Welcome to the Greater Merrimack Valley and North of Boston regions of Massachusetts.
Greater Merrimack Valley
Centrally located in New England, our region is home to 21 towns and communities and is located just 30 minutes northwest of Boston. Known for its historical ties to the American Revolution in Lexington and Concord and the Industrial Revolution in Lowell, and home to famous authors including Jack Kerouac, Henry David Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott. From fairs and festivals, art galleries and museums and outdoor recreation, adventures await you here! Call 978-459-6150 or visit www.merrimackvalley.org to request your FREE Visitors Guide and to begin planning your next adventure in the Greater Merrimack Valley!
North of Boston
The North of Boston region is home to the 34 cities and towns of Essex County; each town offering its own unique character and charm. Located only 30 minutes from Logan International Airport and the city of Boston, the region offers 5,000+ guest rooms, 200 miles of coastline, numerous restaurants, cultural sites, attractions, performing arts venues, and more! From the beaches of Salisbury to historic Salem, the rocky shores of Gloucester to the industrial city of Haverhill, come explore and discover. Call 978-465-6555 or visit www.northofboston.org to request your FREE Visitors Guide and to begin planning your next adventure North of Boston!
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Explore Greater Merrimack Valley and North of Boston
Welcome to the beautiful area of northern Massachusetts! The itineraries below are designed to accommodate travelers coming into the state from all directions. Feel free to follow the suggestions or mix and match. For lodging options, please visit www.northofboston.org and www.merrimackvalley.org. We have an extensive inventory of inns, bed and breakfasts, and full-service hotels to suit your every need. For car-free travel options, please visit the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The commuter rail map can be accessed HERE.
Arriving from the South (Boston, Cape Cod, Plymouth, CT, RI)
The Concord Museum is the one place where all of Concord’s remarkable past is brought to life through an inspiring collection of historical, literary, and decorative arts treasures. Home to many Revolutionary War artifacts, including powder horns, muskets, cannonballs, fifes and the lantern that Paul Revere used to warn the colonists that, “The British are coming!”
Location200 Lexington Road, Concord, MA 01742
Concord’s North Bridge, site of “the shot heard ‘round the world.” Here in this beautifully restored 19th century commemorative landscape, featuring the famous Minute Man statue by Daniel Chester French, is a perfect place to reflect upon the things experienced on the tour.
LocationMinute Man National Historical Park- Monument Street, Concord
After moving twenty-two times in nearly thirty years, the Alcotts finally found their most permanent home at Orchard House, where they lived from 1858 until 1877. The house is most noted for being where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set her beloved classic, Little Women, in 1868 at a “shelf desk” her father built especially for her. Fortunately, there have been no major structural changes to the house since the Alcotts’ time, with on-going preservation efforts adhering to the highest standards of authenticity. Since approximately 80% of the furnishings on display were owned by the Alcotts, the rooms look very much as they did when the family lived here, causing many modern-day visitors to comment that, “A visit to Orchard House is like a walk through Little Women!” A guided tour of Orchard House introduces visitors to the family members themselves, the household items that held meaning to them, their individual and collective achievements and lasting impact, as well as their influence on characters in the beloved novel, Little Women.
Location399 Lexington Rd., Concord, MA 01742
The first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired nearby – and, less than a century later, Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau spawned a revolution in American philosophy from here. A handsome Georgian clapboard building, The Old Manse sits near the banks of the Concord River among rolling fields edged by centuries-old stone walls and graced by an orchard. From upstairs, you can look out over the North Bridge, where the famous battle of April 19, 1775, took place. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne both called the Manse home for a time – and each found inspiration here. Emerson would draft his famous essay “Nature” from an upstairs room, and Hawthorne would write a tribute to the homestead called Mosses from an Old Manse. Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia, started their married life here, and you can still see the poems they wrote to each other, etched on the Manse’s window panes. The heirloom vegetable garden, which has been recreated today, was originally planted by Henry David Thoreau in honor of the Hawthornes’ wedding.
Location269 Monument Street, Concord, MA 01742
Best known through Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, Walden Pond and the surrounding Walden Woods was a favorite destination for walks by local Concord Transcendentalists Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thoreau’s writings inspired respect for nature and even, some consider, the birth of the conservation movement. Today, Walden Pond comprises the heart of the Walden Pond State Reservation and is designated a National Historic Landmark, ensuring that visitors can enjoy the area as Thoreau once did. Let a visit to Walden Pond bring you back in time to the mid-1800’s. Experience the connection with nature that inspired Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Enjoy a day of swimming, walking around the famous pond or boating out on the water. Also be sure to visit the replica of Thoreau’s single-room cabin.
