Exploring history-rich Boston, on Massachusetts coast, is one of the best summer cruising adventures on the East Coast. The area has been home to a wealth of significant events throughout the centuries, from the Boston Massacre to the Boston Tea Party to the Battle of Bunker Hill. It's a one-of-a-kind destination that makes for an exciting weekend you won't forget.Tie up your dinghy along the Charles River at Community Boating Inc., and enjoy a delightful day wandering down Newbury Street. The charming eight-block area is filled with salons, boutiques, and spectacular dining choices. Swing by the Flour Bakery (617-437-7700, flourbakery.com) for the excellent pastries, sandwiches and salads.If you fancy exercise, you can run, skate, or ride bikes along the historic 18-mile-long Charles River Esplanade, which runs parallel to the entire basin on both the north and south sides of the Charles River waterfront. If you're a baseball fan, don't miss a tour of or better yet, a game at Fenway Park (617-226-6666, boston.redsox.mlb.com), the oldest major league park in the U. S. and home to the Boston Red Sox. When it's time for dinner, you'll be spoiled for choices, as Boston is full of top- notch restaurants. One perennial favorite is the Top of the Hub Restaurant & Lounge (617-536-1775, topofthehub.net), which features contemporary New England dishes and stunning views of downtown. If you're near the area on the Fourth of July, relax along the banks of the Charles and catch the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular (july4th.org).Great dockage can be found in the city's famed North End neighborhood at Boston Yacht Haven (617-367-5050, thebostonyachthaven.com), or at Constitution Marina (617-241-9640, constitutionmarina.com), which is set along the historic Freedom Trail.For a quick trip through the city by water, travel down the Charles River through the locks to Cambridge, home to Harvard and MIT, and visit the Galleria Mall, Central Square, and Harvard Square.
Located just 35 miles south of Boston, the quaint town of Plymouth was one of the first colonies founded by the pilgrims in 1620. The town is best known as the setting of the original Thanksgiving feast and is filled with historic buildings, museums, and monuments, including the 1749 Court House and Museum, the First Church, Burial Hill, and the Mayflower II (a replica of the original Mayflower).Stroll along the cobblestone walkways of the Village Landing Marketplace, a shopping district of boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants and cafes. Hungry? Hit the Plymouth Harbor waterfront and stop at the East Bay Grille (508-746-9751, eastbaygrille.com), to enjoy live entertainment Wednesday through Saturday. Another fun experience is joining a ghost and legends walk with Colonial Lantern Tours (774-454-8126, laterntours.com). Dock at Brewer Plymouth Marine (508-746-4500, byy.com/Plymouth) a full-service marina within walking distance of town.
About 45 miles north of Plymouth is Gloucester, the center of New England's fishing industry. The city is home to the oldest seaport in the country. Ever seen the popular National Geographic show Wicked Tuna? That's exactly what this town is all about: bluefin tuna.Soak up the rays at Good Harbor Beach or Wingaersheek Beach, both of which are kid friendly. Bring your appetite to take advantage of one of the state's best seafood restaurants: the Gloucester House (888-283-1812, thegloucesterhouse.com). Prefer to dock and dine? Head to Rudder Restaurant (978-283-7967, rudderrestaurant.com), known for its wicked-cool atmosphere and creative yet affordable menu. Visit during the 33rd annual Gloucester Waterfront Festival (Aug. 1718) for crafts, live music and food. Whenever you visit, tie up at Cape Ann Marina Resort (978-283-3293, capeannmarina.com), which provides transient dockage for vessels up to 150 feet.
The final destination of the weekend is Newburyport, a historic seaport 17 miles north of Gloucester that was the birthplace of the coast guard in 1965. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is teeming with more than 800 species of birds, plants, and animals. Plum Island, 11 miles long, is great for birding and swimming. Hit Ten Center Street (978-462-6652, tencenterstreet.com) for a quick bite, especially if it's Wednesday, when oysters are $1. Michael's Harborside (978-462-7785, michaelsharborside.com) has great seafood and a lively outdoor bar. If you can, visit Newburyport during the annual Yankee Homecoming ( July 28Aug. 4) for concerts, sidewalk sales, food vendors, and magnificent fireworks. Dockage is available at Newburyport Harbor Marina (978-462-3990, newburyportmarinas.com)