This is a (mostly) local page… I also have a new category called Travel that you can find up in the new menu, that’s where you’ll find all my more recent travel posts…
I thought it would be fun to make a list of all the fun places (mostly local to the Boston-ish area) that we like to go… There’s so much to do in and around Boston, and we take “day-cations” at least once a weekend to somewhere WE think is fun!! (no guarantee that anyone else will like it) It’s museum heavy, ’cause that’s what we like to do :) So, in no particular order, here’s some of our favorite places. (most of the pics on this page were taken with my phone… many with my old phone… You’ll get the idea at least :)
Disney…yes! I know it’s NOT a “Day-cation” but it HAD to be included, and HAD to be first on the list…
Well… Of course, that goes without saying!! I know it’s not local, and it’s certainly not cheap!! BUT it’s my favorite place to go, with or without children… Happiest Place on Earth :) I 100% understand that all the workers get PAID to be super friendly, and I’m OK with that… It’s nice to be somewhere that everyone is happy to be :) Here’s the kiddos in 2009 at the Kingdom :)
The new “Art of the Americas Wing” is just AWESOME! We’ve been with the kids and without… and although the kiddos don’t make the WHOLE museum, they can manage the Americas Wing without too much “I’m tired” complaints! There’s simply so much to see, and all beautifully displayed… Just fabulous! Here’s a quick pic of opening day of the Americas Wing.
FREE for Massachusetts residents on Sunday Mornings from 9am-noon… LOTS of stuff… the geological stuff is fabulous, and there’s the Peabody too… The Glass Flowers are amazing (but not 100% kid friendly… that’s not their favorite part of the exhibit) most of the flowers are in cases that are a little high for the little ones to see into. There’s also tons of animals and exhibits with fossils too. Fun to go into the city on Sunday morning!
Oh, we LOVE this museum… Lots of nautical themed works… Not too much modern art (not my fave)… AND the Chinese House, which is OH SO COOL!! We get the library pass when we can, and the entrance to the Chinese House isn’t super expensive… My ONLY complaint is that because it’s in Salem, it’s kinda a PITA to get to… but it’s beautiful.
We have both of these books, and used them a LOT through the late summer and the fall… Great descriptions of the areas and lots of fun hikes to go on… We found the difficulty levels to be right on… Great for the kids and the dog, who Kathryn now describes as “fat-ish” he needs to go on more hikes.
This museum was great for my “print making at Shawsheen Tech” husband… The man who gave us our tour was fantastic, and really gave us a lot of information!! Mike really loved to see all the old printing presses…
We discovered the USS Salem because the Cub Scouts went and did a sleepover on the ship… We’ve been back a couple of times since… It’s great fun to wander through the ship!! The last time we went, we were there late in the day, and they had already shut off the lights… SO, we got a wonderful tour (because he figured, he had to go through and turn the lights on, he might as well tell us about everything as he went along!) It was GREAT!! He was so knowledgeable (he was featured on the Ghost Hunters show when they did the USS Salem)… So a quick “lets stop and look around for a few minutes” turned into a 1.5 hour tour… But it was WELL worth it… If you have any interest in the old military vessels, it’s a great afternoon…
If you haven’t been on any of the rail trails, you’re really missing out!!! They are old railway beds that have been paved and made into walking/riding trails… We LOVE to go out to the trails and ride bikes… walking would be great too… Here’s some of our favorites:
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail Local, and very nice, you do have to cross several very busy intersections, but there are street lights to make it easier.
Minuteman Bikeway Not quite as local, but one of our very favorite trails… there’s a few places to stop along the way if you need a little break (there’s even a playground for the kiddos)
Ashuwillticook Rail Trail FABULOUS… NOT local!! I think this one is my all time favorite… BUT there really isn’t anyplace to get a snack or drink on the way, so bring your own (we learned the hard way).
Nashua River Rail Trail This is the first one we did, it’s very nice… but ’cause it was the first one, I was pretty sure it was uphill BOTH ways… turns out it’s not… I was just WAY out of shape :) go figure :)
Cape Cod Rail Trail This one is on our list… but we haven’t done it yet!! I think it’s a “Kids sleep over at the grandparents’ house, and we go to the cape” kind of rail trail…
The kids getting ready to ride…
Mike remembered going to see this on a school field trip in elementary school… We went today, and I had never been… Really, it was very cool! First, the Mapparium is a stained glass globe that you walk through (there’s a little light/sound show that you stand and watch). The globe is 30 feet high and 30 feet wide. It was made in 1935, so the countries etc. are 1935… but very cool. The building is beautiful!! They also have a 1611 King James Bible on display in their reference library… Wow… I actually think that was my favorite part!! We took a tour of the church as well. The tour was very nice, and the inside of the church (new part and old part) is just beautiful! Lunch at P.F.Chang’s across the street, and it was a great day!