Location915 Walden Street Concord, MA 01742
The Salem Trolley is the best way to see Salem and to experience the Witch City’s unique and colorful past. Since 1982, Salem Trolley has set the standard for sightseeing tours and exceptional transportation north of Boston. The Salem Trolley provides visitors with a narrated one hour tour and all day shuttle service through beautiful and historic Salem. Explore Salem’s witchcraft trials of 1692 or travel beyond the witchcraft hysteria into the fascinating realm of Salem’s literary and maritime history.
Location8 Central Street, Salem (978) 744-5469
The Salem Witch Museum brings you back to Salem Village in 1692. Experience the events that led to the hangings of 19 people and the pressing of one on the charges of witchcraft. Dispel the myths surrounding the word “witch” and examine incidents of witch hunting in the Museum’s exhibit, Witches, Evolving Perceptions. Open Year-Round
Location19 ½ Washington Square, Salem
Discover the secrets of the House of the Seven Gables, which inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel. Admission also includes access to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, spectacular seaside gardens, and a unique Museum Store.
Location115 Derby Street, Salem (978) 745-0991
Journey through a world of art and culture at the Peabody Essex Museum, where the wealth and power of historic Salem are showcased in an unrivaled collection of art and culture from New England and around the globe. Explore the city’s international connections through extraordinary works of art from China, India, Japan and beyond, including a 200-year-old Chinese house, Yin Yu Tang.
Location161 Essex Street, Salem, MA 01970 (978) 745-9500
Since 1972, The Landing restaurant in Marblehead has been serving the freshest seafood and Black Angus steaks around. Marblehead’s premiere waterfront dining destination offers great views of Marblehead Harbor from each of our dining room tables. Our English-style pub is always bustling with entertainment on the weekend and good cheer every day. Groups welcome!
Location81 Front Street, Marblehead 781-639-1266
Since 1955, NSMT has become one of the most attended theatres in New England, with approximately 250,000 patrons annually. With a national and regional reputation for artistic achievement, NSMT has received numerous industry awards including Elliot Norton Awards, IRNE Awards, the Rosetta Le Noire Award from Actors’ Equity, and the Moss Hart Award. Under the new ownership of Bill Hanney in 2010, NSMT continues to annually produce a musical subscription series and an annual production of A Christmas Carol along with celebrity concerts and children’s programming year-round education.
Location62 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915 978-232-7200
The 90-mile roadway links 14 coastal communities from Lynn to Salisbury and features scenic views, period architecture, historic sites and recreational opportunities. With the twin goals of preserving the byway’s intrinsic qualities and spurring investment in its infrastructure, attractions and amenities, Essex Heritage worked to secure state scenic byway designation and federal funding for a comprehensive management plan that is guiding community and regional leaders in their efforts to implement tourism-based economic development.
Arriving from the North (NH, ME, VT, Canada)
Salisbury Beach extends from the mouth of the Merrimack River to the Massachusetts/ New Hampshire border. Unless you are renting a house or condominium in Salisbury the best access to the beach is via Salisbury Beach State Reservation. For a $14 (Ma Residents)/$16 parking fee you are provided with a parking space, access to restrooms, and a beach where there are lifeguards to protect you and your loved ones while you are swimming.
LocationState Reservation Road, Salisbury, MA 01952
Established over 90 years ago on Salisbury Beach, this family run entertainment complex takes pride in it’s safe, clean, well-lit environment in the heart of Salisbury Beach. Filled with state of the art and classic video games, as well as, a convenient snack bar and large redemption center, Joe’s Playland is the place to bring family and friends for hours of fun.
Location15 Broadway, Salisbury, MA 01952 (978) 465-8311
Learn about life on a farm over the centuries through hands-on activities. Pump water from the well outside the kitchen or sit in a horsehair-covered rocking chair and look through a stereo-viewer in the nineteenth-century parlor. Become an archaeologist as you piece artifacts together. Explore nature trails, and enjoy a picnic under ancient maple trees. The farm is open on a drop-in basis. Nature walks, family events, and lectures are held at the farm year-round. Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm visitor center houses a museum gift shop offering books, gifts and local products. Also nearby are the 1678 Coffin House and the 1670 Swett-Ilsley House, also available for group tours and by appointment. Nearby the 1785 Rocky Hill Meeting House is available for weddings and functions and by appointment. Visit Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm: Open Thursday through Sunday, June 1 to October 15 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Grounds open sunrise to sunset, year round. Closed most major holidays. Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm hosts Vintage Baseball May through October. Great group activity.
Location5 Little's Lane, Newbury, MA 01951 (978) 462-2634
When you ask most people about the History of Haverhill they say that it used to be a hub for the shoe-making industry. Most people don’t know about all the other historical treasures hidden around one the biggest cities North of Boston.
- Winnekenni Castle – 347 Kenoza Avenue
- Tattersall Farm – 542 North Broadway
- Haverhill Firefighting Museum – 75 Kenoza Avenue
- Buttonwood Museum – 240 Water Street
- John Greenleaf Whittier House – 305 Whittier Road
- Dustin Garrison House – 665 Hilldale Ave.
