Beyond Boston: The Best of Massachusetts

By: Maxine Sheppard

August 12, 2010

Following on from her previous post on her Boston hometown, Melanie Nayer – writer and hotels correspondent for the Boston Globe – offers some insider information on the best places to stay outside of the city, deep in the gorgeous Massachusetts countryside…

“While tourists converge on Boston year-round to immerse themselves in U.S. history and taste-test their way through Boston’s best breweries, those in the know plan a day or two outside the city to take in some of Massachusetts’ beauty. Autumn is particularly delightful, when New England turns shades of reds, purples and golds that are not typically seen elsewhere in the States.

“If you don’t have a car, don’t worry; the Massachusetts public transportation system can get you to any of the places mentioned below. The subway goes as far as Concord and Lexington, and the commuter rail will take you further out of the city. For Lenox, North Adams and The Berkshires, you’ll find plenty of options on the bus network.”


Best for Spa Lovers, Canyon Ranch, Lenox

“Located only a stone’s throw from The Berkshires, Lenox is home to one of the country’s most revered spas, Canyon Ranch. Its award-winning cuisine, endless outdoor activities and devoted personal attention make the place a must-visit, and it proves that a spa isn’t necessarily just about pedicures and massages: the Canyon Ranch prides itself on helping each guest create an outline for living a healthier and more fulfilled life.”



Canyon Ranch in the Snow © Canyon Ranch

Canyon Ranch in the Snow © Canyon Ranch


Best for Family Fun: Cape Codder Resort, Hyannis

“White-shuttered homes, picket fences, sailboats and mossy docks make the Cape Cod coastland quintessentially New England. The Cape Codder Resort & Spa on Hyannis is a perennial favourite among family travellers. Complete with an indoor wave pool for the kids and a full-service spa for the adults, the hotel is also perfectly positioned in the heart of Hyannis.”


Best for Pure Romance: Menemsha Inn, Martha’s Vineyard

“Despite its celebrity appeal, Martha’s Vineyard is riddled with hidden escapes. Walk the salt marshes of Menemsha, hike some of the most breathtaking trails, enjoy a sunset picnic on the beach – the romantic options are endless. Menemsha Inn is a charming cottage compound on 14 acres of land, featuring exquisite views of the ocean. It’s one of the most secluded inns on the island, yet is only a short walk from some of the best restaurants around.”



Typically New England © Memenhsa Inn

Typically New England © Memenhsa Inn



Best for Hikers and the Great Outdoors: Colonial Inn & Suites, Concord

“It was in Concord that the first shots of the American Revolution were fired in April 1775; many years later it became home to some of the nation’s most influential writers including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Colonial Inn overlooks Monument Square and is within walking distance of some of Massachusetts’ best outdoor trails and parks. The best part? The inn is located only 20 miles outside of Boston and accessible via public transport.”



Best for Foodies: The White Elephant, Nantucket

“Selected as the best resort in Massachusetts in both 2010 and 2011, The White Elephant is a local landmark and the hotel’s Brant Point Grill is considered to be the premier steakhouse and seafood restaurant on the island. Bite into a 2lb lobster, feast on crab legs or cut into a thin steak all while enjoying the views of Nantucket Harbor at night.”



Brant Point Grill © White Elephant Nantucket

Brant Point Grill © White Elephant Nantucket



Best for History Buffs: Hawthorne Hotel, Salem

“If you’ve never heard of the Salem Witch Trials or read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables or The Scarlet Letter, brush up on your flight over. Salem, Massachusetts, is one of the most historic suburbs in the state and the town comes alive in the autumn. Named after one of America’s great writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Hawthorne Hotel is said to be haunted with the ghosts of Salem’s past.”



Best for Stylish Luxury: Porches Inn, North Adams

“It’s a bit of a drive to get to North Adams but once you do, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. Located in the heart of North Adams is Porches, a contemporary hotel inspired by the MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art). The hotel’s interiors capitalise on the building’s history as a 19th-century mill, while throwing in modern touches and bold colours. Leisure travellers will also enjoy the block of art galleries, Victorian row houses and artists’ lofts that decorate North Adams.”



Deluxe Room © Porches

Deluxe Room © Porches



Best for Amazing Value: Good Harbor Beach Inn, Gloucester

“Good Harbor Beach is a favourite summertime hotspot for beach-lovers but in the autumn, the old fishing town of Gloucester turns into a hideaway for those seeking a seaside escape from the city. The Good Harbor Beach Inn, open from April until October, is one of the best value hotels outside of Boston, thanks to low rates and amazing views.”



Best for Total Escapism: Blantyre, The Berkshires

“When one needs total isolation, one heads to Blantyre – the sprawling estate in the Berkshires that offers the perfect combination of solitude, escapism and pampering. Music and fresh flowers set the tone in the light-filled rooms of the main house, while each of the four private cottages stands decorated with its own individual montage. You can hike, kayak, canoe, read, swim, spa or sleep at the Blantyre – no one cares, as long as you relax.”



The beautiful swimming pool at Blantyre © Blantyre

The beautiful swimming pool at Blantyre © Blantyre



Best for Autumnal Views and Scenery: Bass Rocks Ocean Inn, Rockport

“Rockport is located only 35 minutes north of Boston and features some of the best autumn views and scenery in Massachusetts. The Bass Rocks Ocean Inn, located on the rocky coastline of Cape Ann, offers 51 bedrooms all with views of the ocean, the beaches and the lighthouses. You’ll witness the changing colours of the season from your room, and if you’re up early enough then you might see lobster boats pulling into the bay.”


For great deals on direct daily flights from London Heathrow to Boston, visit Virgin Atlantic.


Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.

Categories: Our Places