Unlike Vermont & New Hampshire, Massachusetts is home to 14 different National Parks. Over the years I have visited many of them as family outings and school field trips. Since I am on a mission to fill up my National Park Passport, Stew and I are re-visiting all of the parks.
First up is the Minute Man National Historical Park which spreads through the towns of Lexington, Lincoln, and Concord. We started our day at the main visitor center in Concord. Thankfully we planned this trip well as the center was closing for the season the next day. I am a sucker for the introductory videos they offer at the parks.
There is a lovely 5 mile walk that takes you along the Old Battle Road with many historic sites and monuments along the way. It was a bit too cold for this, so we drove around the park and stopped at a few of the more popular spots: Paul Revere’s Capture Site, Hartwell Tavern and The Old North Bridge.
This park truly brings the history of the start of American Revolution to life and would love to visit again in the warmer Spring weather.
The same day that we visited Saint-Gaudens National Historical Site we popped over the border from New Hampshire into Woodstock, Vermont. Here, we stopped into to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Site to take a tour of the mansion and the property owned by three very well known families in the conservation world.
This property became a National Park less then 20 years ago and happens to be the only National Park in the state of Vermont. While the views are stunning and the history of the families who lived here intriguing, I was not blown away by the park in general. Perhaps if we had more time to wander the grounds I would have felt differently. However, we just had time to take the tour of the mansion (which was not overly impressive) and to watch the introductory video in the visitor center (well worth it!).
George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Billings and Laurence Rockefeller all owned this property over the years. Learning their stories, along with the stories of the women behind them, was truly fascinating. In the end, I am glad we were able to squeeze this park in on the same day and add a few more stamp cancellations to my Passport.
In my goal to visit all of the National Parks, I started researching the parks within the New England area that would make good day trips. I very rarely get a Saturday off - let alone a Saturday off with no previous plans. I was beyond excited about taking this mini road trip with Stew.
Our first stop was to the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Site in Cornish, NH. This is the only National Park in the state of New Hampshire and the property is well worth a visit!
Augustus Saint-Gaudens was a world renowned sculpture who resided in this home in Cornish during the summer months - and then, permanently in his later years. The property is complete with art galleries, workshops, gardens, and a walking path through a ravine to a man made swimming hole.
We opted out of the guided tour in the mansion itself and instead leisurely walked the property and viewed the galleries and sculptures. It is amazing to me that I have seen many of Saint-Gaudens works displayed around the country - Boston, New York, and Chicago but never knew they were all brilliantly created by the same man who held up residence just a few hours from my home.
This was the perfect setting to welcome in the first day of Fall and I have a feeling we will be back again.