From its quaint white church steeples overlooking the town green, to the acclaimed beaches of Cape Cod, sun-dappled hiking and skiing trails, renowned academic institutions, noted museums and world-class Logan Airport, Massachusetts has something to offer everyone as part of its great New England way of life. The Commonwealth is home to more than 6.7 million people, and as the cradle of liberty, its rich heritage has been celebrated and preserved while welcoming the advances of innovation and technology.
MA Towns & Culture
MA Travel & Highlights
Building for the Future
Massachusetts is made up of 351 cities and towns, offering residents the opportunity to find just the right place to call home. Every town has a unique personality and prides itself on its character. Bustling main streets serve as smalltown economic engines while wooded lanes and wildlife lend their appeal to those seeking more bucolic surroundings. If an urban setting is more desirable, the multitude of chic neighborhoods near great shopping, restaurants and convenient transportation will not disappoint. The changing seasons of New England serve as a stunning backdrop throughout the year.
Massachusetts also offers an enormous array of cultural activities. Boston and the Greater Boston Region are home to dozens of museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts which houses one of the most extensive collections in the world, the noted Museum of Science, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art, as well as the Boston Children’s Museum, and Boston Tea Party Museum, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Each of these institutions is part of the fabric of the community and what makes the area special. Exhibits showcase some of the most famous art ever created and provide a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.
Museums throughout the region also highlight some of the treasured history of towns and cities, including the American Textile Museum in Lowell. The de Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem both offer outstanding experiences for visitors.
Information on more than 40 Boston area museums is available at: http://www.museumsofboston.org/index.php
Theater & Music
The cultural scene is not limited to the arts in the least. The Boston Pops, The Boston Symphony Orchestra and The Boston Philharmonic are some of the finest musical organizations on the East Coast. The annual Fourth of July Extravaganza along the Charles River is a treasured tradition featuring The Boston Pops, patriotic sing-a-longs and the not-to-be missed Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” that is a highlight each year, before hundreds of fireworks light up the sky in celebration of our nation’s birthday. Tanglewood, in Lenox, Mass., a short drive to the western part of the state, also provides top-notch musical entertainment, and is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The internationally acclaimed Boston Ballet, under the direction of Mikko Nissinen, calls the Boston Opera House home for its performance season from October through May. While its programming varies each year, “The Nutcracker” is an annual tradition that continually delights audiences of all ages and is a highlight of the holiday season.
The nightlife scene in Boston also offers an abundance of social opportunities, including a night out at the theatre, jazz clubs, concert venues including TD Garden which continually draws big name stars, and an array of restaurants from casual to high-end fine dining. More information is available at https://www.bostonusa.com
Outside the City
To the west of Boston, the city of Worcester offers a plethora of cultural options. Music and theater flourish at Mechanics Hall and the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts. Museums including the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester Historical Museum and Higgins Armory Museum regularly scheduled special exhibitions and present a variety of fun and educational programs for all ages. Edgy galleries including ARTSWorcester and Worcester Windows feature work by both new and established artists.
To the north of Boston, Ipswich is home to artists, writers, performers and musicians, in a picturesque community that is renowned for its natural and cultural heritage. A year-round destination, Ipswich offers an array of antiques, specialty shops, and restaurants, all within the scenic atmosphere of historic homes and old mill buildings nestled along the Ipswich River.
Also to the north is Gloucester’s Rocky Neck Art Colony featuring three dozen artists who welcome visitors to their galleries. Chatting with them about their work and inspiration is as much a part of the experience as strolling in and out of each studio and shopping for everything from affordable gifts to singular works to adorn a home or workspace. While their work may be divergent, these artists share a passion for place and a desire to make their creations accessible to a larger audience.
For those looking to move to Massachusetts, the housing market continues to thrive with a robust amount of homes on the market. The housing stock in Boston and surrounding communities has much to offer buyers and renters who have their choice of single family homes, condominiums, or apartments. Whether you’re looking for that white picket fence and room to grow a garden, or prefer something maintenance-free, you’re bound to find your dream home in a community you love.
