Travel

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Throughout the summer, we’ve gone back and forth on travel and where to go on the few days off that we have. We want to visit so many places in New England – Block Island, Portland, Ogunquit, and Martha’s Vineyard – and we want to visit the North Fork of Long Island again. At the end of the day, since we do have a Sonoma and Napa trip coming up, we decided to do lots of little staycations in the Boston area. Boston is so beautiful in the summer, and there’s SO much to do in and around the city and within less than an hour’s drive. My family visited recently, and we packed a long weekend full of fun activities. If you are visiting Boston and need some ideas for Boston area day trips, I hope you’ll consider the below!

Assembly Row

Assembly Row – This new outlet shopping area is so much more than a place to pick up new clothes. It’s an ever-growing complex of shops and restaurants, with an arts market, a music series, movie series, and more. We visited Assembly Row to check out Legoland Discovery Center, which is a hit with kids and adults. Unfortunately, adults can’t visit without kids, except for during special nights, so grab a niece or nephew or friend’s kid if you don’t have one of your own! It’s a pricy attraction, but it is a bright, colorful, interactive spot. The area along the river next to Assembly Row is surprisingly peaceful, considering how busy the outlet area is, and it makes for a nice long walk or spot to enjoy a coffee or ice cream from the outlets’ many food establishments.

 

Davis Family Farm

Davis Family Farm

 

Davis Family Farm

Davis Family Farmland – This is another one for the kids, but as an adult, I have to say I am a huge fan. The farm is full of baby animals that guests can play with, feed, and brush. Pony rides are available, along with a play area with fake storefronts, a “fishing” area, and an entire spray park. Our nieces and nephews love Davis Family Farmland, and at just about an hour’s drive from Boston, it is really a great way to spend a Boston staycation.

Boston Harbor Cruises Whale Watch

whale watching in Boston

Whale watching out of Boston Harbor with Boston Harbor Cruises – While my family was visiting, I decided last minute to take an additional day off to go whale watching out of Boston with them. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The weather was perfect, and we saw over 15 whales, who kept dancing and jumping around for us. Seeing my niece and nephew light up with each whale sighting was magical. Whale watching is something all ages can enjoy; it is an awesome way to be out on the water and experience the wonder of the nature that surrounds us.

Hull Harbor Illumination

 

Hull, Mass

Hull Harbor Illumination and Hull in general – Hull is a beautiful little coastal town with some fun restaurants, beautiful, clean beaches, and friendly people. It’s an easy spot to fit in your beach time without sitting in Cape traffic. Hingham is a great stop along the way where you can find some fancier restaurants like Tosca for a post-beach date. We love spending time in Hull and Hingham, and if you love the coast and don’t feel like traveling far, these towns make a great day trip from Boston.

And while I am on the topic of Boston travel, I will give a quick shout out to the beautiful hotel I work at! The Royal Sonesta Boston has some great packages, including a Summer Fest package which features free yoga, boat rides, and bikes. If you need a hotel in Boston or Cambridge, check it out!

We love to travel near and far, and we have definitely enjoyed the above trips over the past few weeks!

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Tags: Boston area, Boston staycation, family travel, Massachusetts, Massachusetts travel, things to do in Boston, Travel, travel blog, travel ideas, Travel Tuesday, vacation

The Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts is a place I lived for four years, and going back is always a little like going home. While we live in the city, I long to live out in the country (preferably near a coast, ahem, Sonoma). Weekends away in the country are so incredibly rejuvenating, and on our 4th of July trip to the Berkshires, we spent some time in Southampton and Northampton, Massachusetts.

While on a wine trail event a couple of years ago, I tasted wine from Black Birch Vineyards, fell in love with the wine, and have been thinking about it ever since. Luckily we had plenty of time for a slow ride back from Lenox, and we found ourselves gazing out at the Pioneer Valley countryside with glasses of wine in hand, wanting to spend the day there.

Southampton, Mass

Black Birch Vineyards is a small winery and tasting room, surrounded by rolling green hills, vineyards, and horses. The countryside around the vineyard is jaw-dropping, and the wines at Black Birch are as well.

Southampton, Massachusetts

Before and after our wine tasting, we stretched our legs and soaked up the sun by wandering around the area.

Black Birch Vineyard

Black Birch Vineyard

Once we decided to go inside the tasting room, we went straight for wines by the glass, which we took outside and enjoyed on the Adirondack chairs and while checking out the vines. Sipping wine in Adirondack chairs is becoming quite the habit of ours.

Traminette

I came to Black Birch Vineyards for their Cabernet Franc; it’s a favorite grape of mine, and it grows well in places like Long Island and areas of Massachusetts. The Cab Franc at Black Birch has the perfect amount of peppery spice and earthy funk, dried leaves, and a hint of dark berries. It is a beautiful wine.

A new favorite we discovered was the Traminette, a grape that I don’t think I have had before. I am simply in love with this wine. It’s full of rich honey notes but also has nice orange and pineapple notes, the perfect amount of acidity, and a weight that makes you want to swish it around in your mouth. It’s a great summer wine because of the acidity, but the richness means it would lend itself to going well with fall dishes.

Black Birch Vineyard

Black Birch Vineyard

Our visit to Black Birch Vineyards was pure bliss and another reminder that Massachusetts can make great wine. If you’re in the Western part of the state, I definitely recommend a visit!

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Tags: Massachusetts, Massachusetts travel, Massachusetts wine, tasting room series, vineyards, wine, wine bars, wine tasting, winery

James Taylor at Tanglewood on the 4th of July has been one of my life list items for ages, and this year I finally got to experience it. It was well worth the wait.

We traveled out to Lenox, Massachusetts, the site of Tanglewood Music Center, to meet my sister and her husband for the concert. The weather was iffy; it rained on and off as we drove and was drizzly when we arrived at our hotel, the Knight’s Inn in Lenox. The Berkshires can be an expensive trip, so when I found rooms at great prices at the Knight’s Inn, I wasn’t expecting much. In reality, we were really pleasantly surprised. Our rooms were spotlessly clean, it was quiet, the staff was friendly, and the view was beautiful. It was also close to all of the major attractions of the area. I was glad we took a risk on the hotel and would totally stay there again.

The Berkshires

Going to Tanglewood is quite the experience in itself. We had lawn seats, which meant we could bring in a picnic to enjoy during the concert. There were some serious picnic setups that included white tablecloths, candles, all sorts of food and wine, and more. We had a nice spread of our own, including Champagne and wine, sandwiches, snacks, and candles. Doors open at 5, three hours before the concert, and the beautiful grounds, plus picnics, make those hours fly by.

Tanglewood

Chandon picnic

The views of surrounding mountains and Stockbridge Bowl are magnificent. We live in such a stunning state, with really unique features that vary from place to place. It felt amazing to be surrounded by so much green.

Stockbridge Bowl

The concert itself was amazing. James Taylor played for about three hours, and his set list included lots of favorites. He was, as I expected, funny and charming and adorable. If you are a fan, I recommend checking out the 4th of July Tanglewood show.

The day after the concert we made a couple of stops on our way out of the Berkshires. We visited a beautiful lake, then headed to two fancy, famous resorts, Cranwell and Blantyre.

Lenox, Massachusetts

We were hoping to have tea or something at Blantyre, but that sort of thing is reserved for guests. Maybe someday. . .

Blantyre

A visit to the Berkshires is just one option for a beautiful Massachusetts vacation. There is so much to see and do, and I would love to visit again soon for the arts, nature, and food that makes the area so special.

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Tags: Berkshires, James Taylor, Lenox, Massachusetts, Massachusetts travel, Travel, travel blog, Travel Tuesday

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