Colonial History — Southern Tour
Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island
New England Colonial History: Birthplace of America
When the Pilgrim Fathers sailed into Cape Cod Bay in 1620, they blazed a trail that was followed by thousands of European settlers ready to start a new life in the New World. New England is just one large, easy-to-read history book about the birth of the United States. Discover New England colonial history through this special driving tour. See also: Colonial History (Northern Tour)
- Boston, Massachusetts: The Freedom Trail
Boston is at the heart of America’s history. Follow the Freedom Trail, the 2.5 mile walking route that links 16 major sites, from the Old State House and Faneuil Hall to Paul Revere’s home, the oldest in the city (built 1680) and USS Constitution, launched in 1797 and still the oldest warship afloat.
- Boston, Massachusetts: Museum of African American History
By 1705, there were more than 400 slaves in Boston and the beginnings of a free black community in the North End. Step inside the African Meeting House and the Abiel Smith School (the first public school built for black children) and walk the the Black Heritage Trail® to learn the history of New England's involvement in the slave trade and the growth of Boston's African American community.
- Lexington & Concord, Massachusetts: The shots heard 'round the world
The American Revolution began in these neighboring towns northwest of Boston, in April 1775. Discover why at the Minute Man National Historical Park. Then see where the Colonial farmers confronted the British Redcoats on Lexington’s Battle Green and Concord’s North Bridge: the first skirmishes of the battle for independence.
- Quincy, Massachusetts: The Adams Family
The first political dynasty in the USA was the Adams family. John followed George Washington as president; his son, John Quincy, was number six. The Adams National Historical Park includes their homes and the United First Parish Church where they, and their wives, are buried.
- Plymouth, Massachusetts: Pilgrim’s progress
To see how difficult life was for the Pilgrims, visit Mayflower II and Plimoth Plantation. On the ship, interpreters tell it like it was for the 102 men, women and children on the 66-day voyage in 1620. At the Plantation, the ‘pilgrims’ tend crops, prepare food and exchange gossip, just as villagers did back in 1627.
- Newport, Rhode Island: Colonial times
As well as magnificent mansions, Newport has a Colonial past. Learn all about it in the Museum of Newport History, then stroll past the country’s oldest synagogue and the Old Colony House — where Rhode Island was the first colony to declare independence. It all looks like a ready-made film set for an 18th-19th century costume drama.
- Providence, Rhode Island: 'Mile of History'
Religious tolerance was the cornerstone of Rhode Island, but its fortunes were made from international trade. See how the money was spent at Brown University (1764) and the John Brown House (1786). Benefit Street is known as the ‘Mile of History’ for the wealth of 18th-19th century buildings.
- Mashantucket, Connecticut: Native Americans
Long before the Europeans arrived, Native Americans were in New England. The wide-ranging Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center shows what tribal life was like, from the replica ocean-going canoes to the recreation of a 16th century village. Hear songs and stories; learn about food and medicines. One of the largest and best of its kind in the USA.
- Hartford, Connecticut: America’s oldest state house
Hartford is one of the oldest cities in the country (1636), with the oldest state house in the new United States (1796). Take a tour to see the famous portrait of George Washington and hear how Connecticut got — and kept — its royal charter.
- Deerfield, Massachusetts: Historic homes
Historic Deerfield provides a window into life as it was lived from 1650-1850. Of the 65 Colonial and 19th century houses on The Street, 13 are open to the public. Some have locally made furnishings, others display imported luxuries such as European wallpaper and china shipped all the way from the Orient.
- Colonial History (Northern Tour)
- New England Activities: History & Heritage
- New England Activities: Living History Museums
For more information on history & heritage sites in each state:
- Connecticut History & Heritage Sites
- Maine History & Heritage Sites
- Massachusetts History & Heritage Sites
- New Hampshire History & Heritage Sites
- Rhode Island History & Heritage Sites
- Vermont History & Heritage Sites
Other useful New England history travel links: