Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two In Rhode Island vs Massachusetts vs New Hampshire

Edited by Kathy McGraw, Maria, Alma

When it comes to American history, the New England states have got a lot of it, since, from the time the pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, they have played an important role in shaping the fledgling nation. From the first colony in Plymouth to the wild ride of Paul Revere toward Lexington, all of that history is contained here. We discussed historical sites in Maine, Connecticut, and Vermont in this article, and now, we turn to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Was this helpful? Yes | No
Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 74017.jpg
Ad

Method 1: In Rhode Island

Rhode Island is one of the original 13 Colonies that made up the United States during Colonial times and the War for Independence. Known for its stance on religious freedom, you'll find many old churches in the state, and it is also where many of the rich industrialists built summer homes for themselves and their families during the Gilded Age.

Was this helpful? Yes | No
  1. 1
    Chepachet Village Historic District, Glocester
    .
    Chepachet Village remains Glocester's town center and includes many historic buildings that date back to colonial and pre-colonial times. During the Revolutionary War, the town served as a haven for loyalists from Newport. If you're there during the 4th of July, you can see the Ancient and Horribles parade, which has been an annual tradition there since 1926.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 84639.jpg
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  2. 2
    Fort Adams, Newport
    .
    Fort Adams operated as a fort from 1799 to 1945 and held a garrison of as many as 2,400 soldiers. It has three tiers of gun batteries protected Narragansett Bay from invaders and offers a 360-degree view of Newport Harbor and the Bay's East Passage. Historical tours of the fort are offered during which you can learn about its role in U.S. history.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 87291.jpg
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  3. 3
    The Great Friends Meeting House, Newport
    .
    The Great Friends Meeting House was built in 1699 and represents one of the oldest buildings in the state. Its plain design illustrates the Quakers' disdain for things ornate and decadent and their embrace of simplicity.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  4. 4
    Slater Mill, Pawtucket
    .
    Slater Mill is famous for being the first cotton-spinning mill that was powered by water in North America. Samuel Slater built the mill with his partner, Moses Brown, in 1793. It is still operable, and through demonstrations, you can see how it used to function, as well as learn about its history.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 92638.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  5. 5
    Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, Lincoln
    .
    The art of blacksmithing is preserved in this shop, which was started by William Hannaway in 1880. You can see live demonstrations of blacksmithing techniques every Saturday and Sunday.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  6. 6
    The Arcade, Providence
    .
    No, it's not an arcade in the modern sense of the word, but it is the oldest indoor shopping mall in the United States. The building was constructed in 1828, and although it closed down for a few years, it has now reopened with a similar collection of shops as it had back in the day.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 76087.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  7. 7
    The Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum, Saunderstown
    .
    Gilbert Stuart was a noted portraitist in colonial America. What was perhaps his most famous piece appears on the U.S. one-dollar bill: a portrait of General George Washington, the first President of the United States. The property also contains a working snuff mill.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 31546.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  8. 8
    Southeast Light, Block Island
    .
    One of America's most beautiful lighthouses, the Southeast Light was constructed in 1897 and through preservation efforts, remains in good condition today. The lighthouse is open to visitors from the end of May to the beginning of October, and as staffing permits, guided tours are offered during which you can learn about the history of the lighthouse.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 45709.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  9. 9
    The Breakers, Newport
    .
    Cornelius Vanderbilt had this beautiful mansion on the sea built in 1893, and it remains a spectacular representation of the wealth that industrialists like him amassed during the Gilded Age. The mansion remains in the Vanderbilt family, and some of his descendants still occupy one of its floors.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 16234.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  10. 10
    Pawtuxet Village Historic District, Cranston, and Warwick
    .
    It was in this area that English settlers, including founder Roger Williams and his followers, staked a claim. The Historic District contains many colonial homes and buildings, carefully preserved so that you can see a slice of what life was like during colonial times. The area is also known for striking early blows against the British in the lead-up to the Revolutionary War: Patriots sacked and burned the British schooner HMS Gaspee. Go in early June to experience the annual Gaspee Days Parade, which celebrates that famous event.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  11. 11
    The Rhode Island State House, Providence
    .
    The Rhode Island State House was built in 1895 and contains one of the world's largest unsupported marble domes. When you walk inside and look up, your breath will be taken away by the beauty of the workmanship, much of it a lost art today. It also contains the 350-year-old charter that established Rhode Island as a colony.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 12822.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  12. 12
    Marble House, Newport
    .
    Nearby the Breakers, the Marble House was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt's younger brother, William. William gave it as a present for his wife, Alva's 39th birthday, and like the Breakers, it is an example of the massive wealth the titans of industry hoarded for themselves during the Gilded Age.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  13. 13
    Touro Synagogue, Newport
    .
    Rhode Island has always been known as a bastion of religious freedom, and for this reason, people of many faiths and denominations settled there, including Jews. Descendants of the Jewish immigrants that first came over in the 17th century built their own synagogue in 1763, where it remains as the oldest surviving synagogue in the United States.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 18233.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  14. 14
    Whitehorse Tavern, Newport
    .
    Whitehorse Tavern is the oldest tavern still in use in the United States. Built in 1652 and converted into a tavern in 1673, it was a place where colonial men and women could gather over food and drink, or where a weary traveler could stop for a meal on the road. The tavern is still in operation today, so stop by for a bite to eat during your travels and for an authentic colonial experience.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  15. 15
    Major-General Nathanael Greene Homestead, Coventry
    .
    Nathanael Greene was an ironsmith who built this house for his family in 1770. He lived there with his family and worked his iron forge until 1775 when he heard the call to arms. He rose through the ranks and was given command of the Southern Armies in 1780, and in 1783, gave his home to his brother Jacob Greene when he moved his family to Georgia. The house is carefully preserved in its colonial character and remains a fine example of life in 18th century America.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No

