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Secret tourist hot spots and hidden gems, revealed!

A study says these are the top underrated attractions across the country

Ally Rzesa/Globe Staff

Have you visited Cogswell’s Grant? How about Three Sisters Sanctuary, the Centerville Historical Society, or Luina Greine Farm?

If you haven’t, you’re missing out on four of the best off-the-beaten-path attractions in Massachusetts, according to a new study of hidden gem tourist spots around the country. The study, commissioned by HawaiianIslands.com, culled seldom-reviewed but highly-rated museums, landmarks, parks, gardens, and historic attractions across the country.

The study looked at top hidden gem attractions by city and state. It’s one of the rare travel surveys that offers ideas and occasional inspiration rather than spitting out numbers.

The study found that Boston’s top hidden gem is Little Brewster Island and Lighthouse, located in the Boston Harbor Islands. That’s followed by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, the “oldest chartered military organization in the Western Hemisphere” in Faneuil Hall Square. Rounding out the top five Boston tourist gems are the Boston Harbor Distillery, GrandTen Distilling, and Jordan Hall.

The top hidden tourist spots in large cities across the country, as determined by a HawaiianIslands.com study.Handout

The top attraction in Massachusetts (according to the study) is an alpaca farm located in Groton. Luina Greine Farm is on 19 acres, and in addition to allowing visitors one-on-one alpaca interactions, it also sells essentials such as alpaca socks and alpaca Teddy bears. The farm’s website currently says it’s closed for the season, so call first before seeking your alpaca fix.


Rhode Island’s top attraction (according to the study) is the Tomaquag Museum, an indigenous museum in Exeter. In New Hampshire, the Jackson Art Studio & Gallery won top honors. In Maine, Rocky Mann — Studio Potter in Mount Desert Island was rated the state’s top hidden gem. Vermont’s top hidden gem attraction is Green Mountain Distillers in Morristown, and in Connecticut, Spacecat Brewing Company in Norwalk was ranked the state’s best hidden gem.


The top hidden tourist spots in each state, as determined by a HawaiianIslands.com study.Handout

The number of breweries and shooting ranges on these lists makes the overall survey somewhat suspect (insert suspicious eyebrow lift here), but there are other hidden gems that sound lovely, such as a chocolate farm in Hawaii or a reindeer farm in Washington state. Back in Massachusetts, the survey found that the state’s top museum is the Centerville Historical Museum, the top historical site is Cogswell’s Grant in Essex, and Three Sisters Sanctuary sculpture garden in Goshen is the state’s best hidden gem park. Let the arguing, bragging, and exploring, begin. You can find the full list at hawaiianislands.com/blog.

Christopher Muther can be reached at christopher.muther@globe.com. Follow him @Chris_Muther and Instagram @chris_muther.