Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 17, 2019

Taking a Look at Portland

Our armchair travels through the U.S. have taken us to Maine which is the northeasternmost U.S. state. It is known for its rocky coastline, maritime history, and beauty of nature.


Our first stop is Portland a city set on a peninsula that extends into Casco Bay.

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Take a walk along Commercial Street which stretches along the water. Here you can find many restaurants, cafes, bars, and boutiques. Both locals and tourist love to walk here and catch the sea breezes, watch the ships, and see fishermen with their catches. There are cobblestone streets with charming buildings from the late 19th and 20th centuries.

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Among the architectural gems here is the Customs House.

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The Portland Observatory is a symbol of Portland’s rich maritime heritage and offers fantastic views over the harbor. Its historic tower stands on Munjoy Hill. Built in 1807 the tower provided communication between ships and the shore through the use of signal flags and a telescope. Unfortunately, the telescope disappeared from the tower in 1939. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark and the 86-foot tall tower is now a museum. Guided tours are available.

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The Art District

The Portland Museum of Art is the oldest and largest public art institution in Maine. It is located in the downtown district of the city referred to as The Arts District. The museum has a collection of more than 17,000 decorative and fine arts objects dating from the 18th century to the present. The artworks are divided into different genres like the State of Maine Collection, the European Collection, the American-art based Elizabeth B. Noyce Collection, with works by Homer, Rodin, Degas, Bellows, and Wyeth.

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The museum has three architecturally significant buildings and the Charles Shipman Payson Building stands as the face of the museum since its opening in 1983. The museum also hosts educational programs and events all year long.

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Victoria Mansion is also known as the Morse-Libby House and is one of America’s finest examples of pre-Civil War opulence. It was built between 1858 and 1860 as a summer home for Ruggles Sylvester Morse, a proprietor of luxury hotels born in Maine and made his fortune in New Orleans. It was built in the Italian villa style. The interiors were designed by Gustave Herter and still have most of the original furnishings he designed for the original owner. Guided tours are available from May through October.

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The Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine offers interactive education and learning for all ages. Located in the Arts District the museum features many different hands-on displays and exhibits to encourage children to use their imagination to explore, discover, and learn. Among the permanent exhibits are Coco’s Diner where children can pretend they run a diner and Car Repair Shop where children can try out their hands at mechanics.

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The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum was founded in 1992. It was established to preserve Maine’s historic two-foot gauge railroad equipment and to educate the public about the importance and heritage of the state’s railway system. It is housed in the Portland Company Marine Complex and includes interesting rolling stock and historical artifacts from the narrow gauge railways that ran in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

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Visitors can have their choice of programs and presentations like the Diesel Guest Engineer where you can try your hand at operating a 23-ton, four-axle diesel-electric locomotive or you can sit back and enjoy ice cream and see lovely views of the Casco Bay on the Ice Cream Train trip.

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Odyssey Whale Watch will take you out to the sea to look for whales, dolphins, sharks, sunfish, and seabirds. Visitors take tours on the Odyssey, a fully-equipped vessel that has seating and decks for great viewing.

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You will hear interesting and informative facts about the ocean environment and the sea animals. The tour will take you to the feeding grounds of whales and lasts for about four hours. Refreshments are available onboard.

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You’ll find the world’s largest 3D scale model of the Earth just ten minutes from Portland and two hours from Boston, Massachusetts. The Earth rotates and simulates the planet’s movements. The globe is nearly 42 feet in diameter and is open to the public from Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM. It is operated by Garmin Yarmouth manufacturer of handheld GPS devices with satellite communication.

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The Islands of Casco Bay or the Calendar Islands are located just off the coast of Maine. They can be reached by ferries. Casco Bay Lines offer year-round service to the

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larger islands, the last stop is at Cliff Island which is great for biking and walking.

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Peaks Island has lovely sandy beaches, restaurants, and an artist’s community.

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Great Diamond Island offers a historical look at the former parade grounds of Fort McKinley.

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The Maine Historical Society was founded in 1922 and located in the Arts District. It is a museum where you can learn about the history of Maine. The MHS and museum consists of the Wadsworth-Longfellow House and Longfellow Garden, the MHS Research Library, the Maine Historical Society Museum and Store and the Maine Memory Network, which is a digital museum through which the MHS runs its educational programs.

Monument Square panorama, Portland Maine

It is located on a campus across from Monument Square and is open to the public all year round.

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The Wadsworth-Longfellow House was built in 1785 by General Peleg Wadsworth. Today it is a historic house and museum. In 1962 it was designated as a National Historic Landmark. It is the oldest standing structure on the Portland peninsula and is the childhood home of well-known American poet Henry Wadsworth. The house documents the lives of four generations of the Wadsworth and Longfellow families.

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Portland Head Light is a historic lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. It sits on a head of land at the entrance to the primary shipping channel into Portland Harbor. I was completed in 1791 and is the oldest lighthouse in Maine. When visiting you’ll notice the waves crashing over some unique rock formation which is quartzite and dark grey phyllite that has accumulated in alternating layers. Looking toward Portland Harbor and Casco Bay you’ll notice another four lighthouse towers.

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To the left (North) is Spring Point Ledge Light built in 1897. It is a caisson style light station at the end of a rock breakwater.

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Right in front is Ram Island Ledge Light dating from 1905 whose beacon now is solar powered.

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Beyond Ram Island and only visible on a clear day is Halfway Rock Light Station from 1871 and to the right (South) is Cape Elizabeth Light which is one of two towers originally built and the remaining operating tower dates from 1874.

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Two Lights State Park got its name from the original twin lighthouses built in 1929 that were the first twin lighthouses on the coast of Maine. The eastern light is active but not open to the public and the western one is now a private home. These towers were painted by Edward Hopper in his famous painting Lighthouse at Two Lights. There are picnic tables on the hills with spectacular ocean views. You can hike or stroll enjoying the sea breezes and watch the ships.

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Fort Williams Park is a 90-acre park in Cape Elizabeth. It includes numerous historical sites. It is a great place to picnic, fly a kite, take a walk, tour the arboretum, walk the cliff side loop, explore the rocky beach, and enjoy the playground.

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Children will love The Children’s Garden. Vendors offer lobster rolls, sandwiches, and gelato.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 14, 2019

New Hampshire Off the Beaten Path

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Lake Francis State Park is situated on an inlet of Lake Francis where the Connecticut River enters from the First and Second Connecticut lakes in the town of Pittsburgh. The rapids in the river can be viewed from the park. A major attraction in the park is the wildlife as there are 123 different species of birds including bald eagles, loons, and endangered woodpeckers. Other visitors from the animal kingdom are deer, moose, and bear.

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Hikers have a choice of trails here – an easy trail runs through the woods along the Connecticut River leading from the campground to a covered bridge 1 ½ miles away and another trail offers a 3-mile hike up the slopes of Mount Galloway, the highest mountain in the area.

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The climb is rather steep but the view from the top is spectacular. Both hikers and bicyclists enjoy the old logging roads that wind in and around the park. At Lake Francis the fishing is good and a boat or canoe can be rented. The park has a public boat launch. For camping, each campsite has a fireplace, picnic table, flat area for a tent and a parking space. There is running water, flush toilets, coin-operated showers, and a dump station.  Not far from the park is a swimming beach, a stable where one can rent horses and riding trails.

