During our last year of grad school, two of my friends and I used our weekends to our advantage and explored Boston and the surrounding towns and states as often as possible. One nice day in winter we headed North to Saugus, to the National Historic Saugus Iron Works Site. The day we visited no workers were present, although the site was still open to walk around outside. When no workers are present, they have free pamphlets available to help guide you.
When workers are present (May-October), there are free guided tours offered of both the industrial site, and the home which has a limit of 8 people per tour. The 9 acre park includes forges, mills, and waterwheels that were used by traditional blacksmiths. You can also visit the museum, hike the trail, stop at the intro movie, be guided with an audio tour, visit the herb garden, or become a junior ranger for kids. We visited in winter, and areas of the site were roped off. I don’t know if these are always up during the winter months, or if it was because of renovations they had posted about conducting last winter specifically.
The Saugus Iron Works was started in the 1640’s, the practice brought from Europe, and was integral to the colonies forming and maintaining their settlement. The history of the location and mill runs through multiple groups of people: the Pawtucket people, Puritans, Scottish indentured servants, and the iron workers. In more recent years, archaeologists and preservationists have worked to learn more about the history and to preserve the items and buildings of the site.