10 Ways to Escape the Chaos of ‘Allston Christmas'

As students and parents descend upon Boston Friday, you may find yourself wanting to get away from the chaos of college move-in day. With proper planning, there are plenty of options to make the most of the day and take in something new.

Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge can provide an all-day history lesson suitable for both kids and adults. Capturing the day in the life of a New England town in the early 1800s, the small-town museum features events such as sawmill demonstrations, blacksmithing shows and more. For those looking to extend the time away from the city, Old Sturbridge Village also provides lodging.

For those looking to keep their kids entertained, LEGOLAND in Somerville can be the ultimate playground. You’ll find plenty of Lego models of iconic Boston locations, the Lego 4D Cinema, some rides, and plenty of building opportunities. You will need to bring a kid along for the fun, though. LEGOLAND won’t let you in without one, but does host the occasional adults-only night.

Those looking to leave the state entirely can spend a day at Old Orchard Beach in Maine. Less than two hours from Boston, you’ll find no shortage of things to do as you walk the beach, the pier, and hit up all of the food shops. A short drive away, Funtown Splashtown USA in Saco has plenty of rides and a waterpark to cool off. With plenty of campgrounds and options in the area, you could easily fill in the whole Labor Day Weekend.  

With 17 unique gardens, the Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts, has the best plants of Massachusetts on display. Though no special events are planned for Friday, the garden often hosts events, plant and art shows. Take a walk through the living museum of flowers or grab a bite to eat at the cafe. 

Did you know that there are still castles in New England? One of these castles, the Hammond Castle Museum in Gloucester, is open to the public. The castle was built by inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. between 1926 and 1929 as a home to collect historical artifacts. You’ll also catch a great sight of the Atlantic Ocean from the castle. Special tours are offered showcasing Hammond’s work and the castle also hosts Renaissance fairs and Halloween gatherings.  

If you’re willing to go out of your way, the Mount Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire will take you to the summit of the tallest mountain in the northeast. Grab a bite to eat at the restaurant before taking the train to the top, where you’ll have no shortage of photo opportunities. On clearer days you can even see the Atlantic Ocean. At the top you can visit the Observatory Museum and the historic Tiptop House before heading back down the mountain.  

If you’ve been to Patriots Place in Foxboro, chances are you’ve walked past 5 Wits, which has interactive stories with light “escape the room” elements. Pick one of two of the adventures, or both, which will have you accomplishing different tasks. ”Espionage” will have you searching for codes and moving past lasers, while “20,000 leagues” will have you decoding maps and moving pipes to open the way forward. It’s not terribly difficult, but it is a fun experience for kids and adults alike as you try to get the best endings to the stories you play. 

Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience that aims to prove the existence of mythical beings, such as Bigfoot. If that sounds interesting, there’s an entire museum devoted to it in Portland, Maine. It’s the only one of its kind in the country. Browse items that are considered “evidence” by the museum and decide for yourself what you believe in. Then while you’re in the area, take in the many sights and foods that Portland has to offer. 

Our neighbor to the south, Connecticut, has an adventure for the daring. The Adventure Park at Storrs features different courses and zip lines high up in the trees. Hook yourself up to a harness and take on the challenge as you navigate different bridges, wooden configurations and more. Different difficulty levels are available for those who want to take it easy, to those who want to overcome a tough challenge.  

If you’ve never been to a vineyard, Truro Vineyards on the Cape could be a good starting point for you. Truro Vineyards holds regular wine tastings, as well as special events throughout the year. The estate dates back to nearly 200 years ago. Take a free tour of the vineyard and winery and when you’re done, walk around Cape Cod if you’ve got some spare time.

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