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Shelburne Birches Memorial Forest Along the highway at Shelburne is a dense stand of paper birches which are dazzlingly graceful with their white bark and shimmering leaves. From this kind of tree the North American Indians made their birch bark canoes and come of the ones which grow here are giants – among the largest to be found in the eastern U.S. An unusual thing to see along a well-traveled highway, the forest, a commemoration of Shelburne citizens who served in WWII, was established soon after the war’s end. The white birch is the official state tree of New Hampshire.

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Castle in the Clouds – Located in Moultonborough. A lovely place in the Ossipee Mountains near Lake Winnipesaukee. This place was the creation of multimillionaire Thomas Gustave Plant who wanted to live in a place where he could only see beauty all around. He purchased 6000 acres of woodland and built his mansion on a promontory with views of the island-studded lake below and the White Mountains in the distance.

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Plant had European artists and craftsmen working on the place and the estate was finished in 1910 at a cost of $7 million and named the mansion Lucknow after a castle in Scotland. On the grounds, there are miles of carriage roads and riding trails winding through the woods fragrant with pines also waterfalls, ponds, streams and hilltops with breathtaking views. There are garden walks and tours of the mansion whose stained glass windows depict some of the scenery. You can feed the giant trout in Shannon Pond. There is an Art Gallery on the premises and the Carriage House Café and Patio.

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Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site – The house which is located in Cornish is set on high ground and circled by lawns and distant views of the Vermont Hills. It was once the home of one of America’s most distinguished sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens who bought the place in 1885 as a summer home but from 1900 till his death in 1907 he lived there permanently. He combined his interests in gardening and the styles of the classical Greek and Roman periods to create a fairyland of porticoes and wide vistas, of colonnades and formal gardens.

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Gauden’s studio

There are two studios on the premises the Gallery and the Temple (where the artist is buried) and you can see some of Saint-Gaudens’s most famous works. The artist’s father who was an immigrant shoemaker encouraged his son in his artistic endeavors. The sculptor named the estate Aspet after his father’s birthplace in France. Many young artists have studied with Saint-Gaudens. In 1962 the place was declared a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Birthplace of Daniel Webster is in Franklin. Daniel Webster was born on January 18, 1782, and was the son of a poor farmer. He became one of America’s prominent statesmen. Throughout his long career, he was a lawyer, legislator, Cabinet officer, and presidential aspirant. Daniel Webster was renowned for his oratorical eloquence, powerful presence, and championship of national unity. He was New England’s most respected and influential spokesman for 40 years. Webster who died in 1852 was elected to the Senate Hall of Fame in 1957. His birthplace is a small single-story dark gray clapboard building with cedar shingles. The two-room interior has wide floorboards, a brick fireplace, a bench, and a table. Picnicking is allowed at the site.





Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 11, 2019

Traveling Around New Hampshire

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New Hampshire has the shortest seacoast of any coastal state in the U.S. There are many wonderful things to see and do in this state which includes the beautiful White Mountains. There are lovely ocean and lake beaches. The beauty of nature in any season.

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 Mt. Washington Cog Railway is the easiest way to get to the top of Mount Washington which is the highest elevation in the northern Appalachians. This was the first cog railway of its kind in the world back in 1869. At the top, you’ll find the Sherman Adams Visitors Center with a small museum, a cafeteria,

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and the Mount Washington Observatory. This research station studies extreme weather conditions. From the Pinkham Notch side of the mountain, you can drive up the six-and-a-quarter-mile-long Mount Washington Auto Road or ride a van operated from Great Glen Trails. Those who want to climb have a choice of several trails.

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The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway was the first aerial tramway in North America. It carried the first passengers to the summit high above Franconia Notch in 1938. From the top on a clear day, you can see New Hampshire’s Presidential Range and the mountains in Vermont, New York, and Canada. Take the Rim Trail to the observation tower from where you can get fantastic views all around and straight down into the floor of the notch. A notch is a pass that was carved through the mountain range by retreating glaciers and Franconia is one of the biggest notches in the White Mountains.

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In Franconia Notch State Park you’ll find Flume Gorge which is an 800-foot-long crack in the rock at the base of Mount Liberty. Its walls rise 70 to 80 feet above the brook flowing through it. You can follow along on a boardwalk just feet above the water. Once the big sheet of ice forming the notch melted, torrents of water ran down the valley and carved out a 20-foot smooth-bottom depression in the solid granite of the mountain.


Signs will lead you to The Basin where

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the Pemigewasset River still flows continuing the process that began 10,000 years ago. In the park, there are many hiking trails, a campground and Echo Lake State Park with a lovely sandy beach and boat rentals.

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Mount Monadnock is the world’s most climbed mountain due to the fact that you can climb it in one day. There are various trails for different abilities. This mountain stands alone providing climbers with impressive views all around. You can see the beauty of nature and villages across the entire southwest corner of New Hampshire. This is referred to as the Monadnock region and also the “Currier & Ives Corner” for the sight of idyllic villages with white church spires and covered bridges.

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Among the charming villages here are Fitzwilliam,

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Jaffrey Center,

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and Harrisville.

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North Conway was one of the first ski resorts in America and remains today a major ski destination. This is a six mountain resort in the Mt. Washington Valley.

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Visitors have a wide choice of cross-country (Nordic) skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, dog-sledding, sleigh rides, and ice skating. While others can pursue downhill skiing. Most of the resorts are four-season and also offer golf, tennis, swimming and other activities.

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In the summertime, Cranmore Mountain has an Aerial Adventure Park and Mountain Coaster. Attitash Bear Park offers visitors an alpine slide, water slides, mountain bike trails, and horseback riding.

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Wildcat Mountain is a challenge for skiers and offers fantastic views of Mt. Washington from the summit.

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On the other side of Mt. Washington you’ll find Bretton Woods also with a zip line and all season activities. Family-friendly ski areas are Black Mountain and King Pine. You’ll find one of New England’s largest concentration of outlet stores at North Conway.

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The Conway Scenic Railroad runs the whole length of the valley in vintage cars.

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Hampton Beach is a popular resort town. It provides plenty of entertainment. The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom was built in 1899 and is a live music and comedy venue on the boardwalk stretching along the white-sand beach.

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The Hampton Beach State Park Seashell Stage offers concerts, movies on the beach, and fireworks. You can also find fun parks and deep sea fishing trips.

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Take in the Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition in the summertime.

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Lake Winnipesaukee is the main focal point of the Lakes Region. In the summer you can find water parks, beaches, fast-food and family activities. Plenty of water sports are available with sailboats, kayaks and motor boats.

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You can take a ride on the historic cruise boat M/S Mount Washington.

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The Loon Center and Markus Wildlife Sanctuary in Moultonborough

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protects the breeding waters of loons and gives visitors a chance to learn about them.


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Squam Lakes Natural Science Center focuses on nature and wildlife and Squam Lake was the setting for the movie “On Golden Pond”.

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Kancamagus Highway is the winding two-lane NH Route 112 that climbs over the spine of the White Mountains through the Kancamagus Pass. There are many lovely scenic pull-outs offering spectacular views. At the Conway end, you’ll find a covered bridge and two fantastic scenic spots on the Swift River.