The Museum of Printing is dedicated to preserving the rich history of the graphic arts, printing and typesetting technology, and printing craftsmanship. In addition to many special collections and small exhibits, the Museum contains hundreds of antique printing, typesetting, and bindery machines, as well as a library of books and printing-related documents.
Location15 Thornton Avenue Haverhill, Massachusetts 01832
The Tap Brewing Company has proudly produced award-winning ales and lagers in historic downtown Haverhill, MA since 2003. With a focus on quality and consistency, we serve American pub food and craft beer that offers something that everyone can enjoy.
All of our beer is produced in house. Large windows in the brewhouse allow you to view our beer being brewed before it is moved into a fermentation tank, some of which can be seen on the lower level.
Location100 Washington St, Haverhill, MA 01832 978-374-1117
Lowell National Historical Park
Discover the Continuing Revolution. Lowell’s water-powered textile mills catapulted the nation – including immigrant families and early female factory workers – into an uncertain new industrial era. Nearly 200 years later, the changes that began here still reverberate in our shifting global economy. Explore Lowell, a living monument to the dynamic human story of the Industrial Revolution.
Location246 Market St., Lowell, MA 01852
Boot Cotton Mills Museum
Experience the roar of a 1920s weave room featuring operating looms! See cloth being made and explore interactive exhibits and video programs about mill work.
Location115 John St, Lowell, MA 01852
Mill Girls & Immigrants Exhibit
What was life like outside the textile factories? Visit an 1830s Boott Mills boardinghouse to discover the personal stories of Lowell’s 19th- and 20th- century communities.
Location40 French St., Lowell, MA 01852
New England Quilt Museum
The New England Quilt Museum, founded in 1987, is located in downtown Lowell, Massachusetts and is the only institute in the Northeast solely dedicated to the art and craft of quilting. It is the second-oldest quilt museum in the United States.
Location18 Shattuck St., Lowell, MA 01852
Whistler House Museum of Art
James McNeil Whistler’s birthplace (circa 1823) houses an exhibit of Whistler etchings and a permanent collection of 19th century New England artists.
Location243 Worthen St., Lowell, MA 01852
Brush Art Gallery and Studios
The Brush Art Gallery and Studios is located in the Lowell National Historical Park across the courtyard from the Visitor Center. This dynamic and captivating place was originally founded by the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission, U.S. Department of the Interior. The Brush presents museum quality exhibitions, educational programs, and has collaborated with many other nonprofit groups. Artists occupy studio spaces to interact with and educate the public on a weekly basis.
Location256 Market St., Lowell, MA 01852
Western Avenue Studios
Home to the largest artists community on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The 5 acre complex contains 3 brick mill buildings hosting 250 work only studios, 50 live/work lofts, many teaching artists, The Loading Dock Gallery – a cooperative artist run gallery, and The Onyx Room Performance Space, are also housed on premises.
Location122 Western Ave., Lowell, MA 01851
Arriving from the West (western MA, NY, NJ, PA)
An authentic period home and a tangible reminder of how people lived in this area at the outbreak of the American Revolution. The home of Ephraim and Elizabeth Hartwell and their children was not only a prosperous farm, but also operated as a tavern where travelers to and from Boston stopped and shared the latest news and discussed important issues of the day.
LocationHartwell Historic Area, Route 2A, Lincoln, Massachusetts
Visit the birthplaces of American liberty and 19th century literature! Board a classic trolley to ride along the historic Battle Road while your costumed guide recounts the exciting events of April 19, 1775, immersing you in the life of Colonial Americans, from farmers to literary giants to the heroes who would shape a new country. These 90 minute tours depart 4 times every day during the summer from the Lexington Visitors Center, which offers area information, a gift shop, a diorama of the Battle of Lexington, and public restrooms
Location1875 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420 781.862.0500 ext. 702
At Minute Man National Historical Park the opening battle of the Revolution is brought to life as visitors explore the battlefields and structures associated with April 19, 1775, and witness the American revolutionary spirit through the writings of the Concord authors. Explore the Battle Road Trail. This five mile trail connects historic sites from Meriam’s Corner in Concord to the eastern boundary of the park in Lexington. The main theme of the trail is the Battle of April 19, 1775, that launched the American Revolution. Much of the trail follows original remnants of the Battle Road; other sections leave the historic road to follow the route of the Minute Men, traversing farming fields, wetlands, and forests.
LocationExit 30B off of Route 128/I-95, Route 2A, Lexington, Massachusetts 781.674.1920
Built in 1710, this central tavern On the Green was a gathering place for both locals and travelers and the site of many important town meetings. Captain Parker and his militia gathered in this tavern in the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, to await the oncoming British Redcoat troops.
