OUR Massachusetts trip started off with something a little out of the ordinary.
Actually, it was bizarre.
A star attraction in the city of Fall River is Lizzie Borden’s house.
This was once a family home where two real-life brutal murders took place in 1892, and has now been converted into a museum and B&B.
If you were planning a Halloween trip, or if you have a love of the macabre, then Lizzie Borden’s house is for you.
The infamous murders are the context for the rhyme . . .
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
Although Lizzie was initially charged with the murders, she was found not guilty and no one else was ever arrested.
Oddly, the all-male jurors took hardly any time to come to their decision and even gifted Lizzie a signed photo of themselves after the trial had concluded.
The house comes complete with a gift shop – where trinkets include a Lizzie Borden bobble-head doll and slogan-adorned clothing (and baby bibs with ‘I love my mommy to death’ scrawled on them).
If you’re wondering who on earth would go to a place like this, the answer is lots of people! The place was mobbed.
We even bumped into a young couple on their honeymoon.
If you’re squeamish, be warned: the crime photos are rather gruesome.
Lizzie Borden’s house has been lovingly restored to look exactly like it would have at the time.
We took a relatively tame late morning tour, but there are evening tours which focus more on the paranormal aspect and end with you in the house . . . alone!
The original costume from a 1975 Lizzie Borden film is on display, which guests are welcome to try on during their stay.
The murders will soon be the focus of a new Hollywood film starring Kirsten Stewart as the maid – who some theories suggest may have been the killer.
From one museum to another, we departed the ghoulish abode and went to the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
New Bedford, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket have all been shaped by their ties with their whaling past.
Influences from the industry can be seen everywhere. One of the most striking leftovers from the time are “widow’s walks” – structures on top of houses where women could look out to the ocean to see if their loved ones were returning.
As we learned during our visit to the Whaling Museum, many young men didn’t.
Not only is the modern museum incredibly impressive, it’s also a gem of a place for fans of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
The chapel and mariner’s house across the street have many nods to Melville – including a plaque above the pew he favoured in the chapel.
The next day, our group once again set sail, this time to the wonderful Martha’s Vineyard.
With a plethora of yachts and picture-perfect houses, the impeccable vineyard is a playground for the wealthy.
All the gardens are meticulously manicured, and the houses are so visually pleasing they belong in a snow globe.
No sight was more breathtaking than the gorgeously quaint “gingerbread houses” in Oak Bluffs.
The cottages have to adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to décor, and the overall result leaves you feeling you’ve fallen head-first into a Hans Christian Anderson fable.
While travelling by car, we stopped off at a bridge that was used during the filming of Jaws.
Don’t worry, we didn’t spot any great whites sharks in the surf.
After a magical day at Martha’s Vineyard we hopped back on a ferry to Woods Hole.
For sustenance, we chose the lovely Landfall, situated right on the water with an excellent view of a sunset over the sea.
Landfall was also the place where I tried my first ever lobster roll.
If you go to New England, make sure you have a lobster roll. Delicious stuff.
The Lizzie Borden House conducts tours, ghost hunting adventures, and brave guests can even stay the night. lizzie-borden.com
Norwegian offers four weekly flights from Edinburgh to Providence-Boston. Fares start from £138 one way, £220 return. norwegian.com
Our final night was spent at Shoreway Acres Inn, a popular spot for people exploring Cape Cod. Prices start from $119.00 per night. shorewayacresinn.com
For more info or helping planning your US trip, see visittheusa.co.uk