In my opinion, historic cities (along with history) are wasted on our children. Sure, we (and they) have learned about the Boston Tea Party, the Old North Church, Boston’s Freedom Trail, Bunker Hill and Paul Revere in school, but it becomes much more meaningful when you visit these places as an adult. Not to mention, all those episodes of Cheers that have worn a “Boston groove” in my brain.
With this in mind, “ex-Marine” (husband, Steve) and I decided that a few days would be both educational and fun. And, my friend, Shelley who had recently moved to Boston could give us an insider’s view.
Planning was simple. Picked a weekend with a good e-fare, flew directly from Chicago to Logan Airport and searched out a semi-inexpensive hotel for the weekend. Doesn’t sound too difficult but it is not easy to find a “reasonably priced” hotel/motel in the center of Boston. You either have to rent a car or head out of the immediate City. Since we didn’t want to be bothered with a car, found a hotel in Brookline and took excellent public transportation back and forth.
First stop off the plane was to pick up an Official Subway Map from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. (We learned quickly that all Bostonians refer to anything with Massachusetts in it as “Mass” — as in Boston, Mass.) The subway is called the “T” and is a snap to get around on. The Transportation Authority has Visitor’s Passports for 1, 3 or 7 days of unlimited transportation on all MBTA local subway and bus services. Cheap and easy!
Headed for downtown Boston on the T, dropped our bags, visited the Boston Common Visitor’s Center on Tremont Street and loaded with information, brochures and maps, started out to walk The Freedom Trail.
The Freedom Trail is walked by approximately 2 million people each year. It was established in 1958 and links 16 historic sites between the Boston Common and Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. Connected by a red brick line, the Trail covers 2-1/2 miles. You walk past the Common, New State House, Park Street Church, Granary Burying Grounds, King’s Chapel, the first public school site, the Old Corner Bookstore, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Boston Massacre Site and Faneuil Hall. Most of the sites are open from 9 am-5 pm daily, and some charge a small admission fee.
The National Park Service also provides guided tours of the Trail, but we just did our own thing…moseying along…lingering at the places that really interested us…taking in the sights and people-watching…reading menus and eating at some of the restaurants…and just having a good time.
Our first lengthy stop was the Old Granary Burying Ground. The remains of Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Ben Franklin’s parents and Mother Goose (of nursery rhyme) are all buried here. It was amazing to see the tombstones of these famous people and look for many others, hardly legible after all these years.
More Freedom Trail later…