Method 2: In Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the site of the first English settlement in the New World and the birthplace of the American Revolution. From Plymouth Rock to Boston and its outskirts, trace the path of the early colonists and their descendants who openly fomented rebellion from the Crown.

Was this helpful? Yes | No
  1. 1
    Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge
    .
    Old Sturbridge Village is a living museum of early America in the 1830's. The village includes the original structures of the time that you can enter and explore as costumed actors perform demonstrations of the tasks that would have occupied the early 19th century townspeople.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 91660.jpg
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  2. 2
    Plymouth Rock, Plymouth
    .
    Purported to mark the spot where the original Mayflower passengers stepped off the boat in the New World, it's an actual rock inscribed with the date 1620, the year the Plymouth Colony was established. More American myth than fact, the story surrounding Plymouth Rock was first advanced by Thomas Faunce, who was 94 at the time and claimed that his grandfather, who had been a passenger on the Mayflower showed it to him. Plymouth Rock has endured as an American icon since that time.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 28076.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  3. 3
    USS Massachusetts, Fall River
    .
    The USS Massachusetts is one of the warships on display at the naval museum, Battleship Cove. She saw action during World War II in both the European and Pacific Theaters and was affectionately called "Big Mamie" by her crew. She was supposed to be scrapped for steel in 1962, but her crew got together enough money to have her moved to Fall River in 1965, where she has been ever since.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  4. 4
    The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum, Fall River
    .
    Lizzie Borden is the infamous girl who allegedly killed her father and stepmother with an ax in 1892. She was acquitted of both murders. The Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast is located in the house where the murders were committed. Tours of the house are conducted daily, and if you are a guest of the Bed & Breakfast, the tour is in the house. The Bed & Breakfast also has a resident psychic from whom you can request readings as well as ghost cams where you can try to spot the ghosts of Lizzie's alleged victims, or perhaps Lizzie herself!
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 77872.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  5. 5
    The Big E, West Springfield
    .
    The Big E is an annual event that begins in the middle of September and runs until the beginning of October. It is a gigantic fair, with music, dancing, and competitions in everything from farming to art. Each one of the original New England states has their own building where they exhibit vendors from their state as well as feature local cuisine. It's like your local fair on steroids.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 77134.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  6. 6
    The USS Constitution, Boston
    .
    Affectionately called "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution was one of the original frigates in the fledgling nation's navy, and it remains the nation's oldest commissioned warship. This venerable ship was victorious in all 40 battles in which it participated and is open for guided tours given by the men that still serve on her today.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 80302.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  7. 7
    Boston Tea Party Museum, Boston
    .
    The Boston Tea Party Museum commemorates the famed rebellious act of the Boston colonists during the march toward independence. Through an interactive tour led by actors in period costumes, you will board replicas of the British ships carrying tea to Boston and participate in the rebellion by dumping tea into the harbor. "No taxation without representation!"
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 78033.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  8. 8
    Boston Massacre site, Boston
    .
    The site, located at State and Congress Streets, marks the spot where eight British soldiers, under the command of Captain Preston, were involved in a scuffle with the colonists during which they fired upon the rowdy crowd that had surrounded them. Five colonists were killed in the altercation, and the Sons of Liberty used the incident in pro-rebel propaganda that was widely circulated throughout the colonies and was one of the lynchpins that started the War for Independence.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 59300.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  9. 9
    George Washington Statue, Boston
    .
    The iconic statue of one of America's founding fathers and its first President resides at Beacon Hill Park among the greenery and flowers. He sits atop his prancing horse, wearing his tricorne hat, looking very commanding and noble.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 15370.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  10. 10
    Paul Revere House, Boston
    .
    Situated along Boston's Freedom Trail, a three-mile path along which many important buildings and sites of Boston's colonial and Revolutionary War history lie is the home of Paul Revere. Revere was a silversmith of some renown and Revolutionary War notable who famously rode through the streets toward Lexington and Concord on April 18, 1775, shouting "the British are coming!" The home was built circa 1680 and is one of the oldest structures in Boston.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 67725.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  11. 11
    Minute Man National Historical Park, Concord
    .
    Walk the same path that the British Regulars took, including the North Bridge, as they marched on Lexington and Concord in 1775. See the statue of Minuteman Daniel Chester French on the other side of the bridge and continue on to the Battle Green where the Minutemen engaged the British forces on April 19, 1775, that launched the Revolutionary War, with the "shot heard around the world."
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  12. 12
    Bunker Hill Monument, Boston
    .
    A 221-foot obelisk has been erected at the site of an early battle between the British and the American rebels. Although it is called the "Bunker Hill Monument," it is located atop Breed's Hill, which is the site of the actual fighting. If you visit the site in June, you can witness the annual firing of muskets to commemorate the event.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  13. 13
    Fanueil Hall, Boston
    .
    Gifted to the city by Peter Faneuil, a noted Boston merchant, the Hall was built in 1742, and since that time has had a lively history as a marketplace and a place for Bostonians to gather. During colonial times, it was used for protests of grievances against the crown, and in the 19th century acted as a spot for abolitionists to rail against the evils of slavery. Today it remains a lively marketplace, with merchants hawking their goods in a similar fashion to their forebears.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 80070.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  14. 14
    Plimoth Plantation and Mayflower II, Plymouth
    .
    After you visit Plymouth Rock, head over to this rendition of what life was like for the Pilgrims who established the first English colony in America. "Costumed interpreters" go through the daily tasks that would have occupied the pilgrims as they struggled to make a new home for themselves in this new land. The actors remain in character at all times, lending authenticity to the whole affair. Also, docked at Plymouth Pier is the Mayflower II, a replica of the Mayflower where more costumed actors re-enact the historic voyage and landing.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 76218.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  15. 15
    House of the Seven Gables, Salem
    .
    The House of the Seven Gables was constructed in 1668 and ranks among the oldest wood-frame houses in North America. It was the setting of novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 classic, "The House of The Seven Gables." The home is a museum today and open to the public as an example of early colonial architecture.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 52403.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No

