Thursday, April 8, 2010

Walking the Freedom Trail

We decided to walk this historic trail on our own using the $3.00 map and the $7.00 guide book, because we're cheap like that.
No really, I heard this guy's corny jokes and thought we'll just meander and figure things out on our own. It took us about 6 hours and Kate swore we walked 8 miles, it felt like 20 (like I've ever walked or hiked 20 before)

First Stop - Boston Common - A giant Park in the middle of the city.
Back in the 1600's the people shared this common ground to graze their livestock and everyone paid a shepherd to tend the townspeoples animals.
Nice community livin, till the Puritans also used the grounds for punishments - you know whippings and the "stocks".
They even hung pirates, witches and murderers here plus a couple of quaker gals for their religous beliefs.
Then it became a training ground for the redcoat soldiers.
Now it's just a very lovely park and free speech is still encouraged.

2nd Stop - Massachusetts State House -

3rd Stop - Park Street Church
"My Country Tis of Thee" was sung on these steps for the very first time in 1831. Anti slavery, prison reform and women's suffrage speeches were encouraged here in this church.

4th Stop - The Granary Burying Ground
I don't think I've ever been to a more eerie cemetery at first yet the more I walked in here the more I felt at ease. Estimated up to 3,000 people buried here. Three Declaration of Independence signers along with Paul Revere and Samual Adams as well as Ben Franklins parents. Anna's favorite was Mother Goose. Yep there really was a Mother Goose.

Molly had fun finding headstones with dates that matched her friends and family. Landon didn't appreciate getting two texts with these creepy pictures and his birthdate on them.

5th Stop - King's Chapel & Burying Ground - No pics but people like Mary Chilton, the first lady to hop off the Mayflower and the first Governor John Winthrop are buried here.

6th Stop - Boston Latin School- America's oldest public school. Four signers of the Declaration of Independance attended - Ben Franklin (He didn't graduate - such a slacker) Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Robert Treat Paine.
I still didn't get this donkey out in the front, but it makes for a great pic with a one yr. old.

7th Stop Old Corner Bookstore - Somehow we missed this on our self guided tour. I'll go there next time because it looks intriguing.
Kate and Ellie did make a stop at a local kiosk to buy sweatshirts.
So this counts as our 7th stop.
8th Stop- Old South Meeting House - Talk about drama in history. This is the place where those rebels decided to dump 30 tons of tea in the harbour and off the Sons of Liberty went to do the deed.

9th & 10th Stop - Old State House and Boston Massacre Site- Out front on March 5 1770 (I know that cuz it's Molly's birth date give or a take a couple of centuries) The Brittish Army killed 5 men. Samuel Adams called it a massacre. Hence the Boston Massacre took place outside this building.
Many a speech was given here inside over the next several years urging resistance to the British.
Then on July 18, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was first read to the Bostonians from the balcony.
I like this quote from Abigail Adams who was there, "...As soon as he ended (Colonel Graft) three cheers rended the air...Thus ends royal authority in this state, and all the poeple shall say Amen."

11th Stop - Faneuil Hall
I don't even know what happened here cuz I was hungry and my feet were sore by now.
Luckily they modernized this place and it has a giant food court with soooo many choices. Loved it.
(I'll read up on what was so famous about this place next time I go)
Something to do with bad boy Samuel Adams since here's his statue.

Yay we found this replica of "Cheers" one of my favorite shows from the 80's.

This isn't on the "Freedom Trail" map but we didn't realize we were supposed to follow the red bricks down the middle of the sidewalks, so we jumped across the street and found the New England Holocaust Memorial and it was very somber to walk thru. The mist coming up the 6 tower represents the 6 major concentration camps with their gas chambers. There was a quote at the end that I had never heard before and it left me pondering as to how this ever happened. What would I have done?
"They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up."
---Martin Niemoeller

Back to the the historic Freedom trail

Across the street is my favorite area. I just loved the nooks and crannys and old shops and would love to meander thru again. Notice the red bricks down the center of the sidewalk. That's the trail you're supposed to follow but we didn't figure that out till much later.

Then I reflected on our Founding Fathers and the courage they had to take a stand. I'm greatful for their vision and the risks they took.
Near here is the location of the "Green Dragon" the tavern that the Sons of Liberty frequently met. I think they did a lot of discussing here before they gave their speeches to the public. I liked this area.

Strolled thru the Itallian district and couldn't resist a canoli, David and Molly opted for gellato.

12th Stop - Paul Revere House - Boston's oldest building still in existence. The guy had 16 kids. I wanted to go in but there was a fee, hence we ditched the inside tour.
I love the brick and cobblestone streets.

13th Stop - Old North Church
April 18 1775 Paul Revere just walked around the block from his house and had the church guy climb the eight stories to light the lanterns in the steeple to let the Sons of Liberty know the British solders were coming.
- Interesting note - Revere would never had said "The British are coming" as he made his famous ride.
They were all British.
It would have been either "The Regulars are out or the Red Coats"
Just doesn't work in the poem though.
Longfellow made this place famous with his poetic phrase "One if by land, two if by sea"

14th Stop - Copp's Hill Burying Ground - Ok three cemeteries in one afternoon is two too many for me and I like cemeteries - it's that genealogy bug I have but I was tired if you've seen one headstone from here, you've seen it, call it a day. Too bad this site is at the end because it is quite pretty overlooking the harbour. I was just done with site seeing.

Then we hiked across one of many bridges in Boston. By now I just want to lay down and put my feet up.

Had to take this pic

15th Stop - USS Constitution - The oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Too bad I walk so slow thus,we got there 15 min. too late and they wouldn't let us on.

Maybe if I wasn't taking so many pictures. Here's one of Molly right before she yelled. She didn't realize the lower part of the anchor was sticking out and connected with her shin, causing a great amount of pain and hobbling.
She's a trooper.

16th Stop - Bunker Hill Monument - The first major battle of the Revolutionary War.

The view from Bunker HIll

They hiked to the top and finished the Trail. Someone had to stay with Ellie since strollers weren't allowed.

2.5 miles
yep 2.5 not 8 in 5 hours, maybe it was 6. Good thing the subway was close on the way back.
Now you know what to expect - Go for a great historical walk.


  1. what a life...enjoying the sights!! It looks wonderful!!!!

  2. So cool! Molly and Anna look so pretty, and what a cutie your little grandbaby is!

  3. Loved going on the family-minus-em-and-landon vacation via your blog. Now it's almost like family-minus-landon vacation, unless he read it too. Then we're all a happy family again. Woot.

  4. I loved the freedom trail when I was in Boston last year. I wish all cities had something similar. I felt I really got to see the whole city on my own time. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!