Wonderful things to do and see in North Shore, Massachusetts
Day and Night Tubing Keep Nashoba Humming
: Nashoba Valley ski area at 179 Great Road in Littleton has a 15-lane tubing park open day and night. Take the family and enjoy one of the fastest-growing winter recreational activities in New England! Fifteen lanes are serviced by four lifts and maintained by na erienced grooming fleet, the park provides ideal tubing conditions for thrill seekers of all ages. The tubing park also consists of an on-site lodge, with snack bar and TV. Entrance to the tubing park is separate from the entrance to the ski area. Tubing park entrance is at 179 Great Road, Littleton.
Swing All Year at Golf Country
: Golf Country wants you to keep swinging that club all year. Two locations in the north of Boston region, at 160 S. Main Street (Route 114 West) in Middleton and 860 Broadway (Route 1 North) in Saugus, welcome you to heated and night-lighted driving ranges year round. IN summer, of course, the options expand. The Middletown location has two 18-hole miniature golf courses, batting cages for softball and baseball, and the popular Richardson's Famous Ice Cream right next door. The Saugus location has mini-golf and a snack bar.
Middleton: 978-774-4476; Saugus: 781-231-0032
Cruise in This Idyllic Saltwater Marsh
: Essex River Cruises and Charters at 35 Dodge Street in Essex take you on a beautiful and interesting exploration of the tidal marshes of the Essex River. Formed by glaciers, these enchanting wetlands are rich with sea birds and other wildlife. The marsh has sustained the lives of fishing families, boat builders, and Agawam natives for generations. These 90-minute narrated cruises are a memorable exploration into a specialized world of nature, animals, and man. Cruises are offered three times each day, May to October. Sunset cruises may be arranged.
CoCo Key Water Park Boston North Shore
: Make a splash with the family at the largest indoor water park in Massachusetts. A tropical indoor paradise where it's always 84 degrees and open every day for every kid of every age. There are water slides, a lazy river, a splash pad and dip-in-the- theater arcade, private, cozy cabanas and lots more where they came from. Hold one of a kind birthday parties, group swims, or even buy out the whole park for a day. Then enjoy a night at the Doubletree Hotel Boston North Shore adjacent to the Park with luxurious bedding and jumbo pillows, flat screen television, on-demand movies and premium cable channels. Look for Coco Key Discounts and packages that include overnight accommodations, water resort access, and breakfast in the family-friendly TradeWinds Restaurant.
Artist Colony Is Vibrant in Gloucester
: Rocky Neck Art Colony in Gloucester is the oldest working art colony in the country, and has been luring artists to its picturesque shores for more than 150 years. Today the area is still home to many working artists and to galleries showing paintings in all media, as well as batik, photography, jewelry, prints, sculpture, ceramics, and fine gifts. A convenient walking tour of Rocky Neck, along East Main Street, includes information about three dozen galleries and studios on the Neck. A new book about the artists and history of the region, titled Rocky Neck Art Colony 1850-1950, by Judith Curtis, is available.
Beaches Are Uncrowded & Lovely Off-Season
Here's a useful tip: Providing you are dressed warmly, spring is an excellent time for visiting the beautiful beaches of New England. Crowds are gone; colors of sky and sea dazzle the eye; strolling is fun; and the birds and harbor seals are out and frisky. Salisbury Beach State Reservation on Beach Road in Salisbury is a 521-acre park that stretches 3.8 miles along the Atlantic. Harbor seals often sun themselves on the jetty. The town of Salisbury has many fun activities to offer for kids of all ages; with a large amusement park and video arcades.
Phone: 978 462-4481
Bounty from the Sea Trade on Display at Phillips House
Located on picturesque Chestnut Street in Salem, the Phillips House , a Federal-style mansion, contains a family collection that spans five generations. Enjoy artifacts from near and far, hear the stories of the Phillips family, and experience more than 200 years of history in the New England tradition. Representative of the Phillips's extensive travels and interests, the collection includes artifacts as diverse as Fiji throwing clubs and African woodcarvings, as well as fine examples of early American furniture, Persian carpets, and porcelain. Open year-round, but hours vary by season. Call ahead.
Beautiful Essex Is Rich With Antiques
The beautiful Cape Ann town of Essex is known for its Colonial history, wetlands and marshlands, and wonderful antique shopping . The region is only a 30-minute drive north of Boston and many stores are packed in close proximity -- a boon for serial shoppers. Every shop has a distinctive character and collections. They may specialize in Arts and Crafts, period American and European, Asian, Americana and Victoriana antiques periods. (One list of shops runs a vast gamut from woodworking to ancient maps to "fins and feathers.") Most dealers can arrange delivery or shipping.
