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Best Attractions in Massachusetts | 2013 Editors' Choice Awards

Best Attractions in Massachusetts | 2013 Editors’ Choice Awards
1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (89% score)
by in May 2013
Stone Barn Hancock Shaker Village

Photo/Art by Art Walsh
Built in 1826, the Round Stone Barn at Hancock Shaker Village is the perfect introduction to the Shaker genius for creative farming.

Looking for fun in the Bay State? You won’t have to look far! Read our picks for the best attractions in Massachusetts.

BEST FABRIC DESIGN
MARTHA FLOOD DESIGN STUDIO & FABRIC GALLERY, North Adams
Artist Martha Flood draws inspiration from the woods, fields, and rivers of the Berkshires for the rich colors and patterns of her “Woodlands” fabric collection. Even the humble dandelion shines in her masterly interpretation. 38 Eagle St. 413-776-4640; marthaflood.com

BEST HISTORIC MERRY-GO-ROUND
PARAGON CAROUSEL, Hull
Select one of 66 brightly painted horses or one of the two unusual horse-drawn Roman chariots for a whirl on one of the last carousels created by the renowned Philadelphia Toboggan Company. Installed in 1928, the carousel remains one of the joys of summer. Nantasket Beach. 781-925-0472; paragoncarousel.com

BEST CELEBRITY-OWNED STORE
MARSHFIELD HILLS GENERAL STORE, Marshfield
Even if owner Steve Carell isn’t hanging out in this small-town gathering spot, you can purchase an autographed hat, along with a muffin, a cup of coffee, a rubber-band paddle boat, local honey, penny candy, and an emergency clown nose. 165 Prospect St. 781-834-8443; marshfieldhillsgeneralstore.com

BEST THRILL RIDES
SIX FLAGS NEW ENGLAND, Agawam
Water-sports enthusiasts can swoop down the drop hatch, looping body slides on six Bonzai Pipelines, while roller-coaster fans can scream to the extreme as they freefall 20 stories on Goliath. Gentler thrills await wee ones on teacup rides, carousel, and bumper cars. 1623 Main St. 413-786-9300; sixflags.com

BEST ANCIENT MOSAICS
WORCESTER ART MUSEUM, Worcester
Walk into the Renaissance Court and you’ll be wowed by a 6th-century floor mosaic of hunters and prey created in the Roman city of Antioch. At nearly 500 square feet, it’s the largest such mosaic ever brought to America and a grand introduction to the many surprises in a collection that surveys 5,000 years of artistic endeavor. 55 Salisbury St. 508-799-4406; worcesterart.org

BEST ACOUSTIC MUSIC
GUTHRIE CENTER AT THE OLD TRINITY CHURCH, Great Barrington
The place where the events of “Alice’s Restaurant” transpired has been transformed into a center for serious spiritual and political thought–and the locale for the Troubadour Series of intimate roots-based music by singer/songwriters in the tradition of Woody and Arlo Guthrie. 2 Van Deusenville Road. 413-528-1955; guthriecenter.org

BEST CONCERT HALL
SHALIN LIU PERFORMANCE CENTER, Rockport
Audio and visual make a stunning pair in this 330-seat performance hall, with great acoustics and big windows overlooking the ocean. Home base for the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, the hall also hosts other classical, jazz, folk, and world-music performances. 37 Main St. 978-546-7391; rcmf.org/newperformance.html

BEST CAR & MOTORCYCLE COLLECTION
LYMAN & MERRIE WOOD MUSEUM OF SPRINGFIELD HISTORY, Springfield
The first successful gasoline-powered automobile in the U.S. debuted on the streets of Springfield in 1893. So it’s no surprise that vintage cars and more than two dozen Springfield-made Indian motorcycles steal the show at this engaging history museum. 21 Edwards St. 800-625-7738; springfieldmuseums.org

BEST MODERN BEACH CHAIR
CAPE COD BEACH CHAIR COMPANY, Harwich
If there’s such a thing as an heirloom-quality beach chair, this is it. A native Cape Codder has brought new style and comfort to the summer classic with hardwood frames, stainless-steel fittings, and durable fabrics. All have armrest beverage holders, and a pocket on the back of some models is perfect for stashing a towel and a frothy paperback novel. 1150 Queen Anne Road. 774-237-7313; capecodbeachchair.com

BEST DISTILLERY TOUR
RYAN & WOOD DISTILLERIES, Gloucester
This first legal distillery on the North Shore since Prohibition shows visitors how the beautiful copper 600-liter (159-gallon) alembic pot still transforms smelly mash into vodka, gin, rum, and rye whiskey. Free tours daily (except Sunday) at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. 15 Great Republic Drive. 978-281-2282; ryanandwood.com

BEST LOCAL-HISTORY MUSEUM
CONCORD MUSEUM, Concord
The small town of Concord looms large in history and letters, and its museum is the steward of many American touchstones, including the lantern that hung in Boston’s Old North Church to signal Paul Revere, the wooden desk on which Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden, and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s complete study. 200 Lexington Road. 978-369-9763; concordmuseum.org

BEST CAPE COD ART
PROVINCETOWN ART ASSOCIATION & MUSEUM, Provincetown
Founded in 1914, PAAM has weathered the storms of all the artistic “isms” of the modern era and continues to show the enduring and intriguing works in every style by painters and sculptors who found their inspiration on the Outer Cape. 460 Commercial St. 508-487-1750; paam.org

BEST KID-FRIENDLY FARM STAND
RUSSELL ORCHARDS, Ipswich
After they’ve helped pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or apples, you can treat the kids to a hot apple-cider doughnut at the bakery in the 18th-century barn; then let them feed the goats in the farm’s small petting zoo. 143 Argilla Road. 978-356-5366; russellorchards.com

BEST STONE BARN
HANCOCK SHAKER VILLAGE, Pittsfield
Built in 1826, the Round Stone Barn is the perfect introduction to the Shaker genius for creative farming. It’s the centerpiece of the restored village, one of the largest and most successful of the Shaker communities that once stretched from Kentucky to Maine. 1843 West Housatonic St. 413-443-0188; hancockshakervillage.org

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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