Boston Stories and Tips

Disney or History? - The Freedom Trail - Part 1

The idea of the Freedom trail is a fantastic one. A single red line weaving it's way through the city leading to all the historical sights and sides of the city a tourist normally wouldn't see. It is very popular, and deservedly so - and a visitor to the city cannot afford to miss it.

The best place to start is on Boston Common where you can pick up the red line on Park Street. From there it leads north to the Golden domed State house. Completed in 1798 by Charles Bullfinch this really catches the eye - especially on a sunny day when the sunlight glints off the gold. Then back down Park Street to the Old Grannary Burial Ground (see earlier entry) and across the street to the very white Kings Chapel, and a left down the hill to the Old State House. This building loses some of it's impact due to being crowded by skyscrapers and McDonalds but is still an excellent example of Georgian archicture. It was the seat of the Colonial government and you can imagine bewigged gentleman inhabiting this elegant building. Inside is an informative museum including a display on the Boston massacre which happened outside. I rather like the balcony facing south with the symbol of the crown - 'the Lion and Unicorn' still on display. Can you believe they wanted to tear this building down earlier in the 20th Century?

A little way downhill is a charming little building called the 'Old Corner bookstore' which is open to visitors and was a literary salon for the likes of Longfellow and Hawthorne. Across the road is the Old South Meeting House where the plotters met to plan the Boston Tea party, but as soon as you turn a corner - then Quincy Market becomes apparent. You can pick up the Freedom trail on the other side of the market and along Congress Street. Here I was accosted by a bespectacled gentleman dressed as Ben Franklin. All part of the show I suppose?

Then you come across a rarity in America, a real market with people shouting and shoving. And a feel that people really do their shopping here.Then through a graffitti-lined underpass to the Italian district.
Here stands the Paul Revere house. Home of the local gentleman who rode into Boston shouting "the British are Coming! The British are coming!" This is definitely worth visiting and is the only 17th Century building left in Boston. This is where he lived from 1770 to 1800 with his 16 children and I was allowed to roam around its rooms which still had the original furniture. The whole thing was built in red brick with a beautiful garden that contained a well. I couldn't help thinking that even then Americans lived in larger abodes then Europeans.
I then had to leave the Freedom trail to catch my bus down to Hyannis but I planned to pick up where I left off in a few days time. As I walked to the bus station I noticed the number of European/English tour groups that were using the trail. I suppose Boston has what the English love, beautiful buildings and an interesting history, and that sense of stepping back in time. And as for the fact that the trail is subconsciously anti-British. Well, we have seen it all before and can live with that..can't we?

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