One may not think of castles in Massachusetts, but North of Boston has four. Gothic windows, stained glass, gorgeous hard wood floors, beautiful settings and gardens grace these incredible architectural beauties.
Located in Marblehead is Herreshoff Castle, created by artist Waldo Ballard who added his creative touch and love of Norse history to its style. It was sold to L. Francis Herreshoff in 1945. When Herreshoff died in 1972, he left the castle to his longtime assistant. Upon her death in 1990, the castle was sold to its current owner Michael Rubino and his wife Chris. After purchasing the castle, the Rubinos started a large restoration which included putting running water in the kitchen and installing a refrigerator (apparently, Herreshoff would buy fresh food every day to curtail the lack of food-preserving appliances). The Rubinos converted the castle’s carriage house into a bed & breakfast and, today, still live in the main castle. http://www.herreshoffcastle.com/
Driving north along the coast is Hammond Castle, built by inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. He built his medieval-style castle between the years 1926 and 1929 to serve both as his home and as a backdrop for his collection of Roman, medieval, and Renaissance artifacts. The castle was constructed as a wedding present for his wife Irene Fenton Hammond to prove how much he cared for her. In addition, the building housed the Hammond Research Corporation, from which Dr. Hammond produced over 400 patents and the ideas for over 800 inventions. Second only to Thomas Alva Edison in number of patents, John Hammond was one of America’s premier inventors. His most important work was the development of remote control via radio waves, which earned him the title, “The Father of Remote Control.” Hammond offers self-guided tours and a number of educational programs and prearranged tour opportunities for school and tour groups.
In the northwest end of the region, you will find Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill, built in 1861 by Dr. James R. Nichols as a summer home for his family. Winnekenni Park sits atop a hill off of Kenoza Ave in Haverhill which looks over the scenic Kenoza Lake and Basin. The winding road leading to the park will bring you to a strange sight indeed – a medieval castle. In 1861, chemist, agriculturist, and future-castle enthusiast Dr. James Nichols purchased the Darling Farm (now known as Winnekenni Park). After an 1870s visit to England, Nichols (much like Waldo Ballard a few decades later) became enamored of the country’s large stone castles and was determined to build on of his own. He wanted to use the many boulders and rocks native to Haverhill and, in 1873, construction of his castle began. Upon completion in 1875, Nichols christened his summer home “Winnekenni Castle” (after the Algonquin word meaning “beautiful”). The castle was, and still is, beautiful and is complemented by its lush surroundings. Nichols lived in the castle for 10 years before selling the castle and its 27 acres of land to a cousin. Today, Winnekenni Castle is a popular destination for photographers and castle buffs. Throughout the year, many concerts, fairs, parties, fundraisers, and other such events are held at the castle. The castle is also available for private events such as meetings, family gatherings, and weddings. The trails throughout the property are fantastic for snowshoeing, hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing around Kenoza Lake.
The fourth castle is Edward Searles Castle found in Methuen. Edward Searles was employed by a design firm and was asked to go to California to do some work for Mrs. Mary Hopkins the widow of Mark Hopkins who was one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad. From that day on the two became friends and a number of years later in 1887 they became man and wife. They both decided to make Methuen their home. Mrs Searles died in 1891 and was buried in a beautiful mausoleum across from the estate. At this time Searles was the sole inheritor of the Hopkin’s railroad fortune which was valued at $30,000,000. Edward Searles built the Searles Castle in 1891 using his inheritance. Today the estate is the home of the Presentation of Mary Academy. There are many other estates and mansions in the region, that are majestic and stand like castles on the horizon. Visit our website for listings of historic homes and properties in the region.
As Former Speaker of the House of Representatives and Massachusetts native son and Tip O’Neil once said “All politics are local” and in the tourism world one might say that “all facets of tourism are local” as well. Newburyport is one of those friendly and comfy destinations north of Boston tucked along the shores of the beautiful and wandering Merrimack River that is indeed a locals and visitors paradise. Known as a very walkable and easy small City to navigate one does not have to be a local to get a sense of what it is like to visit or live here.
Inn St Christmas time
Located conveniently 2.5 miles off Route 95 in the North of Boston region, Newburyport is a visitor’s delight. Arrive in the downtown, park your car, get your walking shoes on and start with a visit at the Chamber of Commerce office right on the meandering boardwalk on the edge of the river. If you want to be a real local, grab a cup of coffee and your dog too and stroll along the boardwalk to the green, lush grass of Waterfront Park. Sit for a moment taking in the amazing, quintessential seaside views with sailboats, whale watch boats and kayaks in abundance. As you make your way to the downtown you will pass by the working and active fish pier nestled in the corner of the Custom House way to the water. Pass by or stop in to see the Custom House Maritime Museum to learn of Newburyport’s maritime history. Decide to go left or right as you get to Water Street and you will find amazing and historic architecture, fine dining, yummy ice cream or gelato and distinctive and one of a kind shopping hot spots for all. Walk a couple of streets over and feast your eyes upon some of the most unique federal homes and architecture all saved by urban renewal. Why not join us in Newburyport soon. I’ll meet you for a cup of coffee and we can walk. I don’t have a dog yet so please bring yours along! Welcome to Newburyport!