Here’s the kids in the atrium waiting for our time in the Mapparium.
Another discovery because of a cub scout sleep-over… Mike and Sean went and loved it… We all went back… Largest collection of Suits of Armor anywhere… Most are set in a “Great Hall” fashioned after the medieval great halls. Funny, the outside structure is steel and glass, and the inside is like stepping into a gothic cathedral… a great place to roam around for an afternoon… Then, Wild Willy’s Burgers for lunch… Yummy burgers, not cheap, but delicious!
Ok… I’ll admit it… I have an obsessive love of all things “fall” and going to the many orchards that surround us is one of my favorite things to do… and not reserved for just fall either… strawberry and blueberry picking is also great through the summer. Here’s a few of our favorites… I’ll add more as I think of them…
We love Cider Hill especially for Apples, Peaches and Blueberries, they have strawberries too… It’s our “Go-To” orchard when we’re looking for someplace to go on a Sunday morning… Plus their Cider Donuts are the best around!!
We like Smolak, but they are much more expensive than the other orchards we go to… But their Blackberries are wonderful…
Another nice farm… We had heard great things, and went strawberry picking here… Fabulous blueberry donuts (not that I have a “thing” for yummy donuts or anything…).
eh… The kiddos and the husband LOVE deCordova, and we get the library pass and go a few times a year… The outside sculptures are pretty cool, and the grounds are beautiful… I’m just not a huge modern art person… Last time we were there, all the inside art was recycled… as in plastic water bottles and other various recycled “stuff” stuck together… eh… not for me… They do have one room that is all created with fabrics etc that is just beautiful!!! They have a small area where they have photos of what the mansion looked like inside, with all its art and collectibles collected by the deCordova’s in their travels around the world, and it always makes me sad when I see what’s there now… Those old rooms in the mansion are what I’d want to see…
We’ve only gone at Christmas time… It is just stunning… They have an unbelieveable light display, and a huge international Nativity display… We go every year, and every year while we’re there I think “I want to go during the summer, I bet it’s just as beautiful” and then we don’t get there… Maybe this year!
Love this gallery… It’s at Phillips, and it’s really wonderful. If they have something that’s in their collection, but it’s not on display, if you call ahead, they’ll have it out for you. It’s a nice mixture of old and new, and the building is beautiful. It’s also not very big, so the kids don’t feel like they’ve been walking forever!! We got married at the Andover Inn which is also on Phillips and across the driveway from the Addison. It’s currently closed for the last phase of their renovation, but it’s re-opening on October 8th.
Roller Kingdom (Tyngsboro)
Our newest obsession… Roller skating!!! O.M.Gosh, did we have fun this early spring rollerskating!! The kids got the hang of it, and are doing a great job… Fun way to get a little bit of exercise… The floor at Roller Kingdom isn’t fantastic (it’s actually pretty bad) but it’s a fun time… And… Cheap!! $6 each for the kids to skate, and if adults want to skate too it’s $1 more… A LOT less than lunch at McDonald’s, and much better for you :)
The floor at Skateland in Haverhill is really great… Some kind of fancy maple, that they installed a few years ago… and according to Mike it really WAS great… I didn’t like Skateland though, they use just blacklights, and it’s really dark in there… It was also REALLY crowded the day we went… Kids had a blast, Mike said the floor was fantastic for skating… I didn’t like the darkness… But I’m whimpy that way… Mike also said the rental skates were WAY better here than at Roller Kingdom… Much lighter and in better shape… but, did I mention it was really dark and really crowded in there? :) Not all about me though :)
From their website: A defense against five wars that never arrived in Maine, Fort Mcclary still stands overlooking the Piscataqua. The most dramatic historic site in the region, the hexagonal Kittery fort is the perfect spot to explore on a sunny afternoon. A great description, except it wasn’t sunny when we stopped by :) We were driving down through Kittery Point on our way home from Yummies Candy Store… and we stopped in to explore… We were there for about half an hour, it was a great site… but ummm, am I just getting old, or should people NOT be having a massive Nerf gun fight at a historic site??? Honestly, what’s wrong with people?? Oh, wait… maybe it’s just me being old… Anyway, I’m not sure I’d drive hours just for this site, but it was very cool to see and stop to visit as we were driving through!