Massachusetts Journals

Mass.-- East Coast Summer I

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A June 2006 trip to Massachusetts by rubylu

Esselon Coffee Roasting Company Photo, Hadley, Massachusetts More Photos
Quote: After I drove east from California, I had 3 months to see the sights.

Mass.-- East Coast Summer I

Overview

Minute Man National Historical Park Photo, Concord, Massachusetts
Quote:
Usually when I travel east, I have a week, two at the most. I run around like crazy, visiting family and maybe a friend or two. This time, after taking a month to drive across the country, I had almost 3 months and no set itinerary--the luxury to go places I'd always wanted to see and also to follow my whims. I unloaded my car and set up residence at my parents' house in the Boston area. But I was never there more than a week at a time. I visited friends in several states. This journal has the Massachusetts parts.Quick Tips: Massachusetts has historic sites on every corner. Look for plaques on houses that show the year they were built and who they were built by. You may re...Read More

Esselon Coffee Roasting Company

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Restaurant | "Essalon Cafe"

Esselon Coffee Roasting Company Photo, Hadley, Massachusetts
Quote:
We wanted some coffee and a light lunch, and my friend wanted to check out this new cafe she'd heard about, so we went to Esselon. It hadn't been open yet for more than a few weeks, but most of the tables were filled. The crowd was mixed, college students and the middle-aged, casual and friendly in the local counter-cultural way. We ordered our food at the counter, then went to sit on the patio, where they brought it to us. The patio overlooked the garden and was a very pleasant place to sit.My tea came in a small cast iron pot on a tray, presented beautifully. My friend's cappuccino was a work of art! Both tasted great. We also split a bowl of soup and a sandwich, both of which were excelle...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Esselon Coffee Roasting Company
99 Russell Street
Hadley, MA 01035
(413) 585-1515

Grapevine

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Restaurant | "The Grapevine"

Quote:
The Grapevine is the place to go for a special occasion. Its food should satisfy the most refined palate. I rarely go to such upscale restaurants, and this one was memorable.You can tell it's not an ordinary restaurant when you walk in. It's not all that large, and it has a cozy feeling, as if you were in a private club. The wait staff is attentive, happy to explain the menu and excellent at pacing the meal.There were six of us, and we split several salads and appetizers, which were all very tasty. I was happy to see that there were more than a couple of vegetarian choices. I had a delicious moussaka that practically melted in my mouth. Everyone else was just as pleased with their ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Grapevine
26 Congress St.
Salem, Massachusetts 01970
(978) 745-9335

Street scene Photo, Rockport, Massachusetts
Quote:
Rockport is a small town on the Atlantic. Its quaint, old New England nature has made it a draw for visitors, and as a result, it has become a tourist town.

We wandered through the picturesque streets. Bought salt water taffy. Browsed in trendy yet rustic shops. Ate clam and corn chowders from cardboard containers at a restaurant's upstairs patio. Then had ice cream from a small ice cream parlor. Then we walked and sat on a pier and watched the water.

If you go beyond the tourist area, you can still climb on the shoreline rocks that give the town its name and sit in quiet contemplation watching the waves.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Hammond Castle

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Attraction | "Hammond Castle Museum"

Hammond Castle Photo, Gloucester, Massachusetts
Quote:
Hammond Castle Museum looks like a medieval castle but was built in the 1920s by John Hammond, an inventor, as his home and workplace. It is still furnished with his large collection of medieval artifacts. You can wander the grounds, see the beautiful garden, look out over the ocean, and browse the gift shop for free. I have done this several times--it's a good place to take visitors who want to see area sights.There's a fee to tour the castle, which I have never done. The front no-fee rooms contain some period furnishings and displays of armor. I am sure the rooms on the tour are constructed and furnished with plenty of attention to detail.The ladies' room has a wa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Hammond Castle
80 Hesperus Avenue
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930

Hampton Beach

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Attraction | "Hampton Beach, NH"

