The government shutdown has forced some attractions run by the National Park Service to shut down until the government has returned to work. Here, thanks to the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, is a list of what you can expect to be closed – and open – in the Bay State.
Adams National Historic Park
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor
Boston National Historic Park
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
Cape Cod National Seashore
Essex National Heritage Area
Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
Longfellow House Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site
Lowell National Historic Park
Minute Man National Historic Park
New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park
Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
Springfield Armory National Historic Site
Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail
Boston African American National Historic Site
Benjamin Franklin statue/site of the First Public School
Boston Harbor Islands- Spectacle and Georges
Boston Massacre site
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
Freedom Trail- guided tours by The Freedom Trail Foundation
Granary Burying Ground
King’s Chapel and King’s Chapel Burying Ground
MA State House
Old Corner Bookstore
Old North Church
Old South Meeting House
Old State House
Park Street Church
Paul Revere House
A local favorite is tops among 500 roller coasters nationwide, according to a new rating system devised by Time Magazine and FindTheBest.
Six Flags New England’s Bizarro came out as the No. 2 coaster in the country, just a sliver behind No. 1 Millenium Force at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, with an overall “smart rating” of 99. (Millenium Force received a 100). The ratings were based on “fan votes, awards, and technical specifications like max height, max speed, track length, G-forces, vertical angles, and inversions.”
Bizzaro was the only New England roller coaster to make the top 10, though other coasters at the Agawam amusement park received ratings, including Goliath (88), Mind Eraser (85), Cyclone (71), and Pandemonium (52).
Other local coasters rated included Canobie Lake Park’s Canobie Corkscrew (66), the Zoomerang (79) at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Conn., and Funtown Splashdown USA’s Excalibur (67) at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
Check out the top 10 below, then take a point-of-view ride of some of New England’s best roller coasters.
Need help navigating the ample arts scene on Cape Cod? The Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard chambers of commerce have launched a new “Arts App” to bring the Cape and the island’s galleries, museums, studios, performing arts and art-related events to your fingertips.There are three separate ones: ArtsApp Cape Cod, ArtsApp Nantucket and ArtsApp Martha’s Vineyard. The free apps are downloadable from all mobile devices and accessible from any PC. Each includes a map, directory of artists and attractions, event calendar and current news. You can search for things like local painters or potters, concerts or lectures, and the apps also feature geo-locational awareness, detecting your location and giving events and venues within your vicinity. New entries are constantly being added. The Apps were developed by TapWalk, a Boston-based high tech company, with funding from a Mass Cultural Council grant. The project is a joint collaboration between the chambers, Coastal Community Capital, Inc., and The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. You can find the apps in the iTunes app store by searching ArtsApp Cape Cod, ArtsApp Nantucket or ArtsApp Martha’s Vineyard.
Honoring the 50th anniversary assassination of President John F. Kennedy this November, the JFK Museum Foundation in Hyannis has opened a special exhibit, "Cape Cod: The Summer of 1963 to Nov. 22, 1963," which looks back on the president’s final months on the Cape.
"From the joyful 1963 summer memories of the President and his family, to the palpable fog of grief that settled over Cape Cod after his death, this exhibit will remind us how truly special those Camelot days were," said Rebecca Pierce-Merrick, museum curator, "and how one day in history changed it forever." The exhibit uses photos, videos, wall displays and news clips to tell the story of JFK’s last months on the Cape, where the Kennedy family spent much of that summer, including time spent mourning the death of their third child, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who died when he was two days old. Special new videos produced by documentary film producer and Kennedy family videographer Andrew Fone are part of the exhibit.For more information, visit www.jfkhyannismuseum.org
MBTA service from Boston to Cape Cod begins Friday when the new CapeFlyer will depart South Station, with stops in Braintree, Middleborough, and Buzzard’s Bay, before arriving in Hyannis. The specially-outfitted coach will run weekends this summer through Labor Day.
“Working closely with our partners in the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, we are thrilled to bring rail service back to Cape Cod to help more people experience the beauty and fun of the Cape while getting there quicker and in a more enjoyable way,” MBTA general manager Dr. Beverly Scott said.
