Boston was first settled in 1630 when King Charles I of England assigned land to the Massachusetts Bay Company, a large group of Puritans. Puritans were people who left England to pursue religious freedom in the New World. Eleven ships carrying 1,000 Puritans left Boston, England and arrived at the mouth of the Charles River. The small settlement that was established on the south bank of the Charles River was called Trimountain at first, but was eventually renamed Boston, after the town the settlers left in England.
It was in Boston, the most important city in the 13 British colonies, that ideas of independence began, and where the American Revolutionary War began. The main quarrel the colonists had with the British government was the burdensome taxation policies imposed on the colonies. One of the rallying cries of those opposed to the taxation was "No taxation without representation."
Problems started between the colonists and the British in 1770, when British troops sent to protect tax collectors fired upon a group of jeering and stone-throwing protesters. Five Americans were killed in what became known as the Boston Massacre.
In 1773, the Boston Tea Party occurred when protesters disguised as Indians boarded British East India Company ships and threw bales of tea into Boston Harbor to protest high taxes on the tea.
In April 1775, patriot Paul Revere made his famous "midnight ride" to warn of the march of British troops to Lexington and Concord. The British were intending to capture Samuel Adams who was at Lexington, and then seize arms that had been stashed at Concord. There was a skirmish at Lexington Green in which eight American militiamen were killed by "the shot heard 'round the world."
In June 1775, the Battle of Bunker Hill became the bloodiest battle of the revolution, when militiamen from all over New England came to Boston to try to oust the British troops. They were unsuccessful, and the colonists suffered their first major defeat of the war.
And, in an act of defiance, the Declaration of Independence was read out loud from the balcony of the Old State House in 1776.
After independence, the Industrial Revolution brought prosperity to Boston, which became a major center of textile and shoe manufacturing. The city grew, and the Back Bay was filled in and neighboring settlements were annexed.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, however, Boston declined economically. Many of the older neighborhoods became dangerous slums, rampant with crime. One part of the city was even called the "Combat Zone."
Nowadays, modern Boston has turned around and is booming economically, in what has been described as the "Massachusetts Miracle." The economic recovery was brought about by an influx of finance, high-tech industries, and tourism. Areas that were once slums are being gentrified and restored, and the city's cultural life has been revitalized. In fact, Boston is now one of the most desireable cities in which to live in all of the United States. The city is the largest in Massachusetts, as well as New England, with about 7,520,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area.
Since 1626, when Roger Conant arrived with the first settlers, Salem, Massachusetts has been attracting people from all points of the compass. Many come to visit and some decide to stay and make Salem their home.
It may be most widely known as the site of the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692, but this colorful, coastal city has much to offer both residents and visitors: a culturally diverse population, a rich maritime heritage, an impressive display of historic architecture and amazing stories that span almost four centuries.
Turkeys have always been part of the indigenous wildlife in Massachusetts, but have become much more visible recently. You can often see them standing by the side of the road, just hanging out. They aren't the brightest animals and can sometimes be aggressive, so use caution when approaching them. They really are beautiful birds, and Benjamin Franklin once lobbied to get them named the national bird (but they were too yummy)!
Once you get out of the city, keep your eyes peeled!
Some places I've spotted them are: Wakefield, Marshfield and in The Blue Hills Reservation.
This is my response in the forums regarding a family wishing to visit the Berkshires in August but the majority of the tips pertain to any time of year:
In August the weather can be both hot/humid or cool---be prepared for both. I suggest you make your homebase near Pittsfield, MA , the largest "city" in the Berkshires and pretty central to everything. There is a main 2-lane highway (Rte 7)that travels up through the Berkshires from the CT border to the south to VT in the north and it winds through many rustic and historic towns, starting in the South with Ashley Falls and SHeffield (locally known as Antique Alley), going through Great Barrington which is a wonderful town with awesome places to eat and beautiful places to take a stroll. Continue to head north on Rte 7 and you'll pass the entrance to Monument Mountain park--which I highly suggest you stop at if you want a nice hike with a gorgeous view. A hint here---there are two trails to the top: the one to the right is much harder than the one to the left!
