Medieval Magic in Massachusetts
Drawbridges & Dungeons
Families will leave the 21st century behind when they stand on the drawbridge and behold the stately majesty of Hammond Castle, a medieval-style fortress in Gloucester built in the 1920s by inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr., an inventor who became known as “The Father of the Remote Control.” Kids will appreciate the authentic medieval weapons and castle artifacts, and the winding walk up to the tower dungeon. The lush green lawn is also a great spot to admire the ocean-front view and let the kids run.
Mark your calendar now for the Abbadia Marie Festival the weekend of July 16-17. Cheer on knights as they do live steel combat, be a part of a human chess match or sit back and watch the lively shows happening all weekend.
For loves of all things medieval, check out the Worcester Art Museum to see their exhibit, “Knights!,” before it closes on November 6 as the museum prepares for the reinstallation of its medieval collection and galleries. The pieces that you’ll find in “Knights!” are largely from Medieval and Renaissance Europe, with additional cultures and periods represented as well, and were once part of the Higgins Armony which closed in 2013. The exhibition's five separate sections – Courtly Pursuits, The Dance of Love and War, Knights of the Round Table, Triumphal Arch and The Corridor of Good + Evil – beautifully illustrate why these pieces of arms and armor were made and used.
Medieval Fitness and Fun
New England is home to some of the best fencing clubs in the country with several members of the U.S. National Team training here. True lovers of kings and battles can learn the history and art of swordsmanship at Zeta Fencing in Natick or Olympia Fencing in Cambridge. Fencing isn’t as commonly considered as other sports for kids, but it provides many benefits in the areas of strategic thinking, self-discipline, coordination, speed and ability. Fencing has three divisions: foil, epee and saber. Equipment is generally provided for beginners, who can start the sport at about age 8.
Hammond Castle Museum, 80 Hesperus Ave., Gloucester. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (until September 4th when weekend hours begin). Hours subject to change; call before visiting. Admission: Adults, $10; children ages 6-12, $8. 978-283-2080; hammondcastle.org.
Worcester Art Museum, 55 Salisbury St., Worcester. Open Wednesday through Friday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission: Adults, $14; children ages 4-17, $6; children under 3, free. 508-799-4406; worcesterart.org.