Unique Places in Massachusetts

  • Minifrosch enjoys the boat ride
    Minifrosch enjoys the boat ride
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    Oak Bluffs - Doll Houses
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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Massachusetts

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    Davis MegaMaze

    by mikelisaanna Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Davis Farm in northern Massachusetts (near the town of Sterling) features a large corn maze every summer and fall, which makes for a fun afternoon for the entire family. The maze changes every year and includes games and things to collect along the way. If you get lost, there are plenty of assistants who can help you find the way out (we gave up and asked for help). Across the road from the maze, there is a petting zoo.

    A billboard for the Davis MegaMaze Anna in the maze A section of the maze
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  • The Butterfly Place

    by peach93 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    This is a great place to take kids. The Butterfly Place is a huge, glass atrium which is full of up to 500 butterflies at any given time. The butterflies live in a natural (but indoor) setting that you can either walk though or look at from their obseration room. They also offer a short film that teaches about the life cycle of butterflies. They have a gift shop here, too, where you can buy your own butterfly hatching kits. You can also order these online via their website.

    The Butterfly Place is located in Westford, MA and is open from March 1 through mid-October.

    Related to:
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    • Museum Visits
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Borderland State Park

    by dracko Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Borderland is a great park to spend a day hiking, trail biking, or just plain relaxing. It's one of my favorite places to ride my mountain bike in the summer. Spanning the border between Sharon and Easton, this aptly-named park has something to offer for most people. There are three large ponds in the center of the park surrounded by a couple of loops of a wide unpaved bridle trail. Leach Pond, the larger of the two, is a great little place for canoeing practice and has a couple of islands in the middle good for a picnic. The entire Northern part of the park is heavily wooded, hilly, peppered with granite outcroppings reaching up to 350ft, and is criss-crossed by a number of marked hiking/biking trails. There are maps readily available by the entrance to the park, so you don't need to worry about getting lost. The trails aren't very long, but most of them are interconnected and the entire Northern part of the park can be hiked in a few hours. Alltogether there are 14 marked trails in the park, and numerous unmarked ones.

    If hiking isn't your thing, there is also a big grass lawn for you to relax on, play frisbee, or do whatever. It's located at the main entrance, right next to a mansion that used to belong to the Ames family, land's owners in years past which is now open for tours.

    The park is also great for birdwatching, you'll find severeal huts just off the trails around the ponds. The park is rich with other wildlife aside from the numerous birds - fish in the ponds, rabbits, snapping turtles, and all kinds of other critters that you'll come across while exploring the park.

    Ames mansion at Borderland State Park
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    Spohr's Garden

    by DueSer Updated Oct 15, 2010

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    Woods Hole has a famous oceanography institute and it's also where a lot of ferries leave to take passengers to Martha's Vineyard. What often gets overlooked is a spectacular "hidden" garden called "Spohr's Garden" named for the owners who donated it to the city after their deaths.
    Approximately 6 acres along Oyster Pond, Spohr's main attraction are daffodils in the Spring. They seem to go on forever, fading into the bordering woods, reflected in the water, filling every spot imaginable. It's simply gorgeous and should not be missed even though it is very hard to find. Located off Woods Hole Rd, you have to make a sharp, backwards left turn onto Fells Rd to get to the right place. It's free though, so definitely worth the effort. Other flowers bloom the rest of the year but the daffodils are what makes this something to seek out.
    If you stay at Woods Hole Passage B&B you can take a wonderful hike through the woods to get to the garden instead of trying to find it with your car.

    Spohr's Garden
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    • Hiking and Walking

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    Urban hiking in the Blue Hills

    by donpaul77 Updated Jan 6, 2010

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    Just south of Boston, and spanning several cities, are the 6000 acres that make up the Blue Hills reservation. There are many miles of pleasant trails over hilly terrain. The largest hill is called Great Blue Hill, and it's summit offers some nice views of Boston and Quincy Bay. While up there, you can visit the weather observatory. The Blue Hills isn't just hiking either. There is also the Trailside Nature Museum, Houghton's Pond, and the small ski area.

    This place is a great getaway from the urban landscape, to get some exercise and look for native wildlife. Deer, turkeys, red tail hawks, and even the endangered Timber rattle snake make their home here. Visit the Trailside Museum to learn about and even see these animals.

    You will want to start at the Trailside Museum, on rt. 138 north off of I93.

    The Blue Hills The Blue Hills
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    Heading for Bradley Farm on Mount Greylock

    by Faiza-Ifrah Updated Nov 19, 2008

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    It was a big disappointment to see that all roads to Mount Greylock, the tallest mountain in the region at 3,491 feet above sea level, were closed after reaching a certain height. The view of the valley below from the Visitor Centre, half way to the peak, was beautiful nevertheless (picture # 1).

