Even if you aren’t about to enroll for classes at Harvard or MIT, it’s good to find yourself in Massachusetts in the fall. As the calendar turns to October, New England’s leaves burst into oranges and reds to paint the very settings Robert Frost once captured in his 1914 poetry collection, “North of Boston.” These include places like Apex Orchards in Shelburne, where people come from all over the state to pick apples each year, and Flax Pond Farms in Carver, with its cranberry bogs and antique harvesting equipment. Autumn is also an ideal time to visit Minute Man National Historical Park and Concord's North Bridge, the site of the "shot heard 'round the world" that signaled the outbreak of the American Revolution.
Any Massachusetts guide will lead straight through urban Boston, where Revolutionary history is so dense you can literally walk through it. The path most wandered is the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail, which connects 16 sites of historic note. Those who follow the red bricks through Charlestown will cross the Charles River to downtown Boston, stopping along the way to board the USS Constitution, climb to the Bunker Hill Monument, and pay their respects to Revolutionary leaders at the Granary Burying Ground.
There are also plenty of things to do in Western Massachusetts, where Springfield plays home to a different kind of history. This is where James Naismith invented basketball in 1891. This distinction made the city a natural choice to host the Basketball Hall of Fame, where visitors can view three floors of exhibits and sink three-pointers on an old-fashioned peach basket rim.
Some, however, would still argue that the state's greatest sports landmark is Boston's Fenway Park. Red Sox line drives have been bouncing off the Green Monster since 1912, making Fenway the oldest stadium in baseball and one of the holiest places in a town with its share of cathedrals.