Although Massachusetts may be small in size, it offers visitors ample places to have a good time. Maybe you are sick of hearing about the Freedom Trail, going to Faneuil Hall, exploring Newbury Street, or even hearing about the witches in Salem. As the years have gone by I have made it my mission to explore what hidden gems Massachusetts has to offer. Some of these places are located in Boston, while some require a bit of a drive. Who knew these were all within two hours of Boston?
Things You Have to See
The Sunset on Plum Island– The beaches of the Cape and of Gloucester may be more well-known, but Plum Island in Newburyport is something to see. To reach the island, you are taken through windy roads filled with gorgeous beach homes. If the homes are not enough to get you excited, this quaint beach town is perfect to watch the sun set- whether in the winter or the summer. In the summer, beach fires appear up and down the beach while waiting for the colorful sunset. They are just as pretty in the winter, just remember to bundle up!
Metro Bowl in Peabody, MA– Pulling up to this place may give you second thoughts, but you have to experience candlepin bowling. Candlepin is something unique to the area and why not experience it at a place that has barely changed since it opened. As soon as you walk in, you are hit with a retro vibe, from the décor to the shoes (they wash them, don’t worry). The pins are skinny and the ball fits in the palm of your hand. Although the place is retro, it is currently under intense refurbishment to add a bar and restaurant.
Castle Rock in Marblehead, MA– Known for its outstanding view, another one of Massachusetts’s North Shore towns offers visitors something different to do. You can climb the rocks or simply just enjoy the beach. It gets its name from the castle-like mansion that can be seen from the rocks.
Places to Eat
The Gulu Gulu Cafe in Salem, MA- In a place known for their witches, Gulu Gulu switches it up a bit. Available on the menu is everything from Mac and cheese to crepes. The drink menu is no slouch with its abundance of craft beers and ciders. If you are lucky, you will get to enjoy some life music.
Tuckaway Tavern in Raymond, NH- Although this is a longer drive,
the food is worth it. This tavern offers a huge menu boasting award winning mac and cheese, burgers, and steak. To make the drive truly worth it, indulge in the tender bison tips. Don’t forget to visit their enormous butchery on the way out!
The Red Skiff in Rockport, MA– It would not be a trip to New England without some fried seafood. Tucked into the quaint seaside town of Rockport the Red Skiff offers quality seafood of all varieties. Their signature being the fried seafood platter.
Cool Day Trip: Providence, RI
Just up the I-95, Providence is the perfect place for a day trip. Both Brown University and Providence College are located right in town and are worth a visit. Thayer Street, near Brown, is loaded with cute shops and endless food choices. Downtown Providence is also something to be explored. Federal Hill, located near the campus of Johnson and Wales is often called the “Heartbeat of Providence.” The cobblestone roads are known for their fun shops and superb restaurants. If you are willing to venture a little further, Pawtucket offers a hidden gem for food lovers. La Arepa introduces their customers to Venezuelan food. Make sure to indulge in an arepa, which is a corn cake with your choice of meat.
Hidden Cultural Gems: Bearskin Neck Rockport, MA
Located right on the Atlantic Ocean, Bearskin Neck, offers visitors a look into small town coastal Massachusetts. They not only have one of the best seafood cuisine in New England (i.e. The Red Skiff), it is also home to several locally owned shops. They have everything from a Black Dog Store to Pottery stores to candy stores. If you have ever seen the Sandra Bullock Movie The Proposal, the views will look familiar. The town was transformed to look like Ryan Reynolds’
Alaskan hometown. The views are also something to take in during all seasons. Bearskin Neck is home to a red fish shack that has been dubbed “Motif No 1” because it is one of the most often painted buildings in America. It is a fun place to explore with a family or as a couple, that not too many people know about.
Hotels to Stay In
Salem Waterfront Hotel– If you are looking for somewhere to stay close to Boston, Salem is the place. It is located within in walking distance of historic Salem and all it has to offer.
Yankee Clipper Inn in Rockport, MA-. This place offers breathtaking ocean views and allows you to explore Rockport, while also being fairly close to the city.
Boston- Marriott Peabody– Peabody is a manageable drive to locations on the North Shore, Boston, Maine, and New Hampshire. Peabody also offers many dining options of its own.
Holiday Inn Brookline– Located near the campus of Boston College (which is also something to see), it is also a short walk to trendy Coolidge Corner. It is home to the Coolidge Corner Theater which shows a variety of films.
Compass Rose Inn Newburyport– If you a re looking to switch things up, come to this bed and breakfast. This cozy inn offers a free breakfast and is located right in the heart of Newburyport.
Don’t Leave Without Seeing:
You have to do some touristy things while you are here! Here are the top 3
Faneuil Hall Boston– There is always something to do here–shopping, dining, and entertainment. It is something to explore during all seasons and is bound to be enjoyable.
Salem’s Historic Houses– From the witch trial hysteria to the booming trade era, Salem is interesting. Because of all this success, the streets are lined with gorgeous homes for tourists to explore. Included homes are the Witch House and the House of Seven Gables.
Boston Duck Tour– Although this screams tourist, it is definitely a unique way to see Boston. You see the city aboard a WWII style amphibious landing vehicle. You will be on land and then delve into the Charles River, where you will able to see a breathtaking view of the city.
Michael Pelusi is a lifelong Peabody resident, veteran of the Peabody Fire Department and works part time at the Lobster Shanty in Salem as a bartender.
Q: How you describe the area that you have called home your entire life?
A: Peabody and the North Shore area has been really good to my family. Most of us haven’t ventured too far from Peabody. I love the comfortable vibe the area gives off. I could not imagine being anywhere else!
Q: Describe your decision to become a firefighter in your hometown.
A: My father was also a firefighter here, so I got to see how he served the city he loved every day. He inspired me and I was in the market for a new job, so I gave it a go. Although it’s not my dream job, I love serving this city.
Q: Salem is known to be a very vibrant town. What’s it like working there?
A: I have enjoyed my 20 years working at the Lobster Shanty. It’s right in the middle of town, which makes it a popular place for tourists. The restaurant has been featured on Guy Fieri’s show with our Lobster Martini, so I make that drink a lot. It’s nice because you never know who is going to walk in and have a chat with you.
Q: What would you say to people who have never ventured around the North Shore of Massachusetts.
A: I would tell them that it is a very inviting place. There are more things to do than they could ever imagine. I’ve spent full days in Salem, Gloucester, Newburyport, and even parts of Maine and New Hampshire. You can never be bored here!