    Mount Greylock is rich in both nature and history. It was created in 1898 as the 1st widerness state park in Massachusetts. It is wildlife lovers paradise. Information about flora and fauna can be picked at the Visitor Center.

    The Bradley family once farmed the land near the Visitor Center from 1762 to up to 1900. Now returned to the forest, the visitors like us are encouraged to explore the natural changes taking place here.

    The trail to the Bradley Farm starts close to the Centre. We decided to hike on it. However, this was one of the scarier hikes that we have taken in our lives and skepticism prevailed from the very start of it (picture # 2). Although sun was shining brightly out in the open at 5 pm, inside the forest, it seemed that we had dusk (picture # 3). Normally, we take several short intervals to observe wild flowers, plants and insects. In this case, we decided to forego everything in order to be able to reach the farm signs. However, when we heard a thunderstorm overhead, we decided to call it quits.

    This turned out to be an exciting hike, but we were not able to accomplish our goal.

    The point in our favour - it did rain cats and dogs within few minutes.

    A view of the Valley from Visitor Center Skepticism prevailed at the start of the hike My son acts scared as the dusk seemed to fall
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    • Family Travel
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Faiza-Ifrah's Profile Photo

    A drive through Pittsfield State Forest

    by Faiza-Ifrah Written Nov 2, 2008

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    Surrounded by streams, waterfalls and flowering shrubs, this park is spread over 10,000 acres and has 31 campsites.

    Our exploration of this State Forest was for a short duration. We wanted to get to the Berry Pond, the highest lake in the state of Massachusetts, to enjoy boating. However, we found the lake to be too small for our interest in canoeing. We did watch for sometimes people fishing at the lake though.

    There is a carpeted road that we took to drive inside the State Forest. It turned out to be an awesome drive.

    Entrance of the park is at: Cascade Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201

    Berry Pond The driving trail
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    A drive through Scenic Mohawk Trail

    by Faiza-Ifrah Updated Nov 2, 2008

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    Taking route 2 from Willamstown to North Adams and then route 8 further northwards, we reached the scenic Mohawk Trail. This was one of the most beautiful of road trips ever taken by us. The beauty of this scenic route could be unmatched in fall season. This is one of the 3 scenic trails listed as major attractions in the Berkshires.

    The road first ascended to the top of the Appalachian Mountain range (Whitcomb Summit) and then descended on the northern side while approaching the town of Florida. As it did so, it continually twisted and turned with tree laden mountains on one side and deep ravines on the other. There are a couple of scenic outlook points to see the gorgeously beautiful landscape below.

    Whitcomb Summit is the highest point along the Byway. Whitcomb Summit is also the location of the “Elk on the Hill,” (see picture) a bronze statue of an elk erected as a memorial to those who lost their lives in World War I.

    While descending we went as much as 10 kms more, enjoying the scenery, till we reached seemingly popular Mohawk State Park. We took a brief rest here before moving on.

    Scenic spot Mohawk Trail Elk on the Hill A view of the valleys below
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    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel

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    A day at Lowell City amidst thunderstorms

    by Faiza-Ifrah Updated Oct 24, 2008

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    Please note that pictures have to be downloaded to complete this tip.

    Continuing on Route 2 (the beautiful and picturesque Mohawk Trail that runs from the city of North Adams in Berkshires up to the city of Westminster, picture # 1 and 2) and then on I-495 under terrible rainy conditions, we reached Lowell. This is the fourth largest city in Massachusetts. On the way, just before the city of Leominster, our attraction was diverted by the signage for Leominster State Forest.

    During the drive we passed through small towns of North Adams, Florida, Drury, Greenfield, Brooks Village, Leominster, Westford, Chelmsford and others.

    Lowell's National Park, aka National Historical Park, is the country's greatest showcase of Industrial Revolution and the textile industry that boomed in New England in the nineteenth century. There is about 2.5 miles of trolley and canal boat tours and several museums. We found the Welles Emporium as a unique gift shop located in this historic downtown and more importantly in the center of Lowell's National Historic Park. It featured works by local artisans, jewelry, clothing, home accessories and children's gifts. Needless to mention we spent few hundred dollars here.

    Thanks to the presence of University of Massachusetts, the city's workforce is computer literate and retail and real estate business seemed to be strong. The city is built around the Merrimack River and a canal system that provided power to the early manufacturers.

    However, we were not fortunate enough to visit any of the city’s attractions. It was raining cats and dogs. Our stay was in Hancock, Berkshires and we decided to drive back to reach the resort in the evening.