Four towns in Massachusetts recently scored in the Top 40 of “Best Small Cities in America,” according to WalletHub, a financial data firm, that compared 1,200 cities in its study. Milton topped the local list, coming in 8th overall with Melrose ranked at 26th. Wellesley, Northampton and Lexington rounded out the top 40, ranking at 33rd, 35th, and 37th, respectively. All cities and towns included in the study were rated based on 30 factors including affordability, economic health, education and health, quality of life and safety.
Buying a Home
As of September of 2016, year-to-date single-family home sales were up 12.7 over the same time last year, according to The Warren Group, a leading New England financial and real estate data firm, and September was the fifth straight month with at least 5,000 homes sold. The median sale price of a single-family home in September reached $340,000, a 3 percent increase from $330,000 last year. For condominiums the September median sale price reached $335,000, an 11.7 percent increase from $300,000 in the same month last year. Year-to-date, condo prices are up 3.9 percent with a median sale price of $330,000 compared with $317,750 in the same time period last year, according to the Warren Group.
Education for Children
One of the most appealing factors about Massachusetts for parents is the accessibility to high-quality education for their children. From daycare through high school, there are an abundance of quality institutions - both public and private - that give students the strong foundation they need to succeed. Massachusetts schools provide a rigorous educational agenda and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) provides high-standard benchmarks to measure student’s learning at multiple levels. Most schools offer competitive athletic programs, allowing students to shine on the field as well as in the classroom. Many also provide students pathways to incorporate music and theatre programs into their learning as well as activities such as robotics, engineering, math, and foreign language clubs to help develop them into well-rounded individuals. Many of high schools consistently receive high ratings for their performance (learn more at http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/massachusetts) and are led by accomplished, high-caliber professionals. More information is also available at http://www.doe.mass.edu/
Boston is home to some of the top universities and colleges in the world, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Boston University, Boston College, the renowned Berklee College of Music, and celebrated New England Conservatory. These prized academic institutions are at the pinnacle of secondary education, providing exceptional experiences for their students. Many of our nation’s civic and business leaders, Nobel Prize laureates, and scientific researchers are counted among the graduates of these leading universities. The University of Massachusetts higher education system also offers highly-respected and competitive programs at campuses throughout the state, providing access to education for students from all walks of life. Massachusetts also boasts a large number of Liberal Arts colleges and community colleges.
Massachusetts offers some of the finest vacation destinations whether you live here or are just visiting. Each region of the state has a unique flavor. As the heart of New England, Massachusetts is superbly situated for ease of travel to the region’s beaches on the north and south shores as well as Cape Cod, and it offers fast access to premier skiing at numerous slopes in western and central Mass., and the pristine trails of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. New York City is only three-and-a-half hours away on the highspeed Acela Express train from downtown Boston, and throughout the Greater Boston Region, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail makes traveling from the suburbs to downtown an easy journey. Just north of the city, Boston Logan International Airport offers travelers access to more than 40 airlines and direct flights to numerous destinations including London, Hong Kong, Dubai, and the Bahamas.
With its iconic lighthouses dotting the spectacular seashore, and proximity to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket islands, Cape Cod may feel a world away but is only a short drive from Boston. The Cape is a beach-goer’s paradise, offering nearly 560 miles of beaches, including the stunning 40-mile stretch of the Cape Cod National Seashore. The inviting waves are a first-rate destination for swimmers, surfers and sailors alike. Cycling enthusiasts can enjoy numerous biking trails and it is also a natural draw for fishermen. The Cape boasts hundreds of welcoming hotels and inns as well as innumerable restaurants that serve the day’s fresh catch and a variety of fare to please all palates.
Cape Cod is also home to numerous art galleries, shopping venues and charming town centers for tourists and residents, and offers many family attractions. The seaside resort village of Hyannis is home to the famed summer home of the Kennedy estate and nearby John F. Kennedy Memorial and Museum. On the tip of the Cape is Provincetown, the first landing spot of the Pilgrims in 1620, which today is a thriving artists’ colony. In many towns, the Cape Cod Baseball League offers spirited fun for the whole family, giving spectators a chance to see some of the game’s rising stars before they hit the big leagues. At the tip of the elbow of the Cape, the waters off Chatham also provide one of the newest annual attractions: great white sharks. The annual sightings have become one of the hottest tourist draws over the last few years, providing a sensational sense of adventure to a storied summertime vacation destination.
