Top Stops on the Freedom Trail

I had the option to either go to a Red Sox game (vs. Detroit) at Fenway Park or wander around Boston following the Freedom Trail. Given that baseball games aren’t as fun alone and I was limited on time I decided to walk the Freedom Trail. I could walk you through each of the stops on the Trail but I didn’t finish the whole thing and that wouldn’t be as much fun as it sounds.

Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a series of historic pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary War sites around Boston connected by a red line with official sites denoted by seals. The walk itself is about a half day trek altogether. I hit all the spots around Boston Common and the North End in about 3 hours, but only hit one museum. It’s a great walk with lots to see and do along the way.

My top 5 stops, in no particular order, were:

Boston Common

Boston Common

Boston Common is now a beautiful park with plenty of running trails and benches to sit to muster up your energy for the long trek ahead. It was formerly a field where everyone took their cattle to graze. It is said that John Hancock’s wife and professional hostess, Dorothy Quincy Hancock, was entertaining the French troops and ran out of milk so she sent servants to the common and just took the milk from everyone else’s cows.

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Granary Burying Ground

The Granary Burying Ground holds the remains of many of our country’s founding fathers, including Paul Revere, John Hancock, and the parents of Benjamin Franklin. The victims of the Boston Massacre are also buried here. It is also rumored that the mythical Mother Goose is buried here as well.

King’s Chapel Burial Ground

KingsChapelBurying

The oldest cemetery in Boston with some beautiful headstones is the resting place of Mary Chilton Winslow, the first woman off of the Mayflower, as well as William Emerson, father of one of my favorite transcendentalists, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Speaking of literature, Elizabeth Pain is also buried there and her tombstone is said to have inspired the tombstone of the infamous Hester Prynne of The Scarlet Letter.

The Old State House

State House

The Old State House is the oldest public building in Boston and has a spectacular museum inside. It is also the site of the Boston Massacre. To stand outside gives you a chill, knowing that many years before events were unfolding that would spark a revolution and inside the Declaration of Independence was read aloud for the first time. It is the place where men and women gathered and gave birth to the fundamentals of what it means to be American.

State House Smells

 Paul Revere’s House

Revere House

Please be aware that if you’re going to visit the Revere House to bring cash for admission. They do not accept credit and you will be very sad, like me, when you can’t get in. The house is a lot smaller than I expected, given that Mr. Revere lived there with his mom, wife, and up to nine of his kids. The feeling of historical prominence is palpable even outside. This is the place from which Paul Revere disembarked on his infamous “Midnight Ride!” Its preservation allows you to feel like a real part of the history.

Getting to the Freedom Trail on the Cheap

First off, the public transportation in Boston is phenomenal. I had to get from Cambridge across the bridge and into town to Boston Common and there was a Subway that took me straight there. You can even take a subway all the way to the Old State House where there is a station directly underneath.

I noticed that outside the subway stations they have a rack of bikes you can rent called Hubway. There are drop off points all over Boston so if you’re too tired to bike back you can just park it at a Hubway station. Last time I was in Boston I opted to rent a bike from my hotel and I was actually surprised at how bike friendly the drivers in Boston are. It’s an extremely active city and their regard for bikers and athletes felt more like I was in Portland than an east coast city.  However if you’re going to do the Freedom Trail (more on that later) I recommend stashing the bike or avoiding it altogether as it will be impossible to navigate around tourists.

Those are my tips on getting around Boston using public transportation. Next, we take on The Freedom Trail!