Come to Massachusetts for History, Beaches, Science and Amazing Houses

As the sixth oldest state, Massachusetts has incredible historic and fun places to visit. In a state where oceans, farms, mines, small islands and cities all exist close together, it was hard to pick where to go! You cannot go wrong in this state that loves visitors, here are just a few spots you might want to check out!

History

Image: viator.com

If you are with a group of history buffs and don’t mind a walk, the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail might be perfect for you. This walk brings you to 16 historically significant points. Tour guides are dressed in colonial garb and tell of Boston’s rich past and role in the Revolution. This historic walk will take you to amazing spots like Paul Revere’s house, the site of the Boston Massacre, Faneuil Hall, the USS Constitution and more! This is really a walk to remember, and tours start on the hour from various locations. Tickets can be bought ahead of arrival for a discount.

Nature

Madaket Beach, Nantucket. Image: Gary Ellis, Google Images

If you’re with your family, a day at the beach might be perfect. Or you could visit one of Massachusetts famous islands including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Many of us fondly remember Mr. Rogers either from our childhood or our kids’ childhood. If you find yourself on Nantucket, you might be interested in visiting Fred Rogers’ church and seeing an icon of America’s neighbor, hung at the end of his pew. You may also be interested in visiting Singing Beach, a spot where the dry sand makes a squeaky noise when walked upon! If you want to get outside but aren’t interested in the beach, perhaps Walden Pond should be your destination. You’ll see the sights that inspired Henry David Thoreau’s work and can visit a replica of his cabin!

Family Fun Science

Image: Matthew Modoono, Boston Museum of Science

If you have some science fans with you, the state is rich with amazing museums. You can look into where to go that’s perfect for you. But, two standouts for us have to be the Charles Hayden Planetarium and the Van de Graaff Generator both located inside the Boston Museum of Science. The Charles Hayden Planetarium is one of the most technologically advanced in New England. The planetarium offers an immersive experience for visitors. The Boston Museum of Science also features the World’s Largest Air-Insulated Van de Graaff Generator. The museum is an excellent place to visit, with an indoor zoo, omni theater and more. But, for us, the stars of the museum are the planetarium and the Van de Graaff generator which is sure to thrill everyone you’re with as it creates lightning indoors. You’ll be “shocked” at how close you can sit to the machine built at MIT in the ‘30s!  

Literary House

L-R: The Wayside; Orchard House; House of the Seven Gables. Image: Daderot, Wikimedia; Maria Valeria Zelaya Diaz, Atlas Obscura; creativenorthshore.com

Book lovers can have a fantastic time in Massachusetts, which has been home to many amazing authors. By visiting the Wayside house in Concord, you’ll step into a home that was owned by Louisa May Alcott’s family. Ralph Waldo Emerson helped her father pick the home. They sold it on to Nathaniel Hawthorn. Later the children’s writer Margaret Sidney called the place home. You can take in another house in Concord, the Orchard House. It was this home, where the Alcott family lived for 20 years, that was the setting Little Women, the famous book she wrote of fictional stories based on her life with her sisters. Finally, you can hit a house with a well-known name: the House of the Seven Gables. The house, built in 1668 in Salem, inspired the beloved American Gothic novel of the same name by Nathaniel Hawthorn. The house and the house Hawthorn was born in have both been relocated next to each other to act as a museum. All three homes are open to the public

Spite Houses

L-R: Skinny House; O’Reilly Spite House; Pink House. Image: necn.com; Arnold Reinhold, Wikimedia; Todd P, Atlas Obscura 

From highbrow to plain funny, we switch from the homes of great artists to the homes of the vindictive. New England is home to many spite homes — a house built to distress someone else. Three marvelous examples can be found in Massachusetts. The Skinny House, in Boston, was built to block the sunlight to the house behind it. It is only 30-feet-long and 10-feet-wide. Supposedly, it was created when a man built a far-too-large house on a plot that had been left to him and his brother by their father. They were supposed to split the land. Angered that his brother built a large house, the other made his spite house block the view! The house is a private residence. The last time it was on the market, it was listed at $900,000.00. Maybe spite does pay off! In Cambridge, a man’s neighbor offended him by not buying a small packet of land. So, Francis O’Reilly built an eight-foot-wide, 37-foot-long house. Now, the building is home — very fittingly — to an interior design company. Finally, the Pink House was built by a man to upset his ex-wife. Their divorce specified that he had to build an exact replica of their house for her. The agreement didn’t say where the house had to be. Located on a salt marsh, the plumbing was salt water, and it was considered uninhabitable. The pretty house doesn’t look like other spite houses, but the intent of the builder was malicious! It has been lived in sporadically over the years, but currently stands empty. 

We hope you enjoyed this quick tour of Massachusetts and hope you visit in real life too!

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