Fun-Filled Stop for Your Day Trip New England

Day Trip New England: The Spirit of Massachusetts

óby Tricia Wellington for

When British soldiers trudged into Concord in their natty red uniforms to take in hand a few unruly colonists, they found spirited farmers who, having fashioned their proverbial plowshares into swords, stood ready to give them what for, and hopefully finish in time for supper.

This great State is made up of towns with some of the lowest crime rates in the nation. It was home to a girl named Mary and a certain famous lamb who had a habit of tagging along. Henry David Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne made their homes here, and nowhere else in the country can a tart, marginally-attractive fruit like the cranberry inspire such loyalty and local pride.

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First off, you don't have to be from another part of the country to appreciate the Day Trip New England. I'm a staunch New Englander, but like anyone overwhelmed with an abundance of options, I chose to leave the area when the school acceptance letters started arriving. Ironically enough, my new school was located right where Interstate 95 ended.

Every time I drove by the onramp, I mused that if I really didn't like my new city, I could simply follow I-95 north for 26 hours, and it would lead right back to the Massachusetts town from whence I came, where the clam chowder is chunky, the pasta al dente, the drivers are insured, and the zoning laws make sense. This little mental exercise helped me to endure aggressive lizards, petty vandalism, and the threat of hurricane-induced evacuation.

Massachusetts is the fifth-best state in the country to raise a family, has an impressive array of medical facilities, offers many programs to assist small businesses, and is home to the Brazelton Institute--named for pioneer and child development theorist T. Berry Brazelton. Read more about this Boston-based institute.

The uniqueness of this stateóits historical and cultural significance, and perhaps even its quirkiness, are things you donít really appreciate until you try living somewhere else. That, by the way, is best done with a return ticket in your pocket.

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