Three cannabis-friendly getaways within driving distance of Boston
Stories Emilie-Noelle Provost
The worst of winter is over. It’s almost time to pull your shorts and sundresses out of storage (fingers crossed they still fit) and begin thinking about long lazy days at the beach, fresh summer breezes, and sipping sangria with friends.
It’s a good idea to start planning now. In the Northeast, the summer travel season is short and popular destinations book up quickly. To get some ideas flowing, we’ve done a bit of the work for you. These three fabulous getaways are an easy drive from Boston and—bonus!—also have cannabis-friendly laws.
If you have your heart set on a cosmopolitan getaway, a trip to Montreal, located in the Canadian province of Quebec, is more than worth the five-hour drive from Boston. (You will need a passport.)
The second-largest city in Canada after Toronto, Montreal has a distinctive Old World feel thanks to its historic seventeenth- and eighteenth-century architecture and numerous European-style bistros and cafés.
The city is home to two world-class art museums, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and Musée d’art contemporain de Montreal (MAC). You can shop for the latest fashions on Saint Catherine Street before they hit US retail racks (the exchange rate is good right now) or spend an afternoon wandering the Montreal Botanical Garden. Hike up to Belvedere Camillien-Houde, Mont Royal’s observation area, and sip an espresso while taking in spectacular views of the city and surrounding mountains.
No matter what you decide to do, all visitors to Montreal should see the Old Port. Located on the banks of the Saint Lawrence River, it is the oldest part of the city, first settled by Europeans in the 17th century. With its historic Old World–style buildings, romantic French cafés, and massive neo-gothic Notre-Dame Basilica, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Paris as you stroll along the cobblestone streets.
Enjoy a coffee or glass of wine at one of the Old Port’s terrasses (what Montrealers call outdoor cafés) and watch the people pass by as you enjoy a performance by one the neighborhood’s talented street musicians. The Old City gets crowded on weekends, so it’s better to visit during the week if you can. It’s not car-friendly, so take the subway instead.
Other places worth seeing include the bohemian Quartier Latin, Plateau, and Mile End neighborhoods. Home to the city’s student and Jewish populations, these areas are nearly tourist free and full of art galleries, funky shops, beautiful parks, and excellent, affordable restaurants and cafés.
Located at the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is where the Pilgrims first landed in the New World on November 11, 1620. The quaint and historic seaside city has been welcoming newcomers ever since.
Home to America’s oldest active art colony, Provincetown’s remote location, stunning panoramas, and legendary light have made it a haven for artists, writers, and other creative people since 1899, when the Cape Cod School of Art was founded there. Historically left leaning and tolerant, the city was renowned as a sanctuary for gay, lesbian, and transgender people several decades before American mainstream society came to regard them as equals. Since the 19th century, Provincetown has also been home to a large Portuguese population, mostly from the Azores and Cape Verde. The no-nonsense
work ethic made the city Cape Cod’s primary commercial fishery.
All these influences combined give Provincetown a rich and unique culture—one that can be tasted in the city’s restaurants and Portuguese bakeries, experienced in its art galleries, and felt as you stroll along the city’s narrow, flower-lined streets, most of them built long before America became an independent nation.
Visitors to Provincetown can enjoy some of New England’s most beautiful and pristine beaches. Other things to do run the gamut from whale watches and sunset cruises to browsing the city’s eclectic collection of boutiques; viewing birds, seals, and other wildlife at Cape Cod National Seashore’s Province Lands; and exploring the city and surrounding area on foot or by bicycle.
A wide variety of accommodations including inns, hotels, vacation rentals, and campgrounds can be found in Provincetown, and it’s a mere three-hour drive from Boston or a one-hour ride on the Provincetown Ferry (available May through September).
Roughly encompassing the region of Massachusetts west of the Connecticut River, bordering New York, Vermont, and Connecticut, the Berkshires’ rolling green mountains, wellness retreat centers, and lively arts and culture scene have made them a popular vacation destination since the 19th century.
Located in Lenox, Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the area’s biggest draws. Visitors can pack a picnic and enjoy an evening or afternoon concert on Tanglewood’s expansive lawn or pay a bit extra for seats closer to the stage.
Other Berkshires cultural attractions include the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, home to the world’s largest collection of the illustrator’s iconic paintings. The Mount, author Edith Wharton’s expansive Lenox estate, offers house and garden tours. Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, a living history museum offering glimpses of the influential religious community’s daily life, is home to hiking trails (it even has its own mountain), a scratch café, and the area’s oldest working farm.
If you’ve been thinking about a wellness retreat, Canyon Ranch in Lenox or Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, might have what you’re looking for. Canyon Ranch, which also has locations in Arizona, California, and Nevada, is surrounded by mountains and offers a nearly endless roster of nutrition and exercise classes, guide-led sports and activities, and programs for bolstering spiritual wellness and life management skills. The elegant spa offers dozens of skincare treatments and massages.
Many wealthy industrialists from New York City and Boston summered in the Berkshires during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and their enormous “summer cottages” have been converted into lovely inns and guest houses. The area also offers accommodations at larger hotels and vacation rental properties.