Massachusetts Overview

The English Puritans sailed the Mayflower to Massachusetts, one of the 13 founding states of the United States, in 1620. Massachusetts is also known as the “cradle of American independence” because the Declaration of Independence was read here on July 18, 1776 from the balcony of the Old State House in Boston. The official nickname is Bay State.

Today Massachusetts is highly industrialized with electrical and electrotechnical manufacturing. The relatively small state (No. 45 of 50 states) nevertheless has 7 universities, one of which is the elite Harvard University.

In the east the land slopes gently towards the sea. According to petsinclude, the capital Boston and the beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore are located here, both areas separated by the Connecticut River Valley. In the west, the Berkshire Hills run through the state (Mt. Greylock with 1064 m). The largest city is Boston (over 610,000 residents), followed by Worcester (over 180,000 residents) and Springfield (over 150,000 residents).

Alcohol is prohibited under the age of 21.

The State Sales Tax is 5%; for hotel rooms is 5.7% (in Boston, Cambridge, Worcester, Chicopee, Springfield and West Springfield 8.45%) plus a local surcharge of up to 4%. Car rentals in Boston have a surcharge of $ 10.

Traffic rules

It is compulsory to wear seat belts. Children under 5 years of age or weighing up to 40 lbs. require a child safety seat. Turning right in spite of the red traffic light is generally allowed (right on red).

There is a blood alcohol limit of 0.8 when driving a car. If driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) is suspected, the laws in this state are applied very strictly (Massachusetts strictly enforces the drunk driving law), legal advice and representation should be considered in the event of suspicion.

Climate and Weather

New England’s climate is characterized by warm summers, pleasant, if unpredictable, spring and autumn, and extremely cold winters. Spring can be pleasantly warm during the day, while the nights stay cool. Black flies are very active in northern New England by late May and early June. The autumn days are mild, the nights cool. From mid-September and October, New England is characterized by the color of the leaves (Indian Summer). The winters are snowy.

Main sights

  • Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Salem

Salem, one of the oldest cities in America, is northeast of Boston on Massachusetts Bay. The well-tended historic quays and buildings in the port of Salem are well worth seeing. The “House of the Seven Gables”, scene of Hawthorne’s novel of the same name, is now a museum.

  • Cape Cod

This popular recreation area offers beaches, cruises, whale watching, windmills. From Woods Hole and Hyannis Port ( there are regular ferry connections to the offshore islands Martha’s Vineyard ( and Nantucket.
The “Cod Cape” Cape Cod is one of the most elite places on the east coast, a jet-set destination ideal for enjoying lobster and marveling at the summer homes of celebrities. Dirk Fuhrig describes Cape Cod in the “Welt am Sonntag” in the article “ The Cape of the Kennedys ”On 07/30/06.

  • Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth

An open-air museum on the theme of the Pilgrim Fathers, with residents dressed in contemporary clothes who carry out work from the 17th century (demonstrations of handicrafts and agricultural work). There is also a replica of the pilgrim ship from 1620, the Mayflower II (April to November daily 9 am to 5 pm, July and August until 7 pm).

  • Minuteman National Park, Concord

The park, 36 km northwest of Boston, was the site of the first American resistance against the British. Several writers lived here and their houses can be visited (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau and others).

Public Holidays

Banks and public buildings are closed on the following public holidays:

  • New Year’s Day- January 1
  • Martin Luther King Day- Third Monday in January
  • President’s Day-Third Monday in February
  • Evacuation Day-March 17 (Boston Holiday)
  • Patriot’s Day-Third Monday in April
  • Memorial Day – Last Monday in May
  • Bunker Hill Day- June 17 (Boston Holiday only)
  • Independence Day- July 4
  • Labor Day- First Monday in September
  • Columbus Day- Second Monday in October
  • Veteran’s Day-November 11th
  • Thanksgiving Day- Fourth Thursday in November
  • Christmas Day- December 25

Massachusetts Overview

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