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The territory of Massachusetts is one of the most populated states in all of New England, and was the birthplace of our nation, in addition to being the stage for many important historical events. This is a state that bulges at the seams with our country’s history, but is equally filled with artistic and musical culture, as well as having a vast array of natural wonders to be enjoyed by all. There’s no question – a trip to the Bay State will be a vacation to remember.
Salisbury Beach, which lies close to the Hamptons, is one of the most popular beaches in the state and it’s not difficult to see why. Resting at the north end of the Massachusetts coast, this quiet community is a haven for those seeking a restful escape. One can walk along four miles of pristine beach, or explore the nearby bird sanctuaries and watch the seals that frolic off the coast. If you enjoy being on the water, the Merrimack River is an ideal place to take a sailboat, or maybe try your hand at landing a few fish. A trip to Salisbury Plains will be well worth it, as local farmers maintain fruit and vegetable stands that offer the best of the recent harvests.
The fishing community of Gloucester is another popular lure to visitors – no pun intended – and lies south of Salisbury Plains. Head west on SR-1 for 5 miles, then merge with the southbound MA-1A for another 5 miles after which you’ll take the eastbound MA-133 for 8 miles into town.
Gloucester is one of the oldest towns in all New England and its coastal waters have long been a source of some of the best seafood, enjoyed by millions. One of the more popular activities here is whale watching; there are many excellent locations from which to view these magnificent sea mammals, and there’s no shortage of seafaring shuttles willing to take you to them. The north part of town is also host to the Hammond Castle Museum, which has an impressive collection of European art. The entire area is incredibly scenic, making the drive itself a pleasant experience, but there are plenty of trails for hiking and biking, and the local waters are fine places to go swimming or boating in all but the late fall and winter months.
Continuing on, venture west on the 128 for 12 miles, then merge with the southbound Highway 35 for 6 miles, which takes you through some magnificently picturesque territory and ultimately brings you into Salem. Salem, of course, is most famous – or infamous – as being the site of the Salem Witch Trials of the 17th century. While it’s true that there are many interesting sites associated with these events, such as the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, there’s much more to Salem than this. Salem Willows is a park that runs alongside a waterfront promenade and features an array of white willow trees that are more than two centuries old. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the quiet calm as you look out across the waters off Salem Sound. The historic districts of Washington Square, Derby Street, and Lafayette Street provide a look at some incredibly well-preserved and restored homes from days gone by. Salem’s own tall ship, Friendship, is a reconstruction of a 170-foot three-master and is docked at Derby Wharf. Tours are available and the Friendship frequently sails off the coast of Essex County. There’s nothing like being on the deck of one of these magnificent vessels as they cruise the waters under full sail.
Our final destination of Lexington awaits. Travel east on Highway 114 for 3 miles, then merge with the eastbound 128 and follow it for 18 miles, then take the offramp for the southbound CR-4 and take it for 2 miles into the city limits of Lexington. This, as most of us are aware, is where the American Revolution began. As such, there are many monuments and historical sites to be explored, such as the Lexington Battle Green where the first shots were fired, the Buckman and Monroe Taverns which served as headquarters for the Minutemen and field hospitals, and the National Heritage Museum which has many displays and exhibits that showcase many different aspects of the Revolution, as well as an extensive library which serves as an impressively through resource for historical research. Lexington is well worth spending a few days to soak in our nation’s infancy and the birth of freedom.
Just as the first settlers were drawn to the shores of Massachusetts by their destiny, so will you be drawn to the Bay State over and over again. With such a rich and diverse collection of activities, natural wonders and historical sites, how could it be any other way?
Other Area Sponsors in Massachusetts:
Cape Cod Campresort & Cabins