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Massachusetts Best Attractions 2012

Massachusetts Best Attractions 2012
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by in May 2012

Yankee Magazine‘s 2012 picks for the best attractions in Massachusetts.

BEST ALL-FAMILY ATTRACTION
Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich
The gardens and trails crisscross 100 acres; the gentle maritime climate encourages dramatic displays of rhododendrons, daylilies, hostas, and hydrangeas. The museums offer something for everyone in the family–from the gorgeously restored Looff carousel to antique automobiles to iconic American folk art. 67 Grove St. 508-888-3300; heritagemuseumsandgardens.org

BEST ARTIST’S RETREAT
Chesterwood, Stockbridge
Workaholics can relate to sculptor Daniel Chester French (1850-1931): Although he decamped here every summer, he somehow managed to work on more than 200 commissions over the years. Studies for his Seated Lincoln and other works are on view in the barn studio. Don’t miss the outdoor show of contemporary large-scale sculpture. 4 Williamsville Road. 413-298-3579; chesterwood.org

BEST EXPRESS SERENITY
Kripalu Day Pass, Stockbridge
Kripalu’s day pass permits you to show up at 7 a.m. (perhaps for that healthy breakfast) and stick around through the evening activities. Sign up for yoga sessions, yoga dance, a range of workshops–or just chill with the sauna, whirlpool, or walking trails. Either way, it’s a quick ticket to de-stress. 57 Interlaken Road. 866-200-5203, 413-448-3400; kripalu.org

BEST ARTISANAL GIFTS
Noa Gallery, Groton & West Concord
Many of the nearly 200 mostly local artisans represented in these galleries work in jewelry, making beautiful and often clever work to suit most any taste. Michael Milicia’s arresting photographs of birds and other wildlife, however, have a tendency to steal the show. 157 Main St., Groton; 978-448-0990. 86 Commonwealth Ave., West Concord; 978-341-0990. noagifts.com

BEST LITERARY LANDSCAPE
Walden Pond State Reservation, Concord & Lincoln
Henry David Thoreau spent 26 months in a cabin on the banks of this glacial kettle-hole pond. His ruminations on his experience are often credited with inspiring the conservation movement. Visit a replica of his one-room shack or hike the trails of the 335 acres of protected open space. Better yet, go for a swim in Walden Pond. 915 Walden St. 978-369-3254; mass.gov/dcr/parks/walden

BEST FLEA & FLICKS COMBO
Wellfleet Drive-In & Flea Market, Wellfleet
Shop by day for bargains at the flea market, which features about 200 dealers who spread their wares on open tables. Return after dark for first-run double features. With a dairy bar and grill on the premises, you won’t go hungry. 51 Route 6. 508-349-7176 (cinema), 508-349-0541 (flea market); wellfleetcinemas.com

BEST MOVEABLE FEAST
Cape Cod Central Railroad, Hyannis & Buzzards Bay
There are a lot of dining opportunities aboard this Cape railroad’s vintage cars, but the best variation is the “Elegant Dinner Train” (no jeans, T-shirts, or shorts!), because it traverses the Cape Cod Canal railroad bridge, the longest rail lift bridge in the world when it was built. All dinners are five-course affairs with choice of entrée served on white linen. Board at Hyannis or Buzzards Bay, depending on the day of the week. Fare plus dinner: $69.95. Hyannis Station, 252 Depot St.; Buzzards Bay Station, 70 Main St. 888-797-7245, 508-771-3800; capetrain.com

BEST SEASCAPES
Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester
The iconic Gloucester fisherman isn’t the only townsman to owe his living to the sea. This gem of a small museum houses the world’s best collection of maritime paintings by Fitz Henry Lane (1804-65), some Cape Ann scenes by Winslow Homer, and a whole slew of seascapes and shore images by Stuart Davis, John Sloan, and other American Modernists. 27 Pleasant St. 978-283-0455; capeannhistoricalmuseum.org

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