Sailboat by Donna O’Neil
Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce
Blog by Christina Pfeiffer from travel2next.com
Fried clams, shipbuilding history and arty seaside towns are some of the drawcards of Cape Ann.
Everyone knows Cape Cod is a playground for the rich and famous. The other cape in Massachusetts, a jut of land around 50km north of Boston, Cape Ann, may not be as glamorous but it’s certainly worth visiting.
Cape Ann is a New England seaside retreat. Think rugged cliffs and picturesque fishing villages. Rockport, Manchester, Essex and Gloucester are popular for their uncrowded beaches, art galleries, restaurants and antique shops.
Here are seven reasons why you should visit Cape Ann.
1: YOU’RE A FAN OF GEORGE CLOONEY
If you’re a Clooney fan you’ve probably seen The Perfect Storm, where George Clooney plays a sea captain caught in a huge storm. Gloucester is the setting for the movie and book.
Gloucestor is the USA’s oldest seaport. It has a working harbour with lobster boats, trawlers and tourism boats used for whale watching, deep sea fishing and sailing.
2: YOU LOVE HISTORY
Queen Anne of England was the inspiration for the naming of Cape Ann in 1623 when Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
These early settlers arrived at Cape Ann in search of better fishing areas. Gloucester Harbor became the fishing centre forNew England.
Besides marine activities, Gloucester is also home to one of America’s oldest continuously working art colonies. Rocky Neck Art Colony is where many local artists have studios and galleries. open to the public.
3: ROCKPORT IS OUT OF A MOVIE SET
The former fishing village of Rockport looks like a movie set, with colourful fishermen’s shacks house art studios, trinket shops and restaurants.
The fishing shack on Bradley Wharf, known as “Motif #1”, is one of the most painted buildings in the USA and a symbol on the Massachusetts U.S. postal stamp.
After wandering around Rockport’s Bearskin Neck (named by fishermen after a bear skin that was left out to dry on the rocks), you’ll wish you had more time to spend in the craft shops and galleries.
4: YOU LOVE EATING LOBSTER
Another reason I like Rockport is for the lobsters, which are supplied by local lobster catchers to the town’s restaurants. Lobster is served everywhere in a number of different ways: in salads, as lobster rolls, boiled and as lobster chowder.
New England is famous for lobster rolls, which is usually consumed in summer and after trying one, you could be hooked. The fresh cooked lobster meat is tossed with mayonnaise or butter and served on a grilled roll. It’s just too hard to resist.
5: YOU’VE HEARD ABOUT THE FRIED CLAMS AT CAPE ANN
Another New England culinary staple is the fried clam and Cape Ann is where this dish was invented.
Tuck into a creamy New England clam chowder while sitting in an old-fashioned booth in Woodman’s of Essex. Don’t forget the fried clams, onion rings and steamers, which are delicious when dipped in melted butter.
The legend of the fried clam involves Lawrence Henry Woodman, “Chubby”, and his wife, Bessie, who had a small roadside stand in Essex. They started out in 1916 selling fruit, home-made potato chips along with fresh clams from the Essex River.
Clam sales were down but the potato chip business was booming. A throw-away line by a local fisherman gave them the idea of deep frying their clams.
So, the enterprising couple came up with a method involving shucking the clams then dipping them in a milk and corn flour mixture. Woodman’s fried clams now set the standard upon which fried clams are judged and the original recipe is still used today.
6: YOU’RE FASCINATED WITH BOATS AND SHIPS
Besides fried clams, the Essex Shipbuilding Museum is another drawcard and one of the main attractions in the museum is an original ship, a schooner called Evelina M. Goulart, built in 1927.
In the 1800s, Essex shipbuilders were famous for their two-masted wooden schooners. More of these were built here than any other place in the world.
7: YOU’RE CAPTIVATED BY THE LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS
The next town along from Essex is Ipswich, where it’s worth stopping in at the Crane Estate (290 Argilla Road, Ipswich, tel: +978 356 4354) to soak up the atmosphere of the grand summer estate, which belonged to one of America’s wealthiest families.
In 1910, Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane, Jr. and his family lived a lavish lifestyle on the 850ha estate, which has a casino, wildlife refuge, gardens, manicured lawns and a private beach.
Follow a guide through The Great House and marvel at the 18th-century Georgian woodwork, Baroque carvings and Gothic vaulting.
Down at Crane Beach, gaze across the sand dunes towards the Atlantic and ponder how the ocean has moulded Massachusetts’ other cape into the lovely place it is today.
Christina Pfeiffer was a guest of The Langham, Boston, a historic hotel located in what was once the Federal Reserve Bank’s headquarters for New England.