Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Tuesday Trip Report: The Freedom Trail. Boston, MA. May 31 - June 1, 2012

No trees, mud, rock scrambling, peaks, or summit cairns for this one.  Instead, there's red paint, cement, old buildings, gravestones, and a ton of tourists.

The girls and I are fortunate to live near Boston, the place where so many important events of the American Revolution occurred.  Specific points of interest can be found along the well-marked and novice-friendly Freedom Trail, which winds through Boston and neighboring Charlestown.  A red line guides the way; one simply has to follow it for 2.5 miles and carry an easy-to-read, free map (available at the Visitors Center in Boston Common).  No expensive tour guides are necessary.

Alex, Sage and I began our walk in Boston Common on the day of our Somerville Library event.  The beginning of the red line was near the Visitors Center and easy to find; we followed it through the Common to the State House.

We enjoyed staring at the shiny gold top of the State House -- but we really enjoyed thinking about the copper top Paul Revere fashioned back in the early 1800s.  Even more fun was imagining the land covered in John Hancock's bovines (the State House was built on what used to be Mr. Hancock's cow pasture).

Across from the State House, there's a marvelous monument to the first African-Americans who fought in the Civil War.  

The girls and I continued onward, past the Park Street Church and into the Granary Burying Ground.

Ben Franklin's parents are buried here...

The girls in front of John Hancock's monument...

Tour groups were approaching, each led by a costumed guide, so we quickly left the cemetery and continued onward (we don't like crowds). 

We visited King's Chapel (once used by British soldiers), walked past the site of the Boston Latin School (Ben Franklin attended for a while before dropping out of school forever), stuck our heads inside the Old South Meeting House and the Old State House Museum, and stood on the site of the Boston Massacre. 

Hmmm...I suppose I should have told the girls to look a little less cheerful, considering all the blood that was spilled on this spot...

Soon after this picture was taken, the girls and I began to feel hot.  As in, extremely hot.  The temperature couldn't have been more than 80 degrees, but we're now country folk and therefore used to trees, shade, mud, and alpine air.  The hard sidewalk and the lack of vegetation were starting to get to us.  Luckily, the red line goes right past a few fountains.

Time was running short, so we decided to call it a day after seeing Paul Revere's house (photo didn't turn out).  We freshened up, did our event at the Somerville Public Library, then returned to the Freedom Trail the next morning.

This time, we began at the other end of the trail, near the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown.

One can go inside and walk up all 290 steps.  There were approximately 5,789,000 school children preparing to ascend...while their teachers did a head-count, we scooted around the group and jogged up.

Sage beat us to the top.  She wasn't even winded.  Alex and I gasped and panted a wee bit...

Views from the top of the monument...

The school kids began to arrive, so we hurried down and found the trail.

We took one last look at the monument before heading toward the USS Constitution.

This part of the trail is more pleasant than the Boston section in terms of ambiance; there are a lot more trees, grass, flowers, etc.

After passing through a lovely park...

...we approached the USS Constitution.

The public is allowed to board this oldest commissioned warship in the world for free.  There are two possibilities: 1) self-tour, but stick to the upper decks, or 2) wait for the free 30 minute guided tour and see everything.  Since Alex and I were scheduled to be at WBUR studios that afternoon, we decided to go with the fast, self-tour option.

The girls and I had a grand time trying to imagine what it must have been like on board during the war of 1812.

After we'd seen our fill, we hit the red line again and followed it back to our car.  The girls agreed that the Freedom Trail was well worth the time and footsteps, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Boston.  It's free, it's full of history, and it gets you outside.  What's not to like?

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