Destinations USA

Boston’s Freedom Trail – We Brits Are Back And We Brought The Rain

Our first day in Boston and we’ve brought the British weather with us, the rain was pouring down. Anyway, undeterred and armed only with hotel umbrellas we headed out early to walk Boston’s Freedom Trail. A two and a half mile route past 16 significant sites all closely related to the American Revolution.
It is actually a significant part of British history but for some reason, it’s not so widely taught in British schools, we wonder why!

Boston Common & The Massachusetts State House

The trail starts at the visitor information centre on Boston Common. It’s easy to find, just look for the people dressed in 18th-century clothing. We did the self-guided tour which is easy to follow and there is a phone app available. Also, the whole route is marked in a red brick line through downtown Boston.

Boston Common

Boston Common

Boston Common was very picturesque in the Autumn, despite the rain. It is America’s oldest public park, established in 1634. Just watch out for the squirrels who seen to model their behaviour on Jack Nicholson in ‘The Departed‘.

Massachusetts State House

Massachusetts State House

On the edge of the common is the Massachusetts State House. The gold-domed 18th-century building sits on John Hancock’s former cow pasture. For us Brits, John Hancock was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, it’s the big and fancy signature.

Park Street Church & Granary Burying Ground

Granary Burying Ground

Granary Burying Ground

During our trip, the 217-foot steeple of Park Street church was shrouded in scaffolding as it was undergoing maintenance. The church was the tallest building in the USA at the start of the 1800’s.

Next to the church is the Granary Burying Ground dating from 1660. It is the resting place for many famous American Revolutionaries including Paul Revere and victims of the Boston Massacre. John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin’s parents and Samuel Adams are also buried here.

King’s Chapel Burying Ground & The Boston Latin School

Not far from the Granary Burying Ground is King’s Chapel. This is where Mary Chilton is buried, she was the first woman to step off the Mayflower.

The Boston Latin School

The Boston Latin School

The mosaic marks the location of the original Boston Latin School, five signers of the Declaration of Independence attended the school which was free for the rich and poor.

Old Corner Bookstore, Old South Meeting House & Old State House

The Old Corner Bookstore is Boston’s oldest commercial building and was a literary mecca in the 1800’s. Although it is now just a branch of ‘Chipotle‘.

Just across the road from the Old Corner Bookstore is the Old South Meeting Place. This is where 5,000 angry Bostonian’s gathered to protest against the tax on tea, leading to the Boston Tea Party and from then on it didn’t go too well for us Brits!

 Irish Famine Memorial

Irish Famine Memorial

Although not directly relating to the American Revolution but very moving is the Irish Famine Memorial. The memorial pays tribute to the refugees from the Irish famine, nearly 40,000 Irish refugees landed in Boston in 1847 alone.

The Old State House

The Old State House

The balcony of the Old State House was from where the first reading of the Declaration of Independence was read to the people of Boston.

After all that history it was time for a break. So still quite wet we spent 20 minutes in a coffee shop while our wet clothes gently steamed.

Boston Massacre & Faneuil Hall

The Site Of The Boston Massacre

The site of the Boston Massacre

Next was the site of the Boston Massacre in 1770 British Redcoats opened fire on an angry mob of Bostonians, killing five. The soldiers were tried for murder and they were actually defended by a young John Adams.

Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall

Faneuil Hall has been a meeting hall and marketplace for more than 270 years and is often referred to as the ‘Cradle of Liberty’. Along with the neighbouring Quincy Market, the area is still a popular area to stroll, shop and of course, eat.

Paul Revere House, Old North Church & Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

We then walked over to the cobblestoned streets of the North End, Boston’s oldest neighbourhood dating from the early 1600’s. It is now also the home of Boston’s Little Italy.

Paul Revere House

The Paul Revere House

The first stop was the Paul Revere House. Paul Revere is not that well known to us Brits but he is best known for his ride from Boston to warn the patriots that the British were coming. The ride was commemorated in “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Longfellow. The Old North Church also features in the poem as it was used to send a warning to the Patriots using two lanterns in the steeple.

There was no end to the rain as we approached Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, no wonder they call it New England. The British used Copp’s Hill for their cannons, they were aimed at Charlestown during the Battle of Bunker Hill.

USS Constitution & Bunker Hill Monument

The Bunker Hill Monument

The Bunker Hill Monument

We were then due to cross the Charles River and visit the final two sites of The Freedom Trail but tiredness and the weather got the better of us so we headed back to the comfort of the Lenox Hotel.

Despite the weather, we did find the trail very interesting and a definite ‘must do’. The next day the sun did make an appearance, along with blues skies and warm afternoons. We loved the atmosphere in Boston, it felt like a friendly town rather than a big city.

For more information about Boston and planning your trip, check out Visiting Boston.

Next, it was off to Salem for some ‘Haunted Happenings.

 

Boston's Freedom Trail, Massachusetts, USA

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    California Globetrotter
    November 14, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    I remember walking this fresh out of high school! I didn’t appreciate this history quite as much as I do now so I would love to return! And I remember climbing the Bunker Hill Monument and how shaky my legs were afterwards! Pinned for later! #CityTripping

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 14, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      We didn’t make it to the very end of the route but we were running out of time and getting a bit too wet. We loved Boston and were surprised how old the North End area looked and felt.

