You don’t have travel far from Boston to find another city steeped in American history. Across the line from Dorchester, Quincy (pronounced ‘Quin-zee’) is the birthplace of former U.S. presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, as well as rabble-rouser and statesman John Hancock. The country’s first commercial railroad, Granite Railway, was founded here and transported granite from the city’s quarries to Charlestown for construction of the Bunker Hill Monument. More recently, Quincy was the birthplace of coffee giant Dunkin’ Donuts. Spend a whole day exploring varied sites, getting a different spin on our nation’s past.
Adams National Historical Park is a star attraction and showcases the local presence of the presidential Adams family. To gain access to the park's historic homes (the John Adams Birthplace, the John Quincy Adams Birthplace and the Old House at Peace Field) and the 1870 Stone Library, you must take a guided tour, which runs about two hours. Twelve acres of historic grounds and formal gardens are open to the public.
1250 Hancock St., Quincy, 617.770.1175
Quincy's Thomas Crane Public Library is another building designed by architect H.H. Richardson—his most notable being massive Trinity Church in Boston's Copley Square. As it goes with most libraries, admission is free, so there's no reason not to stop in and appreciate the handworked wood interior, the signature Quincy granite pulled from local quarries, and stained glass windows by John La Farge, including the astounding, intricate "Old Philosopher," largely considered a masterpiece of its kind.
40 Washington St., Quincy, 617.376.1300
Organized less than a decade after settlers first reached the Shawmut Peninsula (ie. Boston) in 1630, United First Parish Church is both a religious and historic landmark. The existing building was designed by Alexander Parris in 1828, whose name you may recognize as the designer of Boston's Quincy Market, and it has served as the burial site for Revolutionary-era figures John and Abigail Adams, and John Quincy and Louisa Catherine Adams.
Tours depart daily. 1306 Hancock St., Quincy, 617.773.0062
Home to the Quincy Historical Society, the gothic revival Adams Academy (built 1872) is situated on land deeded to the city by John Adams, a site that is recognized as John Hancock's birthplace. Today, the society runs a small museum here featuring permanent exhibits like "Quincy: Of Stone, Of Ships, Of Minds" and special ones like "1814: New England, Adams and the End of the War of 1812" (open Fall 2014).
8 Adams St., Quincy, 617.773.1144
Five generations of the Quincy family once resided at the Quincy Homestead, founded in the 1630s. The existing house was built in 1686 and was the birthplace of Dorothy Quincy Hancock, future wife to John Hancock. Before the American Revolution, it was a popular meeting place for John and Samuel Adams, Joseph Warren and James Otis. Now at the home, learn about its architecture, national themes and Colonial history on a day when it is open to the public.
34 Butler Road, Quincy, 617.742.3190
Owned by Historic New England and preserved as a museum, the Quincy House is open on the first Saturday of each month, June through October. Josiah Quincy built the place in 1770, calling it his 'country estate.' Strikingly preserved, many family artifacts remain, as well as some incredible examples of New England furniture craftsmanship.
20 Muirhead St., Quincy, 617.994.5930
Hancock Cemetery was used as Quincy's community burial ground for more than 200 years, from the 1630s, when it was established, through the 1850s. The Adams Family vault is one of the most prominent sites among the hundreds here. While examing colonial American gravestone design, note the resting places of Joanna Hoar, an ancestor of Oliver Wendall Holmes and the Adams and Quincy families; John and Sarah Cleverly—his represents New England's earliest stone depiction of birds; and Puritan minister William Thompson, who owns the cemetery's earliest surviving marker, dated 1666.
Hancock Street in Quincy Center, adjacent to City Hall, Quincy
A ride from downtown Boston on the MBTA's Red Line gets you to Quincy quick and easy.