• Fort Knox, Maine
    Fort Knox
    Prospect, Maine

Colonial History — Northern Tour

New Hampshire, Maine & Massachusetts

See also: Colonial History (Southern Tour)

  1. Charlestown, New Hampshire: Families on the frontier
    From the 1740s to 1760s, the Fort at No. 4 was the northern frontier of the British colonies. Instead of a military outpost, this was a family settlement, fortified against raids by the French and Indians. Take a guided tour of the reconstructed fort; on special weekends, watch spinning, open hearth cooking and blacksmiths at work.
  2. Concord, New Hampshire: New Hampshire’s past
    Displays at the Museum of New Hampshire History begin way before the state was settled by Europeans. Alongside Native American artifacts are tributes to early heroes such as Loyalist inventor Benjamin Thompson and the rural masterpieces made by Scots-Irish cabinetmakers.
  3. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Strawbery Banke Museum
    Founded in 1630, Portsmouth has long been an important seaport. The ‘Father of the US Navy,’ John Paul Jones, lived here during the Revolution to oversee the construction of two warships. At Strawbery Banke, an open air museum with some 40 historic buildings, you can see ‘how they lived’ from 1695 to the 1950s.
  4. Side trip to Portland, Maine: Portland
    In 1775, when this major port was still known as Falmouth, it was virtually destroyed by British warships. Rebuilt and renamed, its seafaring and commerce continued. Across the harbor on Cape Elizabeth, the photogenic Portland Head Light is the oldest lighthouse in Maine, dating from 1791.
  5. Exeter, New Hampshire: Once a capital
    During the Revolution, this hotbed of patriotism served as the capital of New Hampshire, replacing Portsmouth, where Tory sentiment was strong. Across the river from the Town Hall and Congregational Church is the tiny powder house, a military storehouse built in 1771 but also used for supplies in the War of 1812.
  6. Newburyport, Massachusetts: Shipbuilding
    Founded in 1636, this shipbuilding town is an architectural digest of styles: Colonial, early 19th century Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian. In the 1835 Custom House, the Maritime Museum charts the importance of this site on the Merrimack River, while the Cushing House shows how luxurious a wealthy merchant’s home could be.
  7. Salem, Massachusetts: Witches and sea captains
    Famous for its 17th century witch trials (learn all about it at the Salem Witch Museum), this was one of the country’s wealthiest ports in the 18th century and early 19th century. Stroll past fine homes built on the profits of trade, then see the ‘souvenirs’ brought back by sea captains in the outstanding Peabody Essex Museum.

    See also:

For more information on history & heritage sites in each state:

Boston Freedom Trail guided tours – Boston, Massachusetts Credit: Freedom Trail Foundation Map this photo

Colonial History II (southern tour)

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)
  1. Boston, MA: 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.
  2. Lexington & Concord, MA: 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.
  3. Quincy, MA: 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.
  4. Plymouth, MA: 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.
  5. Newport, RI: 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 18-19thC costume drama.
  6. Providence, RI: `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-19thC buildings.
  7. Mashantucket, CT: 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 16thC village. Hear songs and stories; learn about food and medicines. One of the largest and best of its kind in the USA.
  8. Hartford, CT: America’s Oldest State House 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.
  9. Deerfield, MA: Historic homes Historic Deerfield provides a window into life as it was lived from 1650-1850. Of the 65 Colonial and 19thC 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.

See also: For more information on history & heritage sites in each state: Other useful New England history travel links: