New England’s City of Presidents

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Birthplace of US President John Quincy Adams

Image via Wikipedia

I make a point of visiting as many historic locations as I can. I’ve been to the Roman Coliseum, I’ve stood at the base of the Eiffel Tower, I’ve marveled at Big Ben and the Tower of London, and I had my picture taken next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I’ve been to the Pirate House in Savannah, I’ve walked the ancient streets of St. Augustine, and I’ve been awed by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

One place on my must-see list is New England. The farthest I’ve traveled up the east coast in New York City, and I’d love to visit the Boston area. The city fascinates me – the history, the architecture, the legends. I’ve always wanted to stand on the shore and see the boats dotting the harbor and stroll along streets with the ghosts of history. There are so many famous locations in Boston: the Freedom Trail, the Paul Revere House, Faneuil Hall … and of course, Boston Common.

The cities and towns surrounding Boston are equally intriguing: Chelsea, Cambridge, Medford, and Quincy. I’m especially drawn to Quincy, a coastal town and the birthplace of the second and sixth US Presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams. It is also the birthplace of statesman John Hancock. Quincy is part of the South Shore region, which extends from Boston to Cape Cod.

Part of the attraction of Quincy is its 27 miles of beautiful coastline. Wollaston Beach is the largest beach, perfect for beachcombing, swimming, or enjoying a volleyball game. Other beaches include Avalon Beach, Nickerson Beach, and Baker Beach. The beaches are great for walking the trails, swimming, and picnicking.

But while the beach is a definite draw, it is the history that makes Quincy special, and it is evident in the narrow streets lined with historical architecture, a picture-perfect downtown with quaint shops and period lighting, and its museums and landmarks.

In 1625, a group of colonists led by Thomas Morton settled an area of present-day Quincy and called it Mare Mount. Morton wasn’t the typical English settler – he wasn’t a Puritan and he enjoyed having a good time. Perhaps he enjoyed a good time a little too much, because the neighboring colony of Puritans were scandalized by his antics – one of which involved a Maypole celebration. Morton complained about the Puritan ways, stating that the Puritans were going to make his settlement a “woeful” mount instead of a “merry” mount. When more Puritans arrived to the Boston area, they arrested and deported Morton and the Mare Mount colony was dissolved.

Taking Morton’s words to heart, this section of present-day Quincy is called “Merrymount.” Today’s Merrymount (which was owned by the Adams family for many years) is a beautiful residential neighborhood along Quincy Bay. Because it was private property for so long, the homes here are relatively new; but visitors can still imagine the ghosts of those fun-loving colonists dancing around a Maypole.

Adams National Historical Park contains the oldest birthplace of a US President: the home where John Adams, the second president, was born. There are three historic homes and a library to visit, and a trolley takes visitors from the visitor’s center to each of the sites. The park celebrates the history of the Adams family from 1720 until 1927 and is the location of several special events. Other Quincy attractions include the Thomas Crane Public Library, the Josiah Quincy House, and the Hancock Cemetery – the first burial ground established during the colonial period.

Since Quincy is part of the Boston metro area, it is well-connected – hop on the subway and be in downtown Boston in minutes. There are four subway stops in Quincy on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) line, known as “The T.”

If you make it to the Boston area for a visit (or if you are planning to move to the Boston area), check out the unique seaside town of Quincy. With over 100 historic sites and miles of coastline, it is a location that shouldn’t be missed.