In the Bay State, getting outside is often associated with heroic moments, such as Paul Revere’s heroic “midnight ride” of April 18, 1775 to raise the alarm that British forces were on the move. Last month, the New England Patriots’ sensational comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI brought the faithful out in droves across the state and region. Tens of thousands of fans then lined Boston’s streets in the rain and snow for the championship parade, with the team—some going shirtless—riding in the amphibious duck boats normally used for visitor and group tours.
Marshalling the troops to get outside and experience all the outdoor bounty Massachusetts has to offer is a rallying cry for groups, too, with multi-category rewards in every scenic corner.
For groups convening in Boston and Cambridge, venturing north of the city into Essex County and the Merrimack Valley, or caravanning to Cape Cod, the state’s Atlantic-lapped eastern reaches teem with outdoor adventures.
Founded by the late sea-loving Matthew “Matty” Hughes, Boston Harbor Cruises is the nation’s largest private operator of passenger vessels. With departures from Long Wharf, right by the New England Aquarium, group options include narrated history and other educational tours of Boston’s inner and outer harbors, whale-watching excursions and high-adrenaline rides aboard the Codzilla powerboat. The company can also cater functions for up to 230 people on one of a trio of premier charter vessels.
Corporate groups can book the three-masted schooner Thomas E. Lannon up in Gloucester, America’s oldest fishing port, for excursions past lighthouses, castles and Gloucester’s historic working waterfront.
One of 116 properties across the state managed by the venerable Trustees of Reservations, the Crane Estate in nearby Ipswich offers a regal appointment for guided tours and executive retreats, social functions, weddings and more. Set on more than 2,100 acres, the property, dating to 1928, incorporates Castle Hill, a National Historic Landmark crowned by the 59-room, Stuart-style Great House; popular summer destination Crane Beach; and the Crane Wildlife Refuge, protecting many rare plant and animal species. Also available is the award-winning 10-room Inn at Castle Hill for overnight stays.
With its distinctive U-shaped curl, legendary Cape Cod, unfurling some 75 miles east of Boston, and the famed islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, are national outdoor treasures.
Considered one of the world’s Top 10 destinations for whale-watching, paddleboarding, kayaking and windsurfing, the Cape is also for golfers, with some 50 courses between Plymouth on the mainland and Provincetown at the Cape’s easternmost tip.
Protected today as part of Cape Cod National Seashore Park, the great Outer Beach inspired Henry David Thoreau to write in the 1800s, “A man may stand there and put all America behind him.” Established in 1946, Provincetown-based Art’s Dune Tours is a popular option for inspiring off-road tours of the park, a natural wonder comprising some 40 miles of pristine sandy beaches, marshes, wild cranberry bogs, lighthouses and more.
Anchored by Worcester and featuring distinct draws like the picturesque Blackstone Valley, the state’s central core offers everything from agritourism to winter sports.
Known as “The Heart of the Commonwealth” for its central location in the state, Worcester, along with its environs, is New England’s second-largest city. Located atop one of Worcester’s seven main hills, 480-acre Green Hill Park features a par-72, 18-hole municipal golf course and pub-style Grill on the Hill restaurant, with outdoor patio seating and event space for up to 75 people. South of the city, not far from the Douglas State Forest, 500-acre Whittier Farms is home to 275 dairy cows and regularly hosts public farm tours and special events to promote agriculture education.