The Freedom Trail – Boston

The Freedom Trail

So, we choose a second home in Asheville to avoid the summer heat of the desert and then decide to vacation in new England apparently during one of the hottest summers ever. Oh well, we won’t be deterred and after a quick run to Starbucks, we are off for a day of adventure. Our choice for the day is The Freedom Trail. Yes, that’s right, in 91-degree humid heat. Both Carl and I had done portions of the trail before, but never all of it and today we decided would be the day.

Begin at beginning is the only way to go, and we soon found ourselves at Boston Common (btw, our hotel was ideally located for this two-day Boston adventure, we could walk just about everywhere we wanted to go).

Boston Common is situated on 44 acres, and was originally pasture land but soon turned into a military training ground. Oddly enough, it was also used as a place to hang pirates and witches (?!).

The State House from The Boston Common

The State House from The Boston Common

Park Street Church

Park Street Church

The Common is also a great spot to get a picture of the State House where the daily business of the commonwealth is conducted. The Park Street Church is just down the hill from the Commons, and it is here that Samuel Francis Smith first sang “America” (My Country Tis of Thee).

Next up is the Granary Burying Ground  (est. 1660), which is the burial site of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Peter Faneuil and the Boston massacre victims.

Another Burying Ground at Kings Chapel and then Benjamin Franklin’s statue. There is then a great write-up about the Old Corner Bookstore only to find out it is now a Chipotle Restaurant with a plaque on the outside designating it as the former bookstore. Modern life.

Granary Burying Ground

Granary Burying Ground, established in 1660

By this point it is really getting hot, but we persevere on to Old South Meeting House and the Old State House Museum. It was on a balcony here that the Declaration of Independence was first read to the people of Boston.

It was also here in the courtyard that we came across a distinguished gentleman playing a hurdy gurdy, which is a stringed instrument that makes a bagpipe-like sound by cranking a rosined wheel that rubs against its strings. It made the most beautiful music and this particular instrument was made personally for him 32 years ago in France.

Gentleman Playing the Hurdy Gurdy, with best friend Mac the Knife by his side

Gentleman Playing the Hurdy Gurdy, with best friend Mac the Knife by his side

Paul Revere's House

Paul Revere’s House

We passed the site of the Boston Massacre and Faneuil Hall (where we were the previous day when watching the street dancers). It was then on to Paul Revere’s house, which is oldest remaining structure in downtown Boston. At the Old North Church is where Robert Newman climbed the steeple and held two lanterns high as a signal from Paul Revere that the British were coming.

We then stumbled upon a parade in Boston’s North End (think New York’s Little Italy). The annual procession was held by The Society of San Rocco. Joining the statue of Saint Rocco and his devotees were Portuguese dancers, Rancho Folclorico de Peabody accompanied by the Roma Band and Northeast Italian Band.

Encountering another burying ground, we headed across the Charles River to Bunker Hill and then to the massive wooden frigate, the USS Constitution (aka Old Ironsides). She was named by George Washington, and is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat. By now we are soaked to the skin, sweaty and exhausted. As a reminder, Carl is carrying probably about 40 pounds of camera gear and wearing jeans (I tried desperately to get him to bring shorts). We had made plans to meet an old friend of Carl’s from high school at the historic Green Dragon Tavern (“headquarters of the revolution,” est. 1654) at 3:30. We continued on foot to the Green Dragon and after a quick clean-up in the restroom, we settled in for a cold Sam Adams and a lovely visit with Marc Semones.

USS Constitution (Old Ironsides)

USS Constitution (Old Ironsides)

Green Dragon Tavern

Established in 1654, The Green Dragon was a favorite haunt of Paul Revere and John Hancock

My friend John Moynihan had given us a recommendation for dinner at Ristorante Limoncellos. Time was getting away from us (that happens when you are enjoying yourself) and we made a mad dash back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We figured that we had walked over 5 miles in steaming heat and we were more than ready for a ride to dinner (lovely complimentary car service provided by XV Beacon). A fantastic Italian restaurant with an all Italian staff and family owned business. When our server told us one of the starter specials was Mama’s Meatballs, we had to have them. Thank you Mama Concetta, magnifico! We shared a Veal Saltambocco and penne pasta as well as a lovely bottle of Chianti Classico Reserva. Corrado (our sever, and brother of the owner) said the cannoli was irresistible and we had to try it. I have never had cannoli, why, I don’t know, because it is delicious. We ended the meal with our traditional glass of sambucca and then we were off to the Marriott Customs House and to the 26th floor for 360 degree city views (thanks again John for the great recommendation).

Boston Skyline from the rooftop of the Marriott Boston Commons

Boston Skyline from the rooftop of the Marriott Boston Common

Boston Skyline from the rooftop of the Marriott Boston Commons

Boston Skyline from the rooftop of the Marriott Boston Common

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2 Comments

  1. Kathi Murr
    Posted July 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The pictures are beautiful! Looks like fun!

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