On the third Monday of April each year, Boston celebrates one of its most cherished holidays: Patriots Day, which commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord and the surging independence of our nation in 1775. The holiday, a favorite of many, also features the annual running of the Boston Marathon.
The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest continual marathon and its 26.2 miles course is considered among the finest across the globe. Wending its way through eight cities and towns before the finish line in Copley Square, the race features an array of world-class elite runners and the everyman, making it one of the most inspirational and challenging races. Throughout the course nearly a half-million spectators line the route to cheer on the runners. Famous milestones along the way include Wellesley College and Heartbreak Hill.
The Marathon is organized by the Boston Athletic Association and each year draws tens of thousands of participants. The 121st running of the Boston Marathon is scheduled for April 17, 2017. See more information at: www.baa.org
WalletHub, a personal finance website, recently ranked Boston as the Number One sports city in America. With championships in professional hockey, baseball, basketball and football, who are we to argue? From the indelible names of Babe Ruth to Bill Russell, Bobby Orr, and Tom Brady, the Boston sports scene is as thrilling today as it was in 1903 when the Boston Red Sox won their first World Series.
The Boston area sports scene also includes numerous other teams, including professional lacrosse and soccer. Steward Health Care, of which Steward Medical Group is a part of, is proud to be the medical provider of the Boston Cannons men’s professional lacrosse team, the Boston Storm women’s professional lacrosse team, and the Boston Breakers women’s professional soccer team. A number of Steward Medical Group physicians serve with distinction as these teams’ medical directors and team providers.
Fenway & The Boston Red Sox
Built in 1912, Fenway Park is the nation’s oldest ballpark and steeped in the lore of America’s Pastime. With its signature Citgo overlooking the park and manual leftfield scoreboard on the Green Monster, Fenway exudes a unique charm that is as captivating as the games played. Park tours are available throughout the year and include a chance to sit in the dugout and walk the perimeter of the field. Home to baseball greats including Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk and the recently retired David “Big Papi” Ortiz, Fenway Park is one of the gems of Boston. The Red Sox have won eight World Series titles, with the latest victories coming in 2013, 2007, and 2004, giving the Fenway Faithful plenty to cheer about in recent years.
Recent renovations to Fenway Park have added more seats and more amenities for fans to enjoy, including expanded food courts, right field roof seating. In the past several years, Fenway has become a concert destination, including shows by Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Jason Aldean, and the Zac Brown Band. It also hosted the National Hockey League’s Winter Classic in 2014. See more at http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/ballpark/index.jsp
The Boston Bruins hockey team plays its season at TD Garden where fans are welcomed to the games by a statue of the “Flying Bobby Orr” as they make their way into the stadium. With a thrilling seven-game victory for the Stanley Cup title in 2011, the Bruins were the toast of the town. The win was their sixth Stanley Cup, adding to titles from 1929, 1939, 1941, 1970 and 1971. Today’s stars, including Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron, are consistently a big draw for fans, following in the footsteps of the likes of Ray Bourque, Johnny Bucyk, and Cam Neely. Action-packed excitement on the ice is always a crowd-pleaser in the quest for the next Stanley Cup. More information is at: https://www.nhl.com/bruins
TD Garden also has two floors dedicated to the history of sports in Boston. The interesting and unique collection includes sports moments of famous players in action as well as exhibits of sports gear and memorabilia, and, for the die-hard fan, the original Bruin, a stuffed cub that used to grace the office of former owner Charles Adams. As good luck, it is said that players used to rub its head on their way in before signing their contract, according to the museum site. Learn more at http://www.sportsmuseum.org/
With 17 title banners flying above the parquet floor at TD Garden, the Boston Celtics have the most championship wins among the professional Boston sports teams. The Celtics were founded in the 1940s and a decade later, a dynasty was born during the heyday of players including Bill Russell and Bob Cousy. From 1957 to 1969, the Celtics were the reigning National Basketball Association champions, winning 11 titles. The team’s dominance resurged in the 1970s during the Larry Bird era and grew in the 1980’s with “The Big Three” of Bird, Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale. During this era the Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers rivalry grew to a feverish new level, presenting fans with some of the most memorable matchups in the history of the game. A new trio of greats: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, restored the glory, propelling the Celtics to their 17th title in 2008. Today, stars like Isiah Thomas and Al Horford are leading the charge of a new era. Visit www.bostonceltics.com for more information.
