By Lorenzo Recupero
We New Englanders are spoiled. We have the luxury of taking a less than 4-hour ride in any direction to almost any of the beautifully historic towns and cities in our area that seemingly take you back in time.
And, though, I’m a bit hesitant to share the location of some of these most quaint, charming, and revitalizing stops through the region – with the hope that they may remain their tucked away, not overly populated, picturesque selves – I’ll divulge this info so that you might enjoy these day trips away from home as much as I have.
So, listed by order of nearest distance, here are five regional destinations for your next summer road trip.
Distance from Everett: 30.4 miles northeast via MA-128 North.
Rather than trek through hours of traffic looking to hit the beaches at Cape Cod, instead go north of the city and sink into the oceanside town of Gloucester. For less than an hour on the road, you could be immersing yourself in all this beautiful Cape Ann town has to offer. With a deep fishing heritage, the city is drenched in all things water related. The town offers whale watching tours that run throughout the day, giving riders the chance to get views of different aquatic life throughout the trip. And those fishing savvy guest are encouraged to pull out their reels and try their luck. Visitors can also check out the Cape Ann Museum for a more in depth look at the town’s history, or catch some sand at Good Harbor Beach. Then to wrap it all up, because the scent of seafood will undoubtedly wake up your taste buds, catch a bite at Gloucester House restaurant by the water. You won’t be disappointed.
Distance from Everett: 34.2 miles northeast via MA-128 North.
The neighbor to Gloucester, Rockport (previously part of Gloucester) is yet another Cape Ann destination worth riding to. With similar ocean views and rich history, this town is perfect for a relaxing walk, shop, and eat by the ocean. There is Bearskin Neck right off of Main Street. The small but endearing area is full of charm and plenty unique shops to browse. Included in that bunch is Rockport Candle Company, which sells handmade candles with funky names like “Cuppa Chowda” and “Sweet Buttered Lobstah” that make for fun just by trying to say them in your best Boston accent. Along with great shops is arguably one of the nicest views in all of Massachusetts. When you reach the tail end of Bearskin Neck you will find a small sitting area with panoramic views, and a rocky walkable peninsula. The walk across is most pleasing. And If you’re into quirky bits of history — and newspapers like us — find your way up to Pidgeon Hill and see “Paper House”. Its walls, erected in 1922, is comprised of roughly 100,000 newspapers.
Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
Distance from Everett: 42.2 miles north via I-95 North
Admittingly, not a place usually known for charm as much as it is for its sand, but Hampton beach has a boardwalk crammed with fun for everyone. Now, where do I start? There’s, of course, arcades and restaurants by the plenty, Henna tatto stations, a lot of other thrifty type lining the walk. For a bite, Bernie’s Beach Bar is a cut above the rest, boasting a patio view to go with live music and a rocking atmosphere. If your a walk-and-eat kinda person, go for the Boardwalk Fries. You will not be disappointed. For all the adults reading, you might be surprised to find there’s actually two smaller casinos.
Distance from Everett: 49.7 miles west via US-20 West.
A good ride for a good movie, that’s the exchange you get with this day trip. Mendon Twin Drive-in on Milford Street is one of only a few remaining outdoor theatres in all of Mass. and it’s not so far away. If you’re in need of some outdoor fun with a breeze and want to catch the newest action or romance flick, this is the place for you. What’s better than a movie outdoors in the summer?
Distance from Everett: 89.1 miles north via I-95 North
Saco is home to Splashtown Funtown, the ultimate water park. Yes, there’s other water parks a bit closer, but none offer water slides quite as exilerating as “Poseidon’s Plunge” and “Triton’s Twist”. Those are just two of the many atractions there, which includes a large swimming pool fit for kids of any age. This Maine city is furthest away on our list but well worth the ride. That said, leave early.