  • Reply
    Cathy (Mummytravels)
    November 16, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    What a shame about the rain – I was there in September when I visited and it was sunny but not too hot, perfect for wandering the freedom trail. I loved the red brick line, such a great way to guide everyone as you wander. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 16, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      Although we rain that day, we had good weather for the rest of the trip. The next day we went to Salem and it was sunny and quite warm for late October. We loved the atmosphere in Boston.

  • Reply
    Melanie
    November 18, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Seems like you had a very interesting tour through Boston despite the weather. There are quite a few interesting historical points to see. Haven’t been to Boston myself yet, but to a few places in the states already.

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 18, 2017 at 11:17 am

      I was surprised how interesting it was and how many preserved buildings still remained.

  • Reply
    Tanvi
    November 18, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Rain can absolutely make or break the mood.. And for something like history i guess rain plays no good because it makes the atmosphere even more sad.. But nevertheless i’m glad to know that you had a great time & that burial ground well looks so creepy to me I wouldn’t go there in the day or night for sure 😉

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 18, 2017 at 11:19 am

      The graves were very old, something that is not so common in the US as it is in Europe.

  • Reply
    Julia
    November 18, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Wow, I am impressed that you walked the trail even with only an umbrella! Probably that’s where you gave away that you are inherently used to this kind of weather 😉 I would have stayed in the hotel lol. Love that you made the reference to Nicholas Cage – I actually looked at the picture and thought to myself, this looks familiar and then I read where I saw it before! 🙂

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 19, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Yep, it felt like our home from home with the rain. Although we had sun for the rest of our trip, more than 2 consecutive days of sun is confusing to us.

  • Reply
    Kavita Favelle
    November 19, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Shame on you for bringing the rain ha ha but I think you can stop feeling guilty, I think they get almost as much rain as we do in the UK! We really enjoyed the Freedom Trail too, it’s such a great way to access the historical sites of the city and learn the history as you go.

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 20, 2017 at 9:15 am

      It is an interesting walk and as you mentioned, a great way to access the historic sites.

  • Reply
    Hannah
    November 19, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    I am so glad to have found this article! We are going to Boston next year and only have 3 days, so this will really help us see some of the historic monuments in a short amount of time. I’m particularly interested in where Mary Chilton is buried, and Paul Revere’s house. I am reading New York by David Rutherfurd just now, and it references lots of these events (as Boston and New York were vying for power at that time), so I enjoyed reading and seeing the monuments. I can’t wait to see them in person next year!

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 20, 2017 at 9:17 am

      I’m sure you’ll have a good time. We loved Boston and the atmosphere of the city. Much more of a friendly town feel than NYC.

  • Reply
    Meg Jerrard
    November 20, 2017 at 5:43 am

    Glad the rain didn’t deter you – so nice being able to rely on hotel reception for umbrellas when that happens – has saved my travel day once or twice! Boston Common looks very beautiful with its fall colors. I haven’t yet been to Boston, but it sounds like there’s a lot of history to discover. Amazing that there are still neighborhoods standing which date back as far as the 1600’s! You don’t tend to find that level of history in today’s biggest cities.

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 20, 2017 at 9:18 am

      Yes, I was surprised how many of the historic sites still remained. Boston Common was very pretty with the Autumn colours, even in the rain they still stood out.

  • Reply
    Nisha
    November 21, 2017 at 2:59 am

    A place where it all started….I mean the American revolution. Historical walks are almost always gloomy and the weather seems to have added its bit to the atmosphere. I love your take on British School curriculum. 🙂 🙂

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 21, 2017 at 8:08 am

      It was very interesting despite the weather. Yes, we weren’t taught much about this when I was in school, we tend to gloss over of losses.

  • Reply
    Samantha Sparrow
    November 21, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Oh well you guys are just like me, bringing the British weather wherever we go. We’ve been so unlucky with our trips this year! Although it looks like you made the most of it – I don’t remember much about the American Revolution from my school days, so actually I’d lobe to do this as I am a real history geek. I think Boston Common too looks so beautiful in the autumn!

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 21, 2017 at 9:25 am

      The autumn colours were beautiful. This was the worst weather day we had, the next day we went to Salem and had brilliant sun and blue skies.

  • Reply
    Paige
    November 22, 2017 at 5:25 am

    I loved the Freedom Trail in Boston. There are so many interesting historical sites to see! I’m glad you were able to make the most of a rainy day – good for you for not letting it halt your plans! I love hearing the British perspective on visiting these places. It’s interesting that it wasn’t taught as much in schools. Similarly, the Vietnam War isn’t talked about much in U.S. history classes – it took visiting Vietnam for me to start really learning about it. Quite interesting.

  • Reply
    James
    November 22, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    There is surely not enough places in New England that I haven’t visited! And i am from Canada… shame… next time I go back to Montreal, I’ll make sure to spare a few days to go visit our neighbors down south!

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