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 Massachusetts travel stories written straight from the heart
Visiting Massachusetts -- The Bay State

Ocean, Mountains and the Hub of the Universe, otherwise known as Boston!
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Faneuil Hall -- Quincy Market -- Boston MA
Entertainment at Quincy Market (Faneuil Hall), Boston, Mass. (photo by Eric)

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Salem Cross Inn thumbnail photo, West Brookfield MA
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What to Heart
About Massachusetts

Massachusetts mixes country, ocean, great city life and history in a location tailor-made for vacationing   

by Eric H.

Massachusetts has it all. Whether it's swimming in a Cape Cod ocean, hiking in the Berkshires, visiting the "Hub of the Universe" known as Boston, taking a nice country drive through the Quabbin Reservoir area, or visiting the great little towns and villages with a deep sense of history, one could live in Massachusetts a lifetime and not get to experience every special aspect of this special state.

Although one of the smaller states in New England, Massachusetts is packed with many things to do for the tourist, perfect for repeated vacations. The most obvious starting point is Boston. From the European leanings of Newbury Street to the festive shops and restaurants at Fanueil Hall, Boston is truly the "Hub of the Universe." With over 40 academic institutions, the magnificent Boston Common with masterful flower gardens, fine harbor views, world class restaurants, the Italian-flavored North End, some fascinating museums, the historic Freedom Trail, and a compact layout tailor made for walking, Boston deserves an extended visit.

Cape Cod is a famous tourist destination, now more built for year-round enjoyment -- why deny yourself to its charm just one or two seasons of the year? Cape Cod has three distinct personalities -- the commercial-laden miniature golf, motels, hotels, candle shop mania on sectors of Route 28 in and around Hyannis; the salt-air, tree-lined Route 6A hugging the ocean with its captain's homes, fine New England restaurants and charming bed and breakfasts; and the barren, expansive beaches found at the Cape Cod National Seashore Park in towns like Eastham, Truro and Welfleet. What that means is there are so many things to do for everyone within this famed 70 mile stretch. For those who say Cape Cod isn't what it used to be, trip-back-in-time towns like Yarmouthport, Chatham and Brewster give us the vision of true Cape Cod. For those who say Cape Cod is too boring, Hyannis, Falmouth and Yarmouth offer endless retail and nightlife possibilities. The bottom line is that there are sandy, warm water (for New England) beaches, enough so that you can find your own spot, enjoy the glorious moment, and start your trip planning to this famed vacation land.

The Berkshire Hills make for another top-notch Massachusetts tourist destination. With over 90 lakes and 90,000 acres of recreational land (golf, skiing, parks, etc.) within 45 miles north to south, the Berkshire Hills are a favorite amongst Bostonians and New Yorkers. Home of the famed Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, Mass., the Berkshires appeal to vacationers with its rolling hills, farmland, all-American, Norman Rockwell-type Main Streets (Stockbridge, Great Barrington, North Adams, West Stockbridge to name a few). North Adams, in particular, has enjoyed a wonderful turnaround, going from dumpy factory town to a charming tourist destination with interesting shops set to beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Mount Greylock serves as the region's official mountain, actually being the highest point in Massachusetts at 3,491 feet. At Mt. Greylock, the dramatic and rather scary hairpin turn affords views of Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Connecticut and New Hampshire. The Berkshire may not have the spectacular mountains of the nearby Green Mountains, of Vermont, but what it does have is true vacation appeal, courtesy of the lovely, gentle, unspoiled towns.

Massachusetts may have these major vacation destinations, but what really makes this one of New England's best states are the small towns and villages that give this compact state its true flavor. Towns like Petersham, Templeton, Westminster, Rutland, Barre, and West Brookfield in the middle and northern part of the state have no pretension or excessive development, just a lot of nice old homes, village greens and farmland that just goes to show that beyond the Boston suburbs begins the predominant rural character of Massachusetts. Especially nice is Quabbin Reservoir in the center of Massachusetts, where one can find a truly natural setting and capture perfect solitude, save an occasional eagle flying by.

