Some say that my intrinsic sense of curiosity is too much, but I beg to differ.
If it wasn’t for my spontaneity and love for the macabre, I would have never stumbled upon my first travel destination when I visited Massachusetts in August.
I really love learning about those sort of things, but I also wanted to see what coastal Massachusetts had to offer besides its many beaches and lighthouses. So I researched (obviously) and found two more hidden gems!
The Crane Estate (Castle on the Hill)
This 1920’s mansion and estate is a shout-out from fellow Chicagoan, Richard T. Crane Jr, who was an industrialist. He commission the famous David Adler to design the house. It was inspired by Stuart Mansions, which are very stately yet quaint. We drove up a long and winding trail up a hill when we reached this gem. The hill overlooks acres of land and you can see Crane Beach below. Visitors to the Crane Estate also get to enjoy touring the casino, gardens, and have the option to stay at the cottages just below.
Unfortunately, we were a bit in a pickle on this particular visit. The Boston Pops was set to play that weekend and there were a lot of people setting up – which meant a lot of places we couldn’t go to and take pictures from. In one of the photos above, you can even see their stage and big truck on the lawn.
The first floor of this great estate was free admission, but the second floor was paid. Strapped for time, we opted out of the paid tour and only got a few photos of the rooms and estate. The mansion also had a no photography policy in the prettiest part of the building (the staircase) as a painting on loan to them was displayed on the wall behind it. Also, out of the 200 photos I took on this trip, only the ones above survived my evil card reader. Nest time around, I’m using this one instead.
If you are planning to visit this great estate, i highly recommend taking the paid tour. It’s much more informative and you get to see things that are generally off limits. Plus, the tours are led by volunteers and employees in costumes. Yes, this means dapper flappers and gents in tailcoats and slicked back hair. Ladies, wear your best beaded dresses and pearls.
I also got invited to their Roaring Twenties Lawn Party by one of these dapper gents. The lawn parties happen on the weekend and are full of swing music, dance lessons, champagne, classic cars, and more. For more information, check out their website.
On the next stop that day, we traveled to Gloucester, Massachusetts to visit Hammond Castle. It’s literally King’s Landing meets East Coast. Basically, a history nerd’s biggest dream. This castle is a medieval inspired castle that houses hundreds of medieval and historic artifacts. I nearly jumped out of my seat when I saw it online.
The view from outside the castle is stunning.
We first stopped here and took dozens of pictures (which most of them perished. RIP Memory Card) and I managed to save a handful from this trip as well. The very first thing you heard stepping out from the walkway was the cry of a falcon or hawk up above. Then you heard the clashing of waves from down below. This was truly a spectacular experience and you definitely get a very medieval vibe even though just across the road are normal houses! Isn’t that magical?
My trip to Massachusetts wasn’t a vacation, so I was really lucky to have some time off between appointments to explore. We stayed in Needham and everything was about an hour away (more with traffic). We also fortunately got a lucky day of sunshine as it had been raining all week! I was so glad to have been able to visit both of these places as they were truly stunning and kind of hidden gems from the standard beach or Boston trips people often take. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beaches and the city, but I also like to see things that a lot of people don’t really think about when visiting. Both of these places are historical and coastal so they are definitely worth checking out.
Have you ever been to Massachusetts or live in MA? What are your destination recommendations? Leave them in a comment below!