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Massachusetts has played a pivotal role in American history. The pilgrims of the Mayflower created their first colony here in 1620, immense whaling fleets set out from New Bedford and Nantucket, giants of American literature from Hawthorne and Thoreau to Updike and Kerouac had their roots here and, of course, many of the most important events of the American Revolution took place in the Boston area. Looking out over the Atlantic, hotels on the coastline and islands off Massachusetts are very popular with summer visitors and U.S. Presidents alike, while the seafood is frighteningly good, especially the lobster rolls that are ubiquitous in its seaside resorts.
Boston - In the late 18th century, colonists tired of taxation without representation rebelled against the British government, triggering the American Revolution that led to the founding of the United States. Boston’s Freedom Trail is an easily walkable tour of the key sites, such as the Tea Party in the harbour, and all of it is easily reachable from your Boston hotel. The city’s many other attractions include shopping in Beacon Hill, Red Sox games at Fenway Park, and browsing the many bookshops around the Harvard campus.
Cape Cod - This scenic peninsula is justifiably one of the most popular holiday destinations on the east coast. Hire bikes to explore, play golf amid the dunes, and snack on fresh shellfish. Further afield lie the islands of Nantucket, with its notable whaling museum, and Martha’s Vineyard, a popular presidential retreat. Both can easily be reached by boat from a hotel on the mainland.
Salem - On the state’s north shore, the infamous witch trials of the 17th century were held in Salem. With a Salem hotel you can see the House of Seven Gables that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, and also the Peabody Essex Museum, one of America’s oldest museums housing an excellent collection of maritime art.
Provincetown - This relaxed, LGBT-friendly beach community is a summer hotspot. The workshops and galleries of local artists are scattered all around, and it’s easy walk to the beach with a lobster roll or ice cream.
Rockport - Gorgeous sandy beaches and fragrant forest walks, landscapes that have inspired artists for generations, some of the east coast’s most iconic lighthouses - saying that Rockport is worthy of a day trip is an understatement.
Since the American whaling industry ended, the waters off New England have seen the welcome return of these underwater giants, and a new industry of whale watching has sprung up around them. Visit between April and October for the best chance of seeing humpbacks, minkes and even mighty blue whales. Other popular guided tours from Massachusetts take in Rhode Island to the south, the smallest American state, where you can see the fabulous estates built by early industrialists around Newport.
There’s a little something for everyone in Massachusetts, whether you enjoy looking for seashells along beautiful stretches of coastline, chowing down on clams and lobster straight off the boat, discovering the origins of the United States along the Freedom Trail or a darker side of American history over in Salem.