Family-friendly fun in a coastal town on the North Shore

TOWN: Beverly
WHAT:Lots to see and do in this seaside community
WHY:Fantastic food, craft breweries, diverse entertainment, history - it's all here

I first visited Beverly when Sandy's Jazz Revival, a jazz bar located in an old house, was the happening spot in town. It's come a long way since then. With the Cabot Theater showcasing national acts, the Larcom Theatre hosting a variety of events, the raucous Off Cabot comedy club next door and the North Shore Theater presenting Broadway shows and musical acts, you could say that Beverly is entertaining.

Add to that (count 'em) four brewpubs in town, a number of inspired restaurants, two successful colleges, and a gorgeous waterfront park and it adds up to a town worth getting to know better.

Physically, Beverly is bisected by Route 128, with suburban neighborhoods sprawling to the north and several more modest neighborhoods south of the highway. Cozying up to downtown you'll encounter colonial-era houses tucked away here and there. For history lovers there are two museums of note, Hale Farm and the Balch House, both properties of Historic Beverly. Beverly's latest museum is a must-see for motorcycle lovers: Cycles Classic Cafe.

Continuing east from downtown you'll follow the Gold Coast, so named  more than a century ago when the summer homes of titans of industry dotted the shoreline. Many of them remain, and a drive along Route 127 will brings you past Endicott College which occupies several large estates. A bit further down the road you'll encounter Pride's Crossing with it's excellent confectioner's shop. Meandering a bit further brings you to Beverly Farms and its compact village with several excellent restaurants and shops.

Fun fact

When investors in Los Angeles were developing a luxurious new neighborhood in the foothills north of Santa Monica Boulevard, they appropriated a name that to them connoted prestige and class, and Beverly Hills was born!