Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: OLA: Walking the Freedom Trail in Boston!

Monday, June 25, 2012

OLA: Walking the Freedom Trail in Boston!

Bill enjoying Cheers in Boston, hub of the TV Series by the same name
after  walking the Freedom Trail
map of Freedom Trail in Boston
But it wasn’t really a walk! Boston’s traffic jams and high parking prices made us leave our car at Braintree, about thirty miles south, to take the city subway’s Red Line. We got off at the Park Street Station on Beacon Hill. There we took the City View Trolley (I decided I could not walk the 2.5 mile trail), a Hop-on Hop-off bus service. The Trail is a unique constellation of 16 historic sites that surround the important events around the American Revolution against Great Britain.  Beacon Hill was Stops #7 and 8 of the 10-stop tour. We reserved it for the last before the subway ride back to our car.
the trail is marked like this on the sidewalks


At Stop #9 is the Boston Tea Party ship/museum. Darn…they were closed for renovation! Here’s how the story goes: the British government and the East India Company controlled all the tea imported into the colonies. On 12/16/1773, officials in Boston refused to return three shiploads of taxed tea to Britain. Colonists sneaked into the ship and threw them into the Boston Harbor, earning the name, the Boston Tea Party. In 1774 the British Parliament closed Boston's commerce until the East India Company could be repaid. Colonists responded by convening the First Continental Congress. In 1775 the war began.
inviting entrance to the Quincy Market 
statue of Paul Revere with the
Old North Church at the back
Stop #1 is a close look at Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Marketplace. Faneuil Hall has been a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1742. It was the site of stirring speeches by Samuel Adams and others calling for independence from Great Britain. Quincy Market is now a bustling place for diverse eateries so we had our lunch there! Next: Stop #2 for Paul Revere’s house, his statue, and the Old North Church. Revere was a silversmith who became famous for alerting Colonial militia in Lexington and Concord, just outside of Boston, of approaching British forces. Old North Church is the location from which the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent via lanterns at midnight of 4/18/1775.
Faneuil Hall with the statue of Sam Adams in front...
at the Bunker Hill Monument
The Bunker Hill Monument that commemorates the Battle of Bunker Hill is on Breed’s Hill at Stop #3. It was on Breed’s Hill where most of the fighting in the misnamed Battle of Bunker Hill actually took place. The Battle was the first major conflict between British and Patriot forces in the American Revolution, fought on 6/17/1775. The Patriots won! The 221 foot (67 m) granite obelisk has 294 steps to the top. In front of the obelisk is a statue of Col. William Prescott who, according to popular stories, coined the famous Revolutionary War phrase, "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes".
the USS Constitution and us!


The USS Constitution, fondly known as ‘Old Ironsides, is at Stop # 4 at the Charlestown Navy Shipyard.  The ship is still an active wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy. She is the world's oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat (since 1797), Constitution was one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed. She is most famous for being undefeated during the War of 1812 against Great Britain.
entrance to the Charlestown Shipyard
marker on the site of the Boston Massacre
Stop #5 is the site of the Boston Massacre, an incident on 3/5/1770 that foreshadowed the American Revolution by five years. British troops had been stationed in Boston since 1768 to protect crown-appointed colonial officials who were enforcing unpopular legislation. That fateful day, amid ongoing tense relations, a mob formed around a British sentry, who was subjected to verbal abuse and harassment. Eight additional soldiers came to support him but were also treated the same. So they fired into the crowd, without orders, instantly killing three and causing the death of two others later.  The Old State House, Old Meeting House, and an old corner bookstore are all near the site.
unmistakable edifice at the middle of Boston Commons
the fountain at Boston Commons
Massachusetts State House at the back
We were late in arriving at Stop #7, the Old Granary Burying Ground near Park Street Church where Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock, members of the Franklin family, and the five who were killed at the Boston Massacre are buried. But we were still able to take pictures from the sidewalk. Because of this, we had more time at Beacon Hill’s Boston Commons which has a carousel, a beautiful pond, a Civil War memorial, and a beautiful fountain from which one can see the gold dome of the Massachusetts State House gleaming. It is said that the Liberty Tree was a famous elm tree that stood near Boston Common where ten years before the Revolution, colonists staged the first act of defiance. Sigh…It was not listed with the other 16 sites.
markers in front of the Old Granary Burying Ground

beautiful purple flowers at the Pond
We were not able to visit the King’s Chapel and burying ground or the Copp’s hill burying ground both of which have plots of many historic figures of the time. But we were so glad to have found the time, at the end of the day, to have refreshing beer and iced tea at Cheers, the pub that was the subject of a TV series of the same name.  It was just opposite the lovely pond of the Boston Commons. We had so much fun taking photos at the bar and sending them through my smart phone to our son and sons-in-law. We also got carried away…buying each one a Cheers t-shirt for Father’s Day! 
the City View Trolley
even the Subway station at Park Street is historical.
The ‘walk’ through the most significant sites that ushered in the Revolution that became the model for other nations was indeed memorable. The Trail made this bit of American history come alive. But it was also tiring, even if we rode the Trolley because there was a lot of walking to and from the stops. Perhaps we should have done it in two days! If you ask us what the highlight of the tour was, Bill will say ‘Cheers!’!    I totally agree. So, until next week, cheers!