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Day trip from Boston

My boyfriend and I have lived in Cambridge for a little over a year, and are looking for recommendations about good day trips to take from the Boston area. Anywhere with good food/drinks! Have heard good things about Portsmouth, Nashoba Valley Winery... have been to Portland a good number of times. Any hidden gems that we should be aware of? We'd really like to get to know the surrounding area better.

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  1. you might try some history by day-tripping to Concord, Ma. Bondir now has an outpost there, 80 thoreau is a nice little gem, lots of museums, kayak, canoe rentals on the concord river, bike the trail that the minutemen used from Lexington to Concord....

    3 Replies
    1. re: momoftwo

      I never knew that the minutemen used bikes!

      1. re: Blumie

        Yes-- and the redcoats only had unicycles. Advantage, colonials.

    2. Perhaps it's further than you want to go, but I love lunch at Simon Pearce, in Quechee, Vermont; and love, love, love dinner and Heady Topper beer (which is amazing and only available in Northern Vermont) at the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier, Vermont.

      1. Providence has some great restaurants (although I haven't been lately) and if you go on a summer Saturday evening you could also take in Waterfire. It's pretty impressive and makes for a pleasant summer night out.

        1. The Cape Ann area is super fun for a day trip. Another is Newport. It's crazy with traffic these days so the fall might be more pleasant. Everything stays open. There are good restaurants in both places.

          Mystic is about an hour and a half away, but it is a family favorite. We love the Seaport (and the Charles W. Morgan is heading to Boston shortly on its first voyage in decades) but the Aquarium is nice, too. There are some terrific places to eat, including Mystic Pizza, which is fun. Lots of good clam shacks in that area, too.

          1. the south coast is great for a summer day trip, Mattapoisett, fairhaven, new Bedford, fall river, tons of great restaurants and ocean views/beaches

            2 Replies
            1. re: Karl

              Westport River Vineyards (great sparkling wine) and Buzzards Bay Brewing are down this way too. It's a great day trip

              1. re: Karl

                Turk's in Mattapoisett. Simple clam shack stuff, very good. Stick with the shack side, skip the sushi side, imo.

              2. I'd head up to Ipswich and hit crane's beach, Russell orchards and clam box/woodmans

                1. Brattleboro, VT is a nice day trip using Rt 2 West (just over 2 hours each way):

                  -the Co-op there downtwon sells virtually every small, local VT cheese and stores /packages them properly
                  -the Farmer's Market on Saturday am is great and delicious for lunch
                  -there is great coffee at Mocha Joes, and
                  -dinner is unique, delicious and friendly at Three Stones (Mayan - outdoor patio - you NEED a reservation in advance - the dark chocolate chili pepper dessert is spectacular - and I don't typically even like chocolate) .

                  There is also some terrific, not too rigorous hiking available in the area.

                  1. We usually head north across the border. Ports mouth is a great place to wander around and shop and eat ( happy hour! ). And then meander back along the coast. We also had west to Amherst for hiking and a stop at a the farmstand ( forgot its name). Might not be the best time of the year, but we like to drive to the Cape for bike riding and the beach. Meander up to Ptown for an early dinner and then drove home.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: viperlush

                      I agree with Viperlush; Portsmouth would be my first trip. I'd suggest York county, ME, too, but at this time of the year Route 1 is a mob scene, and you'd want to stay over for a night or two...more of a weekend thing (adding the Berkshires to that...though Amherst area is a fine day trip)

                      1. re: pinehurst

                        Thirded on Portsmouth as a first choice - there's a ton to do, the food is great, and (a key differentiator vs. many of the other suggestions - I'm looking at you, Newport) the traffic is never that bad, even in the middle of summer.

                        I also second the Crane's Beach / Russell Orchards suggestion, but I'd wait for early fall on that one, and bring plenty of bug spray.

                        1. re: cjd260

                          I love Crane Beach in the late fall, winter, and early spring.We've had some great long walks there on Christmas and Easter, even. If you join the Trustees of the Reservations, you get a break on parking...or at least you used to.

                          1. re: Madrid

                            We are members, and yes you still get a break on parking. Also gives you access to a couple of farm share opportunities that are worth it on their own.

                    2. Just a note: you'll find lots of suggestions on this board for Cape Ann, Marblehead, Rockport, Gloucester, etc., but for outside Greater Boston (Berkshires, etc.) as well as Providence, the Cape, Newport, etc., the Southern New England board is the place. And the Northern New England board for Portland, Portsmouth,etc.

                      There are so many great day trips and some of them will be much easier in the fall.

                      1. Also, Salem is a good day trip (PEM and other things) and you can find good eating recs on this board for Salem. There is a seasonal ferry from the Aquarium that is lots of fun (kind of expensive) but so much better than driving!

