BOSTON – AMERICA’S HISTORICAL HEARTLAND
BOSTON, MA - This city is all about history – American history. And all you must do to enjoy it is to follow the red line painted along the brick sidewalks.
That red line is called The Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile (4.03km) red-brick walking trail from downtown to 16 nationally significant historic sites. Preserved in 1958 when the wrecking ball threatened to obliterate many of the city and nation’s most sacred sites, the trail today is a collection of museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, parks, and historic markers that tell the stories of the American Revolution and beyond.
In the old Granary Burying Yard, where some of America’s most notable citizens rest, a man in 18th Century dress approaches me and asks, “You wouldn’t be Samuel Adams, now would you.” No, I replied. “Well I thought you were,” he said, “because you are about the same size, you know.”
Within a short period, the volunteer in historical garb tells me about the lives of Revolutionary heroes buried here - Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, James Otis, all five of the Boston Massacre victims, Benjamin Franklin’s parents and Peter Faneuil.
The most treasured historical areas of the city where historically garbed volunteers lurk – churches, Bunker Hill, the wooden-hulled frigate USS Constitution, the Paul Revere House – are easily accessible.
But, there’s so much more to the city. For it is also the home of the Boston Symphony, the Boston Red Sox, the traditions of Harvard, MIT’s contemporary looking campus structures, Berklee College of Music, the must-see Boston Public Library on Boylston Street (where the Boston Marathon ends) and the Museum of Fine Arts where entry allows you to come back for three days without charge.
With some 60-plus universities and colleges within greater Boston, the city has a vibrant, youthful energy. And at no single place can you better experience the vigor and artistic nature of Boston than at Harvard University in the nearby suburb of Cambridge.
Stay at one of the B&Bs or boutique hotels around Harvard Square – and then roam around the university grounds. The Harvard Square Hotel can make dinner reservations at the Harvard Faculty Club restaurant where you can hobnob with some of the Nobel Prize winning faculty members
On the campus grounds the Busch-Reisinger Museum, the Fogg Art Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum - house more than 160,000 objects of art that range in date from ancient times to the present, and come from Europe, North America, North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
Near the downtown waterfront is Faneuil Hall, in the heart of the marketplace area that shares its name. Built by wealthy merchant Peter Faneuil in 1741, it’s where the Sons of Liberty proclaimed their dissent against Royal oppression.
Faneuil Hall has served as an open forum meeting hall and marketplace for more than 250 years and is still a location for debate – Boston’s version of London’s Hyde Park Speakers Corner. Its array of shops, restaurants and outdoor entertainment has also made it a major urban destination that attracts more than 18 million visitors annually.
It also has a replica of the pub that spawned the TV series, Cheers, though the original is at 84 Beacon St. on Beacon Hill. Originally called the Bull & Finch Pub, producers of the proposed television series had stopped off for a beer and decided on the spot to use the pub as the series setting. Both pubs are now named after the show.
Just a short walk north of the market is the North End’s vast restaurant district that also embraces many of the city’s historical sites such as the Revere House and the Old North Church.
It’s Boston’s oldest neighborhood, historically home to a range of ethnic communities. Today, the neighborhood has a strong Italian flair and is the home of some of the city’s best Italian restaurants. Walk along Hanover Street and you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of eateries and specialty shops. Take the side streets to find out-of-the-way places that locals frequent. You can spend at least one full day just taking in the ambience of the place. Boston is one of America’s most civilized cities and a place you’ll want to return often.
IF YOU GO:
Visiting Boston - https://www.boston.gov/visiting-boston
PHOTOS: Credit as indicated
1. Old Granary Burial Yard – Photo Toshi
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