Lowell National Historic Park
The city of Lowell, northwest of Boston, was once the quintessential 19th century American mill town. The Lowell National Historic Park was established to preserve and interpret the city's mill and canal system. Rangers conduct free tours of the park, explaining the history, industrialization, and growth of Lowell in the 19th century and pointing out its role in the development of modern America. (Open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Before the Revolution this small fishing port was a flourishing center of trade. Today Marblehead, up the coast from Boston, is one of the major yachting centers on the East Coast. The old town, with numerous 17th- and 18th-century houses, is very picturesque and the best way to see it is on foot.
The Jeremiah Lee Mansion (161 Washington Street, open 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, admission $2.25) is one of the few historical houses open to the public.
Minuteman National Historic Park
This 750-acre park was established to commemorate the events that took place April 19, 1775, along the Battle Road (Route 2A) and in the towns of Concord, and Lexington. Within the park are a replica of the Old North Bridge, Daniel Chester French's statue of the Minuteman, the Old Manse (open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., closed Tuesday and Wednesday, admission $2.50), and The Wayside (open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., admission 75 cents). Other historic sites in the Concord/Lexington area are the Ralph Waldo Emerson House (28 Cambridge Turnpike, open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., admission $2); Walden Pond Reservation; Hancock-Clarke House (36 Hancock Street, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission $1; under 16, 25 cents); Buckman Tavern (same hours and admission as the Hancock-Clarke House); and Munroe Tavern (133 Massachusetts Avenue, same hours and admission as the Hancock-Clarke house).
The first permanent settlement in New England was established here, some 35 miles south of what was to become Boston, 350 years ago. The historic sites and monuments reflect the ocean voyage of the Mayflower and the hardships endured by the Pilgrims.
Plymouth Rock, at the harbor's edge, has traditionally been regarded as the place the Pilgrims first set foot on the new land. The Mayflower II (berthed at the State Pier, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission for adults, $2.25; children 5- 13, $1.50) is a replica of the kind of ship the Pilgrims sailed to Plymouth in 1620.
Plimoth Plantation (three miles south on Route 3, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission, adults $5.25; children 5-13, $2.75; children under 5 are free) is a reproduction of the Pilgrims' village as it appeared in 1627. Men and women cook , garden, and harvest crops using the methods of the Pilgrims.
A pleasant port town north of Boston dotted with historic sites. Historic buildings include the Custom House (174 Derby Street, open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., no admission charge); House of the Seven Gables (54 Turner Street, open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., guided tours of the main house are $2); Peabody Museum of Salem (East India Square, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., $2). For more about historic houses, visit the Essex Institute Museum, 132 Essex Street.
In the early 1800s Sandwich, south of Boston on Cape Cod, was the site of the very successful Boston & Sandwich Glass Company. The Sandwich Glass Museum (open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., admission $1.50) owns an extensive collection of glass made in the town during the 1800s. Heritage Plantation of Sandwich (Pine Street, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission $4 adults, $1.50 children under 12) houses a collection of early American historical artifacts and art.
Old Sturbridge Village
Old Sturbridge Village is a re-created farm village typical of the rural communities that dominated New England during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The buildings, authentically antique, were moved to this site from their original locations. Guides wearing 19th-century dress farm the land, cook, and make tools according to traditional methods. (Open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., admission adults, $7.50; children under 12, $3.50; children under 6 are free.)