Signature Boston Blog
The North Shore: Massachusetts’ Hidden Gem

This summer, we had the pleasure of working with intern Alexa Pellegrini, who will be a senior this year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Alexa had the chance to learn an enormous amount about the meetings industry, as well as the city of Boston. This week she shares with us day trip ideas to the towns and cities just north of Boston.

As much fun and excitement Boston brings, sometimes it can be nice to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and explore other parts of Massachusetts. If your event is hosted in Boston, encourage your attendees to extend their stay outside of the city’s borders – most notably, north of Boston. Whether your interest lies in the deep history and age-long myths of witches in Salem, or the nautical past of the North Shore region, there is something for everyone in the towns north of Boston. This area can be visited by train, bus, car, or ferry - just don’t forget the sunscreen!

Salem – 14 Miles North of Boston
Salem is famous as the location for the 1692 witch trials where several residents were killed under accusations of witchcraft. Today, Salem still stays true to its heritage. Tourists can visit the Salem Witch Museum as well as the House of Seven Gables to delve more into the past of Massachusetts. Salem is also home to the Peabody Essex Museum, which houses one of the largest collections of Asian art in the nation. If history isn’t your forte, Salem is also known for its beautiful waterfront, popular dining and retail, and one of the state’s oldest parks, the Salem Willows, which originated in 1858.

Marblehead – 19 Miles North of Boston
Marblehead is known as the Yachting Capital of the World, as well as the birthplace of both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. At any hour of the day, the coast of this small, coastal town is dotted with all types of boats: fishing, sailing, and recreational. Although mainly known for boating, Marblehead also boasts swanky boutiques and delicious cafes that can be visited if you instead opt for a more land locked approach. With a vibrant downtown and breathtaking views, Marblehead is a quick seaside escape from the city.

Gloucester – 36 miles North of Boston
A town made popular by National Geographic’s Wicked Tuna and the movie Perfect Storm, Gloucester’s well known fishing community dates back to when the town was first established in 1642. Besides enjoying the delicious seafood that is caught nearly inches away from where you’re dining, you can also enjoy the beautiful, scenic beaches – such as Good Harbor or Wingaersheek Beach– or hop on a whale watching boat. In case you need a break from the sea, the romantic Hammond Castle, as well as the picturesque Annisquam Lighthouse, are popular destinations for tourists. If you do plan a visit to Gloucester, also make sure to check out the neighboring town of Rockport, known for its quintessential New England coastal feel with its rocky beaches, seaside parks, downtown shopping district, art galleries, and famed landmark Motif Number 1.

Newburyport – 38 miles North of Boston
Like Rockport, Newburyport has the typical New England nautical look. With a history rooted in the sea, this small city near the border of New Hampshire is known for its maritime museums and harbor views. Newburyport also boasts a distinct downtown with trendy shops and restaurants where the majority are owned by local residents themselves. While enjoying the views (and the food) in Newburyport, make a trek to Plum Island, an island that is part of the city of Newburyport. Plum Island is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike to enjoy the infamous beach with its sandy dunes. Many bird watchers travel to Plum Island as well to visit the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge to appreciate and observe the natural wildlife on the island. Whatever your interests may be, Newburyport has something for everyone.

Once you experience the scenic coast, beautiful landscape, and distinct history, it’s clear why the North Shore has inspired many novels, films, and television shows. Next time you’re in Boston, don’t forget to explore the terrain a little north of the city and you’ll understand why the North Shore is Massachusetts’ best kept secret.

Looking for more things to do in or around the city of Boston? Check out our guide of What To Do for shopping, dining, arts & music, historic landmark, and sports & entertainment suggestions.