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Best Historic Sites On The North Shore

Anyone who thinks Massachusetts' history is confined within Boston's city walls doesn't know the whole story. Beyond Boston, the North Shore has a distinct history that's worth exploring. Several historic cites in cities and towns along the North Shore share part of their history with Boston, but also tell unique stories of their own. Here are some of the best to check out.
New England Pirate Museum

New England Pirate Museum
274 Derby St.
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 741-2800

Few things in history are more intriguing than pirates, and Salem has its very own pirate museum. When guests arrive, they go straight into a room filled with real pirate booty and artifacts. The museum funnels guests through something of an adventure. Past the artifacts room, there is a port and a pirate ship that visitors board. From there, the museum has a cave with pirates waiting. This museum is a lesson in New England history, as it was as filled with pirates as the history of the Caribbean.

10.21.11 - Family & Pets – A Guide to Halloween in Salem – swm_front_SalemWitchMuseum
Photo Credit: The Salem Witch Museum

Salem Witch Museum
19 N. Washington Square
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 744-1692

The most popular story in North Shore history is that of the Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Museum is where to go to learn about this black mark in New England history. Do not let the eerie building deceive you. It is a much less gimmicky location than others in Salem that capitalize on the tragedies that took place there during the 17th century. The museum is focused on the trials and the hysteria that caused them.

(Photo by Darren McCollester/Newsmakers)

Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial
S. Stacy Blvd.
Gloucester, MA 01930

It does not take a lot of time to appreciate the Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial, but it is an historic site on the North Shore that is well worth the visit. It is representative of the tragedy inherent in fishing in the North Atlantic. Gloucester has lost a number of fishermen over the years and the Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial is a tribute to those losses. It is a statue of a man looking stalwartly out at the horizon while at the wheel of a ship that is tilted beneath his feet, an image that is common enough in this legendary fishing town.

Related: Boston's Best Historic Sites

The Putnam House
The Putnam House (Photo Credit: Danvers Historical Society)

Putnam House
431 Maple St.
Danvers, MA 01923
(978) 777-1666

The Putnam House, also known as the General Israel Putnam House or the Thomas Putnam House, was home to several noteworthy men. The most famous was General Israel Putnam, who gave the order for men not to fire "until you see the whites of their eyes" at the Battle of Bunker Hill. In 1991, this historic house was given to the Danvers Historical Society. It is now a museum with tours available by appointment only.

Cushing House Museum & Garden
Cushing House Museum & Garden (Photo from Newbury Historical Society)

Cushing House Museum & Garden
98 High St.
Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 462-2681

The Cushing House Museum & Garden is a 200-year-old national historic landmark with a museum inside of it. The local historical society calls it a "repository of memories." The various art pieces in its collection can attest to that, but the biggest draw is its library. It is home to the papers and books that reveal Newburyport's past. Massachusetts history buffs will enjoy delving into the secrets it holds about people long gone and places both gone and preserved.

Related: Boston's Best Ways to Celebrate Native American History and Culture

Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at

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