Method 3: In New Hampshire

New Hampshire has a rich history starting with early settlements in Colonial America and progressing through the Industrial Revolution. See opulent mansions and quaint villages where the way of life has been preserved for posterity. Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods. The Mount Washington Hotel is an elegant example of late 19th and early 20th Century architecture. It was built by coal magnate Joseph Stickney between 1900 and 1902 when it opened its doors. Although it has changed hands over the years, the hotel is still in operation and was designated a historic landmark in 1986.

Was this helpful? Yes | No
  1. 1
    USS Albacore, Portsmouth
    .
    The USS Albacore was a research submarine that tested state-of-the-art technology when she was active. The Albacore was retired in 1972 and now sits in a "ditch." in Portsmouth. She is open to the public for self- guided tours through her innards, where you can see what life was like for the 55 submariners who lived aboard her while at sea.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 80706.jpg
    Advertisement
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  2. 2
    Strawbery Banke Museum, Portsmouth
    .
    Settled in 1623, Strawbery Banke was the beginnings of what is now Portsmouth. It is a unique take on illustrating history since it portrays the neighborhood as it changed over the years and centuries since its inception. From old 17th century homes to homes from the 1950's, it shows the progression of American culture through architecture and home decoration. Actors dressed in period costumes are on hand to give demonstrations on crafts, cooking, and more through the centuries.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 63877.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  3. 3
    Mount Washington Cog Railway, Bretton Woods
    .
    The Mount Washington Cog Railway opened in 1869 for the purpose of ferrying passengers up the steep slopes of Mount Washington from the Valley below. It's the only cog railway in the eastern United States and has been in operation for 148 years. The trip up the mountain takes three hours, during which you will be treated to a history lesson on the railway and the surrounding area.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 62429.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  4. 4
    Shaker Museum, Canterbury
    .
    The Shakers were a religious sect that arose in England during the 18th century and seeking religious freedom to practice their faith, some of its adherents settled in America. The Shakers were pacifists, similar to the Quakers, and were best known for the plain and simple furniture and cabinetry they made. The Shaker Museum features 25 Shaker buildings, some original, and some restored, which you can tour on your own or with a guide.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  5. 5
    Harrisville Historic District, Harrisville
    .
    As the Industrial Revolution began in the latter years of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, towns like Harrisville began to grow and flourish around the textile mills that drove their local economies. The Harrisville Historic District sits frozen in time, commemorating its way of life before the Civil War. Its rural setting, free of highways and urban sprawl, has helped it to maintain its charm.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  6. 6
    Franklin Pierce Homestead, Hillsborough
    .
    Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States, grew up in this house in 1800's New Hampshire. Learn about his early life, how he grew up, and what propelled him into politics, as well as get a good example of what life was like in 19th century America.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  7. 7
    America's Stonehenge, Salem
    .
    Like its English counterpart, America's Stonehenge was built by a mysterious people with advanced knowledge of astronomy and engineering. It is the oldest man-made structure in the United States, dating back some 4,000 years and is an accurate astronomical calendar. And here's the really freaky thing about it: it has scripts inscribed all over that include Phoenician and Iberian Punic Script.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 85382.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  8. 8
    Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough
    .
    Situated high upon the Ossipee Mountain range is this beautiful estate that was built by shoe magnate Tom Plant. It was constructed in 1913 to 1914 and represents the Arts and Crafts architecture style of New England in the early 20th century. The home is carefully preserved, just as its owners kept it, and is open to the public for touring.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  9. 9
    The Fort at No 4 Living History Museum, Charlestown
    .
    Part of the land grant system established by Massachusetts, settlers seeking yet more opportunity and freedom proceeded west into the inland valleys of New Hampshire. The settlement was created in 1740, and facing troubles from both French settlers and the native tribes that were understandably unhappy at their encroachment, the English settlers built a fort in around 1746. The fort was also a key defense during the French and Indian War of the 1750's. Today, actors in costume garb portray what life was like for these pioneering settlers in and around the carefully preserved buildings that make up the museum.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  10. 10
    The Gundalow Company, Portsmouth
    .
    Set sail on a replica gundalow, which is a shallow-drafted barge for ferrying cargo up and down the Piscataqua River. During the 1700's they evolved from ships with no decks to decked flat-bottomed boats with a single mast and sail.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 64496.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  11. 11
    Wentworth Coolidge Mansion, Portsmouth
    .
    This mansion was the home of the first Royal Governor of New Hampshire, Bennington Wentworth. He ruled as governor from 1741 to 1767, and shocked the local gentry by marrying his maid, a woman more than 30 years his junior. Enjoy a tour of the 40 room building and get an earful about the licentious Royal Governor and his predilections.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 22005.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  12. 12
    The Daniel Webster Birthplace, Franklin
    .
    Daniel Webster grew up on this 147-acre farm in the late 1700's. The house and the surrounding lands have been preserved to give an accurate portrayal of what Webster's life must have been like as a child.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 20138.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  13. 13
    Cathedral of the Pines, Rindge
    .
    After Sybil and Douglas Sloane III lost their son, Sanderson "Sandy" Sloane in World War II, they built the Cathedral of the Pines in 1945 as an open-air memorial for him and other soldiers lost during that war. It has since come to memorialize soldiers lost while serving their country over the years. It is a place where everyone, regardless of their faith, can come to remember those that they have lost
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 45313.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  14. 14
    Isle of the Shoals, Portsmouth
    .
    Take a narrated tour of the river, harbor, and Star Island. Learn the history of the area, from the 1600's through today. Tales of pirates and ghostly sightings will chill you as you take a turn around the harbor and out to the island, where you can walk on the sand and the crab grass growing in the sand dunes and hillocks.
    Best Historical Sites in New England Part Two 82109.jpg
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
  15. 15
    Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm, Tamworth
    .
    This homestead is well over 200 years old and remains a working farm. Although the farm and the museum are open all year, Summer is an especially great time to visit because there are tours and other events and activities that celebrate the rich agricultural and animal husbandry legacy of the state.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No
    Advertisement

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.

Comments

VisiHow welcomes all comments. If you do not want to be anonymous, register or log in. It is free.

Article Info

Categories : Travel & Leisure

Recent edits by: Maria, Kathy McGraw

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 51 times.