Top Photo: Boston skyline from Fan Pier at sunlight
Gildshire is back on the road, this time to the history-laden state of Massachusetts. The cradle of new freedom Massachusetts (known as “Mass” to the locals) is a mixture of urban class and rural cool. It is seashore, forests and people passionate and parochial about the local sports franchises.
It was a strong stock of folks who landed on the coast of Massachusetts and pulled themselves ashore by grabbing Plymouth Rock. It is a hearty stock of people still who brave the elements of winter chill and summer heat to make a Massachusetts home. First the British, then the Irish and later the Italians migrated across the North Atlantic to have a go in the New World. Their descendants live on in New England.
Massachusetts State House
Massachusetts is the 6th smallest state in the Union but has the 15th greatest population. Therefore, it ranks as one of the truly urban states we have visited thus far. It is 183 miles from West to East and 113 miles north to south, because of the stretch of the capes off Massachusetts eastern shore. The largest city is Boston. The state’s lowest point is the Atlantic Ocean, and highest point (3,489 feet) is atop Mount Greylock, near its northern and western borders.
Massachusetts is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, New Hampshire to the north, Vermont to the northwest and New York State to the west. Connecticut and Rhode Island jointly share Massachusetts’ southern border.
Boston Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus with trees and lawn – aerial view with Charles River
Famous Bay Staters:
Presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, George H. W. Bush, and John Kennedy
Actors: Jack Albertson, Bette Davis, Leonard Nimoy, and Ella Raines
Entertainers: Cecil B. Demille, Brian Evans, Jo Dee Messina, and Leonard Bernstein
Authors: Horatio Alger, William Cullen Bryant, e.e. cummings, Emily Dickenson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Theodore Geisel (Dr. Suess) Edgar Allen Poe, and Henry David Thoreau.
Military/Politics: Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams
Weird and Wonderful Massachusetts Facts:
The Salem witch trials of 1692 were real. The documents concerning them are stored in the Peabody Essex Museum.
The first subway system in the U.S. was built in Boston in 1897. It is still one of the cleanest and safest such systems in the world.
There is a house in Rockport made entirely of paper.
The Fig Newton was named after the city of Newton.
Massachusetts is one of the few states with an official polka. “Say Hello To Someone From Massachusetts” by Lenny Gomulka.
The birth control pill was invented at Clark University in Worcester.
Harvard, located in Cambridge, was the first college in North America. It was established 140 years before the American Revolution.
The Mather school was founded in Dorchester in 1639. It is the first public elementary school in America.
The geographic center of Massachusetts is in the town of Rutland (pop. 7.403). There is a tree planted there which marks the spot.
Movies in Which Massachusetts Played a Role:
Before and After
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
Aerial view of Harvard Campus featuring Eliot House Clock Tower along Charles River, Cambridge, Boston. Photo: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock
Let’s Take a Trip Across Massachusetts!
We are going to sweep across Mass from west to east. On the way, we will see some nature and a whole lot of history. We will finish in a place of peace and tranquility on the dunes of a cape (if you like Pina Colada, that is)
Shelburne Falls is our first stop. Here we will find the Bridge of Flowers. Once upon a time, there was a trolley line which fell into disuse. Rather than tear it down, the city of Shelburne decided to plant it with flowers and make it beautiful. It is an excellent way to start our trip.
Eastward we go. Halfway across the state, find Auburn and Crystal Caves Family Fun Center. Just challenging enough for adults and little ones alike, Crystal Caves offered miniature golf, batting cages, and some of the best ice cream in New England. Stay the night at the Comfort Inn for $79.
The John Hancock Building and Trinity Church at Copley Square in Boston
Beantown is up next! Boston is one of the cities Gildshire has been most anxious to share with you. The capital of the New England states it is home to sports, culture, and more history than just about anyplace in the world. Let’s start with culture.
We are going to enjoy an evening with the Boston Pops. Something for everyone in a beautiful and intimate setting. Music lovers need to see the Pops. Musicians simply must see them. A world-caliber orchestral ensemble playing a mix of classical and standard music in one of the top three acoustically best concert halls in the world. Order a snack and/or a bottle of wine and allow the music to transport you. Who is that who started the standing ovation? Oh! It was you.
Do you like sports? Of course, you do. Gildshire could tell we liked you from the beginning of the trip. No matter the season, Boston has passionate sports following ready to carry you along for the ride. The Red Sox in the spring and summer at historic Fenway park. The Bruins or Celtics at the new Boston Garden (now called TD Garden, but it will always be Boston Garden to us.) In the fall take a half hour trip south to Gillette Stadium for a Patriots’ game.
The Stata Center in Cambridge. Academic complex designed by architect F. Gehry for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Photo: Marco Rubino / Shutterstock
Now for the significant and historic portion of our journey. We saved the best for last. Follow the Freedom Trail. There are two ways of going about it. You can have a tour guide for about $15. From him/her you will learn a bit more. A self-guided tour is fun if you want to spend however much time you need at any one place. The trail is marked in bright yellow and you will learn a ton, no matter which way you choose to tour. You will learn about the Boston Tea Party, the Old North Church, how and where the revolution’s planned (Did you know our country was founded in taverns? It’s true.), and Bunker Hill. It is one of the most informative and entertaining two or three hours you will ever spend.
To do Boston right, you will need at least three or four nights. We recommend the Chandler Inn for $95 a night.
Boston is one of Gildshire’s favorite places to visit. We know it will be one of yours, as well.
Next up: Maine.