Boston Tips: Weekends In and Around Boston

Boats and islands in the Boston Harbor (2007).

Boats and islands in the Boston Harbor (2007).

We know you all have ambitious research goals for your three weeks in Boston, but it’s important to remember that regular breaks from your work will make you a better researcher! That’s part of the reason the BSS team haven’t scheduled any seminar activities for the weekends you’ll be here in the city. Below are a few suggestions for places and events in Boston and beyond that offer a change of pace from the archives.

Regardless of the date, there’s always something going on in Boston. Check out the Boston Globe events listings or the ArtsBoston calendar for a full range of exhibitions, performances, festivals, and other activities. For those on a budget, ArtsBoston allows you to sort their listings by “free.”

Interested in learning more about the history of Boston — but without spending more time indoors? Boston By Foot is a nonprofit organization that offers a wide variety of walking tours around the city; several MHS staff members have trained and volunteer as tour guides.

Boston Pride is a week-long extravaganza (June 4-14) with a range of events and of course the obligatory pride parade on Saturday, June 13, between Copley Square and City Hall Plaza. Depending on how you like enthusiastic crowds, either head on down or hightail it in the opposite direction! The LGBTQ-friendly vibe spills out along the Cape all the way to Provincetown, accessible daily by ferry during the summer months.

If you’re feeling overstimulated from your week and need some solitude and open space in order to relax and recharge, the Boston Harbor Islands (NPS) are a brief ferry ride from Long Wharf. Georges Island is the location of Fort Warren, a Civil War-era installation now grown over with trees and grass. Spectacle Island offers breathtaking, windswept views of Boston. Ferry tickets are $12.00 with a student ID.

MBTA commuter rail service provides access to a number of regional destinations for those without a car.  Salem offers the spectacular Peabody-Essex Museum and the Maritime Historic Site (NPS) while further out Cape Ann, Gloucester and Rockport provide opportunities to wander around historic fishing villages, shop, eat, and bask in the sun. From the Ipswitch station, the Ipswitch-Essex Explorer shuttle can take you to a variety of location destinations. The horror fans among you can follow in the footsteps of H. P. Lovecraft (if you dare!).

Those with strong wanderlust can catch the Amtrak Downeaster at North Station and spend the day or weekend in Portland, Maine — or even further north in Freeport or Brunswick.

To the west, along another branch of the commuter rail, you’ll find Concord — only a two mile walk from Walden Pond — and Lowell, where the train station is right across the street from the recently-redesigned American Textile History Museum.

We encourage you to explore — and let us know what gems you uncover!

~Anna Clutterbuck-Cook

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