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Massachusetts Travel and Vacation Guide

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Seaview Street, downtown Chatham, MA, photo, Cape Cod
Charming downtown Chatham, Mass.,Cape Cod, MA (photo by Eric H.)

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native New England professional travel writers who give you the "inside scoop" on making the most of your Massachusetts vacations. As lifelong New Englanders, we write about the best Massachusetts travel tourist attractions, well-known and hidden destinations, and some truly amazing restaurants with a regional flair. 

Ultimately, we give you perspectives and information on Massachusetts travel that can't be found anywhere else. Because we are paying travelers looking ourselves for the best in Massachusetts vacations, we pass along the best trip planning information to you -- as if we were planning our own New England vacation. Ultimately, we focus more on providing you "pure" Massachusetts travel information rather than marketing hype. Enjoy the travel essays and tips on things to do, en route to your Massachusetts vacation!

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The VisitingNewEngland.com travel essays team

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 England.com, 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, or sign our guestbook.

 

MASSACHUSETTS FEATURE TRAVEL ARTICLES, VACATION TIPS AND RESOURCES    

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.

 Small town charm in the southwest suburbs of Boston

 A summer like walk through Bird Park in 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

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

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

Lords Department Store in Medfield, MA, recalls the days of Woolworth's and features an authentic, operating luncheonette.

In search of authentic chocolate at Shirley's Fine Chocolates in North Attleboro, 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

The Massachusetts Holiday Shopping Guide and Blog --The meeting place for well-known and hidden gem shopping places in the Bay State!

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).

Career-changer Andrea DiReda Taber finds her dream job by creating New England farm fresh pies made from scratch at the 

Ever So Humble Pie Company in East Walpole, Mass.

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

A perspective on the charming 

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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Massachusetts Dining

Main Street Cafe, North Easton Village

ALLCANEAT in Randolph, Mass., goes against the grain by creating gluten-free breads, pizza shells, cakes, cookies and more.

Five wedding, reception and dinner rehearsal venue sites in Norfolk County, southwest of Boston.

Fresh Start Bakery in Walpole, MA, upgrades the traditional bakery concept.

The Red Wing in Walpole, MA, offers delicious fried clams, lobster rolls, pizza and other great comfort dishes.

Don's Diner, Plainville, MA, is a classic, old-fashioned diner.

Massachusetts/Boston Area Restaurant Reviews Guide

Chopsticks, Leominster, MA, will please fans of "Americanized" Chinese food and big buffet stations.

Remember the Alamo Restaurant in Milford, MA, for wonderful Mexican-American cuisine.

The Prince Restaurant in Saugus, MA, is the king of family dining.

The Memphis Roadhouse in South Attleboro, Mass.,specializes in mouthwatering barbecue, hickory-smoked ribs, steak, chicken and brisket. (CLOSED)

Colonial-style dining in Massachusetts

Beckett's Pub, Restaurant and Function Room makes a grand entry onto the Walpole, MA, restaurant scene

Minas Cafe in Norwood, MA, offers delicious Brazilian steakhouse cuisine.

Pier 18 Seafood and Grille, East Bridgewater, Mass., specializes in lobster dinners, lobster roll, clam chowder, fried and broiled seafood dinners, and a delicious kale soup.

The Restaurant in Woburn, Mass., serves home cooking as straightforward as its name. 

Guido's is a hometown favorite traditional Italian-American restaurant in Walpole, MA

Christo's in Brockton, MA, is "Home of the Greek Salad King."

Find the best dining near Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., for New England Patriots game day.

Sunday morning brunch in New England shines at scenic Lake Pearl Luciano's in Wrentham, Mass.

The best Irish restaurants and pubs in suburban Boston

Brigham's Ice Cream is a beloved New England institition, known for some of the best ice cream in the six-state region.

Somerville really does begin at the Mt. Vernon Restaurant.

The Tavern from Tower Square in Plainville, MA, transforms straightforward food into memorable, tasty offerings at reasonable prices.

Traditional New England lives at Longfellow's Wayside Inn restaurant.

 

Norwood, Mass., has suddenly become the hotspot for Boston suburban dining.

