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Great Outdoors

The National Parks Of Massachusetts, The Spirit Of America

Benjamin Suter

If it happened in early colonial America, it probably occurred in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Bay State is the birthplace of four U.S. presidents, home to Plymouth Rock, the minutemen, Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride, and is the fictional setting of Melville’s Moby Dick. 

The story of the United States was forged in this early English settlement. It is not a stretch to say there are countless historical and natural treasures to visit. Massachusetts also offers the Green Monster of Fenway Park for those who crave a modern wonder! 

The best way to explore the bounty of MA is to visit its national parks. The National Parks of New England capture and curate the beauty, history, and topography of the Northeast.

Below are a few of our favorites:

Adams National Historic Park: In many ways, this small farm near Quincy, MA, is where the idea of America became a reality.

This Norfolk Country historic site was the home and birthplace of four U.S. presidents: John Adams, his son John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and George Herbert Walker Bush.

It has also been a retreat for countless historians, future U.S. ministers, and philosophers. This National Park preserves the legacy of the learned men and women who helped shape the thirteen original colonies under British rule in the 18th century into the cohesive nation that would follow the American Revolution. Fans of revolutionary, presidential, and democratic philosophical history will find this National Park impossible to resist!

Photo Courtesy NPS

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park: The site of what is often referred to as the “The Hardest Working River in America’, this national park protects the mighty waterway that propelled a young America into the Age of Industry with the success of Samuel Slater’s cotton spinning mill. Slater’s success encouraged other entrepreneurs to build their cotton mills in the surrounding valley and across New England, transforming the region and then much of the country from a largely agrarian society to one built around and lived to the rhythm of what would become the American factory system. Stop in and learn a little more about how this innovation in this small corner of the country forever changed the United States. 

Photo Courtesy NPS

Boston African American National Historic Site: Like many tipping points in history, it’s important to pay homage to the struggles of those who labored and lived under the yoke of slavery and those who fought bravely to overcome and defeat America’s “original sin.” This national park preserves the memory of this epic fight and the people who fought this righteous battle.

Located in South Boston’s Beacon Hill, this National Park stands as a tribute to and source of education about the leaders of the Abolition Movement, the Underground Railroad, and the Union during the Civil War in the early struggle for justice and equal rights.

Take a tour to learn about the 54th regiment of black soldiers and their battles in the War Between the States or the Underground Railroad. Visitors can even join a recreation of a famous town hall meeting from 1854 that captivated the country!

Photo Courtesy NPS

Cape Cod National Seashore: Few Americans are unfamiliar with the notion of Cape Cod, MA. Perhaps it’s associated in the mind’s eye with a scene from a famous movie or a faded photograph of a Kennedy walking along its pristine beaches. Over forty miles of sandy beaches, marshes and ponds are home to a diverse ecosystem of wildlife and plant life, and aquatic creatures local to the area. Visitors enjoy swimming and kayaking or simply strolling the white sand beaches as the Atlantic Ocean breeze rolls off the water. Another popular attraction is the historic lighthouses that dot the shoreline. There is something for everyone at this grand old New England beach!

Photo Courtesy NPS

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