October 13, 2011

Boston: The Freedom Trail

Kern and I arrived in Boston on Saturday morning, dropped our bags at the hotel and immediately headed into the center of the city.  My first mission was clear: Walk the historical Freedom Trail!

The last time I was in Boston, I was 9.  My main memories from that trip include reenacting the Boston tea party and throwing fake tea into the harbor and feeding the pigeons outside of Faneuil Hall--both activities that a 9 year old would relish.

We got off the T at Park Street and walked to the Massachusetts State House.  The State House was designed by Charles Bullfinch and completed in 1798.  The ornate gold dome makes it one of Boston's most distinct buildings.

Self timed photo in front of the Massachusetts State House
Our next stop involved more shade, which was a welcome change considering it was in the upper 80's and we dressed like it was in the 60's!  Park Street Church was built in 1809 and has been a staple in Boston ever since.
Park Street Church fun fact: The church hosted the debut of My Country, 'Tis of Thee, also known as America, by Samuel Francis Smith on July 4, 1831.

The interior is beautiful! Did you know that Billy Graham's first transcontinental mid-century crusade started here in 1949?
The seating is made up of booths--very comfortable!
Next door is the Old Granary Burying Ground.  The tombstones date back to the 1700's--many are very worn but you can tell how ornate they were at one point.  Samuel Adams (Yes, the beer) is buried here!
I noticed a lot of people were named William.
King's Chapel was right around the corner.  It was founded in 1686 by King James II as an outpost of the Anglican Church.  I have a riddle for you: What do King James II and Ruth Fertel (who started Ruth's Chris Steakhouse) have in common?
Answer: they both have "stake" in King's Chapel!  There is now a Ruth's Chris in the basement of the building.
Onward to the Old South Meeting House.  This is where many of the debates on free speech and taxation took place that led to the Boston Tea Party.
Note the great produce stand!

The gilded decor on many of the buildings really distinguishes them from  other cities. 
By this point in the day I was hungry and ready for Quincy Market. We went inside and walked the entire crowded length peering into each stall before we decided what to get.  We settled for clam chowder and a bagel sandwich--delicious!

We sat down inside Faneuil Hall and listened to a Park Ranger discuss the history of the building and how Samuel Adams used it as a place to rally support against the British Government.
Webster's Reply to Hayne by George Peter Alexander

I met up with some Colonial locals--they didn't look a day over 298.
We walked through Paul Revere's house, then down the street to his statue.
I do remember having my photo taken here as a child...with my mom reciting the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem the whole time we were there...
The Old North Church was where Paul Revere ordered Robert Newman to hang lanterns in the belfry (one if by land, and two if by sea) to indicate which way the British were approaching--by land or the Charles River.

The final stop on our walking tour was...another graveyard!  Copp's Hill Burying Ground has thousands of tombstones that date back to the 17th century.  There is a great view of the harbor from here.  So good, in fact, that the British used this space to fire on the people in Charlestown during the war.

We finally made our way to a pub back in the city to The Bell in Hand, a pub that has been in Boston since 1795!  They have these crazy-good coconut battered chicken tenders and an amazing pumpkin beer that was brewed in Maine.  We watched some SEC football and recharged our tired legs in preparation for the evening's adventures.

Come back tomorrow to see more of our trip!

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