    However, we have book-marked Lowell and Boston for our characteristic 10 days visit in 2009. In addition to suggestions by my VT friend Michael (VT Name: nomorewars), we will likw to visit at least the following:

    Visitor Center and Market Mills
    Boott Cotton Mills Museum
    Patrick J. Mogan Cultural Center
    Mill Girls and Immigrants Exhibit

    Returning to car in rain after having lunch Onwards to Lowell - thunderstorm Driving in Lowell during thunderstorm
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    • Architecture
    • Road Trip

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    An old New England cemetary on the South Shore

    by donpaul77 Updated May 11, 2008

    There is something unique and deeply evocative about these old New England cemeteries, with their lichen covered slate tombstones. Many of the stones are so old that weather has worn the engravings to the point of illegibility. There are many such cemeteries, but one that I came across that was particularly nice was the cemetery of The First Congregational Church of Marshfield, gathered in 1632, with graves dating back to that time.

    The church, though I don't know it's age, is classically New England, with it's simple form and short, sharp spire.

    Keep your eyes open for this, and other such graveyards in the long settled parts of New England. It's worth a few moments of your time to meander and contemplate the tombstones.

    A Classic New England Church A couple The Black Beast of the cemetery
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    • Historical Travel
    • Religious Travel
    • Road Trip

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    Myles Standish Monument State Reservation

    by donpaul77 Updated Apr 9, 2008

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    Myles Standish Reservation is hidden away on a wooded hill in the coastal town of Duxbury. It is dedicated to Myles Standish, who was a military leader of the Pilgrims and founded the town in mention. You can be sure he killed his fair share of Native Americans.

    Anyhoo, the park is not vast but is nice for a stroll and is capped off by a very tall monolith with a dramatic statue of Standish at it's top. The homes in the area look out over the bay and you will be envious of them.

    See the link below for a google map.

    Not to be confused with Myles Monument State Forest in Plymouth.

    Emmet in the park Good ol' Myles Standish A standing stone The view from the park Myles standish monument
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    Old Sturbridge Village

    by deecat Updated Aug 16, 2007

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    "We would like to live as we once lived, but history will not permit it." John Fitgerald Kennedy

    We visited Old Sturbridge Village located a little southwest of Worchester. Here, we were able to "see" history come alive.

    This is a settlement created by gathering together and restoring original buildings from towns throughout New England. There are trained guides who demonstrate colonial life. This is a re-creation of an 1830s New England Village.

    We saw forty restored structures. I remember a schoo, a tavern, a few churches, a meeting house, a bank, some shops, and several homes. In addition, we saw a working farm and a water-powered mill. This was prior to digital cameras and to VT, so I have few photographs

    The costumed staff demonstrated how items were made. We were fortunate to witness the making of soap, bread, shoes, tinware, and even horseshoes!

    The guides and other staff members wear historically accurate costumes. Our daughter Jill was in grade school at the time and was quite impressed.

    Allan and I found it worthwhile and learned a great deal. We also enjoyed the quiet and simplicity of it all. What I appreciated the most was how authentic everything was.

    Old Sturbridge Village
    Village Road
    Sturbridge, Massachusetts 01566

    Old Sturbridge Village
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    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel

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  • The Garden in the Woods

    by peach93 Written Feb 24, 2006

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    The Garden in the Woods in located in Framingham, MA. It is the Botanical Garden of the New England Wildflower Society. They have over 1600 native plant species and it is gorgeous. A good friend of mine from college got married there. I used to come to this place a lot because I love plants, but haven't been in a while. Maybe I'll go soon! They have a nursery where you can buy plants, books, and gifts. Hours vary by season from from April to October. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 kids, and $5 for students and seniors.

    Garden in the Woods Meadow
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    The National Seashore

    by am&pm Written Jun 2, 2005

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    There are so many things to do in Cape Cod for both nature-lovers and city dwellers alike. The National Seashore has many hiking and biking trails following the coastline and one can find beautiful, private beaches to sun yourself in or cool your feet. The season for warmth is short there: May through early September with very cool nights still in May and September. Still, I've been to the Cape in January when there was snow on the ground and it STILL was a wonderful trip! The ocean is wild and cold and windy and gray--a very different experience.

    Here is a map of the cape--although not close enough to see the details. There are very helpful visitors centers along the way on the main route through the Cape (Rte 6, I believe). What you see in green is the National Seashore.

    Visitors center
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    • Camping
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    Salem

    by goingsolo Updated Sep 29, 2004

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    Salem is a small town located about 15 miles north of Boston. The area is most known for the Salem Witch Trials, which took place in 1692. The town's buildings and museums trace the chain of events leading up to the witch trials and have on display some of the original documents from this event. Several memorials honor those who were killed after being falsely accused of witchcraft. Some of the houses in the area date back to the 17th century as well. And, in an effort to prevent future mass hysteria, the town has a witch museum which explains the religious principles and practices of this faith.

    Salem

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Massachusetts Off The Beaten Path

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