Three ways to get your New England fix, whether you have a few hours or a whole day.
The Sanctuary: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Dodging the hum of the city is a pleasure at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (pictured), a 1902 Venetian-style palazzo with a glass-and-steel addition by Renzo Piano. The 2,500-strong collection includes masterworks by Titian, Michelangelo, and Matisse, but the real showstopper is the transportive inner courtyard, with its classical statues and abundance of summery bellflowers and hydrangeas. Stop in on a Sunday afternoon, when you can catch a chamber music concert in the museum’s new Calderwood Hall.
The Neighborhood: Cambridge
No surprise that the home of Harvard and MIT is packed with bohemian cafés and offbeat shops. But Cambridge’s sophisticated new food scene is what’s luring in-the-know Bostonians across the Charles River. Our top picks? West Bridge ($$$), run by Food & Wine “Best New Chef” Matthew Gaudet, and Puritan & Co. ($$$), with its twists on New England classics, like clam chowder with pork belly. In nearby Somerville, Painted Burro ($$) earns raves for its market-driven Mexican dishes.
The Day Trip: Provincetown
It can take as much time to cross Boston at rush hour—about 90 minutes—as it does to ride the high-speed Bay State Cruise Co. ferry to the tip of Cape Cod. Grab lunch and a dozen Bloody Mary oysters from the raw bar at the Canteen ($$), then spend some time seeing the work of regional artists at the Schoolhouse Gallery, in an 1844 building. Want to experience more of the Cape? Rent a ride from PTown Bikes and cycle past beech forests to Race Point Beach, which feels like the end of the earth.
Looking for more great getaways? Visit T+L’s Weekend Getaways.