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Both Rocky Gorge

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and Lower Falls are popular for swimming and picnics.

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A half-mile trails will take you to Sabbaday Falls where a mountain stream flows through a gorge with 40-foot walls. There are wooden railings that make it safe to look down at the waterfall and potholes.

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The highway ends in Lincoln, where Loon Mountain is a year-round sports center. The gondola takes skiers up the mountain in the winter and in the summer visitors for fantastic views from the summit.

Take the Covered Bridge Tour when in the olden days of horses and buggies these bridges were called kissing bridges and today provide a romantic nostalgia. They can be found all over New Hampshire and many close together in the town of Swanzey in the southwest corner of the state.

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Cresson Bridge frames a red barn and maple tree.

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Carleton Bridge is one of the oldest in the state.

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Taking a left on Main Street in Swanzey will take you to Thompson Bridge.

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Westport Village Road through Slate Bridge.

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Coombs Bridge Road through Coombs Bridge dating from 1837.

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Ashuelot Covered Bridge is the longest.

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A wonderful surprise is the Woodman Institute Complex. The 1818 Woodman House has collections of minerals, birds, shells, mammals, Native American artifacts, and Civil War items among them Abraham Lincoln’s saddle.

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Adjoining this house is the 1813 home of Senator John Parker Hale with furnished rooms, police and fire memorabilia, nautical items, and much more.

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The William Damm Garrison home is the last surviving fortified colonial garrison house. It is furnished with period artifacts. If you like you can picnic on the lawns and enjoy the gardens.

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Story Land is a great place for the family with a fairy tale setting. There are many things to please children like Cinderella’s coach, a ride in a wooden shoe or on a pirate ship and so much more. There are attractions for all ages.

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Clark’s Trading Post has been bringing fun for the whole family for a long time. They offer trained bear shows and several daily shows with acrobats performing tricks.

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Families can ride a steam train through the woods, play in the splash park, and visit the fun houses and museum collections along the Victorian Main Street.

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Up the road, on a hot day, Whale’s Tale Water Park is the best place to cool off.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 10, 2019

Would You Like a Reblog? Leave a Link

Dream Big, Dream Often


It has been a while since I have done this, but with a new year comes new posts.  If you would like me to reblog your post YOU must do 2 simple things:

  1.  Reblog this thread post to your readers
  2. Then leave a link to your post in the comments.  Please keep in mind I only reblog Blog posts.  I do not promote non-blog links or blogs who are selling wares.

Tit for tat, you reblog my post, I reblog yours.  It might take a few days, but eventually I will get to your link…promise.  🙂


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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 8, 2019

Exploring Manchester and Concord


Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire.

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The Currier Museum of Art offers visitors American and European artwork. The museum was founded in 1929 and today the building is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Part of this museum is also the Zimmerman House The permanent collection has artwork by well-known artists like Matisse, Monet, and Picasso among others. They also host family activities, concerts, and offer tours.

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The Zimmerman House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for Dr. Isadore and Lucille Zimmerman in 1950. The house is one the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was built as a single story house around a large central chimney in the shape of an “L”. Tours are given by the Currier Museum of Art.

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The Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in downtown Manchester stretches along the Merrimack River. It opened in 2005 and is home to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Minor League Baseball Team. The stadium also plays host to other events like concerts In 2006 Bob Dylan performed at the very first concert. Besides regular seating, there are 32 luxury suites on the upper levels for fans who want really great views of the field. From the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel next door, you can have rooms with spectacular views of the stadium.

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The SEE Science Center lets visitors learn about science topics like electricity, force, light, sound, and much more. It consists of two floors with many hands-on exhibits.

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One of the highlights is the LEGO Millyard Project that was built with three million LEGO blocks. There are also special temporary exhibits and the center also sponsors the Seemobile which travels about the area to educate students in the schools.

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Massabesic Lake in southern New Hampshire is within the city of Manchester and the town of Auburn. The name of the lake is a Native American name meaning “a place of much water”. Since the lake provides drinking water for the city of Manchester no swimming or water skiing is allowed. Visitors to the lake can fish, kayak, and sail. There are scenic trails offering lovely views of the water.

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The Palace Theater was built in 1914 and is one the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was built to look like the Palace Theater in New York City. Famous performers here have been Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers, Harry Houdini, and many more. After vaudeville, it was used as a movie house. Today the theater hosts plays, musicals, ballets, and performances by musicians and comedians.

Concord the Capital of New Hampshire

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The New Hampshire State House is home to the General Courts, Executive Council, and the Governor. It was built in 1819 and is the oldest state house in which the legislature still occupies its original chambers and is home to the largest legislative body in the U.S.

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Since the 1700s there has been an apple orchard on Carter Hill. People can come to pick apples here or purchase them at the country store. Most of the apples are in season during September and October. The New Hampshire Cider Works makes cider for everyone.

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The Franklin Pierce Homestead is a white clapboard Georgian-style mansion. It was the home of the 14th U.S. President Franklin Pierce. When he gave up politics he retired to Concord. Today this is a National Historic Landmark. The home has been restored to its original appearance. In the elegant ballroom on the second floor, Benjamin Pierce (father to Franklin) used to drill the local militia during the Revolutionary War. In the barn, you can find Franklin Pierce’s old horse-drawn sleigh.

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The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center is a museum built to honor Christa McAuliffe, the social studies teacher selected by NASA to be the first teacher in space and Alan Shepard who was the first American in space and one of the very first to walk on the moon. There are interactive engineering and science exhibits among them a full size replica of a Mercury Redstone Rocket.

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The New Hampshire Historical Society was founded in 1823 and is a non-profit organization that preserves and shares the history of New Hampshire. The museum has many objects, books, documents, maps, and photographs. The building was built in 1911 and has a sculpture by New Hampshire sculptor Daniel Chester French.

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The Old North Cemetery is the very first burial ground in Concord.

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It is the final resting place of President Franklin Pierce, his wife, and two of his sons. It was established in 1730 and is on the National Register of Historic Place.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 4, 2019

Lovely Portsmouth

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Our armchair travels in the U.S. have taken us to the New England state of New Hampshire. The state is home to the lovely White Mountains with Mt. Washington being the highest peak in the region. The White Mountains are home to moose and black bears and includes part of the Appalachian Trail.

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Our first stop is Portsmouth a port city on the Piscataqua River.

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Get to know Portsmouth by walking along the harbor and waterfront and in Market Square. The Portsmouth Harbor Trail connects over 70 of the city’s historical sites and scenic attractions. There are ten buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, ten National Historic Landmarks, and many historic homes open to the public.

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Warner House was built in 1716 and has the oldest Colonial wall paintings and the first example of Queen Anne furniture in America.

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The John Paul Jones House dating from 1758 has exhibits with collections of china, silver, glass, portraits, and clothing. It was the home of Captain John Paul Jones when he lived in Portsmouth.

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The Rundlet-May House dating from 1807 has furniture which was made by local craftsmen.

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The Moffatt-Ladd House is a historic mansion that has become a museum. It is located right across from the Old Harbor. The house was built in 1763 and is a National Historic Landmark which was opened to the public in 2011. The home has period era décor and architecture and lovely gardens. You can see original artifacts like letters, papers, and photographs once belonging to the original owners. Some of its former inhabitants include Revolutionary War figures, signers of the Declaration of Independence and members of the early East Coast society.

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The Governor John Langdon House is also a historic house that has become a museum. It was once the home of shipbuilder, merchant, Revolutionary War hero, three-term governor of the state of New Hampshire and signer of the Constitution John Langdon. This is an impressive Georgian-style mansion which was once referred to as the first home of its stature by the 1st President of the U.S. George Washington. The museum includes original pieces of the home, the property of the Langdon family, and historical artifacts.

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Prescott Park is an urban green space right on the edge of the Piscataqua River. The park has manicured gardens, wide lawns, three boardwalk piers, and two public boat docks. There are paved walkways leading through the park and you can find picnic tables, grills, and shelters for your enjoyment.

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The park is open all year round and is home to the Prescott Park Arts Festival. During the spring and summer, there are music performances, theater shows, big screen movies, and other special events.

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The Strawberry Banke Museum is an outdoor history museum that is associated with the city’s oldest remaining European settlement neighborhood, the South End. The museum consists of 40 historical buildings that date back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

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Ten of them are open to the public. You can see staff members dressed in period costumes offering visitors the history of each home. Exhibits demonstrate the details typical of buildings, grounds and early inhabitants of that time.

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The Music Hall is considered to be the oldest theater in New Hampshire and the 14th oldest theater in America. It has hosted performances by many notable celebrities among them Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winners. Performances include musical, dramatic, interpretive or author readers, dance recitals and cinema exhibits.

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The Portsmouth Athenaeum is a locally run and independently managed non-profit library, gallery, and museum. Visitors can take a tour and see authentic Portsmouth artifacts.

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USS Albacore is a submarine with a unique shape that pioneered the watercraft field. It was used for research and has been designed to move quickly and with great agility. It was operated during WW II. Today it is open to the public and visitors can tour the submarine and learn about its special features and contribution to the U.S. Navy.

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The Book and Bar is housed in a late 1860s buildings. It offers a unique entertainment and dining combination. This eatery and pub have the setting of a bookshop with shelves of books.

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You can enjoy great food and drinks sitting among tall bookshelves in cozy armchairs or sofas by solid wood tables.

The Isles of Shoals are six small islands six miles off the coast on the border between Maine and New Hampshire. Each of the islands has a different kind of character. One hosts a renowned religious conference center and another is supposedly the site of the honeymoon taken by the notorious pirate Blackbeard. Visitors can tour the islands and enjoy the ocean views, harbors, and surrounding coastline.

Hotels were built on the islands in 1843 by entrepreneur Thomas Laighton the first on Smuttynose Island and a larger one on Appledore Island. In 1873 another entrepreneur John Poor built the Oceanic Hotel on Star Island and it still remains today greeting visitors and is the only one of the Isles’ great hotels still standing.

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Appledore Island was popular in the 19th century with artists since author and poet Celia Laighton Thaxter had grown up on the Isles and was the daughter of Thomas Laighton. She became the unofficial hostess and artist-in-residence welcoming such fellow writers and artists as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and William Morris Hunt.  She died in 1894 and the hotel was destroyed in a fire some twenty years later.  Today this island is home to the summer Shoals Marine Lab.

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After Appledore, Star Island is the second largest and the only one served by a commercial boat from the mainland. It is a religious and educational conference center. In the summertime there are week-long and shorter conferences held in the Oceanic Hotel.

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Gosport House a 150-year old chapel and several buildings date back to the original village.

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Smuttynose Island is under the dark cloud of being the site of a horrible double murder in 1873 and is uninhabited today. It is also the site of Blackbeard’s honeymoon. Author Celia Thaxter wrote the story of the murder in her 1997 novel, A Memorable Murder. The murder is also recalled in The Weight of the Water by Anita Shreve and in the movie by the same name and in the song The Ballad of Louis Wagner by John Perrault.

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On the island, there are two small houses with one of them being the Samuel Haley House which is believed to be the oldest structure in the state of Maine.

Malaga Island to the west of Smuttynose is connected by a breakwater.

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There is White Island with its signature lighthouse and Seavey Island. During low tide, these two islands are connected by a land bridge.

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Seavey Island is the site of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. It is located in the Piscataqua River in Kittery, Maine opposite Portsmouth, New Hampshire.…/new-hampshire/portsmouth/visit-the-isles-of-shoals

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | January 1, 2019

Massachusetts Off the Beaten Path

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Mount Greylock State Reserve – The visitor’s center which is accessible from Route 7 near Lanesboro has maps available showing the campgrounds, picnic areas and hiking trails in the reservation.

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Driving up the steep winding road of the mountain one can see how the change in altitude affects vegetation. The lush hardwood forests at the lower levels give way to the low growing evergreens at the summit.  Greylock at 3,492 ft. is the highest peak in Massachusetts.

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On its summit is a 90 ft. stone tower The Massachusetts Veterans War Memorial Tower commemorating the citizens of the Commonwealth who died in the war. It was dedicated in June of 1932. The tower offers an incredible panorama of the lovely green-clad mountains and valleys of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and New York. There is a section of the Appalachian Trail where hikers might meet hardy backpackers who are going the full distance between Mount Katahdin in Maine and Georgia’s Springer Mountain.

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Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is located near Pittsfield. Here one can find a large beaver population and get a look at the gnawed stumps of their building material and the complex dams they make to control the water level in their mounded lodges. Beavers were introduced here along Yokun Brook in 1932. Their dams have made ponds that now provide great habitats for migrant waterfowl and other birds. The sanctuary is at a relatively high elevation so birds such as the hermit thrush, winter wren and slate-colored junco which are normally rare to this area stay here in spring and summer. Salamander migrations are a major spring event along West Mountain Road.

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The 730-acre area has some 7 miles of trails winding past ponds and waterways and through meadows and woods and along the slopes of Lenox Mountain. Those who wish to try it may enjoy the Trail of Ledges which leads to a fire tower and a great view. It is quite steep in places. A trail-side museum has natural history exhibits and provides pamphlets describing the water cycle, the numerous plants that grow here, and the beavers’ feats at construction. Canoe trips are offered regularly on the Housatonic River and area lakes from mid-May through Columbus Day.

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Bartholomew’s Cobble and Colonel Ashley House – This site is known for its diversity of ferns, wildflowers, trees, shrubs and vines and the many species of birds. “Cobble” is the New Englander’s word for rocky outcrops that rise steeply, like islands of stone, from adjacent bottomlands. The one mentioned here was named for George Bartholomew, who farmed the surrounding fields in the 1800s. It is a natural rock garden of grand proportions. There are more than 800 species of rare and endangered plants and over 250 species of birds which can be found on over 270 acres of lush forest, winding trails and fields and meadows on a foundation of hard quartzite rock. In the summer, 45 species of ferns appear. A National Natural Landmark Museum and picnicking spot.

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You can walk along the Ledges Trail or along a somewhat longer trail which leads down to the Housatonic River and a classic oxbow lake. A mile-long uphill path goes to the high pasture that spreads over the top of Hulburt’s Hill.


Nearby there is the Colonel Ashley House which was built in 1735 and is the oldest house still standing in Berkshire County. On this site Colonel John Ashley helped draft the famous Sheffield Declaration, boldly vituperating the British Parliament, three years before Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. Colonel Ashley acquired more than 3,000 acres and was among the first slave owners in Massachusetts to accept the idea of abolition. In the Ashley house, you can see finished period rooms, a pottery collection including examples of redware and 18th and 19th-century tools of many kinds.

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Moore State Park – A peaceful 400-acre retreat in the heart of central Massachusetts. Today one can see stone mill foundations and a restored sawmill. The exterior of the sawmill, which was first opened in 1747 by Jaazamiah Newton has been restored with a siding of weathered wood and the remains of the old water-driven turbines can still be seen. The remnants of the mill village at Moore give a glimpse of the old rural manufacturing economy which was displaced by the industrial developments of the nineteenth century.  Turkey Hill Brooke was the source of power for the mills.

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It flows into the 25 acres Eames Pond and then down a succession of three cascades and on through the park. There is a walking trail which goes along the edge of the pond. Fishermen may try to fish for pickerel, perch, and bass. In the naturalized gardens are great drifts of azalea and mountain laurel and rhododendrons. The flowers cascade down hills, line wooded paths and decorate waterfalls.  Among the birds to be seen are chickadees, goldfinches, nuthatches, bluebirds, cardinals, mourning doves and scarlet tanagers. The park is named for Major Willard Moore, a Paxton patriot who led the local farmers to fight the British at Bunker Hill.

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Purgatory Chasm is located 10 miles south of Worcester. The chasm is only about 50 ft. wide but reaches a depth of 100 ft. or so between precipitous walls accentuated by tall cedars growing form seemingly solid rock. There is a half-mile long descending trail from the parking lot to the chasm that is quite steep. There are warning signs about slippery rocks and uncertain footing. When one reaches the bottom there is an awesome feeling of having plunged suddenly into the earth’s rocky body. From the bottom, trails lead along the edge of the chasm and circle back to the parking lot to avoid a difficult climb.

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Trails lead to a wide variety of rock formations, with such names as The Corn Crib,

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The Coffin, The Pulpit,

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Lover’ Leap

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and Fat Man’s Misery. There is also a recreation area with picnic tables.

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Parker River National Wildlife Refuge – This 4,650-acre refuge lies on the Atlantic Flyway. Most of the preserve is on Plum Island, which is about six miles long and a mile wide. A road runs its entire length. On the left, going south, are sand dunes dotted with wild roses, scrub pines, dune grasses, bayberry, black cherry, and beach plum. On the right are fresh and saltwater marshes and beyond are the waters of Broad Sound, a long, narrow inlet. The beach may be reached by access roads. Self-guiding nature trails lead to various ecological niches within the refuge. The longest is a boardwalk trail that goes for two miles through Hellcat Swamp. There among the dunes are a freshwater swamp and a cranberry bog. At the end of the trail is an observation blind for bird-watchers.

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More than 300 species regularly frequent the refuge to rest and feed such as large numbers of migrating warblers, Canada geese, black ducks, and green-winged teals. Among the animals, there are deer, foxes, muskrats, minks, and weasels, but they are rarely seen during the day. In winter, harbor seals come to sun on the beaches. Fishing permits may be obtained at the refuge gatehouse.

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Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary – This is the largest of the 14 sanctuaries supervised by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. It covers about 2,000 acres. In the early 1900s, this land was bought by Thomas Proctor who was a wealthy Bostonian for the purpose of creating a private arboretum with an enormous rock garden called The Rockery as its centerpiece.

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The Rockery is set by a small lake and is a small man-made mountain complete with little gorges, caves, and paths. There are exotic trees and shrubs. Among the imported trees are cork, magnolia, Korean pine, and Sawara cypress. A fine grove of pine trees stands on the hill above the Rockery. There are 10 miles of trails in the area and a causeway crossing a large pond to an island covered with beech trees. The woodlands are carpeted with partridgeberries, starflowers, and wintergreen. Masses of blue irises grow in the marshy areas. There is a special area for bird watching and an observation tower overlooks a meadow. Canoe and cabin rentals are available.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | December 27, 2018

Taking a Look at Massachusetts

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Battle Green in Lexington is also known as Lexington Green. This is supposedly where the first shots of the American Revolution were fired in 1775. Once a year on the anniversary of this event re-enactments take place here.


You can see a Minuteman statue with the words of Captain Parker that were said before the battle “if they meant to have war, let it begin here”.

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Visitors can follow along with the route taken by the British as they marched from Boston. Battle Road is now a part of the Minute Man National Historical Park, which also includes North Bridge in Concord, where the Colonials battled with the British. At North Bridge Visitor Center you can see artifacts. Uniforms, and a historical film.

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At the end of the bridge is Daniel Chester French’s famous Minuteman statue.

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Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth is a living museum which explores the lives of the Colonial Americans and what their daily lives were like in the first New England settlement by Pilgrims in 1620. You can see actors in costume recreating a series of 17th-century tasks like building, gardening, and military exercises.

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The museum also gives you a look into the lives of Native Americans in the area at the Hobbamock Homesite exhibit. Here you can see a re-creation of a Wampanoag Village.

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There is also the full-scale reproduction of the Mayflower, Mayflower II at Plymouth Pier. Plimoth Plantation can be a day trip from Boston.

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Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge lets you take a look at life in the past centuries in New England. It shows the early 19th century with homes, mills, farms, and shops. It is one of the state’s most visited tourist attractions. It recreates life in the early 1800s with over 40 historical homes.

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Costumed interpreters demonstrate daily tasks that were done by farmers, blacksmiths, housewives, and craftspeople. Children can enjoy hands-on activities. You can visit a working farm which demonstrates early farming and gardening with livestock and heirloom plant varieties. There are two operating mills that use water power to process wood and saw timber for buildings.

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Tanglewood is the place for music lovers, especially in the summer months. It is located in Lenox and offers a wide range of musical entertainment from symphony orchestras to solo performances given by world-class musicians as well as student groups.

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It is home to festivals and event throughout the year.

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Seiji Ozawa Hall

This is where you’ll find the Boston Symphony Orchestra during the summertime. The whole family will enjoy Free Fun Fridays and you can sit in on Saturday mornings rehearsals with a reserved ticket.

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The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge honors one of the most well-known and best-loved artists in the U.S. The museum houses the largest collection of Rockwell’s work in the world. The artist lived and painted in the Berkshires for the last 25 years of his life. Some of the highlights of the collection are his Saturday Evening Post covers, the Four Freedoms, and Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas.

In Deerfield, the preserved homes tell the story of its history in the Federal and Colonial Periods. You’ll find 14 historic homes here as well as several galleries and museums with more than 27,000 artifacts.

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The Helen Geier Textile Gallery is a wonderful place to see what early settlers wore. There are demonstrations of crafts and cooker throughout the year.

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The Pioneer Valley Village in Deerfield offers remarkable things to see. The Flynt Center of Early New England Life as an outstanding collection of American quilts.

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The 1824 Federal Wright House has a wonderful collection of Chippendale furniture.

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The Asa Stebbins House has a unique arched doorway and an amazing collection of wall coverings.

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Worchester Art Museum in Worchester is considered to be one of the finest mid-sized museums in the century. Here you can see 50 centuries of the world’s antiquities, paintings, prints, photographs, sculptures, decorative arts, arms, and armor. In December 2018 you can see an interactive art installation with brilliant lights and color.

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It was in 1964 that the citizens of Massachusetts including more than 6000 school children came together to save the battleship USS Massachusetts from being scrapped. The ship was brought to the waterfront of historic Fall River. She was made the official WW II Memorial for the Commonwealth and opened as a public museum. Here you

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can also see the destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.,

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the submarine Lionfish,

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Pt 617 and PT 796, and

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the Soviet-built missile corvette Hideensee. All of these form the largest collection of historic naval ships in the world.

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Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon is an amazing zoo with a carousel, a rainforest maze, a  sky ride, a Woodland Express train ride, pony and camel rides and so much more.

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You can see animals like lemurs and lions, snakes and sloths. You can feed parakeets in the aviary or deer in the 35-acre deer forest, get up close to pygmy goats in the petting zoo, feed a giraffe or enjoy live-animal presentations and educational exhibits.

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Quincy is a great place to take a look at.

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You can visit the birthplaces of two presidents at Adams National Historical Park – the 2nd U.S. President John Adams

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and the 6th U.S. President John Quincy Adams.

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Enjoy nature at the Blue Hill Reservation with paved and unpaved hiking paths and biking trails offering spectacular views. All around the city, there are places for golfing or tennis, you can charter a fishing boat or fish off of the pier. There are many wonderful ponds and rivers and the ocean to swim in.

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The Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth is a wonderful place to visit. You can learn about pirate history. This is an interactive science museum where you can see, touch, and have a great hands-on experience. You can see the authenticated pirate treasure discovered in 1984 off the coast of Wellfleet.

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The Whydah was a fully-rigged British ship that journeyed between Africa, the Caribbean, and Great Britain.

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deCordova Sculpture Park & Museum located in Lincoln.

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You can see contemporary art and sculpture. There are lawns and copses of woodlands.

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Many exhibits also in the indoor space. There are year-round activities offered like snowshoe tours, outdoor yoga, nature tours, artist conversations, and screenings.

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Holyoke Heritage State Park in Holyoke is a compact city park sitting on the edge of the Connecticut River.

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It is a park for carousel lovers with a handmade carousel dating from the early 1900s. Within the park are also The Children’s Museum

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and the Volleyball Hall of Fame. It is a great place to relax or have a picnic overlooking Holyoke’s three canals and a row of historic mill buildings.

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Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston is a wonderful place where visitors can have a walking garden tour every Sunday.

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There are camellias in the Limonaia and subtropical plants in the Orangerie and the beauty of berries and bark in the Winter Garden. On weekends from 10 AM to 2 PM people can bring their dogs to walk the dog walking trail.

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New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park the New England whaling industry ended about 1900 but the stories live on. At the park, you can learn all about the whaling industry in the very streets and buildings where ships departed.

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Visitor Center

You can stroll the cobblestone streets and see the world’s largest whaling museum, a merchant’s home, a chapel for whalemen, and a 10th-century schooner.

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Ventford Hall in Lenox is an impressive Jacobean Revival-style mansion. It was built by J.P. Morgan. He built the house for his kid sister in1893.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been declared an official project of “Save America’s Treasures”. Visitors can tour the home, take a look at the art gallery or just walk about.

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Seven Arrows Farm in Seekonk offers visitors a look at all the plants and gardens. There is an herb shop.

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You can visit with the chickens and goats and ask the staff for information.

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If you like you can relax and read in the farm’s library or in the sunny tea room. It is open year-round.

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Bash Bish Falls is the most-photographed waterfall in Massachusetts. The waterfall tumbles through gorges and a hemlock ravine forest then dropping about 60 feet into a sparkling pool.

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It is right next door to Mount Washington State Forest which adjoins Taconic State Park in New York.

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Garden in the Woods in Framingham is the botanic garden of the New England Wild Flower Society. There are fifteen hundred native plants, paths to walk under a canopy of trees past a pond, a wooded bog, springs, and a brook.

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You can come to just enjoy or take a guided tour. You can also come to enjoy a picnic. For gardening needs, there is the Garden Shop. You can take a look at the family programs offered.

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The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls is an old railroad bridge that was revamped by gardeners.

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It spans the Deerfield River, connecting the towns of Shelburne and Buckland. It is now draped in living gardens of flowers, shrubs, and trees.

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You can walk through the lovely garden above a rushing river with a beautiful town on the side.

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Patriot Place in Foxboro includes Gillette Stadium which is home to the New England Patriots football team.

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At the property, you can shop, dine and find places for entertainment. There is also a state-of-the-art museum dedicated to the Patriots.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | December 21, 2018

Mysterious Salem and Beautiful Cape Ann


You’ll find the city of Salem on the north coast of Massachusetts above the capital of the state, Boston. Salem is mysterious because it is famous for its 1692 witch trails during which time some locals were executed for supposedly practicing witchcraft.

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The Peabody Essex Museum exhibits a collection of maritime art, American decorative arts, and historical and contemporary arts from China, Japan, Korea, India, Africa, North America, and the Pacific Islands.

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Courtyard of Chinese Home

It is interesting to explore the Huang family’s two-century-old ancestral home which was brought here and reassembled from the Huizhou region in China.

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There are several historic houses open to visitors among them the 1684 John Ward House,

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the 1727 Crowninshield-Bentley House,

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and the brick Gardner-Pingree House.

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The Salem Maritime National Historic Site consists of about nine acres along the waterfront and twelve historic buildings that helped preserve Salem’s late 18th and 19th-century maritime history, which helped establish economic independence in the emerging U.S.

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It is also the permanent home of the tall ship Friendship, a reconstructed 18th-century commercial sailing vessel that can be toured in the summertime. At the historic site, visitors can view exhibits, watch two free orientation films, take a look at the lives of author Nathaniel Hawthorne and America’s first millionaire, Elias Hasket Derby, during hour-long free guided tours.

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Also open to visitors is Derby’s 1762 home.


The House of Seven Gables site is a collection of colonial homes among them one of the oldest surviving 17th-century wooden mansions in New England, built in 1668. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne used the House of Seven Gables as the setting for his famous novel of the same name. Guides will lead you about and recount the history of its former occupants. You can view period artifacts, photos, and paintings.

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There is also the Nathaniel Hawthorne 1804 birthplace which was restored at this site to its 1808 appearance. There are four other houses as well all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The Phillips House is a Federal-style home that features Chinese porcelains, Persian carpets, paintings, and early American furniture. The collections span five generations of the Phillip family and highlight African woodcarvings and Native American pottery.

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Witch House is the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, one of the magistrates in the witch trials. It was built in 1642 and is the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Witchcraft Trials of 1692, It has been preserved in its original appearance. Guided tours will give you information about lifestyles, furnishings, and architecture.

Beautiful Cape Ann

Let’s take a trip to Cape Ann, a rocky cape in northeastern Massachusetts on the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 30 miles northeast of Boston and it marks the northern limit of Massachusetts Bay. It includes the city of Gloucester and the towns of Essex, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport.

