on November 28, 2010
Boston Common is more than just a park. This 50 acre site, centrally located in Boston, was once the community grazing ground for cattle, a place for public hangings, and the campsite of British troops at the start of the Revolutionary war. These days it is a place to walk, rest, picnic, and start the city's historical foot tour, the Freedom Trail.In this city, a car is more of a nuisance than a conveniance. The excellent public transit system is fast and affordable, and getting to the park is a simple matter of hopping a train on the green line and getting off on Park Street. A visitor information center, operated by The Freedom Trail Foundation, is located on the common, and offers free guided walking tours of the area led by guides in full period character and regalia. The knowledgeable guides will charm the pants off of even the most jaded tourists. You'll want to check in with the visitor center first, then browse the common while you wait for your tour to begin. The park is surrounded by wonderful, historic buildings: The State House, built in 1798, is located across the street at the top of Beacon Hill. The gold-domed building sits on land once owned by John Hancock.Across Tremont Street is the Park Street Church, built in 1810. King's Chapel, established as an Anglican meeting house in 1689, is just down Tremont street (it became Unitarian in 1785). Cemetary buffs will love the "buryal" ground at the King's Chapel, as well as the one at the end of the common on Boylston. Check out the resting places of Mary Chilton (rumored to be the first woman to step off the Mayflower) and John Winthrop, the first Puritan governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, at King's Chapel.
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