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Nicknamed the Bay State, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is one of the original 13 states (6th) of the Union. Boston, founded in 1630, is the largest city in New England.
Typical of New England, Massachusetts' summers vary from comfortable 70°s and 80°s to the 90°s. Temperatures are cooler on the coast. Winter temperatures may hover around freezing or sometimes lower.
With more than 1500 miles of shoreline on the Atlantic coast as well as two famous offshore islands -- Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, the state boasts more than 80 beaches. Other well known beaches are located on Cape Cod, Cape Ann and the shore areas north and south of Boston. Travelers can also visit a number of beaches near lakes, ponds and within national parks.
Massachusetts is a sports mecca and is home to professional hockey, basketball, baseball, football and soccer teams. Sports facilities range from historic Fenway Park to the state-of-the-art TD BankNorth Garden in Boston. The state is known for world class sporting events such as the Head of the Charles Crew Race and the Boston Marathon. Athletic fans also can visit one of three sports museums: the Sports Museum of New England, The Basketball Hall of Fame and the Volleyball Hall of Fame.
More than 170 art, history and sporting museums are scattered across the state. Visitors also can enjoy one of the state’s three living history museums which recreate New England’s past. Massachusetts boasts more than 50 theatres and performing arts centers. These venues showcase some of the country’s finest music, dance and theatrical performances. In addition, smaller communities throughout the state provide a lively local arts scene.
The Bay State is known for bargains, and travelers often make the pilgrimage to treasure hunt in the state’s well-known factory outlets, antiques shops, craft galleries and flea markets. In addition, the state’s lack of sales tax on clothes provides an added incentive for shoppers from neighboring states. Boston is famous for its designer boutiques on tony Newbury Street.
Massachusetts’ cultural diversity makes the cuisine around the state as varied and exciting as the area’s attractions. Bay State bounty includes fresh New England seafood, orchard fruits and farm produce. Other local delights include maple syrup, cranberries and baked beans. Restaurants range from inexpensive student haunts to fine gourmet establishments.
A variety of habitats support a rich and diverse plant and animal life. Visits to the coast offer opportunities to observe whales, dolphins and participate in marine studies. Salt marsh areas feature extensive bird life and a number of unusual coastal plants. October’s dazzling foliage attracts visitors from around the globe.
Photos and wording courtesy of MOTT