The train service is a welcome option to avoiding notable summertime Cape Cod traffic. According to the MBTA, weekend inbound traffic over the Sagamore and Bourne bridges during July and August averaged nearly a quarter-million vehicles during a typical summer weekend in 2012. Friday’s 5:12 p.m. departure from Boston is scheduled to arrive in Hyannis at 7:50 p.m. Saturday and Sunday service will depart South Station at 8 a.m. and arrive in Hyannis at 10:18 a.m. Bus service will be available at the destination, as well as free shuttle service to the nearby Hyannis docks with ferry service to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
The coach will include concessions and bar service (following the Middleborough stop) on the Friday night trip. Bike racks will also be available. A round-trip ticket from Boston will run $35 ($20 one way).
AAA Southern New England can design trips for members just about anywhere, but in the interest of saving money and patronizing businesses in its own area, is also keen on creating trips closer to home, officials there say. One of them is “The City Get-Away Boston,” where you can spend the night at the Revere Hotel in the Hub’s theater district, eat at Four Diamond-ranked Asana at the chef’s table, go to Fenway Park for a ball game and get 10-percent off at the team store. You can also hit Huntington Theatre for a $5 discount per ticket or get $10 off at Blue Man Group.Further south is the “Family Friendly Resort Cape Cod” offering, with a stay at Four Diamond-ranked Wequasset Resort & Golf Club, dinner at the resort’s twenty-eight Atlantic, and a whale-watching trip with Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch, where AAA members get discounts. There is also the “Ultimate Luxury Beach Vacation Rhode Island,” with a stay at Five Diamond Ocean House (a giant hotel on the bluffs that was rebuilt in place of the original one that stood for many years, and using more than 5,000 artifacts and furnishing elements from the original), dinner at the hotel’s Four Diamond Seasons restaurant, and theater at the nearby Theatre By the Sea, a classic barn theater that in its glory years saw the likes of Marlon Brando and Mae West tread the boards there, and where AAA members get 10-percent off select performances this summer. For all info, check out www.southernnewengland.aaa.com
You don’t have to wait for the summer heat anymore to find things to do in Nantucket. Though things ramp up mostly after Memorial Day, and certainly by July 4, the island has a variety of early-season offerings, and hotels and inns with deals to take advantage of them.One popular event is the Nantucket Wine Festival, marking its 17th year May 15-19, with a schedule of special events such as celebrity chef cooking demos, tastings, seminars, symposia, auctions and a charity gala. For full event schedule and pricing, visit www.nantucketwinefestival.com The White Elephant is hosting many of the festival events, including the Grand Tastings and Harbor Gala, the former featuring more than 150 wineries from around the world. The gala is the festival’s signature event with 40 stations of dishes prepared by the country’s best chefs, which, naturally, are paired with appropriate wines. The White Elephant and sister properties, White Elephant Village and The Wauwinet, are offering weekend packages including stays, event tickets, dinners at Brant Point Grill and Topper’s, as well as brunches. Rates start at $500 a night. For info, check out www.nantucketislandresorts.com At Harborview Place, offered by Beautiful Places villa rentals, stay three or more nights in a one- to three-bedroom residence and get a wine festival package with access to a variety of events, including the tasting, VIP party, auction, Friday night supper club and breakfast on the harbor. Visit www.beautiful-places.com/location/massachusetts for information. Orla and Michael LaScola, owners of American Seasons, are partnering again with West Coast wineries such as Donelan Family Wines and Flowers Winery to host seminars and dinners highlighting domestic wines paired with LaScola’s take on American dishes. For information on the events at the restaurant, visit www.americanseasons.com If you have flexible travel plans, the antique inn Century House celebrates its 180th anniversary this year by offering a weeknight stay in a queen room for $180 plus tax and service during select dates in May and June, based on last-minute availability. There is no online booking for this deal: Call 508-228-0530 on