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Arrive a little early to soak up more of New England’s autumnal beauty and colonial heritage. Two extra nights in Boston give you a chance to enjoy the city’s lively cultural scene. Then, enjoy a full-day excursion to the North Shore region, visiting seafaring Salem during Halloween festivities, when the city’s witchy history is on full display; a bevy of charming coastal towns such as Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport; and colorful Gloucester, a hard-working fishing village and artists' colony that typifies the Yankee spirit. Beautiful foliage, harvest fare, and fresh seafood. Come see what makes fall in Massachusetts so special!
Fly to Boston, Massachusetts
Today you’ll fly to historic Boston. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival at the airport a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. Settle in and relax, or perhaps do some exploring on your own. You might stroll along the waterfront, do some shopping in Downtown Crossing, or visit the golden-domed State House. Join us later for a Welcome Dinner back at the hotel.
Explore Boston’s historic North Shore
After breakfast you’ll travel north of the city to visit a trio of scenic and historic towns. First on your itinerary is Rockport, an artists’ colony on the easternmost tip of Cape Ann that is surrounded on three sides by the ocean. At Pigeon Cove, the town’s harbor, you’ll see the red warehouse building that has been painted so many times by local artists, it is known simply as “Motif #1.” Here you’ll have a little free time to browse the shops along Bearskin Neck.
Next is Gloucester, a town that has been defined by shipbuilding and fishing since its settlement in 1623. Many residents still work in the fishing industry and the town is still accented by the traditions of the Portuguese and Italian immigrants who came here in the 19th century. You’ll see the Fisherman’s Memorial and Statue in the center of town. Gloucester also boasts one of the country’s oldest art colonies, Rocky Neck. Painters from Winslow Homer to Mark Rothko to Edward Hopper have been attracted by its majestic seascapes and quaint harbor.
Heading back southwards, you’ll explore Salem, an old Indian trading port that was settled by Puritans in 1626. As you enter town you’ll see the Chestnut Street historic district, which boasts the greatest concentration of 17th and 18th century homes in the U.S. Many of them belonged to sea captains and merchants who grew wealthy in the Old China and East Indies trade. You’ll see the legacy of that era at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, but the city’s most infamous legacy is of a more sinister nature: the 1692 witchcraft trials in which 19 people were falsely accused, and hanged. You’ll learn all about it at the Salem Witch Museum, where a theater presentation depicts the hysteria surrounding those events. Afterwards, enjoy free time to browse the delightful downtown pedestrian area, and enjoy lunch on your own.
From Salem, you’ll head back to Boston arriving in time for a relaxing evening and dinner on your own.
Discover Boston on your own, commence your base cruise tour
After breakfast you’ll have free time to explore on your own. Perhaps you’ll browse the galleries and boutiques of Newbury Street. Peek into the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art, or the Museum of Science. You can head across the Charles River to explore more of Cambridge. Or pop over to Chinatown to enjoy a tasty dim sum lunch. Throughout the day, your fellow cruise tour travelers will be arriving. You’ll meet them this evening when your main cruise tour begins with a Welcome Briefing and Dinner.