When I first moved to Boston’s North Shore in Massachusetts as a cub reporter in the early 1980s, I had a lot to learn. Coming from New Hampshire, I knew about Boston and Cape Cod, but not much else. And I had plenty of time to explore, provided I didn’t stray far from my apartment.
My reporting colleagues and I were supposed to work a “40-hour week,” but we were expected to be “on call” 24/7 (with no added pay, I might add). That translated to staying close to home. Since I was new to the area, I focused on visiting nearby attractions, like the beaches of Plum Island Wildlife Refuge, a birding paradise that is situated on the bustling Atlantic Flyway for migratory waterfowl; the properties of the Trustees of Reservation; and the Bay Circuit Trail. An early convert to mountain biking in the 1980s, I learned to ride off-road while learning more and more about my new surroundings.
It was, literally, a “back to the future” moment for me, because that’s what I did as a kid, when our favorite mode of transportation was our bikes (the original “trail bikes”) and our legs. I’ve taken the same approach to my adopted home state. But I’m the first to claim I’m not an expert on all things Massachusetts. For that kind of intimate local knowledge, I enlisted the help of an old friend, travel writer Steve Jermanok.
In his latest book, “New England in a Nutshell,” Jermanok distills many of the stories he’s written over the past quarter-century to a quick-read, round-up format. The more than 50 categories and 300 entries include 10 Classic New England Hikes, 8 Summer Drives That Will Keep You Smiling, 6 Hidden Art Historical Gems, Top 12 Country Inns to Get Pampered, and 6 Favorite Lobster/Clam Shacks.