the preceding Saturday or Sunday to secure a stay the following Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night. You can also combine the special with multiple week-night stays at standard rates. And you can help celebrate innkeepers JeanEllen Heron and Gerry Connick’s 30th anniversary running the inn. Connick’s famous and massive berry breakfast alone is worth the stay. The next month, the spring version of Nantucket Restaurant Week runs June 2-9 (another runs in the fall), with a variety of restaurants participating, including American Seasons, where they offer three-course dinners from $25-$45. For a full listing, visit www.nantucketrestaurantweek.com Writers have long been drawn to the island, including historic scribes like James Fenimore Cooper and Edgar Allen Poe, and modern authors such as Nathaniel Philbrick. The 2nd Annual Nantucket Book Festival runs June 21-23, with panel discussions, interactive readings for adults and kids, and “Authors in Bars” events giving festival goers a chance to personally toast their favorite writers. A roster of more than 20 notable American writers are expected, among them Philbrick, Paul Hendrickson and Lois Lowry. The Brant Point Grill at the White Elephant, the event’s host hotel, will host the weekend’s closing brunch June 23 with Alice Hoffman, author of more than 20 novels including “Here on Earth,” an Oprah’s Book Club choice. Other events include breakfast receptions with authors Ann Leary and Amy Brill, and a pig roast at Cisco Brewery. Check it all out at www.nantucketbookfestival.org And lest we not forget the island’s nautical roots, the Egan Maritime Institute will hold “Red, Right, Returning: Present Day United States Coast Guard Lifesaving Procedures and Boat Safety” at the Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum, May 23-Oct. 14. The outdoor exhibit features present day Coast Guard lifesaving procedures, guide to boat safety and a recreational four-person life raft for anyone to try out on dry land. Back by popular demand is last year’s exhibit, “Guiding Lights: Nantucket’s Lighthouses, Keepers and Their Families,” that includes hands-on activities. Visit www.eganmaritime.org for more information.
New for 2013, Bike Across France explores three regions of France: Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc-Roussillion, where participants check out castles, stone villages, wine, ancient art, prehistoric sites, and provincial cuisine on a 10-day cycling escapade. Founded in 1988, Ciclismo Classico has earned awards from Outside and National Geographic Traveler and mentions in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Bicycling, CNN.com and Forbes.
For more information or to book a tour, visit www.ciclismoclassico.com call 800-866-7314.
By Necee Regis, Globe Correspondent
Here’s a good reason to hope the weather remains cool: The Harbor Hotel is offering a Pay the Temperature promotion. Daily room rates will be based on the Provincetown temperature at 2 p.m., as reported by the National Weather Service on the day of check-in. With an average temperature in April of 55 degrees, this deal could save you a bundle off the Harbor’s posted spring rates (from $99). This promotion cannot be booked online, is based on availability, and stay must be completed by May 20. Guests will be charged a $50 non-refundable deposit. 855-447-8696, www.harborhotelptown.com
By Jan Shepherd, Globe Correspondent
The Worcester Center for Crafts "Pottery Invitational" is an annual rite of spring for contemporary crafts collectors. Curated by potters Hayne Bayless of Connecticut and Hannah Niswonger of Massachusetts, the April 5-7 Show and Sale celebrates 21 top New England artists working in a variety of clays, techniques and styles. Serious and wannabe collectors know to head to Friday's opening reception (5:30-8:30 p.m.) in order to get first dibs on one-of-a-kind and other new work. The sale continues Saturday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) and includes pottery demonstrations and a "Five Buck Cup Raffle" to benefit the center. Admission is free. WCC is at 25 Sagamore Road, Worcester. 508-752-8183. www.worcester.edu/wcc
Pottery by Kristen Kieffer
By Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe Correspondent
