Spring Festival, National Parks will help Quincy tourism rebound

QUINCY — The reopening of national parks, a beefed up schedule of events and a bite of the travel bug are what Quincy officials hope to attract tourists from around the country and around the world this summer.

Quincy has long been an attractive destination for American history buffs. Two presidents are buried at Quincy Center, the birthplace of John and John Quincy Adams is a national park, the USS Salem is docked at the shipyard, and the town is a convenient stopover for those traveling between Boston and Plymouth, the site of the first permanent Pilgrim Village.

In 2019, more than 350,000 people visited Quincy sites, the city’s director of tourism said, but the industry has yet to rebound from a pandemic that dropped the number to 191,000 the year next.

“The last few years have been tough,” said Dagny Ashley, who started working for the city just before the pandemic hit. “But we did reopen the USS Salem and the Church of the Presidents, and last summer we opened the Quincy Visitor Center. This year we will have a full summer of events and all of our attractions will be open. .I think we will be fully operational with the tourism aspect this year.”

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One of the city’s top attractions, Adams National Historical Park, is managed by the US National Park Service. The service closed national parks completely for the 2020 peak tourist season and only partially reopened in the summer of 2021. Visitors could wander the park grounds on self-guided tours but could not enter the grounds of birth of John and John Quincy Adams. , The land of the Old House of Peace or the Stone Library.

Building tours and trolley service from Quincy Center will resume on May 1, which Ashley says should draw history buffs to the city in droves. Last week, employees could be seen arranging, cleaning windows and preparing for the full reopening of the park.

Gardener Leslie Brodbeck removes protective covers from boxwood shrubs in the garden at Adams National Historic Park in Quincy ahead of the May Day opening.

In addition to national parks, Ashley said the city’s new visitor center, a revamped “Presidents Trail” walking tour, the reopening of the nearby John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and a full summer of public events will attract people from near and far.

Visitor numbers to the city have increased from 191,000 in 2020 to 228,000 in 2021, and Ashley said she would consider 2022 a successful year if between 250,000 and 300,000 people visited.

She said she was looking to not only increase the number of visitors, but also the length of their stays. Tourists stayed in Quincy an average of two and a half days before 2020, but the pandemic has led to a surge in day trips, meaning fewer people have purchased hotel stays, meals or accommodations. other economic drivers.

“The more we tell people that Quincy is open for business and pleasure, the more we’ll see people considering us as an option again,” Ashley said.

John F. McDonald Jr., who plans events for the city, said he has a full slate of events to show potential visitors and residents that Quincy is “ready to put the pandemic behind us.”

“We’re back, spring has arrived and we’re ready to move on,” he said. “We are really excited to kick off the celebration of the season.”

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In addition to traditional summer events such as Artsfest in May, the Flag Day Parade in June, and the Food Truck Festival in October, Quincy will host its first Spring has Sprung festival on Hancock-Adams Common on Saturday, April 23.

“(Events) are another driver and it’s a little bonus when visitors are here,” Ashley said. “They may not be planning their trip around a small local festival, but if they are here they will definitely participate and people will travel locally and regionally.”

The Spring has Sprung festival will begin at 4 p.m. and feature performances by five local performance art groups, followed by a laser light show on the township at 7:15 p.m. There will be a whoopie pie truck , wood-burning pizza stoves, a Montilio’s pastry truck, and beer and wine for sale.

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“Our goal is for people to go to some of the local restaurants in the area, pick up food, have a picnic and enjoy themselves, and then have food from our trucks for dessert,” McDonald said.

The city’s downtown events attract anyone who lives along MBTA lines, he said.

“I walk around at events and talk to people and hear people say, ‘Oh, I’m from Cambridge’ or ‘I’m from Somerville and I just took the T’, so that’s a great thing. . We ‘encourage people from other parts of the Commonwealth to come and enjoy it.’

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Contact Mary Whitfill at mwhitfill@patriotledger.com.