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New England, Newport, Providence, Mystic, Cape Cod

Points of historical or cultural interest between New York and Boston

We will be traveling as a family from New York to Boston and I am hoping to expose my kids to some of New England's rich history and culture along the way. This will be their first trip to the East Coast (we live in San Francisco) so we are planning to spend most of our time in NYC and Boston themselves, but I am thinking we can take a full day or maybe even two to get from NY to Boston by car so we can take in some sites. Some places that come to mind are Plymouth, Newport, Providence, New Haven, Mystic, and perhaps somewhere on Cape Cod. I am wondering which of these (or other) places would be best, as well as looking for suggestions of specific things to do in these places that would help my kids get a feel for the culture and history of New England.

5 Answers

top answer by
Jeff from Lake Worth

In Plymouth there is Plymouth Rock of course - a little anti climatic, but a must if you are in the area - nice view of the ocean.  There's a place called Plimoth Plantation - that would be great for the kids.  It shows how life was back when the pilgrims landed.  There's a replica of the ship used to cross the Atlantic it is a good eye opener.

Cape Cod could be far to go for a day depending on where you go, it's pretty spread out.  

In Boston - a must is the Freedom Trail.  Do a tour and or audio guide, take your time.  Best history lesson every.  I lived in the area for 40 years before I went with a visitor.  Should have done it years before - it would have helped me with history :).

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Plymouth Rock (attraction)
  2. Plimoth Plantation (attraction)
  3. Cape Cod (attraction)
  4. Freedom Trail (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Christina from Connecticut

If you decide to drive the coastal route (I-95) Mystic Seaport is amazing. If you decide to travel I-91 to I-84, The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford is phenomenal. You can then stop at Old Sturbridge Village just over the CT/MA line. It's a large, faithful recreation of a late 18th/early 19th century rural New England village/farm.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mystic Seaport (attraction)
  2. The Mark Twain House & Museum (attraction)
  3. Old Sturbridge Village (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by

I'm not sure what you will find in New Haven other than some of the things Yale has to offer. New Haven is not what I would consider a "family destination" It is easy to find yourself in a bad neighborhood. 

Definitely visit Mystic Seaport if you are looking for rich history. It is family friendly and you will step back in time! The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and it is set up like an 1800's seaport town. The staff will be happy to tell and show your kids all about that history. Also in Mystic is Olde Mystic Village and a great downtown area with a beautiful historic drawbridge and great restaurants.

Old Sturbridge Village is another one that you can visit to step back in time. We always took field trips there as kids. You can learn a lot. 

Providence I cannot say I have found much there but I would recommend Roger Williams Park Botanical Center. They have more than just a zoo there. 

Newportis great although I have mostly spent my time on the beaches there. If you are up for it I would even say hop on the ferry to Block Island. We got to see where a meteor hit and the light house was great. 

Plymouth (Massachusetts) of course! Check dates though! Sometimes the Mayflower II is out in Mystic, CT (mystic Seaport) for restoration and the Plantation Streetis closed during the colder months.

Finally come to Boston. Boston is a charming city. I highly recommend the Freedom TrailFreedom Trail. Very rich with history and there is so much to do along the Charles River

Hope this helped! Have a fun trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. New Haven (attraction)
  2. Mystic Seaport (attraction)
  3. Olde Mystic Village (attraction)
  4. Old Sturbridge Village (attraction)
  5. Providence (city)
  6. Roger Williams Park Botanical Center (attraction)
  7. Newport (city)
  8. Block Island (attraction)
  9. Plymouth (Massachusetts) (attraction)
  10. Plantation Street (attraction)
  11. Boston (city)
  12. Freedom Trail (attraction)
  13. Charles River (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
David from New Hampshire

I have to disagree with Alexa regarding Providence. I lived there for 5 years and in my opinion is quite steep in New England culture plus over the years it has experienced somewhat of a renaissance and is a great place to spend a ½ day or day. Some of the highlights are RISD, museum of art & design, John Brown House Museum and the Governor Henry Lippit House Museum. The East Side (where Brown University is located) is rife with 18th and 19th century architecture and is small enough to walk around and see everything. For more information on what is there I would check out

1 thanks

answered first by
Alexa from Marlboro, New Jersey

Providence does not have much of that rich New England culture . Although if you go on a Saturday you can go up to the Hope St Farmers Market which is a big thing there. Plymouth (Massachusetts) is historically rich. Going to Newport in the summer is the way to go, it is a beautiful place. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Providence (city)
  2. New England (attraction)
  3. Hope St (attraction)
  4. Plymouth (Massachusetts) (attraction)
  5. Newport (city)
1 thankscomments (1)

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