Top 10 Steampunk Vacations: #6: New England

Yes. The whole thing.
Sometimes these vacation thoughts are about a city, and sometimes they’re about an entire region. In this case, what better place to explore Steampunk inclinations than the center of American culture’s imitation of the Mother Country during the Victorian Era?
(Incidentally, I know we think there are 5 places better for exploration. I’m getting to those).

In the mean time, take a walk down memory lane!

Begin your journey with a historical trek through the New England Air Museum, exploring and climbing in and around the myriad of aviation inventions and discovering the history of America’s expeditions in the air. New England also boasts Mystic Seaport, the museum of America and the Sea–including exhibits on 19th century life. The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation has been so enchanted by our movement that they hold once-monthly meetups for the local crowd. They also have gloriously unique presentations on steam power, watches, clocks and the like.

For the geek in all of us, if you time your visit appropriately there are dozens of conventions and festivals featuring a steampunk flare. Check out this list.

Now, on to the walking tours… In Boston I recommend the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile long loop exploring old houses and historical sites for many of the founding inventors and statesmen. Granted, much of this is 18th century–but where would Steam be without Ben Franklin’s discoveries? Also do visit the Boston Public Gardens, which were put in place in the 1860s and laid out in the French Empire style. Wander through Forest Hills Cemetery to explore graves established from 1848 onward.

In Maine visit Castle Tucker and wander a mansion largely still furnished with Victorian sensibility. Also in Maine, visit the Observatory for a sunset tour–it’s the oldest remaining signal tower in the US.

And where to stay? If you get the chance, stay at the Liberty Hotel in Boston–it was once historic Charles Street Jail! Check out The Inn at Lower Farm in CT, or Martin Hill Inn in NH.

For a unique flavor, visit these Victorian-built mansions that imitate the older styles (Gothic period mostly): The Castle in the Clouds and Hammond Castle (which was actually built in the 1930s, but who’s counting?). The latter serves as a museum as well.

With each new location comes an interesting nuance–or several, as in the case of a region as large as New England. Try Candlepin Bowling, one of the variations invented to dodge the illegalization of 9-pin bowling (as a way to illegalize gambling).

If you can’t make it there, this site has loads of archives and collections of old photographs for your perusal. This blog has great articles about Forgotten New England in the Victorian Era!

Looking for the rest of the top 10?


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