New Bedford, Massachusetts

New Bedford, a small city located in the southeastern part of Massachusetts (about an hour from Boston), is known as the whaling capital of the world, due to the protected deep water harbor of Buzzard’s Bay and ideal transportation routes. Indeed, New Bedford has a rich history in whaling, fishing, and commerce. At its peak in the mid 1850s, New Bedford employed over 300 ships and 10,000 fisherman.

My family recently took a weekend trip to visit the New Bedford area and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of family friendly activities, even in the “off” winter season. I started my research at DestinationNewBedford.org and found lots of helpful advice.  I printed copies of the Kids Scavenger Hunt for my kids to complete while we were in town, although you can find copies at many local attractions.

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Newport, Rhode Island

Growing up on the South Shore of Massachusetts, and having an avid sailor for a father, my family took many a day trip to visit Newport, Rhode Island. I can remember touring the mansions as a child, admiring the boats at the Newport Boat Show with my dad, and enjoying the beaches, restaurants, and various outdoor recreational activities during the summer. As an adult, I have returned to Newport many time, with my husband for a weekend getaway and with girlfriends as an escape from the duties of motherhood. Recently,  my family spent Thanksgiving weekend celebrating the start to the holiday season in the “City By the Sea.” You can read all about our holiday celebrations here.

However, you would need months (possibly years)  to explore every place in the city, so I think Newport should be on everyone’s list; better yet, if you live within a few hours, it’s worth making visits each season. The city is filled with visitors during the summer months and you absolutely should visit during the summer. However, there is also plenty to do during the winter.

If you need help planning a visit to Newport, DiscoverNewport.org is the perfect planning tool. It’s extremely easy to navigate and full of ideas based on your preferences for activities, food, accommodations, and budget. There is also a massive directory for weddings planning. The online calendar was up to date and quickly linked me to websites and phone numbers. It also covers more than “just” the city of Newport, by including both Newport and Bristol Counties. I’ve organized suggestion based on two popular areas of town:

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Salem, Massachusetts

Salem Village, now known as the town of Danvers, dates back to 1626 when Puritans came to the area from England, seeking religious freedom. The town of Salem, where most of the now famous, and infamous, sites are located is on the North Shore of Massachusetts, about 30 minutes north of Boston, and has a beautiful harbor downtown. It’s most well known for it’s involvement in one of America’s darkest period, the witch hysteria of 1692.

I grew up visiting Salem each October and I have been wanting to recreate some of those memories with my own children. However, I wanted to wait until they were old enough not to be too scared. This year seemed like the perfect time and I started planning back in June. The fall is the most popular time of year to visit Salem (yay for Halloween!) and I wanted to visit early in September. I started my research on Salem.org. This website is the perfect planner: it’s well organized, has frequent updates of events, and plenty of suggestions of places to stay, eat, and explore. I used this website to research every stop we made.

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York, Maine

I’m lucky enough to have first cousins all over the country. We’ve been trying to get everyone together every few years and this past month, we reconvened in York, Maine for “CousinFest”. The oceanside community did not disappoint. The people were so friendly and welcoming, and I have never met a more pedestrian friendly place in all of my travels. York, Maine consists of four distinct areas: York Village, rich in history; York Harbor, with lots of cottages looking out at Long Sands Beach; York Beach, with many tourist attractions; and Cape Neddick, mostly residential, ocean front properties.  Here’s a list of some things we all enjoyed in York: 

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Bristol, Rhode Island

Rhode Island may be the smallest state, size wise, in the country, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in inviting beaches, interactive history, and plenty of family friendly activities.

Bristol, a town of about 23,000 people, is located between Newport (look for upcoming posts!) and the state capitol, Providence. A few years ago, my husband and I taught academic courses for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth summer program on the campus of Roger Williams University. We were able to spend time getting to know this beautiful town that separates Narragansett Bay and Mount Hope Bay. Here are some of our favorite spots: (and I did fact check to make sure information is up to date as of June 2017)

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