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In Rockport, the red fishing shack with its lobster buoys has been painted and photographed so often in the iconic New England fishing harbor that it has become known as Motif #1. There are art galleries and studios along the streets of this lovely little fishing town.

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Stop to take a look at the Sandy Bay Historical Society and Museum,

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the Old Castle,

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and the James Babson Cooperage Shop which are all full of history.

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Of great interest is the Paper House, built in 1922 and made entirely of newspaper as well as the furniture inside.

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Gloucester is a charming fishing harbor commemorated by

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the bronze statue of the Gloucester Fisherman on the waterfront. In late June there is the five-day St. Peter’s Festival organized by the Italian American community.

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Take a look at the picturesque artists’ colony Rocky Neck.

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Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House was built by Henry Davis Sleeper as a summer home in 1907. Through the years it was expanded and now has 40 rooms. It is filled with his collections of American and European art, curiosities, folk art, china, and colored glass. There are entire room interiors with collections. As you tour the house you’ll hear about Sleeper and his friends.

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Hammond Castle was built between 1926 and 1929 by inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr.

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It was built to look like a medieval castle and is home to his private collection of Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance artifacts. There were gathered from his European trips.

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Leaving Gloucester we now go to the town of Essex from where in the 19th century more two-masted vessels were launched than from any other town in the world.

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The Essex Shipbuilding Museum has found its home in an 1835 schoolhouse and a shipyard on the riverfront. Here you’ll find a collection of some 8,000 tools and other items relating to the shipping industry. Over 3,000 photos of vessels, landscapes, history, and architecture are on display.

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Essex River Cruises will take you on narrated tours past estates, farms, and historic shipyards all in a landscape of salt marshes, islands, barrier beaches, sand dunes, winding rivers, and abundant wildlife.

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John Heard House

Ipswich is a popular town with antique lovers who enjoy the shops and galleries along High Street.

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Castle Hills the shore estate is a wonderful example of the houses built by wealthy families in the early 20th century. On its grounds are walking trails and the long shore of Crane Beach. Visitors can tour the Great House from late May to mid-October. The John Heard House is a Federal-style mansion built around 1800, with Asian and American furnishings, art, and a collection of carriages and sleighs.

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The John Whipple House has period furnishings and other antiques.

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Just north of Salem, you’ll find Beverly, founded in 1626. The brick Cabot House was built in 1781 by John Cabot and was the site of the Beverly Bank, the nation’s oldest community bank from 1802 to 1868. Permanent exhibits include dolls, portraits, art, and military and maritime artifacts.


Balch House was built in 1636 and is one of the oldest in the country.

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Hale Farm was built in 1692 and owned by Reverend John Hale who was involved in the witch trials when his wife was accused of being a witch.

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Posted by: RasmaSandra | December 16, 2018

Visiting Cambridge and Boston

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Home of Harvard University


Cambridge is a city in the U.S. state of Massachusetts right across the Charles River from the capital Boston. It is home to Harvard University.

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The Harvard Art Museum on the campus of Harvard University consists of three museums of which the first opened in 1896. The Fogg Museum is the oldest of the three and is famous for its eclectic exhibits, including Western artwork like paintings, print work, photographs, and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the present.

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The Busch-Reisinger Museum opened to the public in 1903 and is a wonderful place to see German artwork.

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The Arthur M. Sackler Museum opened its doors in 1985 and displays Asian artwork such as Chinese, Japanese, and Chinese pieces.

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The Harvard Museum of Natural History is known for being the most visited museum in Cambridge. It has more than 12,000 different natural specimens. You can find dinosaurs, meteorites, gems, and fossils.

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The Kronosaurus is a marine animal dating from the dinosaur age and measures 42 feet.

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The Blaschka “Glass Flowers’ is a world-famous collection of glass flowers. Children can enjoy interactive exhibits for a hands-on experience.

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The Fresh Pond Reservation is a park and a local reservoir. There are trails around a 155-acre lake for hiking, running, or cycling. You’ll also find a golf course for a 9-hole round of golf.

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The Longfellow House is the former home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a famous American poet. This house is also known as Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site. It was built in 1759 and was the headquarters of George Washington during the Revolutionary War. There are guided tours available and you can walk in the lovely gardens. Special events are hosted here that include reenactments of historical scenes, musical concerts, and poetry readings.

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The Charles Riverboat Company began in 1990 offering visitors a wonderful way to travel on the Charles River and see Cambridge from the riverside. Tours will take you around the Charles River Basin to the Boston Harbor. As you travel you can find out about the history of the Cambridge area.

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Harvard Square is known as the historic center of Cambridge. It is a plaza located next to Harvard Yard. It is a popular place with university students. Here you can find coffee shops, bookstores, shops, and restaurants. A great part of this area is pedestrian so you can walk about and enjoy street performers and musicians. In the evenings there is live music and other events taking place.

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On the Harvard University campus, the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology is known for being one of the largest museums that is dedicated to anthropology in the world. It was established in 1866 and has an incredible 1.5 million objects on display. Visitors can see maps, photos, and other important artifacts taking them way back into history more than 10,000 years ago.

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Central Square is part of the Central Square Historic District of Cambridge. It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Here you can find amazing period architecture and exciting places to go like live music venues, theaters, and bars. During the day there are many lovely churches to visit and you can enjoy ethnic restaurants.

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The Sanders Theater is well-known in Cambridge for being a historical location. It is part of the High Victorian Gothic Memorial Hall. The theater was completed in 1875. The events here include concerts, live music performances, and lectures. Here you can see busts of famous past speakers, statues, and lovely stained glass windows.

Beautiful and Historic Boston

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The Longfellow Bridge spans the Charles River. It is a steel rib arch bridge that connects the Beacon Hill neighborhood in Boston with the Kendall Square area in Cambridge.


Boston is the capital and largest city in Massachusetts. It was founded in 1630 and is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. It played a major role in the American Revolution.

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In the very heart of Boston, you’ll find Boston Common. This is the oldest park in America and the start of the Freedom Trail. It is a large green space visited year round.

There are monuments and the Central Burying Ground of 1756.

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From November to mid-March you can rent skates and skate on the Frog Pond. In the spring there are lovely blossoms to enjoy and in the fall the colors are amazing. In the summer it is a joy to watch children splash in the wading pool.

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Adjoining Boston Common is the 24-acre Public Garden the oldest botanical garden in America. It has Victorian-style monuments and statues among them

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an equestrian statue of George Washington and

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a popular bronze statue of a family of ducks from the children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey. One of the city’s most iconic experiences is riding around the lake in the center of the garden on the famous Swan Boats which were first launched in the 1870s.

An exciting thing to do in Boston is to take the three-mile Freedom Trail. It will lead you past 16 of the city’s main historic monuments and sites. You just have to follow the line of red bricks in the sidewalk and by footprints at street crossings. At the Visitors Center in the Boston Common, you can pick up brochures.

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You will then head for the State House.

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Old Granary Burying Ground the finals resting place of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and John Babcock.

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King’s Chapel Burying Ground the oldest cemetery in the city with the graves of Governor John Winthrop and two Mayflower passengers.

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Old South Meeting House where the speeches of patriots caused upheaval leading to the Boston Tea Party.