Hampton Beach Photo, Hampton, New Hampshire
Quote:
Hampton Beach is a great place to spend a summer afternoon with the family. While I was in Massachusetts, I was called on to entertain my visiting teenage niece and nephew (cousins who are not the best of friends) for a day. I vaguely remembered Hampton Beach, less than an hour's drive away, and decided to check it out.Arcades, shops, snack stands, seafood restaurants, and small motels line the Boardwalk. The long white beach is just across the street. Both are filled with people on a sunny summer day. It looks pretty much the same as it did 40 years ago - archetypal 20th century Northeast American beach resort town (though the henna tattoo artists are a recent addition).With some...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Hampton Beach
Ocean Boulevard
Hampton, New Hampshire

Ipswich River Sanctuary

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Attraction

Ipswich River Sanctuary Photo,
Quote:
The Ipswich River Sanctuary is owned and run by the Mass. Audubon Society. It has a visitor center, a summer kids' camp, and many miles of trails through the woods and wetlands.I've walked several times on the trails. This time, I should have called in advance and asked about bugs. Mosquitoes were all over the place and I got all bitten up. The gnats were so thick that I had to brush them away from my face and eyes with every step--I don't know what I'd have done without sunglasses. The previous owners of the property did some interesting landscaping. The Rockery consists of rocks piled into formations including a bridge over the trail. Elsewhere, there are rhododendrons and other ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Ipswich River Sanctuary
87 Perkins Row
Topsfield, Massachusetts 01983
(978) 887-9264

Minute Man National Historical Park

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Attraction

Minute Man National Historical Park Photo, Concord, Massachusetts
Quote:
Minuteman National Park is where people and places from your school history books come alive in front of your eyes. If, like me, you think history is a dull subject, a visit to the park will remind you that it is about real people like us. The people of the Minuteman era lived through events, including the American Revolution, that made our way of living possible. In fact, the Revolution started here with the Battle of Lexington and Concord. The park's web site says: Minute Man encompasses the story of an evolution of the ideals of freedom and liberty, new notions of cultural independence and citizen responsibility. These ideals led to an American literary revolution the following centu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Minute Man National Historical Park
174 Liberty Street
Concord, Massachusetts 01742
(978) 369-6993

New England Holocaust Memorial Photo, Boston, Massachusetts
Quote:
Boston's Holocaust Memorial is small and deceptively simple looking. The six glass monoliths rise into the sky. Engraved on them are six million numbers, like the numbers tattooed on the people who were imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps. Next to the path that passes under the towers, information about the Holocaust is inscribed in rock. The memorial gives a sense of solemnity, dignity, and grief over a black part of the world's history. It is located near Faneuil Hall and is on Boston's Freedom Trail.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

New England Holocaust Memorial
126 High Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02110
(617) 457-8755

Rocky Neck Art Colony Photo,
Quote:
Okay, I was just driving around, exploring the area with my teenage niece and nephew. And, well, I was lost. We saw the sign for the art colony and decided, why not?Rocky Neck is the oldest art colony in the USA. It is right on the water, in a very calm inlet. It's a residential neighborhood with narrow roads. You can see many small galleries in houses and a few larger buildings. They show not only paintings, but sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, and various crafts. The atmosphere is homey and rustic yet sophisticated.I have to admit that we only actually went into one gallery. The artist, who was sitting outside with her friends, welcomed us and let us browse at our leisure....Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Rocky Neck Art Colony
53 Rocky Neck Ave.
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
(978) 282-0917

Salem Willows

Attraction

Salem Willows Photo, Salem, Massachusetts
Quote:
There's something for everyone at Salem Willows. When I was a teenager, we used to go play on coin-operated pool tables, which are no longer there. But the game arcades and kiddie rides are there, and the food stands. There's even a tiny miniature golf course, which we played on a recent visit.

But you don't have to even look at the amusements if you're not it the mood. The biggest attraction is the ocean: the salt air, the pier, the rocks and beaches, the boats coming in and out of the marina. You can also walk through the park area, under the willow and other trees.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 11, 2006

Salem Willows
171-185 Fort Avenue
Salem, Massachusetts
(978) 745-0251