I was born and raised in the good ol’ Bay State and I must say it has been a wonderful place to live in and explore. I just wish more people would. Although I do want to leave Massachusetts eventually, there is a lot that this fairly small state has to offer. Massachusetts is one of the most historical places in the United States, with it being one of the original thirteen colonies and all, so there are a lot of major attractions that you probably have learned in history classes such as:
- Boston and everything related to the Revolutionary War
- Plymouth, Plymouth Plantation, and that darned rock (it really is just a rock and not even “the” rock)
- The textile factories in Lowell
- The Whaling City of New Bedford which happens to be in my own neck of the woods.
Although, it still has a lot more to offer than it’s history alone. Here are some of my favorite things in Massachusetts:
- Anything Historical. I know I just said Massachusetts isn’t just it’s history, but there is just so much that it is pretty hard to avoid it. History is also very fascinating even if I don’t have a 100% perfect memory of everything I learned in school it’s still fun to go visit these historical places and maybe (hopefully) learn something new. For example, the Whaling Museum in Downtown New Bedford, so cool and really interesting especially if you don’t know much about that industry or time period. We all know about the Revolutionary War’s impact on the area, but there are places like the whaling museum that are not as well known but make up the history of the state as a whole.
- Witches, Vampires, and Ghosts, Oh My! Have you ever read a spooky book or watched a scary movie and notice how a lot of them take place in New England? There’s probably a really good reason. While we are riding on the historical train, ever heard of a little something called the Salem Witch Trials or that ominous, slightly-innacurate children’s rhyme about Lizzie Borden? Well, both are in Massachusetts as well as a whole slew of other creepy things. You can take tours through some of the most haunted graveyards in the state, walk around towns and cities being told the creepy and true stories of them, and even spend a night in the Lizzie Borden house. And apparently, vampires are also big here? I didn’t know about that until I looked it up. If you want a good spook on your vacation to the Bay State, it’s good to know you have plenty of options.
- Trails and Hiking. I grew up in a very woodland part of the state so the woods have always been one of my places to escape to. Massachusetts has loads and loads of nature trails available all over the state. I mean the Appalachian Mountains run through the state so there’s bound to be some. Although I haven’t climed up the mountains (it’s on my bucket list), I do have some favorite places to explore such as Purgatory Chasm State Reservation, Profile Rock in the infamous Freetown State Forest, Copicut Woods, and Frank Knowles/Little River Reserve. These are all free places that are protected by the towns/state. Not only are they an inexpensive adventure, but by going you are also helping to keep these places preserved for future generations to enjoy.
- Zoos and Aquariums. Massachusetts has a lot to offer in regards to education about animals from Zoos to Aquariums and just about everything in between. I have not had the opportunity to go to most of the zoo’s in Mass. including the Southwick Zoo (which I hear is great) due to the fact that it tends a bit of a haul to get to most of them, but I have been to the Buttonwood Zoo which is small but still fun to go to. Another perk is that Massachusetts has this wonderful feature called the Atlantic Ocean which allows for aquariums and wetland reservations to be in the state. I have only been to the New England Aquarium once and I was about 13 years old so my memory is a little iffy on what that was like but I hear it’s good! There are also places like The Lloyd Center for the Environment where I had the opportunity to intern. It is fairly small in that the buildings aren’t big but they do a lot to educate people of all ages as well as protect the area in which it resides – 80 acres of area to be precise.
- Water – All The Water. As I mentioned before, Massachusetts has a lovely feature that allows (most) people in the state to easily access the Atlantic Ocean and was “shaped” by glaciers. This means that there are a good amount of beaches, rivers, ponds, and lakes for one to go on some type of adventure in. I like to paddleboard and kayak on rivers, lakes and ponds, and explore the beaches and coastline. There are so many bodies of water throughout the state, each one with something pretty cool and unique to explore, so why not do so. The only restriction being that you are respectful of the area and its natural inhabitants.
- Islands and The Cape. With all that “shaping” from glaciers, various islands have formed as well as Cape Cod. The Cape is a big summery tourist attraction but if you’ve ever been, you’d understand why, it’s beautiful. Its a bit of a drive and there is way too much to explore in just one day but you can certainly give it a try. And then there are the islands. There are a bunch of inhabited tiny ones but most people think of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. To my knowledge, I have never been to Nantucket but I hear it’s lovely and though I have only been to Martha’s Vineyard once, I have been dying to go back because there was so much I didn’t see or really enjoy because I was pretty young when I went. If you have the time and money (which isn’t terribly much), I definitely suggest making the trip out.
- Whale watching. This is something I have not done, even with the opportunity to go with a big group of friends. I used to be a marine bio major so I was and still am passionate about marine life. Whales being one of my favorite marine animals and having a great influence on the area of Massachusetts in which I live have made whale watching all the more exciting for me. If you have the opportunity to go whale watching on the East Coast, I’d thoroughly enjoy pictures so that I can live vicariously through you until I can go myself.
- Support Local Businesses. I thoroughly enjoy going to a cafe and getting a nice cup of tea and a snack and walking down the street to window shop. I may not always get something in order to keep the clutter in my room to a minimum, but it’s still nice to go into the little shops and cafes that are only found in that specific area. For example in Boston, my favorite local store is Brattle Book Shop, one of America’s oldest and largest used book stores. And then near where I live, are two cafes that are so good and I highly recommend them: The Green Bean in downtown New Bedford and The Wild Honey Cafe in Dartmouth. I also recently discovered People’s Pressed which is a juice place also in New Bedford (its actually only a block away from Green Bean). By going to these local places you are helping them and the community and they often have souvenirs you can’t really find elsewhere.
- Botanical Gardens. When is a garden not a garden? I don’t know either. But no two gardens are exactly alike. Plants that are native to one place may not be native or able to grow in another place, hence why going to a garden in Massachusetts could be a fun place to go to. Also, botanical gardens are a great way to see a wide range of plants that are collected, cultivated, and preserved for everyone to enjoy. On top of that, you can take some really nice Instagram photos because what’s a better backdrop than nature itself. I personally like to go to the Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich. They have all sorts of events all year round so each visit can be almost completely unique. They also have a fairly new rope course as a part of their Adventure Park that I have yet to try. These gardens are just what’s close to me but I am sure that other than Sandwich and Boston, that there are a bunch of other botanical gardens for one to enjoy.
- Six Flags. Several hours inland from my home by the coast is Six Flags New England. My first time going was when I was about 17 and I went with my friends/neighbors and I refused to ride most rides except for Catwoman’s whip because I wimp. Every other time I went it was to walk in the JDRF One Walk with and for my friend who has type one diabetes. After the walk, we would spend the rest of the day in the park. Now I go on all of the roller coasters except for Superman (sometimes they’re just too high and open for my liking and I’m still slightly a wimp) but maybe one day. Anyways, Six Flags is always fun, no matter the location, so if you get the chance, go, and if you have some time to kill in Massachusetts, go.
These are just some general ideas and merely the tip of the iceberg. Massachusetts is a wonderful place to visit with some wonderful people living here. If I didn’t hate the cold and have my heart set on Monterey Bay Aquarium in California as my potential future job, I would probably stay here for the rest of my life, after all, Massachusetts is my home. And now for my favorite part: comment below what are some of your favorite places to visit in Massachusetts or elsewhere? I’m looking for some future adventures and would love to see about traveling more.