South of Boston, Route 3 reemerges from the I-93 freeway at Quincy (pop. 93,688), home of the Adams family, the political dynasty that helped shape the early republic. John Adams (1735-1826) signed the Declaration of Independence, served as a diplomat during the Revolutionary War, helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris, then returned home to become George Washington’s vice president and successor. His son, John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), served as president from 1825 to 1829. Rather than quit politics after losing the election in 1828, he returned to Washington, serving in the House of Representatives for the next 16 years. The rather modest houses where both men were born, plus a nice garden and a historic church, are preserved as part of the Adams National Historic Site (1250 Hancock St., 617/770-1175, daily, $10), which covers 13 downtown acres starting at a visitors center.
More recently, Quincy has been home to the truly huge Fore River Shipyard. This dense forest of cranes, derricks, and scaffolding rises along the south side of the 1930s Fore River Bridge, along Route 3A at the south edge of town.