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Radisson Boston
200 STUART STREET 
Boston, MA 02116 
(617) 482-1800
www.radisson.com

(check availability & rates)
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To the first colonists of the Massachusetts Bay Company , their arrival near the site of modern Salem in 1630 marked a crucial moment in history. Puritans who had decided to leave England before it was engulfed by civil war, saw their purpose, in the words of Governor John Winthrop, as the establishment of a Utopian " City upon a hill ." Their new colony of MASSACHUSETTS was to be a beacon to the rest of humanity, an exemplar of sober government along sound spiritual principles. Not all those who followed, however, shared the same motivation; the story is often told of the preacher who told his congregation that they had come to New England to build a new kingdom of God, only to be challenged by a vociferous parishioner who said he had come to fish.

In their own terms, the Puritans were not successful: as waves of immigration brought all kinds of dissenters and free-thinkers from Europe, society in New England inevitably became secular. However, their influence remained. A clarity of thought and forcefulness of purpose can be traced from the foundation of Harvard College in 1636, through the intellectual impetus behind the Revolution and the crusade against slavery, to the nineteenth-century achievements of writers such as Melville, Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau.

Other traditions, too, have helped shape the state - poor migrants from Ireland and Italy , freed and escaped slaves from the Southern states, Portuguese seamen - even if they have not always been welcome. The anti-immigrant "Know-Nothing" party of the 1850s acquired considerable public support; in 1927, the Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti came up against conservative old Massachusetts, and were framed and executed on murder charges. As recently as the 1970s, Boston experienced racial conflicts that matched the bitterness of those erupting throughout the nation. This has been somewhat healed of late, as have any economic doldrums that plagued the city for the latter half of the century, and a new sense of confidence - so emblematic of Boston's storied past - has taken hold.

Boston is East Coast America at its best, and spending a few days there is strongly recommended. It's a place that isn't content to rest on its laurels - the history is visible, but there's a great deal of modern life and energy besides, thanks in part to the presence of Cambridge , the home of Harvard University, just across the river. Several further historic towns are within easy reach - Salem to the north, Concord and Lexington just inland, and Plymouth to the south. Provincetown , a three-hour ferry ride across the bay at the tip of Cape Cod, is great fun to visit, and the rest of the Cape offers historic towns, lovely beaches - and huge crowds. Except for a handful of college towns such as Amherst, inland Massachusetts is much quieter; its settlements are naturally concentrated where the land is fertile, such as along the Connecticut River valley and in the Berkshires to the west.

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