On the more well known end, a stroll through historic Concord, including a peaceful stroll around Walden Pond(Henry David Thoreau's former home), or a day at a beach on the North Shore (Rockport, Gloucester, Ipswich, Manchester-By-The-Sea, Newburyport) are a few more ideas to get your Massachusetts vacation kicking into high gear.

We encourage you to "travel Massachusetts" through our library--at Visiting New, native New Englanders bring you the best in New England vacation planning and travel information with detailed essays, reviews, tips and resources. We hope you enjoy browsing our Massachusetts travel library and hope to see you travel New England soon. Please feel free to e-mail us with any questions!



Massachusetts Destinations - Great Towns and Cities

Best Massachusetts travel destinations

Hidden, less-traveled Massachusetts destinations

Cape Cod vacation and travel fun in the summer

Travel photo essay of coastal Fairhaven and Mattapoisett, MA

Why to Consider a Vacation in the Berkshires of Massachusetts

Your Boston Travel and Vacations Guide

40 reasons to visit Lexington and Concord MA

Photo travel essay of Chatham, MA, a picturesque, traditional Cape Cod community

Bedford, MA, an underrated, classic New England small town.

North Easton Village, MA, Video Tour

Photo and travel essay of historic North Easton Village.

Walpole, MA Road Trip Video

Salem's "lifestyles of the witch and famous."

Photos of the New Bedford Whaling District.

Spending a perfect day in historic, unspoiled West Brookfield, MA

Photo and travel essay of the West Brookfield, MA, Town Common.

Visiting Downtown Plymouth, MA

Small town living in Massachusetts.

North Attleboro offers small town charm with city amenities.

Is Franklin, MA, one of the best places to live?

Lexington and Concord, MA, offer a remarkable preservation and respect of Colonial America while keeping a foot in the 21st century.

Farm, fence, blanket of snow in Walpole, Mass.

Small town charm in the southwest suburbs of Boston

A summer like walk through Bird Park in Walpole MA

Exploring downtown Walpole MA

Five choice adjectives for Salem MA

Great Views of Boston from Memorial Drive Cambridge and Robbins Farm Arlington

Visiting Fairhaven, Mass., in the fall

Visiting the Grafton, Mass., hilltop village downtown district

Millis, Mass., is a beautiful New England small town

Visiting traditional Foxboro MA

How to vacation in Boston during a recession.

Boston: a virtual guided tour, from a local's perspective

Touring the Boston, MA, neighborhoods.

Taking in coastal nirvana at Horseneck Beach in Westport

Fall photos of Concord

Hidden Concord

Visiting the Quabbin Reservoir and quaint New Salem MA

Small town charm in Holliston

Photos of Newbury St., Boston

Boston's unique ways.

Boston's urban greatness

Gloucester, MA: A New England fisherman's community worth visiting.

Photo Essay:Shelburne Falls, MA, has small-town charm for all walks of life

The quaint downtown Shelburne Falls, MA

Marion, Mass., is one of Massachusetts' true hidden gems, a charming harbor town with an old-fashioned feeling.

Oxford, Mass. : A nice town to visit and a place you might want to live.

On the road in New England: Downtown Norwood, Mass.

Visit Newburyport, a classic seaside North Shore destination.

Scituate, Mass., is an underrated community by the sea.

Rockport and the scenic North Shore make for a great seaside alternative to Cape Cod.

Wakefield is one lucky suburban Boston town to have Lake Quannapowwit (photo special).

Stockbridge, Mass., is a pure New England community.

Introducing the Boston-Plymouth Trip Planning Newsletter

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Massachusetts Attractions (includes shopping)

Read our New England tourist attractions page for the best things to do in Massachusetts.

Mashpee Commons downtown shopping district, Mashpee MA

What it's like to be at the Topsfield Fair, Topsfield, Mass.