If you continue north from there you'll enter historic Stockbridge with the Red Lion Inn (a must see), many shops and galleries, the Berkshire Gardens and the fantastic Norman Rockwell Museum. All around this area are places to swim, hike and sight-see. Continue north from there, on the same route, and you'll go through Lenox, of Tanglewood fame where the Boston Symphony Orchestra makes it's home all summer. Tanglewood is awesome, with a choice of either listening inside or out on the lawn where you can picnic and stroll while the music plays. Here is the link to that venue: http://www.bso.org/bso/index.jsp;jsessionid=QTZND40MMXSUGCTFQMGSFEQ?id=bcat5240070
Continue north on Rte 7 again to Pittsburgh, and then on to North Adams before heading into Vermont. The highest peak in MA is in North Adams and you can drive to the top where you'll have panoramic views, be on the famous Appalachian Trail, and be able to buy a bite to eat, or even stay in the hostel up there.
There is so much more---just let me know specifically if you're looking for outdoor things or indoor things and I can give you more.
I'm glad you're visiting there! I look forward to the pictures.
I lived in the Berkshires (Ashley Falls and Sheffield) for 10 years and then in northwest CT (the foothills) for another 10 or so. Everyone is right---it's a gorgeous place to visit! House rentals in the area are pretty expensive, especially in the summer, but there might be cabins to rent and definitely hotels/motels. July is a great time of year, although you can get some pretty dense humidity. There are no disadvantages that I can think of and, if you are still reading answers to your question, I can make some specific suggestions about what to see not only in the Berkshires but in much of New England.
Fondest memory: I miss those beautiful Berkshire mountains in western MA.
Still have fond memories of my first roller coaster in North America. It was not in Coney Island nor Santa Cruz. It was in Awagam, Massachusetts - Riverside Park.
Today it is now called Six Flags Theme Park New England, Springfield, MA.
There are only 14 counties in Massachusetts.
Here is an alphabetic list of the counties and the towns where the county seat resides:
Barnstable County - Barnstable
Berkshire County - Pittsfield
Bristol County - Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton
Dukes County - Edgartown
Essex County - Lawrence, Newburyport, Salem
Franklin County - Greenfield
Hampden County - Springfield
Hampshire County - Northampton
Middlesex County - Cambridge, Lowell
Nantucket County - Nantucket
Norfolk County - Dedham
Plymouth County - Brockton, Plymouth
Suffolk County - Boston
Worcester County - Fitchburg, Worcester
(the list came from http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cisctlist/ctlistcoun.htm)
Sunday, September 23, 2000
SALEM is a residential and tourist area which includes the neighbourhoods of Salem Neck, South Salem, North Salem and Witchcraft Heights. Most people associate the city with the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, which the city embraces both as a source of tourism and culture.
Salem also embraces its glorious maritime past. Its "Salem Marine National Historic Site" protects Salem's historic waterfront.
Other attractions include witch-related Salem Wax Museum, Salem Witch Village, Salem Witch Museum and Salem Witch House. Historic sites include the wonderful House of the Seven Gables, Derby House and Customs House.
No city offers as dramatic a view of the American Industrial Revolution as LOWELL Massachusetts. Founded by Boston Merchants in 1821-22, Lowell, named for Francis Cabot Lowell, was built as a factory city along the Merrimack River to take advantage of the waterpower potential of the Pawtucket Falls.
It was a thriving industrial center during the 19th century, attracting many immigrants and migrant workers to its mills.
Located in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, on Highway 2 and in Berkshire County, is the lovely town of WILLIAMSTOWN. It shares a border with Vermont to the North and New York State to the West. It is home of Williams College and the Clark Art Institute.
Williamstown is also known for its cultural attractions including the Chapin Library of Rare Books where original printings of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are on display.
Williamstown was first settled in 1749 and incorporated in 1765.
Notable Residents of Williamstown:
Cole Porter - songwriter
Matthew Perry - Actor
Christopher Reeve - Actor
William Henry Vanderbilt III - Politician
Fay Vincent - Former commissioner of Baseball
Just some interesting "Tidbits about Massachusetts:
Boston is the capital and the largest city in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts was the sixth state that in the USA
Massachusetts's natural resources are stone, lumber, and fish
Massachusetts manufactures computers, paper, and machinery
Crops in Massachusetts include CRANBERRIES, vegetables, and cattle
Massachusetts was named after the "Massachusett group of Native Americans" It means great hill place.
