Few American cities have embraced their past in such a way as Boston, Massachusetts. Nestled along the eastern sea board this beautiful and intriguing city offers a first hand glimpse into the world if our founding fathers. With the induction of the "Freedom Trail," Boston has given new opportunities to travelers on any budget.
When most Americans pronounce their dream travel destinations, it is all too common to hear they have completely dismissed the beautiful and exciting places we have in our own wonderful country.
America is still so young that we often times forget that we are a nation descended from brave dreamers, who in their own times were criminals for the freedom we so value today. No city in America defines this spirit better than Boston, Massachusetts.
Recently, I accompanied my wife and ten year old daughter, on a short trip to Boston, and the flames of American patriotism were rekindled for all of us. Though it was only a short four day trip, we found an amazing assortment of information and entertainment available to us. Most of these excursions were free of charge. Boston has decided not only to embrace their heritage, but also make dead certain that all visiting Americans can relive the colonial experience with great detail.
When you first step foot into downtown Boston, you may notice the difference in the appearance of their sidewalks. Not only are much of their sidewalks made up of original red brick, granite and cobblestone from the seventeenth century, but there is also a broad red stripe painted directly onto the concrete. Don't be alarmed, you have not crossed some dangerous boundary; instead you are walking in the footsteps of great men like Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and the parents of American thinker Benjamin Franklin.
This broad stripe follows the pathway that would have been the main road in colonial Boston. This red line pathway is affectionately known as " The Freedom Trail." Beginning at world famous Boston Common Park, and ending some five miles away at Bunker Hill National Monument, the visitor will twist and turn through narrow streets and alleyways, visiting along the way many national landmarks and museums. Some of the sights to see include the following:
The old state house: see where the revolution began in Boston.
Paul Revere's house: see where our national icon spent years of his life before, during and after the revolution.
The Granary Burial ground: final resting place of many beloved American patriots. Such people as Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Mother Goose and many more are laid here for eternal slumber.
The USS Constitution: Old Iron Sides herself has come home to rest after 200 years of faithful service.
The best part of all of the excursions listed above is that they are all free. You can reach Boston Common park from any downtown hotel by foot, and the rest of the trail is completely walkable. A few recommendations would be:
A stroller if you have a young baby.
Water, especially if you intend to climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument; 295 vertical stairs, yikes!!
Cash or credit cards; there are many fine dealers of goods, and delicious eateries along the trail.
Leave early; give yourself plenty of time to travel the trail.
Take breaks often. The city has provided several benches and parks for resting on this long journey, take advantage.
Dress comfortably. Always remember: comfort was a luxury for our ancestors; the trail was not made for comfort. If walking in winter, bring a coat and appropriate walking shoes. For summer I recommend casual clothing, possibly workout apparel and athletic shoes.
Snacks are a must especially for kids. Grab a backpack and stuff it full of protein bars and fruit, you will definitely burn some calories.
The most important aspect of the trail, is remembering who you are and where you came from. Several spots on the trail including the site of the Boston Massacre, are sacred sights. The emotions of visiting landmarks where our patriotic forefathers died for our freedom can be quite overwhelming emotionally.
Few places along te eastern coast offer the same ability to connect with our past. Boston, has gone above and beyond in developing sights for tourists to relive its celebrated past. We can only hope that more of our treasured colonial states will follow the same path (forgive the pun) in years to come.