New England Patriots
About 20 miles south of Boston, in Foxboro, MA, is Gillette Stadium, home of the four-time Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. Since 2002, the Patriots have dominated the National Football League, winning Super Bowls in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2015. With Coach Bill Belichick at the helm and quarterback Tom Brady on the field, Patriots tickets are a prized possession. Tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman are part of a powerful offense and favorite targets of Brady that have connected time and again for thrilling touchdowns.
Fans’ experiences at the games do not disappoint. Opened in 2002, Gillette Stadium also offers numerous amenities on its vast campus, including Patriot Place which boasts 19 restaurants- including CBS Scene, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, and Davio’s; shops and a hotel, making it one of the premier destinations south of Boston. The stadium also includes The Hall, a 30,000-square-foot museum and exhibition space dedicated to the history of the Patriots. Here fans can rub elbows with great moments of the game through high-tech interactive displays, try on replica uniforms and pose for pictures with the team’s four Vince Lombardi trophies and Super Bowl rings. More information at http://www.gillettestadium.com/sports
New England Revolution
Gillette Stadium is also the home of the New England Revolution professional soccer team, host of area high school and college games, as well as the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association lacrosse league. The stadium also has an annual line-up of concerts and is a sought-after designation for corporate conferences and meetings.
Whether you’re looking to play a short nine holes or spend the day playing a full round of 18, Massachusetts has more than 400 picturesque public and private golf courses to enjoy. The Bay State is the home of the nation’s oldest links course as well as America’s oldest country club. With a rich history here, golf is estimated to be a $2.8 billion industry in Massachusetts and includes several Top 100 courses to challenge golfers of all handicaps.
According to Golf Digest, the top course in Massachusetts for 2015-2016 is The Country Club in Brookline, which has been designated as a “100 Greatest Golf Course.” The club was the site of the thrilling 1999 Ryder Cup that featured the phenomenal American comeback for the victory under captain Ben Crenshaw. The U.S. Open will play at The Country Club in 2022, bringing the national golf stage to the local neighborhood just outside of Boston. Next year, The Salem Country Club in Peabody, north of Boston, is set to host the U.S. Senior Open in June.
About 20 miles south of Boston, a Labor Day weekend tradition will continue next year at the TPC Boston in Norton. Formerly known as the Deutsche Bank Championship, the tournament has been renamed the Dell Technologies Championship under new corporate title sponsor EMC Corporation, which is now part of Dell. For the past 14 years, the Deutsche Bank Championship has been played at the TPC as the second leg of the four-legged FedEx Cup playoffs. The TPC course was designed by Arnold Palmer and Gil Hanse and past winners include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy. The event annually draws thousands of fans to the fairways for its traditional Labor Day finish.
Less than 10 miles south of Boston is Granite Links, one of the Commonwealth’s newer courses that has quickly gained a prestigious reputation as a Top 100 Course and player favorite. The course, located in Quincy, is situated 300 feet above sea level and offers stunning views of the Boston skyline, nearby Harbor Islands and the wooded Blue Hills Reservation. Further south is The Pinehills Golf Club which features a course designed by Rees Jones and Jack Nicklaus.
Wherever you decide to hit the links the golf courses across the state offer distinctive layouts and various amenities to add to your enjoyment of the game. For a Golf Digest ranking of the best courses in Massachusetts for 2015-2016, see: http://www.golfdigest.com/story/massachusetts-best-in-state-rankings
Other information is also available at:
For the past two years one of the most dominant features in the Boston skyline has been the presence of construction cranes. This recent era of development in and around the city is widespread and far-reaching, representing a multi-billion dollar infusion into the development of trendy hotels and condominiums, restaurants and attractions. There are more than 40 new hotels projects underway or being planned, nearly two dozen new restaurants, and improvements to Logan International Airport, and proposed expansions along the waterfront, making the area an exciting draw for residents and tourists.
A $90-million project is also in the works to transform the area near the Seaport Transportation Center, including a 1,500-space garage with Zipcar and Hubway stations, shutting parking and visitor information. Massport will also dredge Boston Harbor to accommodate larger cargo ships traveling to East Coast ports, following the ongoing expansion of the Panama Canal. Massport is also seeking to expand the popular Boston cruise season into a year-round operation.