Colonial Settlements, Maritime Adventures and Centuries of American Growth
The Essex National Heritage Area begins just 10 miles north of Boston and covers 500 square miles of eastern Massachusetts to the New Hampshire border. The Area includes hundreds of historical sites, miles of intact landscapes, glistening coastal regions and lifetimes of rich experiences that chronicle the history of our region and of our nation.
“A man may stand there and put all America behind him.” Henry David Thoreau
The great Outer Beach described by Thoreau in the 1800s is protected within the national seashore. Forty miles of pristine sandy beach, marshes, ponds, and uplands support diverse species. Lighthouses, cultural landscapes, and wild cranberry bogs offer a glimpse of Cape Cod’s past and continuing ways of life. Swimming beaches and walking and biking trails beckon today’s visitors.
“I gave out the psalm and they have been singing to the tune ever since.” – Samuel Slater
The Blackstone River powered America’s entry into the Age of Industry. The success of Samuel Slater’s cotton spinning mill in Pawtucket, RI touched off a chain reaction that changed how people worked and where they lived, and continues to reverberate across the nation to this day. Come visit and see how this revolution transformed the landscape of the Blackstone Valley and then the United States.
The Route to Victory
In 1781, General Rochambeau’s French Army joined forces with General Washington’s Continental Army to fight the British Army in Yorktown, Virginia. With the French Navy in support, the allied armies moved hundreds of miles to become the largest troop movement of the American Revolution. The effort and cooperation between the two sides led to a victory at Yorktown and secured American independence.
Hike, bike, ride and paddle the Potomac Heritage network of trails
Linking the Potomac and upper Ohio river basins, the Potomac Heritage Trail network follows the paths explored by George Washington. You can follow the same routes today—on foot, bicycle, horse and by boat—exploring contrasting landscapes between the Chesapeake Bay and the Allegheny Plateau.