See some of the most remarkable “dream” cars ever made, from a 1927 LaSalle to the futuristic Terrafugia flying car, during the Heritage Museums and Gardens exhibit “Driving Our Dreams: Imagination in Motion” in Sandwich. Fifteen concept cars, drawn from museums and private collections nationwide, will be on display April 13 through Oct. 27. Get up close to an Infinium solar-powered car, a 1956 Firebird II, and the 1963 personal Corvette of Harley Earl, a pioneer in auto design and the father of the Corvette. Design and test your own concept car in the Family Discovery Room, and attend talks by leaders in the automobile industry. Adults $15, children ages 3-12 $7, 2 and under free. 508-888-3300, www.heritagemuseumsandgardens.org
By Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe Correspondent
Take a long weekend and explore the Johnny Appleseed Trail in Central Massachusetts and the upper Connecticut River Valley on the Mass BikePike Tour, Aug. 1-4. Choose from a shorter (25- to 45-mile) or longer (45- to 70-mile) route and receive full support along the way. Go on an optional adventure to Swanzey, N.H., to celebrate the Cheshire Fair’s 75th anniversary, and hang out around the campfire each night to refuel with s’mores. Camp out (bring your tent or pay for a luxury camp setup) or arrange your own accommodations. Registration of $416.49 includes breakfasts, dinners, support, and more. Round-trip transportation from Boston to Fitchburg, the start and end point, runs $50. 617-710-1832, www.massbikepike.org
By Necee Regis, Globe correspondent
Take advantage of preseason rates and start dreaming about the beach. Nantucket’s retro-chic hotels, The Veranda House and Chapman House, are offering Countdown to Summer 3-2-1 packages (May 19-June 27). Includes two complimentary round-trip passes on the Steamship Authority’s Fast Ferry service from Hyannis (valued at $138) for a three-night stay, and one complimentary pass for a two-night stay. Rates start at $199 midweek and $249 on the weekends at The Veranda House, and $169 midweek and $209 weekends at Chapman House. Both offer a complimentary morning meal, free Wi-Fi, and afternoon chocolate chip cookies. 877-228-0695, www.theverandahouse.com
By Necee Regis, Globe Correspondent
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival hosts its 13th annual event (March 15-17) at the Chilmark Community Center with films from the festival circuit as well as shorts and features with local appeal. Watch movies on comfy couches in the “community living room” outfitted with state-of-the-art projection and sound. Stay for post-screening discussions with filmmakers and others. Events include live music hosted by the Hay Cafe and a daily feast prepared by chef Chris Fischer. Tickets $15, members $7. Couch seating add $5. Weekend pass $150. 508-645-9599, www.tmvff.org. The Harbor View Hotel & Resort in Edgartown is offering a Martha’s Vineyard Movie Escape package, including two-night stay (March15-16) and two all-access festival passes, $479, with reserved couch seating $679. 800-225-6005, www.harbor-view.com
Harmless or careless?
There’s a furor brewing in Truro, where some Cape Cod residents aren’t pleased with the town’s depiction of a smiling shark on this year’s beach sticker, arguing that the image downplays the recent fears of sharks swimming along the shore during the summer months.
According to the Cape Cod Times, the sticker won unanimous approval from the town beach commission.
Kelly Clark, director of the town's recreation and beach department, told the Times that she was concerned about the repercussions of taking the Cape’s shark issues too lightly, but was essentially told to “lighten up.”
Truro boasts four beaches, all which require a parking sticker, which can be purchased $15 a season for residents.
More at the Cape Cod Times web site.
Where there had only been one each year in the past, there will be three grand prizes available at the 10th annual AAA Travel Marketplace, March 1-3 at the Putnam Club in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough: All-inclusive vacation packages for two to Italy, Ireland or Bermuda. And given that roughly 17,000 people attend the travel show each year, the odds of winning would seem much better than with the state lottery, said Carl Richardson,travel center director for AAA Southern New England.
To enter, those attending the travel show need only fill out an exit survey when they leave, he said, adding that “given that not everyone does, the odds of winning are even better.” The show is the largest travel booking show in New England, he said, and expects roughly 100 booths to be at the event, many from New England and the northeast, a change from the first years of the show when the focus was mainly tours and cruises.
