06 Nov 6 Things You Didn’t Know You Could See In New England
Tourists travelling to New England often go for the unmatched fall foliage, remarkable American history, delectable seafood and winning sports teams. While no trip to New England would be complete without a walk along the Freedom Trail or a visit to Acadia National Park, there are a few attractions you might want to make time to see.
These six tourist traps are off the beaten path and often hidden away from curious eyes. If you know what they are and where to find them, however, you can surprise friends and family with your tales of visiting secret castles and trekking the Maine’s desert.
New Hampshire’s Secret Castle
In West Chesterfield, New Hampshire, there lies what looks to be a forgotten piece of medieval history. These ruins, however, are all that’s left of Madame Sherri’s Castle. Madame Antoinette Sherri was a costume designer from New York who started purchasing land in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, and built a lavish home on it. There she hosted fancy parties and regaled her guests with food and entertainment. She eventually moved on and, after fire ravaged the home, it was left for nature to reclaim. All that remains today is a sweeping stone staircase that once led to the front entrance.
Train Ride to a Mountain Top
Residents of New Hampshire have a special kinship with Mount Washington, the tallest summit in the state. It’s a place where you can experience fall at the base of the mountain and winter up top. Before you decide to climb or drive to the summit, though, consider a ride on the Mount Washington Cog Railway. It’s a three-hour trip to the top of the mountain. And one that is not for the faint of heart!
Visit an East Coast Desert
Whether it’s an actual desert probably doesn’t matter once you consider the great photos you will return home with. Near Freeport, Maine, some 11,000 years ago, a glacier arrived, departed and left an enormous amount of sand behind. Visitors stand among its dunes, lined by pine trees, and snap pics in a weirdly juxtaposed landscape. Visit between May and October before the snow arrives.
Plumb the Depths of this Museum
Boston museums are well known for both their American history and art history, but there is one museum right outside of town that visitors will flow through without a problem: The Plumbing Museum. The museum is located in Watertown – yes, Watertown – Massachusetts, and houses more than a century’s worth of plumbing artifacts. It’s a testament to the innovation of New England, from Maine shipping yards to Connecticut solar power.
A Vampire in Rhode Island
The sad tale of the Salem Witch Trials is well known around the world, but few know of Mercy Brown’s tale. The Rhode Island teenager died an early death, soon after the death of her mother and sister. When her brother fell ill, the fear that one of Mercy might be a vampire consumed her small village. Her body was eventually exhumed and witnesses swore the body had moved in the coffin, proving that she was, in fact, the undead. The New Englanders performed several rituals in order to purge her of the supposed curse, including removing her heart and burning it to ash. In truth, she was just another victim of rampant disease terrorizing New England coastal towns. Today, you can visit her grave and learn more about the New England Vampire Panic of the late 1800s.
The House of the Seven Gables
For some more literary spooks, head to Salem, Massachusetts, and visit the House of the Seven Gables. The ornate wooden mansion was the setting for 17th century author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s aptly-named The House of the Seven Gables. Hawthorne is likely best known for writing The Scarlet Letter. The house offers tours. See if you can find the hidden staircase!
Remember, there is more to New England than tea parties and moose sightings. The states that make up New England are home to some of the oldest haunts in American history and many of the most amazing – and surprising – tourist destinations around. Make sure to take time to weave some of these surprises into your regular holiday trip.