Nicknames for the state are:
Bay State or Old Bay State [honors the Massachusetts Bay]
Pilgrim State because the Pilgrims were settlers here first.
Old Colony State that honors Plymouth Colony
The state Bird is a favorite of mine, The black-capped chickadee.
The State Tree is The American Elm which honors a historical event when George Washington took command of the Continental army in Massachusetts. Washington stood under an American elm when he took command.
A little-known flower called The Mayflower" is the state flower. Some people believe that the Pilgrims named this flower after their ship.
The state Cookies is the chocolate chip cookies [chosen in 1997] because Ruth Wakefield invented this cookie in Whitman, Massachusetts.
"The love of learning, learning how to learn--was revealed to me in Boston". Leonard Bernstein, composer
As a high school teacher for over thirty years, education is my number one priority. So, I was delighted to learn about the importance of education in Massachusetts. It has earned a reputation as one of the finest learning centers in the world.
In 1635, the Puritans founded the Boston Latin School, America's first public school. Also, the first public high school was established in Massachusetts in 1821. In addition, the first college in the US, Harvard, was founded in the state in 1636 by the Puritans! Interestingly, in 1852, Massachusetts became the first state to declare mandatory school attendance.
Today, there are numerous colleges and universities of great merit. Across the river from Boston in the city of Cambridge, you will find three outstanding schools: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M. I. T.) which is a center of scientific research, Radcliffe, a well respected Woman's college, and, of course, Harvard, the oldest and most prestigious university in America.
In Boston alone, many highly regarded schools reside such as Boston University, Boston College, Tufts, Wellesley, and Brandeis, to name a few. Because of these fantastic schools, research has led to many new medical innovations. These innovations have helped to make Boston one of the most respected medical centers in the world!
Fondest memory: Massachusetts-born, Horace Mann, did much to improve the nation's schools. He was born in Franklin and was considered "the father of American public education"; led the fight for free, universal education; & helped create the Massachusetts State Board of Education.
A prestigious private school, Phillips Academy, in Andover has been in operation since 1778! The nation's first women's college was founded in South Hadley and called Mount Holyoke. Better yet, four highly respected private women's colleges are in Massachusetts: Mount Holyoke (South Hadley), Wellesley College (Wellesley), Smith College (Northampton), and Radcliffe (Cambridge).
So, you can see why I, as an ex-teacher, would be enamored by the state of Massachusetts.
"It is not en route to anywhere else. One of its [Provincetown] charms is the fact that those who go there have made some effort to do so." Michael Cunningham
We visited Cape Cod in the summer, along with thousands of other visitors. Although "the Cape" is not huge, there are numerous museums, restaurants, and activities to keep even the most jaded tourist satisfied. We stayed at the cape's farthest tip, Provincetown. This is where the Pilgrims first landed before they settled in Plymouth. Here, there is a 250-foot-tall monument (Pilgrim Monument) which marks that spot. An observation deck at the top provides a stunning view of the tip of Cape Cod.
Unbeknown to us at the time that we planned our stay was the fact that Provincetown is predominately a gay and lesbian community. The attitude here is open, carefree, and fun. And, it's quite a contrast to the Puritan ethic once dominate here!
I always thought that Provincetown was a fishing village and a haven for artists and writers. ( I knew that Eugene O'Neill had stayed here).It is, indeed, an artistic community. But, "P-town" (as it's called) is also a sprawling playground with some gaudy souvenir shops and discotheques. There are devoted joggers who run the beach, maneuvering through sunbathers and children building castles. But, there's also quaint homes, a wonderful art community, and a friendly attitude that welcomes everyone.
Two of my favorite places on Commercial Street were Provincetown Portuguese Bakery (299 Commercial Street; 508-487-1803), where you can watch them frying sweet doughnuts called malasadas. and across the street, Cabot's Candies of Cape Cod (276 Commercial Street; 508-487-3550)) with its 30 flavors of saltwater taffy pulled on the premises. They also make delicious fudge.
