Adams National Historic Park - All You Need to Know

adams national historic park quincy massachusetts

Adams National Historic Park is a small but prominent national park just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. The park encompasses five generations of the Adams family; including that of two presidents, three US Ministers, historians, and writers. A tour of the national park takes you to the birthplace, home, and resting place of the families most prominent members, Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Boston is often referred to as “the birthplace of the American Revolution” and no trip to Boston would be complete without a quick trip down to the Adams National Historic Park.

 

Need to Know

Location

 

Adams National Historic Park is located in Quincy, Massachusetts, 10 miles south of Boston. The National Park site is actually spread out across three main areas; the furthest points being about 2 miles from each other. The best place to start, and park your car, is at the visitor center located at the corner of Hancock St and Saville Ave in the center of town.

 

Hours

 

Visitor Center, Peace Field House, and Birthplace Houses (National Park Sites): Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm (May – October).   

Adams Academy (affiliated site): Monday – Friday from 9am – 4pm, Saturday from 11am – 3pm.

Church of the Presidents (affiliated site):  Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday from 11pm – 4pm and Sunday from 12pm – 4pm (May – November 14).

Hancock Cemetery (affiliated site): 24/7.

 

Cost

 

National Park Sites

(Peace Field House and Birthplace Houses) are free to tour the grounds, but to enter the houses, you will need to purchase a tour ticket for $15 (includes all three houses). You will need to purchase your ticket up to 24 hours in advance; there are no walk-up tickets.

Free entry with America the Beautiful Pass.  This pass can be bought at any of the entrances for $80.  It allows free entrance to most national parks for a year, so it is a good investment if you plan to visit other national parks. 

 

Affliated Sites

Adams Academy cost $3.

The Church of the Presidents is also free to join the tour, but they ask for a $5 donation.

 

When to Visit

 

The Adams National Historic Park is only open for tours from May 1st – October 31st, but you can tour the grounds at any time of the year. Any time during the open months is a great time to visit the site. The best time to tour is in Spring when the flowers of the Peace Field gardens are in full bloom. Summer can get a little hot and it is also the highest tourist season, but the park is never really crowded. Fall is also a nice time; the cooler weather makes for a nice walk.

 

What to Do

 

presidents trail adams national historic park quincy massachusetts
President Trail sidewalk marker.

At just 14 acres, the Adams National Historic Park is not a large park by any means, but it still packs a punch. The park is stretched out in three main areas across 2 miles in the city of Quincy, Massachusetts. You should contribute about 2.5 – 3 hours to see all of the sites within the park areas. If you decide to do the self-guided tour, then it will not take as long since you will not be able to tour the inside of the houses.

 

NPS Visitor Center

 

adams family timeline visitor center adams national historic park quincy massachusetts
Timeline of Adams family contributions in the Visitor Center.

The Adams National Historic Park Visitor Center is always a great place to start when exploring the history of the sites. The Visitor Center has a great timeline of American history and of the Adams family, so you can see where the site fits in history. While at the Visitor Center, you can talk with a Park Ranger about the times of the tours and review a map of the sites. Once the trolley begins running again, this is also where you will catch it for your tour. If you plan to walk, there is free parking behind the building. There is also a lot of great books and souvenirs for sell at the visitor center.

 

Note: This is the only public restroom at any of the sites.

 

Old House at Peace Field

 

old house at peace field adams national historic park quincy massachusetts
Peace Field has a beautiful garden and grounds that you can explore.

The Old House at Peace Field is the house eventually used as the retirement home for President John Adams. It was then used as the family home for the Adams family descendants until it was donated to the National Parks Service in 1946. The house itself was much smaller at the time John Adams purchased it in 1731, but it was expanded over the next 12 years into the Georgian style house it is today. The ground also has a stone library, carriage house, heirloom apple orchard, and a 18th century flower garden. For those that do not take the tour, the NPS App does have a self-guided tour of the grounds of Peace Field.

 

Adams Academy

 

adams academy adams national historic park quincy massachusetts
The Quincy Historic Society now runs a comprehensive history museum about Quincy.

