03 MAR 2014: Massachusetts recently hosted a media luncheon with various partners from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism at the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel, in Toronto. Prior to lunch there was a mini marketplace that showcased some of the Commonwealth's famous areas and attractions - places where your clients could make some priceless memories.


Rosalyn Hunter of Vox International, which represents the State locally, was on hand and she and her Massachusetts colleagues had lots of news and information.

Statistics Canada reports approximately 691,000 Canadians travelled to Massachusetts in 2012. The top three markets are:

Quebec: 295,500
Ontario: 232,600
Atlantic Canada: 108,100

Why the priceless memories?

Because it has 1,500 plus miles of stunning shoreline, picturesque islands like Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket not to mention cities big on history and culture. Then there is the outdoor action, plenty of it.

Lesley White, manager for international marketing at The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, tells me the value is there and it’s a ‘one stop shop destination.’ To boot Massachusetts has less tax. “We have 6.25 percent tax.”

Plymouth County

Paul Cripps did what any passionate person who loves history does – he started from the ground up as a costumed interpreter at the Plimoth Plantation, did some other stints within the organization and now as executive director of the Plymouth County Convention and Visitors Bureau is arguably ready to do the biggest role in his life: host the 400th anniversary of Plymouth in 2020.

“It’s the beginning of New England – it’s where the pilgrims landed and settled and New England begins,” he says describing the area that is now in early stages setting the groundwork for this milestone anniversary.

A hub of fun and learning discover coastal towns, a whaling tradition and of course the ‘lhaaw-bstah.’ “We’re the second largest lobster port in Massachusetts so it’s one of those places where it gets caught, goes right to the dock, heads to the restaurant and right to your plate.”

Forty-five minutes south of Boston and another 30 minutes before you cross into the Cape, Paul says, “We’re very much steeped in history because how do you not be? Even if we didn’t want to be we’d still be. We have the Pilgrim story, the Wampanoag homesite, the Pilgrim village, the Mayflower II a replica of the ship that brought the pilgrims but we also have the largest whale watching fleet in Massachusetts, the Captain John Boats.”

Boston


Clients have plenty of options. Remember the Big Dig? It was the city’s heavily trafficked highway that once upon a time sliced through downtown but is now buried.

Stacy Shreffler, tourism sales manager from the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau explains with the removal of the elevated highway a whole list of winning scenarios has resulted.

Agents can send clients there assured they will get to their accommodations in an easy fashion. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority MBTA has free shuttle service from Boston Logan Airport to the South Station called the T using the Silver Line. “It frees up traffic at the airport. You step out of the airport, get a free transfer and in fifteen minutes arrive to South Station where you can connect for free to our subway station or if your hotel is nearby its within walking distance,” she says about one of the post-Dig innovations.

Northwest Massachusetts

Home to an ancient Native American trail system plus parks and quaint towns, this chunk could certainly satisfy culture seekers and the outdoorsy types. Peter Tomyl, president of the Mohawk Trail Association explains how this once heavily used road by the Native Americans today is laden with cultural and outdoor activities.

“The state is going to be putting together a whole Native American trail system,” he mentions.

Head to Williamstown, home of The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute aka “The Clark.”

This gem opened in the fifties thanks to the Clarks who were big art lovers. They collected countless Monets, Sargents and other masterpieces that outgrew their household so like any moneyed collector they built a gallery. In September expect to find a monumental gathering of true Americana under one roof at the Clark: the Magna Carta on loan from the UK and “even huger” says Peter, the US Constitution and the letter of independence. “And it’s free admission,” he remarks.

Berkshires


Upscale, chi-chi find the finest heritage properties with some lauding the best gardens and as Laura Wolf, director of member services with the Berkshire Visitors Bureau sums it up, “Lovely towns that are short stops from one another.”

The garden crowd will 'ooh and ahh' at the Edith Wharton home known as the Mount with its manicured grounds. This house museum has relaxed rules she says that “allow writers in residence and the interior changes unlike typical museums.” Expect temporary exhibitions with themed decor and possibly the next up and coming Edith Wharton waiting in the wings.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra likes to let their hair down and summer in Tanglewood. It sounds like the food scene is definitely robust too. Laura raves how a few local chefs now venture to New York City for a dinner soiree dubbed “The Berkshire Cure” at the James Beard House. “We have a fabulous restaurant scene,” she says.

Cape Cod

The vacation stomping ground of the Kennedys is home to Hyannis Port, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and all the other picture-pretty places. Michele Pecoraro, vice president of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau says artists have been honing in on the area for centuries.

“We’re a big arts community. Provincetown which is at the tip is the oldest artist enclave in the US and it’s still thriving.” Thoreau is known to have mentioned Cape Cod in several writings. Clients big on the arts will enjoy the Art’s Dune Tours for soaring views of the sea. “It’s the only tour that is allowed to drive on the dunes,” she notes.

For seashore it’s everywhere. The region boasts 560 miles of coastline and from tip to tip it’s 77 miles which makes for a great road trip. President Kennedy loved the Cape Cod seashore so much as a young senator he sponsored a bill to protect a sandy chunk of it now known as the Cape Cod National Seashore. “As president he signed it into law. It’s the only time that’s happened in history,” she explains adding “it is the first national seashore park in the US signed by President Kennedy.”

The Massachusetts seashore is the primer...and one of the priceless memories.


author

Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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