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Madrid

                          Did that yesterday..real nice day. Very enjoyable lunch at Scratch Kitchen..posted on Salem lunch thread.

                          1. re: Madrid

                            I'll second this with the two caveats: that you head over to Marblehead for at least an hour or two; and that you not expect world class dining!

                            I live in Marblehead, but I am a major fan of Salem too. The PEM is amazing. As is a stroll down Chestnut street. And Derby Street. This is a great time to go, before all the Halloween insanity (which I hate!) starts.

                            Marblehead is just awesome on nice summer days. It's never been a "tourist destination". But the historic district boasts hundreds of homes from the 1600's that are meticulously renovated and maintained and lived in. Marblehead does have a world class harbor, and it is spectacular. And there are several decent restaurants overlooking it that serve mostly stuff like chowder and lobster rolls and fried seafood very decently. Salem Harbor is very nice - and half of it is Marblehead; but Marblehead Harbor is spectacular. Both are more walk around than drive around. And don't be surprised if you find yourself checking out the local real estate listings at the end of the day. In both towns there are a surprising number of descendants from the 1600's in all walks of life. And people like me who had "day dripper" parents!

                            1. re: nrthshr

                              If they take the ferry from Boston, how to get to Marblehead from Salelm? Is there a water taxi?

                              1. re: Madrid

                                I don't think so.

                                But it's a quick cab ride, and Marblehead is on the MBTA bus line that feeds into the blue line. Ask to be dropped off at Memorial Park. (Across from Starbucks) then start meandering toward the harbor.

                          2. Also, every Thursday, the Boston Globe has "a Tank away" feature and sometimes the Globe magazine has day trip articles. Both features include eating possibilities.

                            1. FYI - for all who have suggested Crane Beach: the greenheads are in season and they are in profusion this year. The season lasts 3 or 4 weeks.

                              1. are you looking for an "in city" experience or hiking/nature? I love Providence and it isn't too crazy in the summer which makes it a great time to go. As noted Off the beaten path is New Bedford for a trip to the areas' whaling past. As noted by Purple Bot, the food is outstanding in Providence and in New Bedford you can still find some great Portuguese restaurants. If you are thinking hiking/woods, etc. try Sturbridge area, with a stop at BT's Smokehouse for the best local barbecue around here. And Concord area for walks, the historic town, maybe lunch at Asia Gourmet.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: teezeetoo

                                  I was going to suggest a trip to BTs as well. Before hand stop in at Rapscallion brew pub for a growler to bring with you. Leave your phones in the car and share a table with a stranger. We meet the best people there!

                                2. For a honky tonk day head to Nantasket beach in Hull. Bring a cooler and on your way stop in at the Bloomy Rind in Hingham or the Hingham farmers market for picnic supplies. Stay in Hull for drinks at the Red Parrot and then dinner at Dalat. Or head back to Hingham and enjoy dinner on the patio at Cafe Tosca.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: foodieX2

                                    Foodler2...please tell me more about the Bloomy Rind. I've never heard of it and Thought I was familiar with most places in that area. Thanks.

                                    1. re: catsmeow

                                      Hi Cats-

                                      It's right on Main St next to Maggies Dog house and has been there a few years now. They started as a speciality cheese/charcuterie shop but quickly expanded into sandwiches, soups and other prepared foods. It's not cheap and the service tends to be slow but its very good. I work in Hingham and often stop in for picnic supplies before the beach or when heading to watch the sunset at Worlds End.

                                      Heres an article from the Globe:

                                      And here is their rather pathetic website.

                                    2. re: foodieX2

                                      Llemahieu- Another south shore option that I forget to mention was Worlds End and Weir River Farm in Hingham. Both free if you are a member of Trustees of the Reservation.

                                      Worlds End has both beaches and gorgeous walking trails. Amazing sunrises, sunsets and views all the way to Boston.

                                      Weir River Farm is great for walking and connects to other great hiking spots.http://www.thetrustees.org/places-to-...

                                      The Fruit Center is another good place for picnic options. Huge salad bar, lots of prepared foods at the deli and great baked goods.

                                    3. Newport, RI. There are a number of places downtown with waterfront dining and a very lively vibe. Beaches in the area, walk ordrive Ocean Drive for views. And, of course the mansions.

                                      1. Many people might not think of Worcester as a prime day-trip destination from Boston, but it can be an interesting place to explore for a bit. Check out Union Station (great old restored train depot that served as the backdrop for several scenes in "American Hustle"), visit the Worcester Art Museum (also featured briefly in the movie), and then have lunch or dinner at Armsby Abbey.

                                        I'd say Armsby Abbey alone is worth the trip. Wonderful food and an incredibly diverse beer list. http://armsbyabbey.com/info