Dighton Rock State Park in Berkley, Mass., offers more than just forested land

Visiting the landmark Kane's Donuts in Saugus, Mass.

The Montague Bookmill in Montague MA in Montague MA is located in an 1842 gristmill by the scenic Swift River.

The Giant Ocean Tank at the New England Aquarium Boston MA.

Shopping at Legacy Place in Dedham, Mass.

Taking in a New England Revolution soccer game at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.

The Traditional New England Lawtons Farm Stand in Foxboro, Mass.

Flint Farm's Ice Cream Stand, East Mansfield, MA.

The Charm of the Dedham Community Movie Theater in Dedham, MA

Visiting Stony Brook Reservation in Norfolk, MA

Lakeville, MA, farm features stunning Clydesdale horses.

The pristine Borderland State Park, in Easton and Sharon, MA.

The Nature Trail and Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog at Patriot Place, Foxboro, MA.

Having a "field day" at The Hall at Patriot Place, honoring the New England Patriots and football, in general, in New England in Foxboro, MA.

Lake Pearl Beach: a jewel of a beach in Wrentham, MA

The Big E Fair, West Springfield, MA (September event

The Historic Franklin Public Library in Franklin, MA

Burlington Mall Reflections 

Boston Summer Travel Attractions and Tour E-Tickets Information.

Life is a Merry-Go-Round at Nantasket Beach in Hull, MA.

West Concord 5 and 10 Brings Shoppers Back to a Simpler Time.

A Scenic Hike by the Neponset River, Suburban Boston.

Having a whale of a good time at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The old-fashioned Wayside Country Store in Marlborough, MA, brings back special memories.

Travel Review and Photos of Patriot Place and Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA

The Brockton Rox offer a fun baseball game experience at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, MA.

The Shire Book Shop in Franklin, MA,  is a book lovers dream located in a  historic mill building complex.

Brookfield Orchards in Brookfield, Mass. goes beyond apple picking with a year-round country store and bakery (including delicious homemade apple dumplings)

The top 30 Boston, MA, tourist attractions

Bass Pro Shops serves as a great outdoor store and major tourist attraction in Foxborough, MA (Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium).

The amazing Automile in Norwood, MA

Fenway Park tours -- from a baseball and comic's perspective

Tangerini's Spring Street Farm, in Millis, offers a rural respite from bustling suburbia with beautiful farmland, an ice cream stand, flowers and plants for sale, wonderful produce, a gift shop, pick your own fruit and vegetables, a hiking trail and more.

Photo:The Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA.

Photo:A long view of the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA.

Favorite miniature golf courses in the Boston area.

Into the pumpkin patch, Norfolk, MA

The Big Red Barn at Adams Farm, Walpole, MA

Route One North in Saugus and Lynnfield is a strange slice of Americana.

The Discovery Museums, of Acton, Mass., encourages the wonderment of educational discovery

The Berkshires in Massachusetts Make A Perfect Destination for an Antiques Road Trip.

Debra's Natural Gourmet in West Concord, Mass., offers a healthy, community-oriented approach to health foods and products.

Picturesque Marina Bay in Quincy, Mass., offers the best of both worlds, as it is rich in New England history and tourist appeal (dining, shopping and harbor charm).

The special story behind the Ever So Humble Pie Company in East Walpole

What it feels like to be on a Public Garden swan boat ride, and at the Prudential Skywalk Observatory and Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

A "revolutionary" place to visit: The Old North Bridge in Concord, MA

How to take a Boston movie and TV sites tour

Historic landmark Boston photography at twlight

Experiencing traditional New England at the Deerfield Inn, Old Deerfield MA

Wimpy Kid author opens new indie bookstore in Plainville MA

Fenway Park, Boston, MA

The Wrentham Village Premium Outlets in Wrentham, Mass., offers a shopper's paradise.

Biking and hiking through Massachusetts makes for an ideal nature-oriented New England vacation.