Location1 Bedford Street 781.862.1703
Explore the birthplace of the American iron and steel industry. In the 1600’s, on the banks of the Saugus River, something extraordinary happened. Explore the place where European iron makers brought their special skills to a young Massachusetts colony. This nine-acre National Park includes working waterwheels, forges, mills, an historic 17th century home, and a lush river basin.
Location244 Central St, Saugus, MA 01906
The spectacular Crane Estate encompasses more than 2,100 acres in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The Estate is made up of three properties: Castle Hill, a National Historic Landmark that is the home of The Great House, a spectacular venue for weddings and corporate events, guided tours, and programs. Crane Beach, a popular public beach and summer destination; and the Crane Wildlife Refuge, a natural treasure boasting many rare plant and animal species. The historic award-winning Inn at Castle Hill, with 10 uniquely appointed rooms, is also part of the Estate, and is the perfect place to relax and unwind on an overnight stay to the area. Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane, Jr. first purchased the 2,100 acres that would become The Crane Estate in 1910. Crane was captivated by the beautiful landscape, and over time worked with eight leading architects and landscape architects to shape his summer retreat. In 1928, he crowned the estate with a grand 59-room, Stuart-style mansion, designed by the world-renowned architect David Adler. Nearly 100 years later, the Crane Estate plays a vital role in the local community and beyond as a place for year-round recreation, historic house tours, weddings, corporate and private parties, an annual art show, summer concerts, lectures, movie filming, a popular summer camp and public volunteer opportunities.
Location290 Argilla Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938 (978) 356-4354
With awards such as “Best Seafood in America” from Forbes FYI and induction into the MA Restaurant Hall of Fame, the Woodmans enjoy local and national recognition for continuing their Yankee tradition of excellence and for their famous New England seafood.
Location121 Main Street, Essex, MA 01929 (978) 768-6057
Gloucester, settled in 1623, is America’s oldest working seaport. Situated at the center of Cape Ann, part on and off the island, Gloucester has one of the finest harbors in Massachusetts and remains one of the busiest fishing ports on the Eastern seaboard. The world-famous Fisherman’s Memorial aka “The Man at the Wheel” statue, was commissioned in 1923 in memory of thousands of Gloucester fishermen lost at sea.
LocationGloucester, MA 01930
A companion statue, “The Fishermen’s Wives Memorial,” was erected in 2001. The harbor is alive and bustling with schooner sails, harbor & lighthouse tours and deep-sea fishing. Some of the world’s best whale watching is just off her coast at Stellwagen National Marine Sanctuary.
Location107 Western Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930
Picture yourself relaxing on the deck of this beautiful 65- foot schooner as she sails out of Gloucester harbor on a light southwesterly breeze. Join us for a two hour sail and get a taste for what it was like to sail on a fishing schooner a hundred years ago. Help the crew raise the sails, or just sit back and take in the sights and sounds of Gloucester’s coastline.
Location63 Rear Rogers Street Gloucester, MA 01930 (978) 281-6634
Sightings are guaranteed on this 3 to 4 hour narrated tour, which provides passengers with a one-of-a-kind nature experience. Our modern, state-of-the-art vessel, the Privateer IV, is equipped with GPS monitors in the cabin so that passengers can follow the boats course at sea. Regarded as the newest and most comfortable vessel in Gloucester, the Privateer IV has wide decks and a low profile, which allows passengers to get closer to the great whales. A carpeted inner cabin, a full galley and bar with padded benches and tables, an on-board library, and a large, open top-deck all provide passengers with a top-notch whale watching experience.
Location63 Rogers Street Gloucester, MA 01930 978-283-1776
A family owned business proud to call Gloucester “home”, Ryan and Wood produces craft-distilled Folly Cove Rum, Knockabout Gin, Beauport Vodka, Ryan and Wood Rye Whiskey and Ryan and Wood Single Malt Whiskey. Tours encouraged!
Location15 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930 (978) 281-2282
Motif Number 1 is located on Bradley Wharf in the harbor town of Rockport, Massachusetts, is a replica of a former fishing shack well known to students of art and art history as “the most often-painted building in America.”
LocationBearskin Neck Wharf Rockport, MA 01966 (978) 546-2420
For over 30 years Rockport Music has been committed to one enduring purpose–enriching lives through great music. Located in the scenic seaport village of Rockport, Massachusetts, Rockport Music presents exceptional musical performances and events year round, including the acclaimed Rockport Chamber Music Festival, which hosts over 20 performances in five weeks during June and July each year. Rockport Music also presents classical, jazz, folk, pop, and world music, as well as a film series and HD broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera and England’s National Theatre. Rockport Music was originally founded in 1981 as the Rockport Chamber Music Festival by soprano Lila Deis, pianist/composer David Alpher–both were artistic directors from 1981-1994–and local businessman Paul Sylva