Difference between revisions of "Massachusetts"
Revision as of 22:06, 7 October 2006
Massachusetts  is a state in the New England region of the United States of America. Massachusetts is known as "The Bay State" because of its the three large bays which dominate and shape the coastline. Massachusetts Bay in the Greater Boston and Cape Ann area and Cape Cod Bay, which shapes Cape Cod against the Atlantic Ocean, are on the eastern shore. Buzzards Bay, on the south coast, is the other large bay.
From East to West:
There are 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts. The 10 largest cities are:
Massachusetts is an excellent travel destination, noted for many of its historical sites as well as diverse regional flavors. The eastern Massachusetts Bay area of the state from Gloucester to Plymouth is very metropolitan, with Boston at its hub. Here you can find great cooking, fresh seafood, and an intense concentration of colleges and universities.
To the south of Boston is Cape Cod, a tremendously popular vacation spot and home to the Kennedy family, one of America's more influential political families. West of Boston you'll find the Blackstone Valley National Corridor, a vast expanse of rolling hills and small towns, as well as some of the most unique vineyards in the East Coast.
To the far west, you'll find more rural areas, the Berkshire mountains, the Appalachian Trail, and excellent skiing. Massachusetts has a lot to offer the prospective traveller!
Massachusetts is one of the oldest states in America, dating back to the foundation of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1620. The name Massachusetts comes from Algonquian Indian words that mean the great mountain, an apparent reference to the tallest of the Blue Hills, a recreation area south of the town of Milton.
Massachusetts is a state of firsts - the first public school (Boston Latin School), the first public library (Boston Public Library), the first American university (Harvard), the first public beach (Revere Beach), and the home of the Boston Massacre, the event that set off the American Revolutionary War, with the "shot heard 'round the world" in Concord at the Old North Bridge.
Massachusetts also has its dark side, the Salem Witch Trials being one of the most significant black spots on the state's history.
Massachusetts today is a blend of old and new. In Eastern Massachusetts you can walk the 3.5 mile Freedom Trail in Boston to see more than 20 historical sites, then hop over to Cambridge and see some of the world's most advanced biotechnology, not to mention the legendary Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the gold standard for technical education in the United States. The state as a whole is a blend of rural and urban, from Boston and suburbs in the East, to the Pioneer Valley and the Berkshires in the West.
The easiest way to get into Massachusetts is through Logan International Airport in Boston. Other regional airports include Manchester, New Hampshire, Warwick, Rhode Island and Windsor Locks, Connecticut.
More information on New England's regional airports can be found at Fly New England.
Boston is the northern terminus of the Northeast Corridor, the most heavily trafficked rail route in the country, and one of the few routes serviced by Amtrak with a high frequency of service. Trains from New York reach Boston in about 3.5 hours; trains from Washington take about twice as long. The faster Acela trains shave about an hour off those journeys, and although they cost more, they generally present a more enjoyable trip. You can reach the eastern portion of the state from Boston's South Station by taking the MBTA commuter rail.
Though easily accessible by train, it is frequently cheaper and almost always faster to fly to Massachusetts than take the train, if traveling from Pennsylvania or further away (however, traveling on the Lake Shore Limited from Chicago and all points in between is often less than $100).
Massachusetts has several large interstates that serve it, including:
Other important non-interstate highways in Massachusetts include: U.S. Route 1, U.S. Route/State Route 3, and State Routes 2, 9, and 24.
Use SmarTraveler to determine traffic conditions in the Metro Boston area.
A number of bus companies run a Boston-New York route, from the nationally-known Greyhound to a variety of small, low-cost "Chinatown bus" carriers.
A portion of the Appalacian trail runs through the state.
There are a number of "rail trails" - converted rail road lines - throughout the state that have been paved for pedestrian and bicycle travel.
I-90 (also called the Massachusetts Turnpike, or simply the Mass Pike) is the major East-West route across the state. Rt 2 is a more northern equivalent, though there are sections through town centers with traffic lights.
Amtrak goes to major cities.
Within Boston the subway line is called the T, and there are commuter rails (purple on the maps) that go to surrounding suburbs and cities including Framingham and Worcester.
Mass Wildlife maintains an excellent site showing access points and maps of wildlife areas as well as regulations, permits and fees. Saltwater fishing does not require a license (shellfishing usually does), but there are regulations under the authority of the State Division of Marine Fisheries. Local regulations may also apply in regards to shellfishing or taking of herring.
The minimum age for purchasing alcoholic beverages is 21. No one is permitted to serve alcohol to a person under 21 years of age unless they are parent or spouse of that person.