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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Day 6: How much farther?

The way I see it, there are two kinds of vacations:  relaxing or doing.  We've tried the relaxing kind and we just aren't good at it, so we are here in Boston to do things and see things.  We got up at 8 and made it out of the hotel a little after ten.  We wanted to walk the Freedom Trail and the lady at the front desk encouraged us to use public transportation.  She even told us that we could buy a single week's pass and all use it, one after the other, to get on the T.  Yeah, that didn't work.  We looked like idiots all piled up while it kept flashing at us "ticket already used."  Cheaters!!

After that brief fiasco, we bought three more tickets, got on the T and headed to Boston Common.  I always feel like we've won the lottery when we all end up on the same train headed in the same direction.

Boston Public Garden is home to this studly statue of President Washington, and leads to Boston Common, where the Freedom Trail starts.


We opted to walk the Freedom Trail without a guide.  You see, they sell these handy little booklets for $7.  I thought that was enough.  As we walked, I read the tidbits to my family.  They ignored me and just wanted to know what the next stop was.

This memorial is not part of the official Freedom Trail, but caught my eye.  It's in honor of Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.  (Matthew Broderick's character in Glory.) 




The sign below makes for good reading about the founding of Boston Common. 




This is the Park Street Church.  It was not a presence in the Revolutionary War, but "America (My Country 'Tis of Thee)" was first sung here.


We stopped by the Granary Burying grounds and paid our respects to Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and the victims of the Boston Massacre.


Dropped by Sam LaGrassa's for lunch.  It's a Diners, Drive Ins and Dives location.  The line was crazy, it was packed and it was totally worth it!


After Sam's we went around the corner to the Bromfield Pen Shop.  Look at all of these inks!  Jason told me to pick out a new fountain pen for our anniversary next month.  I did, but I won't let myself use it until our anniversary.  I'm weird like that.


So far, so good.  The Freedom Trail is flying by.  The landmarks are all near one another, clearly marked.  It's a beautiful day.  It's so neat to see these historic locations mixed in with modern architecture.  Here's the location of the Boston Massacre.



The massacre took place in front of the Old State House.  It's a really neat old building.  The Declaration of Independence was first read to the people of Boston from that balcony.  And then they tore down and burned the Lion and Unicorn (replicas seen on the roof) as they were symbols of royal authority.  


By now, we are starting to get tired, but no worries.  Faneuil Hall was next with food and shopping.  A refreshing break!  

But now the stops are starting to get more spread out.  Sigh.  But how can you turn back when Paul Revere's house is the next stop?  Never mind the narrow, uneven sidewalks, it's Paul Revere.


You we do one more stop, right?  It's the Old North Church.  One if by Land, Two if by Sea and all that stuff that was beat into your head as a kid.  How can you not visit that church, with the tallest steeple in all of Boston?  It would be unpatriotic.  Plus, maybe you can sit down for a bit. And if you skip it, you'd miss the guy selling Italian Ice, and this stature of Paul Revere that makes George Washington look like a pansy.


The view of the steeple really is awesome and made me happy that we had kept marching on.


After the Old North Church, there are only three stops.  Three!  How can we stop now.  Well, we walked right past Copp's Hill Burying Ground.  So, the British were there right before the Battle of Bunker Hill, but we had more important places to be, like the USS Constitution.

Side note:  the Freedom Trail is marked by red bricks throughout the city.   It is virtually impossible to get lost.  So, I thought it was funny to shout, "I'm lost" in this section that was under construction.  (I guess you had to be there.)


The USS Constitution, in dry dock, so you can barely see it.  You can go on it for free.  Free!  But you have to wait in line and NO ONE in my family had the patience for that nonsense.  ONE MORE STOP! (By the way, did you know that it is still considered "in service?" It has a crew and everything!)


As you leave the USS Constitution, you can see the Bunker Hill Monument,  It's right there, but only it's not.  It's up some hills and down around some corners and past some narrow streets and you think you'll never get there, but, by God, you are going to finish this Freedom Trail.

So, the Battle of Bunker Hill took place on Breed's Hill.  Google it.  It was a victory for the British, but a moral victory for the Colonists.  You can climb the nearly 300 steps to the top if you get there before 4:30.  We got there at 4:45.  (I was kind of glad we were late.)


And then you get to walk back because the Freedom Trail doesn't end anywhere near where it began.  
We walked over 20,000 steps.  And though there were moments when I thought one of us might cheerfully choke another, it was worth it.

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