If you’re into getting a bit of art and culture or are feeling the need for inspiration, head to The Peabody Essex Museum. Known as PEM, this museum has exquisite permanent exhibits, featured exhibits and contains an amazing collection of interesting and beautiful art objects. There are over 22 historic buildings at PEM, so you can certainly take your time wandering and exploring. PEM was started in 1799 when pilgrims first brought art from Asia and India to North America and so you can imagine the collection is vast and astonishing. There are currently 1.8 million items, not all on display of course. Books, manuscripts, and documents make up a large part of the collection. PEM is a much-loved space by artists and students and the new modern atrium is a gorgeous place to read, study and be inspired. The current exhibition is ‘Ocean Liners: Glamour, Speed and Style’ and it is really worth seeing. $20 per adult, $12 per student, but please check the website for opening times and days.
Phone: (978) 745-9500
The Norman Rockwell Museum is a brilliantly inspirational and creative place to visit and will leave you feeling inspired and refreshed. The museum pays tribute to Normal Rockwell, one of America’s most iconic artists and definitely one of the most influential. The largest collection of Rockwell works are housed here, the museum The Norman Rockwell Museum holds the largest collection of Rockwell’s works in the world. The art collection is astonishing but so are the gardens, beautifully manicured and well kept. Check the website to see what talks or lectures are being hosted as they’re always worthwhile. Rockwell’s Studio is open during the summer months, usually from May to early November, and is a beautiful spot to sit and appreciate the gardens. You can see what inspired this astonishing artist. $18 for adults, $10 for students, kids under 5 are free. And if you’re thinking this may not be the right place for a family outing or for children, think again. It is a beautiful spot and it is never too early to introduce your children to the wonderful world of art. Inspire them and inspire yourselves. There are some great interactive exhibits also, designed for children. A lovely shop and the Terrace Cafe, although open seasonally, May to October. There are plenty of restaurants nearby.
Phone: (413) 298-4100
Castle Island Park is located on Day Boulevard in South Boston and is where you will find Fort Independence, a massive pentagonal granite fort built between 1834 and 1851. The Fort is the dominant feature on Castle Island which is a 22-acre urban park connected to the mainland by the causeway. You can spend time at the Fort and also at Pleasure Bay, the M Street Beach and Carson Beach, which all form part of the parkland along the shoreline. There are tours of the Fort in summer and you can pre-book. After visiting the fort enjoy a walk through some of the fantastic trails within the park. Carson Beach, in particular, has stunning views and there are public change-rooms for your convenience. Take your bikes as there is a fab bike path along the water’s edge, running from the island to the Kennedy Library.
Phone: (617) 727-5290
Massachusetts used to have a robust whaling industry and the New Bedford Whaling Museum will tell you the story of whaling not only in Massachusetts but throughout the world. Although whaling is frowned upon today it is still fascinating to see, hear and understand the whaling industry as it once was. The Museum, over a hundred years old, houses some extraordinary artifacts from the old whaling days, including a ship model that is the largest in the world, a collection of whaling logbooks that are also the largest in the world and the biggest collection of Japanese whaling art outside of Japan. You will find unique artworks in the museum and detailed records of what was once a thriving industry. Japan and Portugal, as well as some Arctic communities in Alaska and Canada, have ties with the New Bedford Whaling Museum. There is a lovely exhibition on now, ‘The Spray Will Come Back’, definitely worth seeing. $20 per adult, $10 per student, $7 for children, free under 3 years.
Phone: (508) 997-0046
Wompatuck is a state-owned public park, just half an hour outside of Boston, a fabulous spot for a picnic, a day trip or a weekend away. Josiah Wompatuck was an Indian chief who gave the land to English settlers in 1665. Then the park was real wilderness but today there are miles of paved bike paths and many hiking, horseback and mountain bike trails. If fishing is your thing you can head to the Cohasset Reservoir and if camping is your thing, set up camp in one of the 250 campsites. Mt. Blue Spring is a natural spring where you can fill up with fresh water. No charge for the water!
Phone: (781) 749-7160