Get Out

Where to enjoy a classic New England summer on land, sea, and sky

Photo courtesy of Little Harbor Boathouse

Warm sun, blue skies, and free time to explore—summertime has arrived at last. Whether you long to scale new heights in the mountains or take to the water, there are plenty of ways to burn off that pent-up wintertime energy.

For newbie explorers, there’s no better introduction to the great outdoors than the Appalachian Trail Boston Chapter ( This volunteer-run 20,000-person group with locations throughout Massachusetts organizes outings for friendly hikers of all skill levels. Each adventure has its own theme, from traditional hiking to kayaking to biking, so it’s easy to find your niche. Craving something more customized? Guineafowl Adventure Company ( organizes easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes throughout the White Mountains with stunning views and guided tours for bespoke groups—search by elevation, time on your feet, and distance. For a mellower vibe, consider Sub Sig Outing Club (, started by the Submarine Signal Company in the mid-1940s. Today, the club is based in a remote cabin in the White Mountains; trips include hiking with a side of cabin cleanup, yard work, and some meals.

If you prefer the sea, glide to the Little Harbor Boathouse ( on the Marblehead coast, with a tranquil beach and Salem Sound views. They also sell new and used kayaks and paddleboards, making it an accessible choice for burgeoning sailors. For an equally sedate experience, join Boston Paddlers, part of the Appalachian Mountain Club ( They offer instruction, plus trips for whitewater thrill-seekers, sea kayakers, and canoers.


Photo courtesy of Paraglide New England

If you prefer sky to sea, things are always looking up with the 110-year-old Brookline Bird Club (, a conservation and education club that hosts birding field trips all year round at scenic spots such as Mount Auburn Cemetery, Blue Hills Reservation, and Fresh Pond. If you’d rather soar than spectate, hop a hot-air balloon ride with Aerostat Promotions ( to glide over the Pioneer Valley with a licensed pilot and three of your closest friends. Or get truly airborne with Paraglide New England (, which provides introductory lessons, tandem flights, and even intensive certification courses high above Massachusetts and Vermont mountains or spectacular Cape Cod sand dunes. For something even more daring, try Revolution Trapeze (, a flying trapeze school where you’ll learn to flip, hang, and catch (cushioned by a net, of course).

Prefer your outdoor adventures with a side of activism? Consider the Massachusetts Sierra Club ( The environmental grassroots organization needs volunteers to lead urban youth outings, present on environmental and energy issues, fundraise, and more. Or get your hands dirty at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm (, where visitors can help to tend farm animals, enjoy fungi field walks where attendees hunt for mushrooms, or take naturalist-led walks to learn about edible plants. On that note, don’t forget to join their seasonal farm share for a bounty of fresh summertime veggies.

Photo courtesy of the ‘Quin House

Prefer to simply take in a gorgeous view with pals? Dock at Quincy’s Waterclub at Marina Bay (, with a summery restaurant serving fried seafood and salads, large-format cocktails for up to four revelers; and a nightclub. Or head into the heart of Boston for a sunset sip at The ‘Quin House’s rooftop sky deck overlooking the Back Bay or on their Euro-style garden terrace (; the private club, for members or guests accompanied by members, also schedules curated programming, reading nooks, and a spa for maximum vacation relaxation.       

Read more articles by Kara Baskin

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