Experience America Past & Present Along The Massachusetts Tavern Trail

Quincy Market, Boston

Quincy Market near Freedom Trail, Boston

Fall, Travel Back in Time by Stepping into America’s Oldest Taverns and Inns

What’s more inviting than taking a journey back in time to Revolutionary America, where people walked along cobblestone gas lit streets, and sipped a tankard of ale in front of a roaring fireplace in a softly lit tavern? Well, doing it in present day with all of the modern conveniences, and still experiencing the ambiance and charm of these historic taverns.

Massachusetts has dozens of fascinating inns and taverns capturing the spirit and flavor of long-ago Colonial America. From the Berkshires to Cape Cod, enjoy the brews and hearty food that reflect our nation’s rich history. This fall and winter, the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism invites you to follow the “tavern trail” throughout the Commonwealth.

“The Commonwealth has a rich and textured history that is seen through many of these inns and taverns,” said Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. “It’s easy to feel like you have gone back in time when you enter through the doors of these treasured places and experience the warm hospitality of a by-gone era.”

A few highlights include:

Greater Boston

Bell in Hand, Boston: Built in 1795 by Jimmy Wilson, Boston’s last Town Crier, this Boston favorite is America’s oldest continuously operating tavern. Located in historic Faneuil Hall, early Bell in Hand patrons included Daniel Webster and Paul Revere. They might not recognize the tavern today as one can enjoy tasty pub food and drinks in five different bars, featuring live bands, DJs and dancing.

North of Boston & Greater Merrimack Valley:

Wayside Inn, Sudbury: Set among rambling fields, tree-lined roads and quaint buildings, this cozy inn has been offering comfort and hospitality to travelers along the Boston Post Road since 1716. Immortalized in Longfellow’s sequence of poems, Tales of a Wayside Inn, its Old Bar is the perfect rest stop before dinner.

Colonial Inn, Concord: Landmarks of our nation’s literary and revolutionary history surround this charming inn. In 1775, one of the inn’s original buildings played a key role in what became the first battle of the American Revolution. Later in the 19th century, Henry David Thoreau and his family resided here. With its wooden beams and ancient floors, the Inn’s Village Forge Tavern, is a place to enjoy delectable food and potent potables. One visit will make you see why it was voted it one of the 1,000 Great Places in Massachusetts.

South of Boston

Barker Tavern, Scituate: Fully restored, 17th-century house and garrison is now one of New England’s finest dining establishments. Overlooking Scituate Harbor and located between Boston and Cape Cod, Barker’s offers patrons several choices: the traditional New England Dining Room and Eli’s Pub, a private nook with a polished mahogany bar, original artwork, and great food and drinks.

Scarlet Oak Tavern, Hingham: Located on Hingham’s quaint, historic Main Street, this warm and welcoming tavern in a 250-year old colonial house has been thoroughly restored and updated by award-winning designers. Enjoy a wonderful selection of wine and spirits emboldened by such tasty treats as lobster pizza and smoked-then-braised brisket sliders.

Cape and Islands

Old Yarmouth Inn, Yarmouth: Situated at the halfway point between Plymouth and Provincetown, the Old Yarmouth Inn has been welcoming visitors since 1696. The Inn’s Tavern, with its wood-paneled walls, polished bar, fireplace and bay windows make for a convivial and relaxing spot.

Barley Neck Inn, East Orleans: Nestled in an old sea captain’s home in the rural village of East Orleans on Cape Cod, the Barley Neck is home to Joe’s Beach Road Bar & Grill. Voted one of the top ten restaurants by Yankee Traveler magazine, Joe’s offers delectable fish chowders, entertainment and tons of local color.

Central Mass

Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield: Named for the witch-mark found on the front door-latch of the Inn—designed to protect inhabitants against evil spells and witchcraft—this remarkable example of Colonial restoration is set on 600 acres of rolling hills and woodlands. Dine on delicious New England fare such as Yankee pot roast, chicken potpie, Indian pudding, clam chowder and pecan pie before a roaring fireplace, served by waitresses attired in Colonial dress.

Vienna’s Inn, Southbridge: Graced by beautiful 200-year-old trees, this stunning early 19th-century inn offers New England charm with a Viennese twist. Specializing in Austrian, German and Hungarian cuisine, the inn’s dining rooms offer mouth-watering dishes such as Wiener schnitzel, Sweet Chicken Paprika, Beef Stroganoff, Tafelspitz or Sauerbraten.

Article provided by the bureau of tourism Boston, MA

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