Group tours in the North of Boston region can encounter seafaring tradition; literature, art and culture; historic landmarks; cruises; and lots of fresh and tasty seafood. “Group travel is returning and the North of Boston region is ready to safely welcome you to its 34 towns and cities,” said Julie Cook, public relations consultant for the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Whether you are seeking arts, culture, history, nature, fun activities, shopping or dining, there are great options for every group — all within an easy ride from Boston. With 5,000 guest rooms and a variety of lodging, we can help groups find the perfect place to stay.”
Museums to murals
Salem’s Peabody Essex Museumis the oldest continuously operating museum in the U.S., with treasures from around the world and innovative exhibitions. Other fascinating museums include: the Museum of Printing, Lynn Museum, the Cape Ann Museum, Maritime Gloucester, the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Custom House Maritime Museum, the Museum of Old Newbury and the Amesbury Carriage Museum. If you’d prefer your art al fresco, take a ride using the Mural Map Guide, which lists public art, including Lynn’s Beyond Walls and Salem’s Punto Urban Art Museum.
Seas the day
With 200 miles of coastline, the North of Boston region is never far from the water. Book a river or harbor cruise (Mahi Cruises, Essex River Cruises & Charters), raise the sails on a schooner (Schooner Adventure, Schooner Ardelle, Schooner Fame, Schooner Thomas E. Lannon), or venture farther out for a memorable whale watch (Cape Ann Whale Watch, 7 Seas Whale Watch). Plan a special dinner on the sea on Beauport Cruiselines or just watch sailboats glide by in Marblehead, Beverly and Manchester by the Sea.
History comes to life
Step back in time to glimpse the nation’s past. Hop on the Salem Trolley, then learn about the Witch Trials of 1692 at Salem Witch Museum and Witch Dungeon Museum. The House of the Seven Gables, made famous by author Nathaniel Hawthorne, offers gardens, history and unique programs. Tour historic homes and farms at Historic New England and wander the grounds of a grand 1928 estate at Castle Hill or an inventor’s castle at Hammond Castle.
Byways, beaches, trails and lighthouses
The 64-mile Essex Heritage Scenic Byway winds through 14 coastal communities, offering views, period architecture and recreational opportunities. Birding enthusiasts flock to Plum Island to see migrating species at the Parker River Wildlife Refuge. Biking and hiking trails crisscross the region, including new extensions by Coastal Trails Coalition connecting Amesbury, Newbury, Newburyport and Salisbury. Relax on beaches that feature tide pools, rocky coasts, surfable waves and even sand that “sings.” Spot lighthouses in Beverly, Gloucester, Marblehead, Newburyport, Rockport and Salem.
Eat, drink and be merry
The North of Boston region holds food and drink options to satisfy every group.
“We have traditional summer favorites like lobster rolls to upscale dining featuring farm-to-table cuisine,” Cook said. “Dig into fried clams where they were invented, at Woodman’s of Essex.” Enjoy the freshest seafood at Mile Marker One, Finz in Salem, Sea Level Newburyport, The Landing Restaurant, Legal Sea Foods and Seaglass Restaurant. MarketStreet Lynnfield welcomes groups at Davio’s Lynnfield and King’s Dining & Entertainment. American BBQ can supply flavorful meats and comfort food for any event. Sample delicious locally crafted spirits at Ryan & Wood Distilleries, and award-winning beer at Gentile Brewing in Beverly, Ipswich Ale Brewery and The Tap in Haverhill.
Main image: Marblehead Harbor Credit: North of Boston/Holly Perry