Encircle Massachusetts

Encircle Massachusetts: Enjoy Rockport’s beauty and Salem’s witchcraft before detouring west to see where the Revolutionary War began. Then, stroll Harvard’s campus in Cambridge on your way to Boston. Now head down to the Mayflower in Plymouth before touring the lighthouses on Cape Cod’s coastlines before finishing in Martha’s Vineyard.

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1 Bradley Wharf, Motif #1 and Lobster Boats in Inner Harbor of Rockport, Massachusetts

Bearskin Neck in Rockport, Massachusetts, once thrived on fishing and now thrives on tourists. This small peninsula hosts quaint shops, artisans and restaurants. The red building with the lobster buoys is called Motif #1, an iconic symbol since 1884. If you want to treat your taste buds, go to Roy Moore Lobster Company on the pier, order a large lobster, watch them drop it into the boiling water, and then enjoy it on the back deck. Unbelievably good!

1-5 T-Wharf Rockport, MA 01966
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2 Winged Skull Tombstone in Salem Street Burying Ground in Salem, Massachusetts

The 1692 witch trials were a deplorable chapter in American history, but created a lasting annuity for Salem, Massachusetts. The town is full of memorabilia, museums, historical locations and cemeteries that compete to tell visitors their stories. From 1683 until 1881, over 600, mostly wealthy people were buried in the Salem Street Burying Ground. The most common headstone is the winged skull, which signifies the soul’s ascension into Heaven.

Salem St & River St Medford, MA 02155
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3 Lexington Minuteman Statue of Captain John Parker in Lexington, Massachusetts

On April 14, 1775, Captain John Parker and a group of militia encountered British soldiers in Lexington, Massachusetts, who were on their way to neighboring Concord to confiscate rumored weapons. Parker’s partial quote to his men was, “Don’t fire unless fired upon.” The brief Battle of Lexington, the first Revolutionary War skirmish, resulted in eight militia deaths. Parker died a few months later. This statue by Henry Hudson is called, “The Lexington Minuteman” and is a tribute to Parker and to the colonists who armed themselves against the British and the Pequot Indians.

1888 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington, MA 02421
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4 Old North Bridge in Minute Man National Historic Park near Concord, Massachusetts

Great Britain kept raising taxes on the 13 colonies, despite the gentlemanly protests of Ben Franklin (“Taxation without representation”) leading to the Boston Tea Party. In response, Britain dissolved the local governments while the colonists built their militia and stockpiles in Concord, Massachusetts. In 1775, 700 redcoats were sent to seize the weapons. However, good intelligence and the rides of Paul Revere and William Davis adequately warned people. After a skirmish in nearby Lexington, the first major battle of the Revolutionary War occurred on April 19 at the Old North Bridge, which is now Minute Man National Historic Park.

269 Monument St, Concord, MA 01742
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5 Minuteman Reenact Revolutionary War at Minute Man Park in Concord, Massachusetts

In 1775, the Revolutionary War started with the “Shot heard around the world” on Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts. The rangers at the Minute Man National Historic Park do a terrific job explaining the battles against the British. Down near the reconstructed bridge, volunteers in period costumes describe the role of Minutemen. They also demonstrate muskets, which were so inaccurate that you, “couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn.”

269 Monument St, Concord, MA 01742
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6 Memorial Hall at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

This High Victorian Gothic masterpiece on the Harvard University campus is actually three buildings that were opened around 1875. In the middle with the 190 foot tower is Memorial Hall which honors graduates who died in the Civil War. Inside are 22 stained glass windows that are surrounded by rich dark wood paneling. On the right is the 1166 seat Saunders Theater. Partially seen on the left is the Annenberg Hall which is the freshman dining hall.

1779 Cambridge St Cambridge, MA 02138
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7 Sever Hall at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

By the time Sever Hall at Harvard University was built in 1880, its architect Henry Hobson Richardson had reached national acclaim for his unique Richardsonian Romanesque style. When he died at the age of 47, half of the country’s top ten building were his. Behind this building’s façade that contains over 100,000 carved red bricks are classrooms, lecture halls and the Grossman Library.

Grossman Library 311 Server Hall, Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138
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8 Harvard Memorial Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Memorial Church of Harvard University is the fifth place of worship on the campus since 1744. For over 140 years, Morning Prayer was compulsory for the Ivy League students. The MemChurch, as it’s called for short, was built in 1932 in the Harvard Yard. Inside is a tribute to the alumni who have died in military service since World War I.

1 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138
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9 Church of the New Jerusalem Bell Tower in Cambridge, Massachusetts

I am a huge fan of elaborate architecture but sometimes simple can also be elegant like this bell tower of the 1.5 story Church of the New Jerusalem in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was built in 1901 from limestone and designed by Herbert Langford Warren who also created the Harvard School of Architecture.

28 Kirkland St, Cambridge, MA 02138
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10 Mayflower II Ship and Pilgrim Guide, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Captain Christopher Jones sailed the Mayflower from England to what’s now called Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, in 1620. Over 100 people were crammed into the 100 foot vessel for the miserable, cross-Atlantic journey. When they arrived, nearly half died from the cold and disease. A replica of the 17th century ship is called the Mayflower II. Guides in pilgrim dress provide tours of the ship and tell the courageous stories of the early settlers.