Fondest memory: Iremember walking along Commercial Street with my daughter Jill (age about 9 or 10), and she says, "Mom, why are those women kissing each other?" I was at a loss for words. I didn't know how much to tell her. So, I said the truth. "They are kissing because they love each other." That's all she wanted to know and was satisfied. It was a learning experience for our whole sheltered family.
We left Provincetown knowing that a gay/lesbian community is just like every other community, only this one is filled with mostly kind, caring, wonderful people.
"It ain't bragging if you can back it up." Dizzy Dean
If ever a state deserves to say, "We're #1!", it's Massachusetts. I am impressed at how many people, places, and items concerning the state are categorized as being FIRST. I did not learn all of this at one time; it evolved over a period of two or three weeks.
In SPORTS for instance: Basketball was first invented in Springfield in 1891 by James Naismith, a physical education teacher who wanted an indoor sport for his students to play in the winter! Four years later, a YMCA director named William Morgan developed the sport of volleyball in Holyoke. Baseball's first World Series was held in Boston in 1903. First Marathon Race in USA was Boston Marathon (1897).
BOSTON'S FIRSTS: Boston Common became the first public park in the American colonies. The first American secondary school was Boston Latin School. Boston established both the colonies' first post office and the first free public school The first American public library was founded in Boston. Boston was the site of the first newspaper published in the colonies. Boston also had the first American lighthouse and the first American subway. Boston's court officials established America's first police force. Bay Psalm Book was the first book printed in the colonies; yes, in Boston.
Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital is where the first operation using general anesthesia was performed. Dr. Susan Dimock opens the first training school for nuses in BOSTON. Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone in BOSTON. Bostonian Frances Perkins was appointed the nation's first woman cabinet member. The world's first successful human kidney transplant was done at BOSTON'S Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. First American celebration of St. Patrick's Day was held in BOSTON (1737).
Fondest memory: EDUCATION FIRSTS First Woman's College at Mount Holyoke. First college was Harvard in Cambridge. First American Secondary High School.
OTHER FIRSTS First bookstore First Chocolate Chip Cookie (1931) First Chocolate Factory (1765) First state to outlaw slavery First Thanksgiving celebration The nation's first African-American regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, charges Fort Wagner during the Civil War. Frank Duryea drives the first American gasoline-powered automobile in Springfield. Robert Goddard launches the first liquid-fuel rocket in Auburn Howard Aiken heads a Cambridge laboratory that develops the first computer, called the Mark 1. Massachusetts native John F. Kennedy becomes the first Irish Catholic and the youngest person elected president. Sadly, Blackstone River was first polluted river in America. It flows from Worcester to Providence, RI.
"Search others for their virtues; thyself for thy vices." Benjamin Franklin
The Puritans brought their beliefs that witches existed with them from Europe to America. They believed that all their problems were caused by witches working with the devil.
Out of fear, they were quick to identify people as witches and then tried to destroy the designated witches! Many Puritans also believed that Native Americans were controlled by the devil. These fears of witches led to witchcraft trials in Salem in 1692. More than 100 people were accused of witchcraft. Nineteen people were put to death, sometimes on such slim evidence as the word of another person.
The Royal Governor of the Colony eventually stopped the witch hunters after his own wife was accused.
Fondest memory: The town of Salem is north of Boston. There is a museum devoted to the witchcraft trials (The Salem Witch Museum). There is also a Witch House that is a 360-year-old home of one of the judges of the witchcraft trials.
While in Salem, you are able to visit the Salem Witch Village, the Witch House, and the Witch Dungeon Museum. The Dungeon Museum features an acclaimed re-creation of a witch trial adapted from actual court transcripts!
But, Salem's history is more than witch trials. About six buildings in Salem Maritime National Historic Site inform visitors of Salem's days as a prosperous port and shipbuilding center.
All three of us enjoyed historic Salem. It's "witch" sites are interesting and somewhat frightening. The six buildings having to do with the Maritime History were really fascinating and interesting from an architectural viewpoint.
Photo: (The Statue of Roger Conant, founder of the city of Salem) shows a stern faced man in his heavy cloak as though he is enforcing the harsh moral code of the Puritans who settled in Salem during the seventeenth century.
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