10 things Massachusetts patch readers suggest visitors check out
BOSTON – Massachusetts is a state that has a lot to offer. From the North End’s Italian restaurants, Cape Cod beaches, the historic Freedom Trail and more, there is plenty to do in Bay State – so much that a visitor could be overwhelmed.
So Patch asked his readers in Massachusetts to lend a hand, and they did! Hundreds have made suggestions for undecided tourists.
Readers’ ideas included locations all over the state from Cape Cod to the Berkshires. Check out 10 of their top suggestions below:
1. Freedom Trail – Boston
The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long path through downtown Boston, was by far the most popular suggestion for Massachusetts Patch readers. The road may be short, but it is steeped in the history of the early years of the United States and the American Revolution.
Along the trail, between Boston Common and the Bunker Hill monument, visitors pass 16 historic sites, including the Paul Revere House and the Old South Meeting House, where the Boston Tea Party was scheduled.
2. North End – Boston
North Boston has been a hub for Italian-Americans since the 19th century – and their traditions continue today with the neighborhood restaurants, bakeries, cafes and boutiques.
When visiting the North End, be sure to visit Hanover Street as it is packed with the area’s best restaurants including Arya Trattoria, Carmelina’s. Thatcher Street also has the famous Regina Pizzeria.
And when you’re done stocking up on delicious Italian fare, save room for an espresso and a pastry. Caffe Vittoria and Caffe Paradiso are great options on Hanover Street.
3. Whale Watching – Gloucester, Plymouth, Cape Cod, More
Several Patch readers have suggested visitors take a whale watching tour and from personal experience I agree. Taking a boat trip off Cape Cod, Gloucester, Plymouth, or any of the state’s other coastal communities makes a fun day out seeing some of the largest mammals on the planet.
The most common whale sightings off the Massachusetts coast are humpback whales, which can grow up to 55 feet in length. But if you’re lucky, you might also be able to see other species, including minke whales, right whales, and the huge fin whale. Fin whales can grow up to 70 feet in length.
Some of the more popular whale watching services include Plymouth Whale Watching, Cape Ann Whale Watch in Gloucester, and Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises.
4. The Berkshires
The city and the beaches aren’t the only things Massachusetts has to offer. Take a trip west on the Mass Pike, and you’ll find the Berkshires, part of the Veront Green Mountains that stretch to western Massachusetts.
The region is filled with quaint communities which give visitors the opportunity to get in touch with nature. There are plenty of places to camp, hike, and even a river perfect for whitewater rafting.
For hiking, Mt. Greylock in Adams is a great choice. At 3,491 feet, it is the highest peak in Massachusetts. Several trails lead to the summit, including part of the Appalachian Trail. October Mountain State Forest in Lee is another great option. It offers 16,000 acres of hiking trails and many great places for camping and fishing. If whitewater rafting is more your speed, head to Charlemont, where several companies offer rafting trips along the Deerfield River.
5. Fenway Park, Boston
Fenway Park was another popular choice among Massachusetts Patch readers, and for good reason. The home of the Boston Red Sox is the oldest active baseball stadium in all of Major League Baseball.
There is nothing in baseball like the 37-foot wall in left field of Fenway, the Green Monster. This is not only a cool site, but a hitting advantage. What would normally be a robbery at another stadium often turns into a double at Fenway.
And since seats were added to the top of the wall, it has become one of the most sought after spots for fans and one that needs special attention. If you’re lucky, a home run will be hit over the wall, and you could come home with a souvenir.
6. Cape Cod
Beaches, Lobster Rolls, and Clam Chowder – Cape Cod offers some of the best in all of these classic Massachusetts pastimes. The Cape, which stretches from the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges to Provincetown, offers plenty to do for the whole family.
First there are the beaches. There are plenty of choices in Cape Cod’s 15 towns. One of them, Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, was on Dr Beach’s list of the top 10 beaches in the United States.
For seafood restaurants, there is also a lot of choice. The best places to get New England classics like lobster rolls and clam chowder include Raw Bar in Mashpee, Flying Bridge in Falmouth, and Spanky’s Clam Shack and Seaside Saloon in Hyannis.
7. Massachusetts Breweries
The craft beer scene in Massachusetts has exploded in recent years, and several Patch readers have given recommendations on which ones to try.
Medford Patch reader Ian Lavery suggested the Tree House Brewing Company in Charleton, although it also has locations in Deerfield and Sandwich now as well. Other great places to get a beer include Jack’s Abbey Craft Lagers in Framingham, Night Shift Brewing in Everett, and Notch Brewing in Salem.
8. John F. Kennedy Museum, Hyannis
The John F. Kennedy Museum in Hyannis offers visitors a chance to learn more about the 35th US President. The museum has several exhibits not only commemorating Kennedy’s political history, but also his connection to Cape Cod. Kennedy has spent many summers with his family on Cape Cod, so the museum provides a unique opportunity to peek into the private life of the former president.
9. Visit Salem in October
Salem has some of Massachusetts’ strangest history, including the Salem Witch Trials. Between February 1692 and May 1693, authorities accused more than 200 people, mostly women, of being witches. And one way or another, 30 people were convicted and 19 were publicly executed by hanging (14 women and 5 men). The Salem Witch Museum offers tours and explains the story behind the trials.
Specifically, Patch readers say you should check out Salem in October. Due to the history of the witch trials, Salem tends to do it all for Halloween, and there are usually plenty of haunted houses and ghost tours to check out.
10. Charles River Boat Trip, Cambridge
Patch readers have recommended the Charles River Boat Tour for tourists, but some believe even locals miss this sightseeing cruise along the river. Peabody Patch reader Kelley DeJoy described the tour as “something those of us who are already in Mass should be doing.”
Tours are managed by the Charles River Boat company. They involve a fully narrated 70-minute cruise along the river and showcase cultural sites in Boston and Cambridge. Sights include Beacon Hill, Esplanade Park, Boston University, Harvard University, MIT and more.