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There are few things better than fall in New England. Between the cool crisp air, the changing hues of falling leaves and the promise of apple cider donuts right around the corner, it is, by far, my favorite time of the year.
So, once the summer begins to come to an end, I always look for day trips to take outside the Boston area that will give me a great view of the foliage and allow me to travel along some of those sleepy New England back roads, camera in hand.
I was pleasantly surprised to come across the Fruitlands Museum on one recent day trip. I had discovered the Fruitlands Museum when perusing the listings on the Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Fridays, an event that takes place each summer offering free admission to some of Massachusetts best educational programs and museums.
If you are looking for an interactive museum that offers exhibits on a number of different topics, the Fruitlands Museum is a great spot. Unlike your typical museum, this is actually a national historical site that features a number of different buildings set on 90 acres of grassy hillside in the quiet hamlet of Harvard, Massachusetts.
The site has a very interesting history. It was originally set up in the early 1840s as a utopian community that was based on the ideas of Transcendentalism as practiced by the Alcotts, Emerson and Thoreau. The community failed shortly thereafter, but it was later purchased in the early 1900s by Clara Endicott Sears, who wanted to preserve the land and buildings as they were.
All of that means that the grounds are really beautiful and interesting. The sites offer varied exhibits from local Native American pottery to an incredible series of authentic Shaker artifacts. The Fruitlands also has an artist in residence program, which showcases all sorts of different pieces that range from landscape paintings to mixed media and metalwork.
Beyond the museum exhibits themselves, I really enjoyed wandering the grounds of the Fruitlands. There are a number of well-marked trails around the grounds that allow you to easily go for a mini hike and take some great pictures. I saw a number of families while I was there as well, so there is no doubt that Fruitlands is also great for kids, too.
As the seasons begin to change and you start to look for a great place to spend an afternoon away from the city, really consider the Fruitlands, a perfect spot for to visit during a traditional New England fall.
You can find the Blue Hills Reservation Headquarters off both 495 and Route 2 at 102 Prospect Hill Rd, Harvard, MA 01451.
Liz Froment is the founder of Two Weeks to Travel, a site dedicated to helping 9-5ers find and plan their vacations. The blog offers vacation inspiration, tips and tricks to get you ready to travel. You can also find her tweeting @LFroment.