Best Attractions in Massachusetts | 2016 Editors’ Choice Awards
Looking for the best things to do in Massachusetts? You won’t have to look far! Read our picks for the best attractions in Massachusetts for 2016. Best Free Art Museum: Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown The museum owns more than 14,000 works, so only a select number are exhibited at any one time. Don’t miss the […]
Best Free Art Museum | Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown
Photo Credit : Sol Lewitt Wall Drawing #1089 - Photo by Arthur Evans
Looking for the best things to do in Massachusetts? You won’t have to look far! Read our picks for the best attractions in Massachusetts for 2016.
Best Free Art Museum:
Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown
The museum owns more than 14,000 works, so only a select number are exhibited at any one time. Don’t miss the Post-Impressionist paintings of Charles and Maurice Prendergast, the Sol LeWitt wall drawing, and Edward Hopper’s iconic Morning in a City.
15 Lawrence Hall Drive. 413–597–2429; wcma.williams.edu
Best Downtown Museum:
American Textile History Museum, Lowell
A Smithsonian-affiliated institution, this museum brings to life America’s Industrial Revolution. All eras of history are represented here through raw materials, machinery, brilliant displays of clothing, period photographs, and hands-on samples for visitors to touch and feel.
491 Dutton St. 978-441-0400; athm.org
Best Family Farm:
Davis Farmland, Sterling
Every year as the leaves start turning, fall visitors descend on this family farm to wander the cornfield paths of the eight-acre Davis Mega Maze. In spring and summer, families make it here for the other attractions: cows and goats, emus and chickens, and all the other critters that make Davis the largest sanctuary for endangered farm animals in North America. Hay and pony rides also offered.
145 Redstone Hill Road. 978-422-6666; davisfarmland.com
Best Modern Dance:
Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Becket
With a festival schedule of performances by more than 50 companies, the Pillow is America’s summer mecca for modern dance. The major troupes are mesmerizing on the big stages, but there’s something primal and magical about seeing a free performance in the woods at the Inside/Out stage, as well.
358 George Carter Road. 413–243–9919; jacobspillow.org
Famous Mini-Golf at Lancaster Golf Center, Lancaster
The appeal of mini-golf has always been the short holes with something memorable about the obstacles. Instead of windmills, clowns, and pirates, all 18 holes here are modeled on famous holes at venues where the PGA and LPGA tournaments are played. This is mini-golf for the real golf fan. Just beware of hole 17, where the steep uphill shot lands on a sharp-shouldered green surrounded by water hazards—just like “Anxiety” at PGA West’s Tom Weiskopf Private Course in La Quinta, California.
438 Old Union Turnpike. 978–537–8922; lancastergolfcenter.com
Best Historical Community:
Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge
It’s not all gingham dresses and straw hats at OSV, but the calendar is stuck in the 1830s at this living-history museum. OSV’s cluster of historic buildings creates a little time capsule of life in a New England village in the years when the country was young. Visiting is a lesson in how the “good old days” had their own joys and difficulties.
1 Old Sturbridge Village Road. 800–733-183, 508–347–3362; osv.org
Best Kayak Tour:
Essex River Basin Adventures, Essex
For paddlers, the Essex River and marshy Essex Bay make up one of the most beautiful estuary systems in New England. This veteran sea-kayak tour company offers a gentle daily excursion called the Gilligan. Kayakers head down the river of grass to the bay and explore the basin by paddling around the small islands and through the winding salt marshes.
1 Main St. 978–768–3722; erba.com
Best Fiber-Art Museum:
New England Quilt Museum, Lowell
Far more than just a bed cover, the quilt is quintessentially American. As folk art, quilts resonate deeply with issues of family, women’s accomplishments, and even politics. As fine art, contemporary studio quilts range from geometric fantasias to expositions of playful color. The Northeast’s only museum dedicated to the art and history of quiltmaking shows it all.
18 Shattuck St. 978–452–4207; nequiltmuseum.org
Best Antiques & Curiosities:
Ramble Market, Waltham
Stuff. Neat stuff. Funky stuff. Vintage stuff. Artsy stuff. The lion’s share of the 10,000 square feet here is devoted to antiques and collectibles. A lot of it is themed by era (Midcentury Modern, for example) and a lot isn’t. The old stuff is augmented by mini-shops with contemporary painting and furniture, rugs, and vintage clothing.
39 Green St. 781–790–5260; ramblemarket.com
Best Outdoor Sculpture:
DeCordova Sculpture Park, Lincoln
With 30 acres of beautifully rolling landscape, the DeCordova focuses on its sculpture park more than its museum (though there’s always a fascinating show on display). Given the large scale of so many pieces of contemporary sculpture, the great outdoors makes an ideal setting. Bring your own picnic or visit the café.
51 Sandy Pond Road. 781–259–8355; decordova.org
Best Children’s Bookstore:
An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Café, Plainville
When the author of the Wimpy Kid series opened a bookstore in his hometown, young’uns and their parents alike were enthralled. The shelves are filled with books for adults and for children ranging from toddlers to young adults. The café serves a few children’s plates, but many more wraps and salads—as well as coffee and some very grown-up bottles of beer and wine by the glass.
111 South St. 508–699–0244; anunlikelystory.com
Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery, Westport
When this winery opened to the public 25 years ago, Massachusetts wine was a novelty. The Russell family proved that the Long Island Sound climate of this fertile peninsula was perfect for growing Chardonnay grapes to make outstanding American bubbly. Now they’re crafting cold-climate Pinot Noir to match.
417 Hixbridge Road. 508–636–3423; westportrivers.com
Best Tourist Hot Spot:
Cape Cod Rail Trail, Dennis to Wellfleet
Threading 22 miles from the mid-Cape to LeCount Hollow Road near PB Boulangerie in Wellfleet, this paved path with a few gentle hills includes several access points to Cape Cod National Seashore beaches. Pets on short leashes are permitted on the trail, so Fido can run alongside.
Best Family Adventure:
Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich
Five treetop trails of varying difficulty traverse the forest canopy on three acres of Heritage Museum property. Suitable for ages 7 and up, the aerial portion is a squirrel’s-eye view of forest and some blooming gardens. A forest-floor trail is available for companions who prefer to stay on terra firma. No sandals or flip-flops.
67 Grove St. 508–888–3300; heritagemuseumsandgardens.org
Best Beach for Sunsets:
Madaket Beach, Nantucket
From town, take the NRTA’s WAVE shuttle (about 20 minutes) or bicycle out to the unspoiled, surf-pounded beach at Madaket on the island’s western tip. There’s no land on the western horizon to mess up the sunset, so watch closely for the green flash as the sun dips. Arrive early for seafood takeout from Millie’s Restaurant while you wait for sunset.
Madaket Road. 508–228–0925 (Nantucket Visitor Services); nantucket-ma.gov/visitor