Coolest Spot on the Waterfront
If you were fascinated by the lives of Gloucester fishermen depicted in "The Perfect Storm," visit Cape Pond Ice at 104 Commercial Street on Gloucester's working waterfront, which produces block ice used by the fishing fleet. Take a 35-45-minute narrated tours of the business, explore the historic Ice House, and see block ice being made. See fishing vessels taking on ice and watch the waterfront action. As a bonus, ice sculptors may be at work. Tours from June to August are daily, 9:30 and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. Tours from September to May are daily except Sundays, 11 a.m.
The Maker Lounge Is Open to Inventors
The "Maker Movement" is all about DIY -- do-it-yourself building and creating your own fun. Tuesdays-Sundays starting March 29, check out the Peabody Essex Museum's new activity space and Maker Room in Salem. Teens and adults in particular will enjoy interactive activities with creative modern technology and art. There will be 3D printing, games, digital art, and crafting workshops. You'll have access to some of the best technological resources like expert demonstrations and classes, with ample tools and workspaces. Make your own music, use a computer to paint, discover 3D printing, or enjoy time building your own masterpiece. Senior and student discounts. Young adult engineering and building enthusiasts will thrive in this innovative environment!
Salem Does Night Life, Too
Salem may seem to simmer down at dusk, but the nightlife is just getting started around 6 p.m. On just about any day of the week, you can stop by In a Pig's Eye on Derby Street and discover a variety of genres of live music. Weekends, experience the Celtic spirit of Salem while enjoying a pint of beer and Celtic bands at O' Neill's Irish Pub and Restaurant. Once or twice a month, Peabody Essex Museum welcomes the public to an extended evening of art gallery viewing, activities, and live music. Other popular, buzzing nightlife spots include Gulu Gulu Café on Open Mic Night and Opus Underground.
Wonderful Walk; Magical Marsh
The walk up the hillside is easy and the reward is magnificent. At Stavros Reservation, at the end of Island Road in Essex, walk up Whites Hill and then feel your breath catch at panoramic views of Crane Beach and the Essex River estuary spread out below. As you loop back down the hill, you'll trek through a thicket of Devil's walking stick, broken only by a small hillside clearing that offers views over the salt marshes to Castle Hill, a fine old house also on a high promontory and also worth a visit. Walks are great at any time of the year, just prepare for hilltop weather.
Yo, Ho, Ho …
remember, from history class, the Triangle Trade? If you do, you know that rum was one of the points of the triangle. Now, a Massachusetts-based run distiller, Privateer Rum, is reviving the New England rum tradition, producing silver and amber rums using time-honored techniques. Privateer, at 28 Mitchell Road in Ipswich offer tours of its distillery, where people can visit the barrel rooms; see where rums are filled, sealed, labeled, signed and packaged by hand; and taste a flight of rums including unreleased batches. These 75-minute tours are offered Fridays and Saturdays by appointment for $25 per person. Leave your parrot and cutlass at home.
Wooden Boat Craft on Display at Lowell's
Lowell's Boat Shop at 459 Main Street in Amesbury is a working museum preserving the art of wooden boat building. Lowell's builds dories and skiffs as it has done for seven generations. Within these buildings, remnants of past work like ancient ship's knees and support beams speak volumes of the wooden boat industry. Branded into the wood of one cross-beam are annual production figures from 1897 through 1919; an astonishing 2,029 boats were built here by hand in 1911 alone. Summer hours: Tuesdays- Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Winter hours: Tuesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and by appointment.
Audubon's Drum Farm Is a Nice Outdoor Visit With Kids
Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, a property of the Massachusetts Audubon Society at 208 South Great Road in Lincoln, is a real working farm and a wildlife sanctuary all in one place. The farm hosts ongoing professional education, but the public can visit for walks, daily hay rides, wildlife exhibits, and periodic Family Farm Days (see farm website for schedule). There is a picnicking area. Nice way to get outdoors and close to nature with the welcoming help of Audubon.
Seaside and in the City, Interesting Birds Flock in Massachusetts
Massachusetts's skies host more than 300 different species of birds. A fine place to find bird watching resources is Mass Audubon, which can give you comprehensive information on programs, bird walks, and resources. Here are three special birding areas: Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island near Newburyport. This beautiful and unspoiled barrier island is one of the top 10 birding sites in the country. The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham, out on the elbow of Cape Cod, is a rest spot for migrating sea birds and winter home for sea ducks. You can get to the island via the Monomoy Island Ferry. For urban visitors, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge is a beautiful and peaceful garden cemetery with flowers and vistas. It also is an oasis for songbirds on their northward migration in April and May. The cemetery's website even has a page about bird watching on the property.