Read all about the best "cheap eats" restaurants in Boston, Cambridge and eastern Massachusetts -- ideal for the budget minded planning a New England vacation or natives looking for a great bargain.

New England restaurant critic Guy Bocabella "tells it like it is" by reviewing the best "no frills" restaurants in Massachusetts.

The best pizza places in Massachusetts (and slightly beyond).

Country Kitchen Donuts, in Walpole, MA, is a local favorite.

Special nighttime memories at the 1761 Old Mill Restaurant.

Harry's Restaurant and Dairy Bar has been a Metrowest favorite since 1946.

Santarpios: a favorite Boston pizza joint for generations.

The Cocke 'n Kettle is a fine New England tradition. (CLOSED)

Norfolk County's best restaurants.

Amici's in Shrewsbury ended our bad luck streak of poor dining experiences.

Italian restaurants with a traditional flair.

The Salem Cross Inn: a classic New England restaurant.

Best and worst dining in Massachusetts

The 1761 Old Mill represents true New England dining.

Colonial Inn, of Concord, has history and wonderful cuisine

An amusing look at Arlington's restaurant history

The great Massachusetts Chinese restaurant tour

Massachusetts' great Chinese restaurant tour.

Spruce Pond Creamery makes heavenly ice cream.

White Farms Homemade Ice Cream is a great ice cream stand and a trip back in time.

The joy of eating a Harrow's Chicken Pot Pie.

Cabot's, of Newton, pleases ice cream fans by staying open year-round.

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Massachusetts Hotels

Find hundreds of Massachusetts Hotels at discount rates -- book online through VisitingNewEngland.com.

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 Calendar


Massachusetts on a Budget at The Thrifty New England Traveler

Kayaking, canoeing at Quaboag River, Brookfield, Mass.

A fall walk around Walden Pond, Concord, Mass.

Three cheap travel tips for Salem, Mass.

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

Check the New England calendar of events section for key Massachusetts events and news.

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Massachusetts Trip Planning Support 

Have a question about visiting Massachusetts? Ask the experts for all your Massachusetts trip planning needs!

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Other Massachusetts Articles and Resources

Nice, affordable places to raise a family in eastern and central Massachusetts.

The 2007 Boston Red Sox are World Series bound and world-class in team spirit, talent and commitment to excellence.

A small Massachusetts town recognizes its military veterans.

Walpole, Mass., Americans Little League all-stars and residents represent the best of small town New England.

Special "Memory Lane" feature: The greatest Boston, MA, radio personalities of the 1960s and 1970s.

Arlington then and now.

Tourists and New England natives, are you looking for something good to listen to on the radio while driving around the Boston area? If so, then tune into our Visiting New England.com

Boston radio Hall of Fame.

Arlington's grand past.

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Massachusetts Travel Archives/Past Press Releases:

Bubbling Brook ice cream stand, a southwest suburban Boston family tradition since 1951, to remain open; rumors of closure untrue.

The Trustees of Reservations offer a treasure trove of events in Massachusetts where you can get in touch with Mother Nature.

Cape treks drives travelers through Cape Cod with virtual tour guides

Historic inns, bed and breakfasts, hotels in Massachusetts

Cape Cod spring and summer vacation rental lodging guide 2006 -- Plan your Cape Cod spring or summer vacation now before prime rentals are booked. Vacation rentals are perfect for the family as they offer suite-type lodging that has self-catering facilities (wet bar, refrigerator, microwave, etc.).

The Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), Sept. 15-Oct. 1, West Springfield, Mass.

Experience the magic of First Night Boston 2006, a wonderfully entertaining New Year's Eve event.

It's Big E (Eastern States Exposition) time again as New England's autumn tradition prepares to swing open its doors for 17 fun-filled says on Sept. 16, 2005

7th Annual Baystate Bridal Expo, Boston, Jan. 14-15th

Old Sturbridge Village captures the Spirit of the Season in December

Old Sturbridge Village events and general information, October-November 2005

Boston gears up for St. Patrick's Day Celebrations in 2006

Check out the Boston Harbor Hotel's 2006 free outdoor entertainment series.

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