By Isabella Brady
A beautiful state, filled with a charming juxtaposition of urban cities, picturesque towns, and breathtaking scenery Massachusetts proves an amazing place to explore. I wish I could be MIA in MA more often!
Here’s what I recommend seeing on your trip:
- Boston: Truly unique for its revolutionary roots complimenting the urban landscape, Boston boasts architecture dating as early as the 1600s beside towering skyscrapers. Whether you wander the pristine streets, explore the freedom trail, or dive into the local dining scene, Boston encompasses a tapestry of history, cultures, architecture and atmosphere unparalleled by any other city.
- Freedom Trail: Simply said, the freedom trail can refer to many things—16 to be exact. Below are the one’s I have visited and highly recommend integrating into your travel itinerary.
- Old South Meeting House: The gathering place of America’s founding fathers—among many important figures who founded the nation—the Old South Meeting House has a pivotal role in history dating back to the Boston Tea Party. With beautiful internal architecture and a great museum/audio tour inside, the historic site is an excellent way to begin the day.
- Old Corner Bookstore: Embarrassingly, it was the evening in my hotel room where I discovered that the inconspicuous Chipotle I passed on the way to the Old South Meeting House was in fact Boston’s eldest commercial site. Once housing Ticknor and Field, a publishing house producing a variety of famous titles including the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Lonfellow, the modern inhabitant serves little justice to the building’s rich history.
- Old State House: The oldest public establishment in Boston, the museum stands ironically placed above a T train (Boston’s subway) stop. Nevertheless, the stop has an excellently balanced museum section alongside a floor and other restored rooms for visitors to wander.
- Boston Massacre Site: Just outside the Old State House, a brick walkway holds an emblem distinguishing the location of the fateful Boston Massacre. As an influential moment in American history, travelers can reflect on the spot where “the shot heard around the world” was actualized.
- Faneuil Hall: Currently, the historic building houses adorable shops. However, with prime location near downtown Boston’s commercial district and pier, the site is a great place to explore the more current culture of the bustling city.
- Paul Revere House: You may not be getting many photos inside the historic Paul Revere House (photography remains prohibited). In spite of this, the tour proves nonetheless memorable. With the opportunity to experience the daily lives of Paul Revere and his family, the preserved house allows visitors to see many stories of early Americans over the centuries.
- Old North Church: Known for its integral role in expediting the American Revolution after Paul Revere’s ride, the church displays a rich history extending beyond America’s early roots. Balanced atop a crypt storing thousands of human remains, visitors can explore the resting space by guided tour.
- Copp’s Hill Burying Ground: Leaning headstones, many of their faces worn smooth over time, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is certainly ominous, but also a great location to read about the early people of North End housed there and the history of the vast cemetery.
- Bunker Hill Monument: Named for the expediting battle of the Revolutionary War, the Bunker Hill Monument is definitely a defining feature in Boston’s skyline.
- North End: If you can only visit one place in Boston—go to the North End. Home to many highlights of the Freedom Trail and imbued with culture, the narrow streets appear almost from a different time. Strolling through the neighborhoods in the late afternoon, I observed both young and old stop in the street as they walked their dog, or brought home groceries to talk and laugh…the unfaltering sense of community amid the tourists was something I rarely recall witnessing in the Bay Area. In the commercial region, various Italian restaurants and businesses line the streets. The sidewalks bustled with families, saturated with the enticing smell of Italian cuisine and a flourishing atmosphere.
- Mike’s Pastry: Located in the North End, you often see the line of patrons bombarding the narrow sidewalks before you see the sign for Mike’s Pastry. An Italian family-run business serving authentic Italian desserts, locals and tourists alike flock to the establishment for their delectable treats. Cannoli (in nearly every flavor imaginable), biscotti, ricotta pies, cookies, macaroons, lobster tails and countless cakes—Mike’s Pastry will keep you coming back throughout your stay in Boston.
- Museum of Fine Arts: Currently displaying the stunning portraits of Michelle and Barack Obama, the museum houses everything from the works of ancient Egyptians to Tiffany Windows. Wandering through the cavernous and expansive galleries, there is so much to see you could spend days without seeing everything. Make sure to bring a map with you—it can be very easy to get lost in the building’s many identical hallways and spaces.
- Salem: A beautiful town just 40 minutes outside of Boston, Salem is rich with the dark history which unfolded in the town: the Salem Witch Trials. Today, people visit the town to learn about witchcraft, and relax in the beautiful city.