The Freedom Trail

by Liz Dowling

What is a very touristy Boston thing to do? Yes ~ walk the Freedom Trail!

Three years into living here, we had overlooked the majority of landmarks in the city. Not for any particular reason. Covid? So, on this sunny Sunday in March, we strapped on our sneakers and set out.

The Freedom Trail is about 2.5 miles and has around 16 sites total. We tacked on another mile or so walking to the start of the trail, which is the Boston Common. The Boston Common is the oldest public park in the U.S. and is on the trail because the British Soldiers were stationed in the Common before they left to march to Lexington and Concord.

Full disclosure, we didn’t “hit” all the sites. We walked right past some because we didn’t realize they were on the trail. Others had too many tourists in front of them, so we kept on going. Here is a link to all of the sites on the FREEDOM TRAIL so you can do a better job than we did! The State House was technically our next stop, but we could see the shining gold dome from the Common, so we skipped it. This is Park Street Church, circa 1809. Once the first landmark travelers saw when approaching Boston.

The Granary Burying Ground, 1660, has notables such as Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock and victims of the Boston Massacre buried here.

King’s Chapel Burying Ground is Boston’s first cemetery. Residents include Boston’s first governor John Winthrop and Mary Chilton, the first woman to step off the Mayflower. Hmmmm, wonder if the Chilton Club on Commonwealth Avenue is related???? Anyone?

I took a picture of Old City Hall thinking it was on the trail. Nope!

This is the old State House and sight of the Boston Massacre. It was on this little balcony where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the people of Boston. The Old State House stands as the oldest surviving public building in Boston.

Guess who? It was this house in the North End where Paul Revere set out on his famous midnight ride on April 18, 1775 to warn the Patriots in Lexington and Concord about the British marching on their town. Next stop for Liz and Tim was TABLE in the North End for gelato, coffee and a yummy Italian sandwich with delicious things oozing out the side! TABLE is a no miss if you are in this neck of the woods.

The Old North Church. Famous for hanging two lanterns from the steeple on the night of Paul Revere’s midnight ride. To warn the Patriots, Paul Revere asked the church sexton to hang one lantern if the British were coming by land, two lanterns if they were coming by sea. The famous Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem.

Paul on his way!

Here is another random picture of something I thought was on the trail….. a giant codfish in Charlestown City Square Park. Clearly I don’t know my American History.

We made it to the end! Yippee! The Patriots were defeated on June 17, 1775 at the Battle of Bunker Hill, but proved they could hold their own against the British Army. The fight confirmed that any reconcilliation between England and the American Colonies was no longer possible. Next question, will Uber come all the way over here?

Colonel William Prescott at Bunker Hill.

the wry home

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Melinda Sweet April 12, 2023 - 8:43 am

Great tour, liz. Inspiring! Especially at a time when our precious Democracy is in trouble!!

Kathryn mcdonald April 12, 2023 - 9:29 am

I had not been back to Boston since the 90’s for a wedding, so your Historical Tour was a wonderful way to return and enjoy the history.

Terry April 12, 2023 - 9:44 am

Definitely going to do this next month.
Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous April 12, 2023 - 11:22 am

I am a history buff (my major at Skidmore) so the Freedom Trail is a favorite haunt. It has been awhile since I visited it so happy to go along with your tour.!

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