Today the Adams Academy building is the home of the Quincy History Museum, which exhibits the city’s history from Native Americans to the 21st century. The building itself was built in 1872, with an endowment from John Adams, as a boys’ predatory school and served as such until 1908. Notably, the building was built on the site of John Hancock’s birthplace and later home of Josiah Quincy.

 

Church of the Presidents

 

church presidents adams national historic park quincy massachusetts
The Church of the Presidents tour guides give great information about the town and church.

The United First Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts is often referred to as the Church of the Presidents. The current church was built in 1828, financed primarily by John Adams who donated the land and most of the granite used in the construction. Both President John Adams and President John Quincy Adams were prominent members of the church and they, with their wives, are interred in a crypt below the church. A tour of the church will teach you a lot about the church, town, and the Adams family, as well as allow you to visit the tombs of these two presidents.  

 

Hancock Cemetery

 

hancock cm=emetery adams national historic park quincy massachusetts
The Hancock Cemetery has a number of notable patriots buried there.

Hancock Cemetery named after the father of the Founding Father, John Hancock, is one of the oldest cemeteries in the area. Founded around 1640, it was once the resting place of both Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, before being moved into the crypt below the church. It is also the resting place Josiah Quincy.

 

Birthplace Houses

 

birthplace house adams national historic park quincy massachusetts
The birthplace of President John Adams.

The birthplace houses consist of two houses that were the birthplace of President John Adams and President John Quincy Adams. The first house was built in 1681 by President John Adams’ father and was the place of John Adams birth. The neighboring house was later bought and was the birthplace of President John Quincy Adams. Both houses remained in the Adams family, though after their move to Peace Field the houses were never again used for the family and were rented. The houses are still in their original location and outfitted with furniture that represents what likely would have been in the homes at the time.

 

Where to Stay

 

boston skyline harbor view adams national historic park quincy massachusetts
The Boston skyline is great from the harbor.

The Adams National Historic Parks itself has no accommodations for tourists, so you will need to find them elsewhere. Where you should stay is highly dependent on your itinerary. If you are wanting to stay in the area, then Quincy and the immediate area has some great options. There are a number of hotels along the eastern border of the Blue Hills if you are also wanting to get in a hike. Due to the parks close proximity to Boston, most people will stay there and take a ½ day trip out to see this National Park. This is what I would suggest as there are also many great things to see in Boston.When I am reserving my accommodations, I always use Agoda to find the best deals.

 

How to Get There

 

pin point location map adams national historic park quincy massachusetts

Subway (From South Station Boston)

 

From the South Station in Boston you can take the Red Line to Quincy Center. It is then just a short walk to the Visitor Center. The subway leaves every 15 minutes and it will cost $2.40.

 

Train (From South Station Boston)

 

From the South Station in Boston you can take the Greenbush Line, Kingston Line, or Middleborough/Lakeville Line to Quincy Center. It is then just a short walk to the Visitor Center. The buses leave every 30 minutes and it will cost $6.50.

 

 Driving

 

If you plan to see other things in the vicinity or don’t want to walk the 2 miles in between the sites, then driving is your best option. There is free parking at the President’s Place Parking Garage behind the National Parks Visitor Center, just make sure that you validate your parking with a park ranger in the Visitor Center. There is also free street parking outside of Peace Field and the birthplace houses. The drive is just about 10 miles. Drive south on I-93, take exit 12 for Newport Ave to Hancock St.

 

What was your favorite thing about Adams National Historic Park?

 

adams national historic park quincy massachusetts


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8 comments:

  1. All of the buildings are lovely. That national parks pass sounds pretty awesome too, I will have to look into that.

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    Replies
    1. The America the Beautiful pass is a great idea if you plan to go to a few National Parks over the span of a year. It pays for itself after just a few visits.

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  2. This seems like such a lovely vacation spot!

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    Replies
    1. It is! I highly recommend visiting. It is beautiful and historic.

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  3. the place looks interesting and there is a lot to do there. I like it when you have options for literally anyone to enjoy

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  4. So much history! I love the photo of the Historic Society of Quincy!

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