Admission is $5 at the door for AAA members, or $3 for advance sales on line or through an AAA branch, and $10 and $8 respectively for non-members. For information, visit www.southernnewengland.aaa.com/sne/marketplace
By Kari Bodnarchuk, Globe correspondent
Get info on 12 local ski areas through a website and online planner launched by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. The site provides locations, short descriptions, cool tips, ski conditions, and social media updates for a dozen areas: Berkshire East, Blandford, Blue Hills, Bousquet, Bradford, Catamount, Jiminy Peak, Nashoba Valley, Otis Ridge, Ski Butternut, Ski Ward, and Wachusett. It also lists notable sites nearby that may appeal to nonskiers, from museums to restaurants. http://massvacation.com/skilocal
By Necee Regis, Globe Correspondent
It might be snowing outside, but Zoar Outdoors gets you into the water with six indoor kayak clinics. Designed for novice to intermediate paddlers, C-1ers, and OC-1ers, classes cover the execution of basic skills such as strokes, leans, and braces. American Canoe Association certified instructors also teach the basics of rolling a kayak, from hip snaps to paddle motions to a full-blown Eskimo roll. Experienced rollers work on improving technique, flipping without setting up, learning an offside roll, hand roll, and other variations. Zoar supplies boats, paddles, life jackets, helmets, and wet suits, but you may bring your own. Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield, Feb. 2, 9, 16, Hockomock Area YMCA in Franklin, April 6, 13, 20. 6-8 p.m. $80. 800-532-7483, www.kayaklesson.com/winter_rolling.htm
If the journey along the Wine & Cheese trail in central Massachusetts described in the October 21 Travel section has inspired you to check out the state's wineries and cheesemakers, you might want to purchase a $2 Massachusetts Wine Passport at one of the participating wineries. The 19 wineries in the Passport cover the state from the tip of Cape Cod to the southern Berkshires and produce a range of grape and fruit wines. Once you have had your passport ''stamped'' at 15 wineries you will be eligible to enter a January drawing for the grand prize of 15 cases of wine.
Jenn Samek-Lutkus of Hardwick Vineyard and Winery holds a Massachusetts Wine Passport. (Photo by David Lyon for the Boston Globe)
It might be a rainy weekend, but a little drizzle isn't putting a damper on the foliage in central Massachusetts, as we discovered on Friday driving around in the towns just east of the Quabbin Reservoir. In fact, this llama seemed to think the foliage looked good enough to eat, as he pruned some low-hanging limbs.
Photo by Patricia Harris for the Boston Globe
Three New England campgrounds will play host to the inaugural Jimmy Fund Campout, Sept. 14-16, to support adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The weekend will feature a scavenger hunt, and other outdoor activities.
Prices for the campout vary dependent upon your destination. Bayley's Camping Resort in Scarborough, Maine, Danforth Bay Camping Resort in Freedom, N.H., and Normandy Farms Campground in Foxborough are the three campgrounds hosting the event.
For more information, to register, visit www.jimmyfundcampout.org, email JFCampout@dfci.harvard.edu, or call 800-525-4669. For a limited time, use discount code FALLFUN at checkout to receive $10 off your registration.
MassJazz was launched in 2009 by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. For info, check out www.massjazz.com
The final link to the historic Lincoln Park was demolished Wednesday, when wrecking crews began to tear down the wooden "Comet" roller coaster which had graced the Dartmouth grounds since the 1940's. Lincoln Park may have closed 25 years ago, but it was still a nostalgic moment for those of us who frequented the park in our youth.
Here's a look at the park in happier times, accompanied by "Walk Right In," the song that would greet guests at the gate.
This sale continues this summer's trend of deals with tightly limited dates and destinations. For this one you must book by midnight for travel July 9 - Oct. 3. Blackout dates include Aug. 29, Sept. 5, and other restrictions vary by route. Here are some sample one-way fares from Boston: $50 to Buffalo, N.Y.; $59 to Newark, N.J.; $66 to Nantucket; $85 to Washington, DC (Dulles); $110 to Raleigh-Durham, NC; $120 to Tampa; $130 to Ft. Myers; $143 to Bermuda; $160 to Phoenix; $174 to Santiago; and $223 to Aruba.