New England’s most populous state offers history, seafood, and miles of shoreline.
New England is full of a cultural history on its own. Densely packed into the northeast corner of the country, this region is known for seafood, oceanfront mansions, peaceful lifestyle, and of course, New England Patriots fans. Massachusetts is in the geographical center of New England with its biggest city, Boston, filled with a plethora of activities to do, including: Boston’s harbor and historical attractions, and Cape Cod. I visited Massachusetts as part of an immense Summer 2017 trek that included stops to Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
Cape Cod is a shoreline south of Boston that gets thinner as you drive further down, the land almost goes up to make a letter “U” shape. This area is full of quaint New England beach towns, nice sand dunes and unique national seashore. My family first parked and walked over to a New England staple: a lighthouse. We took pictures at the Nauset Lighthouse and wandered to a deck with winding stairs that led down to the beach. Before I descended the stairs, I took a moment to admire the Atlantic Ocean, as no matter what state I looked at it from, it was still utterly majestic with waves flowing in unison and no end in sight.
The shoreline on Cape Cod is immense, so beachgoers tend to spread out. I noticed the beaches here had jagged, sandy cliffs similar to the ones I had seen in Oregon. This was the perfect spot where folks could relax. Cape Cod is the perfect summer getaway or side trip from Boston since it’s the most picturesque part of Massachusetts with iconic sights, including: seagulls, lighthouses, sandy beach cliffs, and some fresh lobster/clam chowder.
Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are two islands off the coast of Massachusetts. We took a small cruise through the Vineyard Sound to reach the island town of Oak Bluffs. The cruise was peaceful, the water glistened. The island itself did not feel like America, much less Massachusetts. Herds of tourists traversed one main street, and it felt more like a tropical island than New England. The houses painted in colors ranging from pink, blue to yellow sat alongside souvenir shops, bars, grills, restaurants. My family ate at the Sandbar, a beach bar & grill, where there was literal sand beneath my feet. The best part of exploring this island was walking in the center of a park right across from the Bay/Sound. It gave perfect views of the water, the line of unique houses, the beach, and the main street.
This history-rooted city is the main cosmopolitan center of our Northeast region, but it emanates an East Coast city vibe rather than quaint New England. Boston has played an integral role in U.S. history, as it was the sight of critical battles fought in the American Revolutionary War during the late 1700’s. The city was also home to other significant moments, including: Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre which occurred roughly around the same time as the Revolution.
Today, Boston remains as the hub for history, politics, sports, and technology in New England. It is also home to our country’s most reputable universities: Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern University.
My family and I did not have enough time to thoroughly explore downtown Boston. Instead, we drove along a small river near the city that afforded us crystal-clear views of the skyline. There were tunnels all around Boston, accompanied by endless honks that were reminiscent of NYC and Philly.
The city offers marvelous attractions to check out, including: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Public Garden, Boston Common, the Boston Harbor…and many more. We happened to pass by Harvard Square on a sunny Saturday afternoon in July, and the district was booming with pedestrians and students who were exploring the many shops and dining options. As we slowly drove past red-brick buildings that stood without a trace of modern enhancement, I could sense the infrastructure’s true authenticity within such historical monuments.