Since time machines aren’t ready yet, there’s no better way to step back in time than to check out historical sites of significance. Boston happens to be one of those here in America. Boston, Massachusetts is fascinating to walk around because you can see it’s just as busy now as it was when it was the hot seat pre-revolution. The clash of colonial and modern day makes for an enlightening walk around the city. Probably the best way to see it is by taking the Freedom Trail. Let’s go!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have a thing for parks. Many parks are beautiful but not every park is worth writing about, unlike Boston Common. Right in the heart of historic Boston, across the street from Massachusetts State House is this magnificent stretch of land. Juxtaposed with tall buildings and a very downtown vibe are these rolling hills of green. It’s from an indoor souvenir stand next to the street where the Freedom Trail tour starts. Inside the stand are all kinds of Boston related items, including a Freedom Trail map for $2. This means you can take the tour yourself but if you want a historic guide dressed to time travel, do take the official tour!
OK, back to Boston Common! It’s the oldest public park in America so, naturally, it was the first spot visited after dropping off suitcases. Across the 44 acres, there’s a cemetery, coffee shop, activities, and plenty of places to sit and just take in that view. I was fortunate enough to visit in the perfect weather and scenery of mid October and could not have been more delighted. I stopped by a few times before departing.
Massachusetts State House
Completed in 1798, this proud building stands on the land that was originally a cow pasture for founding father, John Hancock. Another famous revolutionist, Paul Revere, is the one who turned the dome from wood to metal. Today, it’s where the big decisions impacting Massachusetts citizens are discussed. It sits nicely in walking distance from restaurants and other businesses.
Granary Burying Ground
A short walk up the road from the state house is this cemetery. If you weren’t looking for it, you might miss it. As unique is it is, the land sort of blends in with the environment of city. Granary has been around since 1660, more than 100 years before USA was a country. So, it’s understandable why the city grew up around it. In these grounds are the bodies of some very famous people such as John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Crispus Attucks and the other victims of the Boston Massacre, Paul Revere, James Otis, Mother Goose (Yes, THE Mother Goose, but not quite), and Benjamin Franklin’s parents. To see more of the graves, click here. There is a gentleman who sits at the only entrance and offers you a folder with a detailed map and info. TAKE IT. The headstones are hard to read and it’s kind of a maze to get around. Also, for some reason people put coins on Paul Revere’s headstone.
Old South Meeting House
This building is the first on the list that slaps you in the face with a reminder that this city is, as some in the south would say, WAY YONDER older than we are as a country. This striking puritan feeling church is surrounded by modern America. When built, it was the tallest building in Boston. Not shown is that it’s directly across the street from a two story Walgreens and a WWII monument. This building has seen some things. If these walls could talk, they would reminisce about the heated debates that happened here that fanned the flame of the Revolutionary War. It was here that Samuel Adams spoke to a restless crowd about the tea that was sitting in the harbor waiting to be unloaded so Britain could benefit from the taxes. Later, there was a tea party.
Old State House
Another building dwarfed by modernization. Built in 1713, this was the seat of power for the colonies. James Otis had enough in the decade before the Revolutionary War and delivered a fired up speech about independence. John Adams believed this moment was when the war for it began. From that front balcony was read the newly created Declaration of Independence to the Bostonians.
Paul Revere House
This house is owned and operated by the National Park Service. A lot of this historical area is, actually, but this is the only home. It’s $3.50 for adults to go in and more than worth it. Truthfully, Paul and his family didn’t live here for too long. However, he was living here during his famous warning ride. Due to having so many children, I understand why they weren’t here long because it’s really cramped inside despite outward appearance. You’re not allowed to take photos inside, which was sad. It’s hard to describe but I can understand why you’d get sick there, too. It’s drafty and dark, also kind of humid. Let’s just say, I’m glad building standards have evolved. The best part is walking through the end where it gives more insight into that famous ride to town.
Ben Franklin Statue
This is another easy to miss spot on the trail because it blends in, as you can see. Around the base are moments depicting the journey to independence as well as the inventive life of the man it stands for. The building behind it is the Old City Hall housing the Boston Latin School, which began in 1635. Boston Latin is the oldest public school in the United States. Here, there was free education for boys of any class. One of those boys was the man whose statue guards it. 5 signers of the Declaration of Independence went to this school and all graduated except their clearly most regarded student.
Site of Boston Massacre
Standing here is odd for many reasons. All around you are enormous buildings stretching up to the sky and passing you by are people who work in them. The feel of any downtown area. Except here, in this spot, is where several men were gunned down during the Boston Massacre of 1770 over what started out as snowball hurling. One of the casualties was Crispus Attucks, son of an African American father and Native American mother. He was shot twice by the Redcoats and upon his death he became the first person killed in the America Revolution.
So, these were the highlights! In total, the Freedom Trail is 2.5 miles of walking through a metropolitan downtown. There’s a red line on the ground to follow as well so you won’t get off track. It’s busy, it’s historic, it’s thought provoking. It’s definitely worth it to take a day to walk. You get to see way more than just the history and get exposed to the culture of Boston. Would you be interested in seeing the Freedom Trail while in Massachusetts?
For more views of Freedom Trail, check the album here.