79 Water St, Plymouth, MA 02360
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11 Seagull Eating Fish During Herring Run at Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Fisherman, tourists and especially seagulls turn out in droves in April and early May as the herring “run” from the sea upstream along the rivers of Cape Cod, Massachusetts to lay their eggs. Also called alewives, these swarms of silver fish struggle against the currents and up the “ladders” while birds pluck them out of the water, find a dry rock, swing back their head and gobble them down while neighboring birds squawk in protest.

830 Stony Brook Rd, Brewster, MA 02631
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12 The Three Sisters Lighthouses at Eastham on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

In 1837, three almost identical lighthouses were built along the northeast shore of Cape Cod but they had to be replaced in 1892 because the advancing erosion of the cliff threatened to plunge them into the Atlantic Ocean. The new wooden lights had a white-washed base and a black lantern which reached 22 feet. Because they resembled women wearing a white dress and bonnet, they became known as the Three Sisters. The sibling lighthouses are now enjoying their retirement in a field near their original location.

697 Cable Rd Eastham, MA 02642
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13 Nauset Light Lawn Ornament at Eastham on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

There are more than two dozen lighthouses surrounding the shores of Cape Cod so many summer tourists try to visit all of them while also enjoying the gorgeous drive along the Atlantic Ocean. So it seems appropriate that a motel in Eastham, Massachusetts, would decorate their front lawn with an active replica of the Nauset Light which is located nearby.

5200 US-6, Eastham, MA 02642
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14 Nauset Light in Northern Cape Cod, Eastham, Massachusetts

Technically, Cape Cod is an island on the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts. During its peak fishing and whaling history, the waters became an ocean graveyard to 3000 ships. In order to provide a beacon of safety, lighthouses were erected starting in 1857. Today, about fourteen remain, mostly as tourist attractions. This is Nauset Light in Eastham. Its classic, cast iron and brick structure painted in white, red and black was built in 1877.

120 Nauset Light Beach Rd, Eastham, MA 02642
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15 Chatham Light at Chatham on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

In the Old Village Historic District of Chatham, Massachusetts, stands the 80 foot Chatham Light. It was built in 1808. The red-roofed, white-washed light keeper’s residence was added in 1879. Today, those buildings are occupied by an U.S. Coast Guard Station who not only manage the still functioning lighthouse but provide maritime services and law enforcement along the coast of Cape Cod.

37 Main St, Chatham, MA 02633
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16 Lobster Dinner at Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The coast of northern New England is synonymous with quaint towns and lobster. The best way to enjoy it is with a bib, the proper tools, a wedge of lemon, and hot drawn butter. Absolutely delicious, just like this lobster dinner was at The Skipper Restaurant and Chowder House in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

152 S Shore Dr, South Yarmouth, MA 02664
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17 John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts

In Cape Cod, along Nantucket Sound, is the Kennedy Compound of three, clapboard houses in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. Nearby is the JFK Museum. It traces the family’s history to the area, including Joe Kennedy’s purchase of the home in 1927, his nine children’s early summers there, how it became the Summer White House of JFK, and how Ted lived there until his death at the compound in 2009. A 50th anniversary tribute to JFK’s last summer and months in 1963 opened in 2013.

397 Main St, Hyannis, MA 02601
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18 Sam Barber Lighthouse Studio at Barnstable on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

A short walk along the Eugenia Fortes Beach from the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port is this lighthouse that has been Sam Barber’s art studio for over 35 years. He is a famous American Impressionist on Cape Cod. This setting overlooking Nantucket Sound is so ideal that it is easy to see how he’s been inspired to create such lovely paintings.

10 Hyannis Ave, Hyannis, MA 02601
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19 Hyannis Harbor Lighthouse at Barnstable on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

For eighty years starting in 1849, eight keepers successfully managed this lighthouse in order to safely guide boats into the Hyannis Harbor on Cape Cod. No doubt several of those sailors were members of the Kennedy family whose summer residence was nearby. I could just picture the teenage John F. Kennedy navigating his beloved 26 foot Victura sailboat by the Hyannis Harbor Lighthouse. Today it is a privately owned antique store.

199 Channel Point Rd, Hyannis, MA 02601
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20 Nobska Light at Woods Hole on Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The Nobska Point Light and the adjoining keeper’s residence were built in 1876. The latter is now offered as a home to the commanding officer of the Southeastern New England U.S. Coast Guard. When you arrive, a retired officer will greet you and explain the features and history of this 40 foot lighthouse that shines brightly across the Vineyard Sound towards the shore of Martha’s Vineyard.

233 Nobska Rd, Falmouth, MA 02543
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21 Gay Head Lighthouse at Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts

The original lighthouse at the west end of Martha’s Vineyard was built in 1799. It was replaced in 1856 by this 51 foot, brick tower called the Gay Head Lighthouse. After decades of erosion had eaten away at the Grey Head Cliffs, the Aquinnah Lighthouse was in danger of collapsing. $3.5 million was raised to save this local landmark. In 2015, it was moved 129 feet uphill. The Gay Head Lighthouse should not need to be relocated for another 150 years.

15 Aquinnah Cir, Aquinnah, MA 02535
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