Massachusetts marvels
Boston, Massachusetts, USA


The Rose Kennedy Greenway

While the Museum of Fine Arts, the ICA and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum are Boston’s established headliners, and small art galleries pepper the city – not least in South End’s buzzing SoWa art and design district – visual arts fans needn’t even step indoors to treat their peepers. Accessible public art is high on the agenda here. The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, a sinuous Downtown park seeding street-level life among the corporate streetscapes, operates a multi-award-winning rotating programme of exhibitions and installations. MIT’s List Visual Arts Center in the adjacent Greater-Boston city Cambridge threads a trail of world-class works through the entire college campus. Meanwhile, feted local muralists – with Silvia Lopez Chavez, MARKA27 and Rob PROBLAK Gibbs just a few standouts – make frequent new contributions to the beautification of neighbourhoods citywide. Just don’t look down. |


Provincetown, at the extreme tip of Cape Cod, is world-famous as an LGBTQ+ holiday hotspot, and with good reason. The postcard-cute New England outpost, characterised by immaculately kept cedar-shingled New England houses, gay-owned businesses, stunning summers and cyclist and pedestrian majorities regularly has its 3,600 year-round population swollen by 50,000 holidaying queers and allies. Not least because it hosts a buzzing events calendar that flings its arms around every subset of the community, with dedicated weekends for everyone from leather lovers to WomXn of Color to trans people.

British settlers on the Mayflower made their first American landfall here in 1620, and the spot has been the scene of utopian, mainstream-swerving pilgrimages ever since. America’s ‘oldest continuous art colony’, it boasts bewitching Cape Cod light and castaway geography that have magnetised progressive artists and writers here since the late 1800s (Tennessee Williams, Edward Hopper, Andrew Sullivan, Mark Rothko, we could go on…). Their fascination with ‘P’town’, the bohemian community their gravitation created and the mighty influence of both on the broader US fine art scene can be witnessed here in its wealth of low-key but high-punching galleries, and nowhere more than at the modestly wondrous Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

That light and geography are also worth any visitor’s own personal pilgrimage too, to the vast, unblemished, dune-strewn landscapes just out of town. Cycling trails (and plentiful bicycle hire stores) put much of the jaw-dropping local natural glory within a few minutes’ leisurely pedalling, but to go deeper and hear compelling tales of the mavericks who have chosen to have Provincetown shape their lives, you can take a jeep tour, for example with Art’s Dune Tours, a super-friendly local operator with deep family roots here. Hold out for the sunset itinerary is our tip.

Just 90 minutes by ferry from Boston’s Downtown, Provincetown is one of many charm-rich destinations within easy reach of the American city that are a boon to visitors with time to explore. Stellar standouts include spooky/artsy Salem, founded in 1626, the scene of the infamous 17th-century witch trials and today a genteel seafront town rich in landmark historic sites, beautifully preserved settler architecture, outstanding dining – and yes, still loads of cool dark side-themed attractions. Martha’s Vineyard meanwhile is a sublime island getaway, refined by a steady influx of cool, low-key but loaded celebrities but still resolutely unreconstructed in its quaint, rustic aesthetic. Chef- and local farmer-driven restaurants set the lofty, locavore tone for dining, and vast sweeping beaches are another delicacy on the menu.

Then there’s the cultural, outdoorsy rural region of the Berkshires. Here world-class theatre, dance and music (Tanglewood in the tiny town Lenox, for example, is the summer home of the bodacious Boston Symphony Orchestra) rub designer hiking boots with limitless trekking routes around mountains, lakes and forests and activities from paddle boarding to fishing to wildlife viewing to rock-climbing. All deliciously fuelled by a thriving local farm-to-table food culture.

A house in Provincetown, near Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Boston by Foot

Boston’s compact urban topography has earned it the nickname ‘the walking city’ and it has also inspired its resourceful citizens to dream up myriad ways to discover their richly diverse culture on foot. Walking tours here range from celebrations of the city’s pivotal role as the US’ historic ‘Cradle of Liberty’ to its contemporary multiculturalism, and its extraordinary academic credentials. Some of our favourites include Boston By Foot’s Boston’s LGBTQ Past, an exploration of the people and places that shaped one of America’s most equitable communities, Collin Knight’s Live Like A Local tours of neighbourhoods of colour whose cultural contributions were until recently largely overlooked, and Trademark Tours’ insider walkabouts at super-elite colleges Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by current students. And if those aren’t giving you itchy feet, choose from other itineraries themed for street food, haunted pubs, movie locations, mob crime… | |

Boating on a lake outside Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Diamonds in the rough

World-class arts and culture meet bracing outdoorsy pursuits in the ravishing bucolic splendour of the Berkshires, a rural region in the mountains of western Massachusetts. Here world-class theatre, dance and music (Tanglewood in the tiny town Lenox, for example, is the summer home of the bodacious Boston Symphony Orchestra) rub designer hiking boots with limitless trekking routes around mountains, lakes and forests and activities from paddle-boarding to fishing to wildlife viewing to rock-climbing. MASS MoCA in North Adams, meanwhile, serves cutting-edge contemporary art and performance in an awe-inspiring converted printworks factory. And it’s all deliciously fuelled by a thriving local farm-to-table food culture. |

Photography by Old Palsson/Creative Commons, John Miksis, Rob Costa, Bonnie Kittle and courtesy of Hawk Visuals

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