My second home.

Remember when I said that only my nuclear family lived in Gainesville and that my parents were originally from Massachusetts? Well, this is where the rest of my extended family lives. My mother is one of eight children and, although my dad only has one sibling, there are still plenty of family members for us to visit when we go to Massachusetts.

Even though I have been to other states and other countries, Massachusetts remains my favorite place to visit. I have gone up there at least once a year my entire life and still have a blast every time I go. No matter the season, there are always interesting and different places to go.

Boston

The capital city is probably what most people first think of when you say Massachusetts. Boston is great to visit any time of the year, though I would recommend late spring or early summer because the winters can be brutal. There is an unbelievable amount of things to do and see in Boston, a college tour alone would take awhile since there are more than 20 four-year colleges, and even more if you include other forms of higher education.

One of the stops I always have to make when I visit Boston is Quincy Market. Quincy Market It offers countless food venders serving all kinds of delicious ethnic food as well as souvenier shops. This is one of the places that is good to visit in both warm and cold weather because it has inside and outside shopping and dining. Around Christmas it is usually decorated with trees and I've even seen youngsters singing carols in the courtyard.

A great way to see the city and learn about its involvement in the American Revolution is to walk the Freedom Trail . You can simply walk along the brick path and see the historic sites, but I think it is worth it to go on a guided tour. The tour guides dress up in period costumes, speak in old English accents and usually offer a wealth of information that you wouldn't necessarily get from simply following the trail on your own,

Even if you aren't a baseball fan, Fenway Park should be on anybody's Boston checklist. The park, which opened in 1912, is the oldest currently used baseball park in the nation.

There are more than 40 museums in Boston offering something for every interest. A couple of my favorite include the Museum of Science, which is especially great for people with kids, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Cape Cod

If you're looking for a place of rest and relaxation, head to Cape Cod. There are beaches to swim in and cute towns to visit similar to many places along the coast of Florida, but it has its unique qualities as well.

Since most things on Cape Cod are somewhat outdoorsy I recommend visiting during the warmer months. Also, many of the shops and attractions shut down during the winter because they serve a mostly seasonal crowd.

Provincetown Monument Provincetown is located at the very tip of the Cape and has all the qualities of St. Augustine, Florida with a New England twist. You can climb the Provincetown Monument or simply meander down Commercial Street, which is full of shops and places to eat. My favorite place is Bubala's by the Bay, which offers a wide variety of sandwiches and salads at fairly reasonable prices. The Army/Navy surplus store is also a great place to shop because they have everything from gas masks to pea coats, all at discounted prices. It is nearly impossible to visit that store and not find something that you can't live without.

Camping is a popular attraction on the Cape and a few years ago I spent a week at North of Highland Camping Area. I camped in a tent, but it does have some spaces for RVs. North of Highland was only a 10 minute drive from Commercial Street in Provincetown and walking distance to Head of the Meadow Ocean Beach.

Amherst and Northampton

Amherst and Northampton are both fairly small college towns located in Western Massachusetts. They both have downtown sections that are within 15 minutes of one another. UMass Ameherst view Although there aren't that many tourist attractions in these towns, I enjoy visiting them because I have friends that attend Smith College (in Northampton) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The scenery here is one of the biggest draws. I recommend visiting in fall and winter because the trees offer a view completely different from what most Floridians are familiar with.

A few of my favorite places to go in Amherst are The Loose Goose Cafe and Antonio's. Both are local hangouts and are almost always full of college students every night. Antonio's offers more kinds of pizza than you could imagine in your wildest dreams. I like to get the chicken quesadilla pizza if it is available. The Loose Goose is nice because it is close to UMass Amherst campus and is a quick stop for lunch. Amherst Brewing Company has something for the over and under 21 crowd with their own specialty brews as well as a full menu. There is also a live jazz band on select nights throughout the month.