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Archive for massachusetts

Monument to the Forefathers

By Linda Tancs

Today is Forefathers’ Day in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Celebrated each year on December 22, it commemorates the arrival of the Mayflower pilgrims ashore on December 21, 1620. Sounds like the perfect day to visit the National Monument to the Forefathers. Located on Allerton Street, it’s thought to be the largest solid granite monument in the country at 81 feet. The allegorical figures around its base depict the attributes of faith, morality, education, law and liberty.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Paper House

By Linda Tancs

You may be familiar with the expression about building a house on sand. But what about building one out of paper? The Paper House in Rockport, Massachusetts, is just that—a house made from paper. Built out of newspaper by mechanical engineer Elis Stenman, the unusual abode also contains a paper-based piano as well as a desk and chair. The house is open for tours every day from spring through autumn.

America’s Ship of State

By Linda Tancs

USS Constitution is America’s ship of state and the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. Open free of charge to visitors throughout the year, it’s located inside Boston National Historical Park as part of the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and forms part of Boston’s Freedom Trail. It earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” when it routed British forces in a War of 1812 battle in the North Atlantic Ocean. During this historic battle, cannonballs fired at USS Constitution appeared to bounce off, causing one of her crew to remark that her sides were made of iron. It is, in fact, composed of a three-layer wooden sandwich of live oak and white oak from all across America, and its copper fastenings were constructed by Paul Revere. Visitors to this historic ship launched in 1797 are able to speak with active duty U.S. Navy sailors who are stationed at the ship as interpretative historians to help bring the frigate’s storied past to life. To round out the experience, visit the nearby USS Constitution Museum.

A Big Drop in Massachusetts

By Linda Tancs

The highest single-drop waterfall in Massachusetts, Bash Bish Falls in Mount Washington is arguably the most photographed waterfall in the state. The final cascade splits into twin falls by a jutting rock, dropping in an 80-foot “V” pattern over boulders into a pool below. Enjoy the quick hike along the falls, starting at the Upper Falls parking lot for a steep climb down along the falls or alternatively from the lower trails. Go before the crush of summer crowds kicks in.


Sculpting American History

By Linda Tancs

Daniel Chester French was America’s foremost sculptor of public monuments. One of his first and most beloved sculptures is of an image of a Revolutionary War “Minute Man,” found today at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. He’s also responsible for the goliath Abraham Lincoln sculpture at the monument in Washington, D.C. Inspired by the natural beauty of the Berkshire Hills, French purchased the former Marshall Warner farm in 1896 as a summer residence. Known as Chesterwood, he worked on over 200 public and private commissions there. Both a national and Massachusetts historic landmark, the studio, residence and woodlands beckon visitors to the Glendale section of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

The Mount in Massachusetts

By Linda Tancs

One of America’s greatest writers, Edith Wharton wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including The Age of InnocenceEthan Frome and The House of Mirth. In 1902 the Pulitzer Prize-winning author designed and built her own home, The Mount, in Lenox, Massachusetts. A National Historic Landmark, her beloved home is now a cultural center celebrating the life and works of its most famous occupant. The estate is a study in English, French and Italian traditions, boasting a classically inspired main house modeled after an estate in Lincolnshire, an elegant Georgian Revival stable, formal gardens inspired by French and Italian landmarks and sculpted landscaping. The property is open to visitors from May to October.

America’s Fleet Museum

By Linda Tancs

Located in southeastern Massachusetts on scenic Mt. Hope Bay, Battleship Cove is America’s fleet museum. Home to the highly decorated battleship USS Massachusetts (saved from demolition), it also features the world’s largest collection of World War II naval vessels, including the destroyer, Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., the submarine Lionfish, PT 617 and PT 796 and the Soviet-built missile corvette, Hiddensee. A great day out in the Fall River area, there’s a re-creation of the Iwo Jima setting at Bicentennial Park.

America’s Oldest Restaurant

By Linda Tancs

Along Boston’s Freedom Trail you’ll find America’s oldest restaurant, Union Oyster House. Housed in a building dating back to pre-Revolutionary days (1716), its stalls and oyster bars remain in their original positions since the opening in 1826. The brick structure was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003 and is a rare surviving example of the city’s Georgian architecture. A favorite of statesmen, artists, travelers, inventors, athletes and theatre figures, it’s notable as the home of Isaiah Thomas (publisher of The Massachusetts Spy from 1771 to 1775) and the place where Louis Philippe, later King of France, taught French to prominent Bostonians. The toothpick (invented by a Maine family in the timber industry) also made its debut there. Not only is the Massachusetts eatery America’s oldest restaurant, but it’s also one of the world’s oldest establishments (the oldest being Botín in Madrid, founded in 1725).

Home of Little Women

By Linda Tancs

Louisa May Alcott wrote her beloved classic Little Women at Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts. The grounds contained an orchard of 40 apple trees, giving the home its name. Largely unchanged since the Alcott occupancy in the mid-1800s, the premises even retain 80 percent of the family furnishings, making a visit to the property akin to walking through the pages of the novel. The house is shown by guided tour only.

African Meeting in America

By Linda Tancs

In Boston, Massachusetts, the African Meeting House is the oldest African edifice in America, and the adjacent Abiel Smith School is the first building in the nation constructed for the sole purpose of housing a black public school. Located on Beacon Hill, both structures were built in the 1800s and represent the crown jewels of the Museum of African American History. Once the heart of Boston’s 19th century free black community, the historic landmarks are a testament to courage, ingenuity and perseverance. You can discover the stories of courageous Americans on a guided walking tour of two trails highlighting black heritage and community. The museum’s branch in Nantucket hosts another meeting house and heritage trail.

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