Massachusetts: The Bay State
The far-ranging sailors of Salem brought the riches and curios of the world back home. See their treasures at the Peabody Essex Museum before you indulge in Salem’s spooky attractions that trade on an enduring obsession with the witchcraft trials of 1692. The spirit of beat poet and novelist Jack Kerouac still seems to haunt his native Lowell, where a national park in the old textile mills relates the transformation of America from farming to industry.
An earlier transformation — from colony to nation — began in Lexington and Concord, where fed-up Colonials and frustrated Redcoats came to blows and set off the American Revolution. Their story continues along the red-lined path of Boston’s Freedom Trail embedded now in the glass and steel high-rise modern city, the region’s largest.
Even when the Sons of Liberty tossed British tea in the harbor, Massachusetts was already old. Just a few miles south of Boston, you can peer down upon Plymouth Rock and imagine Massachusetts as the Pilgrims first saw it and visit Plimoth Plantation for a total immersion experience in 17th-century colonial and Wampanoag life. So much of Massachusetts leads us back in time and tradition and then forward to today’s best travel destinations.