 ft.) is an isolated mountain
that towers 1500 to 2000 feet above the surrounding country. There are several
major trails to the summit and a network of connecting and secondary trails on the
east, south, and west sides of the main peak. The hike is steep and rocky. It takes
approximately three hours to climb.

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND Take I-95 South through Providence. About 20 miles south
of the city take the RI Rt. 4 exit east (the Newport exit). Follow the signs from there
and you will be in Newport in about 20 minutes. Total travel time is about two hours,
depending on traffic. Newport is home of the Tennis Hall of Fame, the Vanderbilt
summer mansions, numerous music festivals (famous for jazz and folk), the world
famous ocean walk, and the former host of the America’s Cup. Newport is a “must
see.” The most famous home is The Breakers, a 70-room mansion built by Cornelius
Vanderbilt. For law students however, the most famous mansion belongs to Claus Von
Bulow, Professor Alan Dershowitz’s client.

OGUNQUIT, MAINE Located ten miles south of Kennebunkport; take I-93 North to I-95
North; exit just prior to the start of the Maine Turnpike. Noted for Ogunquit Beach,
which is huge and flat at low tide but almost disappears at high tide, and Perkins Cove,
which is filled with small shops. Has a trolley system that runs between the hotels, the
beach and Perkins Cove during the summer. About an hour and fifteen minutes.

PLYMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS Take 93 South and follow signs to Plymouth. Visit
Plymouth Plantation, an authentic Pilgrim village of 1627 on Rt. 3A south of
Plymouth Harbor. In Plymouth you can also see Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower
II, take a tour of Cranberry World (a free exhibit sponsored by Ocean Spray) and take
a trolley ride around Plymouth.

SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS Take Rt. 1 North from the city. Take the I-95 North exit. About
2-4 miles on I-95, take Rt. 123 East (Peabody exit). Follow the signs from there to
Historic (as opposed to new) Salem. Travel time is about an hour. Salem is famous as
the home of the 17th century Puritan witch trials and most modern visitors come to see
the scary sights. Tops on the list is the Salem Witch Museum, and the Essex Museum.
There are also several restored homes in the area where the supposed witches lived and
were kept during their trials.October weekends are Salem’s busiest season, with haunted
houses and other seasonal attractions open only during that month. Also, on
Halloween itself, about one out of every three people on the street will be in costume.
It is worth seeing. Salem is not only known for its witches. Nathaniel Hawthorne also
lived in Salem and nearly all of his Puritan stories were set in the village. The House of
Seven Gables is a real place and is the primary example of pre-Colonial architecture in
the country. It is fully restored and can be toured (admission is $7-8).

SIX FLAGS NEW ENGLAND Springfield, Massachusetts. New England’s largest amusement
parks with incredible coasters like Superman: Ride of Steel and Batman: The Dark
Night. Log on to www.sixflags.com/parks/newengland/home.asp for details.

WHITE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL FOREST New Hampshire. Take I-93 North and you will
drive through the White Mountains. It takes about a two-hour drive to get to the
heart of the mountains. The White Mountains have many great hiking trails and
camping areas. The Appalachian Mountain Club has bunk houses throughout the
mountains. It also have maps of the area. Its office is located in downtown Boston,
617-523-0636, and has a library and bookstore with great books on hiking trails
throughout New England.
For all New England locations, a few tips should be remembered. First, most of the tourist locations are designed for summer visits; as a result, some of the shops and attractions are closed during the winter (Kittery is the exception). If you are making a trip between October and April, it might be wise to call ahead to be sure that the attraction you want to see is open. On the plus side, these places will be far less crowded in the offseason. Many of these places maintain their own Web sites that provide such information as well, and the Boston Globe Web site- www.boston.com contains a series of articles outlining potential day trips from Boston, along with links to their Web sites.

Second, a car is preferable but not absolutely necessary for getting away. The MBTA commuter rail runs to Salem and Rockport (see the map), and the HLCA plans some day trips throughout the year, so you can catch a ride with us. Also rental cars are plentiful in Cambridge. But car-rental companies have a fairly strict age restriction for non-business travel: you must be over 25.

Third, mileage alone may not give the correct estimate of how long it will take to arrive. Small-town New England traffic is often congested, and freeways may not be available alternatives depending upon the destination. But don’t let that stop you. Finally, during the school year temperatures are always cooler along the ocean front because of the breezes. Bring a jacket!


BOOKS AND INFORMATION SOURCES

T he following is a short list of the many books that are available to help you get to know Boston and the surrounding areas better.

AIA Guide to Boston (Susan & Michael Southworth). Gives an architectural history of the Boston and Cambridge neighborhoods. Provides maps and many pictures of significant buildings in Boston and Cambridge.
Best Places to Stay: New England: Bed & Breakfasts, Country Inns, and
Other Recommended Getaways
 (Tree)
Boston Off the Beaten Path (Patricia Harris and David Lyon)
Car-Free in Boston. A small paperback that tells you how to get anywhere in the greater Boston area using public transportation.
Fodor’s Around Boston With Kids
Frommer’s Guide to Boston
Literary Byways of Boston and Cambridge (Noelle Blackmer Beatty). A walking tour of authors’ homes, bookstores, etc. in Boston and Cambridge.
Mr. Cheap’s Boston: Bargains, Factory Outlets, Off-Price Stores, Deep Discount Stores, Cheap Eats, and Cheap Fun Things to Do (Mark Waldestein)
Nature Walks in Eastern Massachusetts (Michael Tougias). Provides maps and trail descriptions for 40 nature walks within an hour of Boston.
Street Atlas: Metro Boston, Eastern Massachusetts (published by Arrow). The famous and always reliable yellow spiral-bound map you should always have in your car. Warehouse clubs, such as Costco usually sell it at half-price.
Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard

 

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