The Big Apple Farm, Wrentham, Mass., makes apple picking fun

Bird Park, in Walpole, Mass., is a true hidden New England gem.

The Maynard Outdoor Store brings back the good old days of locally-owned shopping.

Belkin Lookout Farm creates a unique apple picking experience.

Plum Island is a hidden Massachusetts gem on the northern Massachusetts coastline.

The Welfleet Drive In is a great alternative to the 20 cinema mult-plex monsters.

Concord's Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott's formr home.

Family vacations abound in Massachusetts.

Southwick's Zoo is more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Find the best New England downtowns in our "Centers of attention," series. This month's debut article features Foxborough, MA.

Orchard House Museum, Concord, MA - An American treasure.

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Top Picks: Massachusetts Dining from the New England Restaurant Guide

Benevento's in the North End of Boston

1761 Old Mill restaurant, Westminster

Prince Pizzeria, Saugus

Assonet Inn, Assonet

Aunt Aleda's, Mansfield

Longfellow's Wayside Inn, Sudbury

Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield

The Raven's Nest, Walpole

Kelly's Roast Beef, Revere Beach

Massachusetts restaurants thought to be out of business but aren't

George's Surf and Turf, Mendon

The Lobster Pot, Wareham

Chatham Fish Pier Market, Chatham

Wood's Seafood, Plymouth

Jake's Seafood, Nantasket Beach, Hull

Kowloon, Saugus

Dave's Diner, Middleboro

Regina Pizzeria, Boston

Somethin's Brewin Cafe, Lakeville

Napper Tandy's Walpole

Kimball Farm, Westford

Howard's Drive-in, West Brookfield

My Sister and I, Bridgewater

Best fried clams in the Boston area

Best Irish pubs from Boston to Worcester

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Massachusetts Hotels

Find hundreds of Massachusetts Hotels at the lowest guaranteed rates in our New england Hotels Guide.

Find Metro Boston, MA, Hotels for Your Business Trips -- includes lodging in Boston and surrounding suburbs near office and industrial parks.

The Wachusett Village Inn in Westminster, Mass., is perfect any time of the year.

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Massachusetts on a Budget at The Thrifty New England Traveler

How to vacation at Nantucket on a budget

World's End in Hingham defines scenic beauty near Boston

Park Street Books in Medfield is the largest childrens' bookstore in New England

12 budget travel ideas in Concord

How to visit Nantasket Beach in Hull without breaking the bank

Enjoying the day at Long Beach in Plymouth

Nuns make and sell homemade chocolates at Wrentham monastery

Cape Cod summer travel alternative: Onset Village and Beach

Taking in a Cape Cod Baseball League game

Arcades, park, beach at Salem Willows, Salem

Kayaking, canoeing at Quaboag River, Brookfield, Mass.

A fall walk around Walden Pond, Concord, Mass.

Visiting the legendary Enchanted Village Christmas display at Jordan's Furniture in Avon

La Salette Christmas lights display in Attleboro

Planning an affordable pilgrimage to Plymouth

Visiting the magnificent Millicent Public Library, Fairhaven, Mass.

Free and inexpensive museums in the Boston area

The free Cape Cod Canal Bike Trail

Hours of affordable fun at Richardson's Ice Cream Stand, Middleton, Mass.

Boston travel discounts

More Massachusetts travel stories from the New England Travel and Vacation Gazette

12 reasons to love Central Massachusettsl

Best food destinations in the North End of Boston

Lobster rolls, year-round in Massachusetts

Dining under a gigantic milk bottle in Raynham

Old fashioned candy houses in Massachusetts

Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield, one of the last of its kind in the USA

Wenham Tea House, Wenham

Ice cream smorgasbord at Putnam Pantry, Danvers

Jordan Marsh style muffins at the Muffin House in Medway

Apple dumpling with vanilla ice cream at Brookfield Orchards, North Brookfield

My Grandmother Had That Antiques, Wrentham

Commonwealth BBQ roadside stand, Wrentham

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