Massachusetts, United States

About Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. Most of its population of 6.6 million lives in the Boston metropolitan area. The eastern half of the state is made up of urban, suburban, and rural areas, while Western Massachusetts is mostly rural. Massachusetts is the most populous and wealthiest (by GDP per capita) of the six New England states. It ranks third among U.S. states in GDP per capita. Massachusetts is bordered on the north by New Hampshire and Vermont; on the west by New York; on the south by Connecticut and Rhode Island; and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.

Massachusetts Tourism and Recreation

The greater Boston area is the most popular area for tourists. A trip to the city might include visits to such old landmarks as the Old North Church, the USS Constitution, and Paul Revere's House, and such newer attractions as the John Hancock Observatory, the skywalk above the Prudential Tower, Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall, and Copley Place. Boston Common, one of the oldest public parks in the country, is the most noteworthy municipal park.

The Berkshires are the summer home of the Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood and the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Lee, and during the winter also provide recreation for cross-country and downhill skiers. Essex County on the North Shore of Massachusetts Bay offers many seaside towns and the art colony of Rockport. Its main city, Salem, contains the Witch House and Museum as well as Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of Seven Gables. Middlesex County, to the west of Boston, holds the university city of Cambridge as well as the battlegrounds of Lexington and Concord. In Concord are the homes of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott. Norfolk County, south of Boston, has the homes of three US presidents: John Adams and John Quincy Adams in Quincy and John F. Kennedy in Brookline. The seaport town and former whaling center of New Bedford and the industrial town of Fall River are in Bristol County. Plymouth County offers Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Plantation, and a steam-train ride through some cranberry bogs.

Massachusetts Climate

The Massachusetts climate can be changeable, particularly along the coast, with cold winters and moderately warm summers statewide. The coast experiences the warmest temperatures, averaging 74°F (23°C) in July and 30°F (-1°C) in January, the warmest and coldest months respectively. Temperatures in the Berkshires tend to be somewhat cooler year round. Snowfalls average 42 inches (107cm), with higher levels in the Berkshires.

Winters are cold, but generally less extreme on the coast with high temperatures in the winter averaging above freezing even in January, although areas further inland are much colder. The state does have extreme temperatures from time to time with 90 °F (32.2 °C) in the summer and temperatures below 0 °F (-17.8 °C) in the winter not being unusual.

The state has its share of extreme weather, prone to nor'easters and to severe winter storms. Summers can bring thunderstorms, averaging around 30 days of thunderstorm activity per year. Massachusetts has had its share of destructive tornadoes, with the western part of the state slightly more vulnerable than coastal areas in the east. Massachusetts, like the entire United States eastern seaboard, is vulnerable to hurricanes. Because its location is farther east in the Atlantic Ocean than states farther south, Massachusetts has suffered a direct hit from a major hurricane three times since 1851, the same number of direct hits suffered by the southern Atlantic state of Georgia. More often hurricanes weakened to tropical storm strength pass near Massachusetts.

Massachusetts shares a fairly similar climate with the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island. All three states have a humid continental long summer climate, with hot summers and cold winters. Owing to thick deciduous forests, fall in New England brings bright and colorful foliage, which comes earlier than in other regions, attracting tourism.

Massachusetts Transportaion

The major airport in the state is Logan International Airport. The airport serves as a focus city for American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, US Airways, and JetBlue Airways. Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, TF Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, New Hampshire also serve as airports to the state as all three are located near the border. Massachusetts has approximately 42 public-use airfields, and over 200 private landing spots.

Interstate highways crossing the state include: I-91, I-291, I-391, I-84, I-93, I-95, I-495, I-195, I-395, I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike), I-290, and I-190. Other major thoroughfares are U.S. 1, Route 2, Route 3, U.S. Route 3, U.S. Route 6, U.S. Route 20, Route 24, and Route 128. A massive undertaking to depress I-93 in the Boston downtown area, called the Big Dig, has brought the city's highway system under public scrutiny over the last decade.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates public transportation in the form of subway, bus and ferry systems in the Metro Boston area. It also operates longer distance commuter rail services throughout the larger Greater Boston area, including service to Worcester and Providence, Rhode Island. Amtrak operates inter-city rail, including the high-speed Acela service to cities such as Providence, New Haven, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Two heritage railways are in operation: the Cape Cod Central Railroad and the Berkshire Scenic Railway.