The Old State House is Boston’s oldest public building and the site of the Boston Massacre. Then on through Boston’s North End past the Paul Revere House and Old North Church. The trail ends across the bridge in Charlestown with the 54-gun frigate USS Constitution

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and the 220-foot Bunker Hill Monument.

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The USS Constitution was nicknamed Old Ironsides. It is the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy and is still commanded and crewed by the Navy. The ship is open to visitors. Across the pier, you’ll find the USS Constitution Museum where visitors can learn about its history through interactive displays which illustrate life aboard a naval vessel two centuries ago.

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The Cassin Young, a WW II destroyer is another ship you can tour.


The neighborhood known as the North End is one of the oldest in Boston. This is where the silversmith and activist leader Paul Revere lived at the time of the American Revolution.

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It was the Paul Revere House from which he made his famous ride and is the only patriot’s house on the Freedom Trail.

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You can climb up to the tower of the Old North Church, where lanterns were hung in April 1777 to warn Paul Revere that British troops were heading for Lexington to arrest patriot leaders and confiscate the munitions supplies.

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The North End is a favorite with tourists because of its Italian character and flair. Here you can find Italian restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and shops. Visit the North Bennet Street School where skills like bookbinding, cabinet and furniture making, carpentry, silver and gold work, and violin making are taught. The gallery shop is a great place to find one-of-s-kind gifts.

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Faneuil Hall had long been known as the “cradle of liberty”. It was built in 1740 by Peter Faneuil, a Huguenot merchant. It was built as a market hall always to be open to the public. The ground floor has market stalls and on the upper floor is a council chamber used in the 18th and 19th centuries as a meeting place of revolutionaries and later, of abolitionists. On the fourth floor is the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Museum with weaponry, uniforms, and paintings of significant battles.

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Next to it is the Faneuil Hall Marketplace which includes three long halls – Quincy Market, North Market, and South Market. There date back to the early 19th century. Here you can find an assortment of shops, restaurants, and exhibitions. In the square around the market, you can see street performers and buskers putting on shows. There are also many stalls selling food, jewelry, clothing, gifts, and souvenirs. This is also home to Durgin-Park, one of the many historical places to eat in Boston.

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Fenway Park is known as “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark”. It is an interesting place to visit for sports fans and even those not interested in sports. It is the home of the Boston Red Sox and looks about the same as it did when it opened back in 1912.


The most recognizable feature is the Green Monster, the 37-foot green wall in the left field. From the old days, there is a hand-operated scoreboard.

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Beacon Hill is one of Boston’s most beautiful neighborhoods. The south side of this neighborhood has traditionally been the home of Boston’s “old money” families that are locally known as “Brahmins”. There are tree-shaded streets and brick homes in Federal and Greek Revival styles.

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At the very heart is Louisburg Square. Homes here face onto a leafy private park. Author Louisa May Alcott lived here from 1880 to 1888.

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The Nichols House Museum is a Federal-style home which shows how the upper-class residents lived in this neighborhood. It has collections of 16th to 19th-century furnishings and decorative arts.

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Charles Street at the western foot of Beacon Hill is lined with boutiques and ships.

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Facing the Public Garden is the popular The Bull and Finch which was established in 1969 and inspired the TV show Cheers.

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African Meeting House

On the north side of Beacon Hill are homes to immigrants including the African American community since the early 19th century. National Park Rangers offer free guided tours of the Black Heritage Trail from April through November. Self-guided tours are available as well. The Boston African American National Historic Site includes 15 pre-Civil War homes, businesses, schools and churches that show how this community looked in the 19th century.

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The Museum of Afro-American History runs the African Meeting House which is the country’s oldest church built by and for Black Americans.

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The 1834 Abiel Smith School was the first grammar school for African American children.

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The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is one of the leading art museums in the U.S. It has collections of Impressionist paintings, ancient Egyptian treasures, Asian and Persian fine arts and artworks from ancient Greece and the Middle East. One of the highlights here is the American Wing with amazing collections of American paintings, furniture, decorative arts and so much more.

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The Back Bay area main square is surrounded by old and modern buildings. One side is formed by the Boston Public Library. It has impressive Renaissance Revival architecture and murals by John Singer Sargent and Edwin Abbey. Over the front entrance are granite medallions created by American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

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Facing the library across a grassy lawn is Trinity Church. This red sandstone building was designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson in his distinctive style known as Richardson Romanesque. The murals, frescoes, and painted decoration inside the church were done by John La Farge.

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On the third side of the square is the Fairmont Copley Plaza. These are three buildings that are backed by the sheer glass wall of a skyscraper and together create an amazing cityscape. A block down is the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

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Beyond that is the Prudential Center, a 32-acre complex of apartments, shops, restaurants, and a 52-story tower.

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For amazing views across the city visit the Skywalk Observation on the 50th floor.

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John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to the memory of the 35th President of the U.S. John F. Kennedy. The museum stands on the south shore of the city. It features three theaters, personal memorabilia, photos, and historical exhibits documenting the life of JFK and his presidency.

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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is housed in a building that was created after a 15th-century Venetian palace. The displays of collections are in rooms that are surrounded by a four-story central courtyard with flowering plants and fountains. There is a 2500-piece collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, decorative arts, books, and manuscripts that reflect the flamboyant taste of Mrs. Gardner.

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Behind the palazzo is a 70,000-square foot glass-clad building that was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. It is a stunning space for music and visual arts. The amazing Piano wing has transparent walls so you can see the Palazzo and gardens. After the tour, you can walk through the Fens which is a long green space with a lovely rose garden in bloom from June through October.

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An amazing thing to see is the Boston Waterfront.

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It is a mix of residential and commercial space and is connected by the Harbor Walk. This is an attractive walkway with parks, public art, benches, cafes, interpretive signs and access to cruise boats, ferried and water taxis. A shuttle-boat will take you the Charlestown Navy Yard.

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You can enjoy seeing Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, Commercial Wharf, India Wharf, Long Wharf, and Rowes Wharf. Leading to the vibrant Seaport District and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Take a look at the Boston Tea Party Ship, a replica of one of the original ships from which the Sons of Liberty dumped tea into Boston Harbor.

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At Rowes Wharf you can take an Odessey Cruise through Boston Harbor

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from Castle Island

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to George’s Island.

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To the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island

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and to the Charlestown Naval Yard and back to the wharf. Watching the Boston skyline from the water you can enjoy lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. At night you can take a romantic cruise.

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The New England Aquarium on the waterfront has over 20,000 fish and aquatic animals that represent more than 550 species. There is a man-made coral reef with tropical fish and underwater life like sharks, turtles, and moray eels. The Edge of the Sea touch tank lets visitors touch such creatures as crabs, starfish, and urchins.

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Outside of the aquarium, you can watch harbor seals play, perform, and live. There are educational program and whale-watching tours outside of Boston harbor. The adjacent IMAX Theater shows 40-minute films on nature subjects.

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The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave its inaugural concert in 1881 at Symphony Hall. It is also home to the Boston Pops Orchestra.

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On the riverside, you can enjoy outdoor concerts in the Hatch Memorial Shell which is on the Esplanade and has become a Boston Landmark. On the Fourth of July each year the Boston Pops Orchestra plays the 1812 Overture while the audience sits on the lawn.

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