1YoT: New England, ie Boston

After six amazing days in New York it was time to move on, up the New England coast, to the most eastern stop on our roadtrip: Boston.

But first we had to get there.

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After New York we drove through Connecticut. The entire state looked like this.

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We tried to stop in Providence, Rhode Island, but we couldn’t find parking. We got to see another state capital though!

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And here we are, in a suburb of Boston. Boston is expensive, so we found an Airbnb in nearby Jamaica Lake. It was a beautiful place.

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We started our Boston visit on the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile walk that passes sixteen historical locations in downtown Boston. The Freedom Trail starts at Boston Common, the oldest city park in the US.

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From Boston Common we walked to the Massachusetts State House, the fourth (and oddest looking) state capital we visited on this trip.

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Across from the statehouse was this artistic masterpiece: the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. Robert Gould Shaw was the union colonel in charge of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first African American units to fight in the Civil War. The unit’s story was told in Glory, of which this memorial was shown over the end credits.

Next on the Freedom Trail was Park Street Church and its neighboring Granary Cemetery. Lots of revolutionaries were buried here, including two founding fathers (Paul Revere and Samuel Adams), the five victims of the Boston Massacre, and Benjamin Franklin’s parents.

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Next up, we’ll skip a few sites and go to Old South Meeting Hall, best known as the organizing point of the Boston Tea Party.

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Here is probably the most spectacular site on the Freedom Trail: the Old State House. Built in 1713, this is the oldest building in Boston and one of the oldest in the entire United States. Most famously, in 1770, just under the building’s balcony, British soldiers fired into a confrontational but unarmed and non-violent mob, killing five and wounding six others. Now known as the Boston Massacre, this was one of several galvanizing moments that led to the revolution.

Near the Old State House was another historic building: Faneuil Hall. This building has served as Boston’s main marketplace, meeting hall, and public debate center since 1743, and continues to do so to this day.

Next to Faneuil was Quincy Market, not a Freedom Trail stop but a cool place nonetheless. Amongst other things, the bar that inspired Cheers was here. We stopped at the market (not the Cheers bar) and had clam chowder and lobster bisque for lunch.

Back on the Freedom Trail, we were now in one of the oldest areas of the city. Here we visited the oldest continually operating tavern in the US (Bell In Hand Tavern, opened in 1795) and had drinks at the same bar that several founding fathers drank at.

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Next on the Freedom Trail, we walked by Paul Revere’s home (built in 1680) and then to Old North Church, site of the famous “One if by land, two if by sea” signal. This signal was used to alert revolutionaries in nearby Charleston of British troop movement, so they could send a rider to warn their fellow revolutionaries at Lexington and Concord, a backup in case Boston’s Paul Revere and William Dawes didn’t make it.

In the end, Revere and Dawes both made it to Lexington, where they alerted troops, then were joined by Samuel Prescott and the three rode off to Concord. On this leg of the trip all three were intercepted by British troops, at which point they scrambled in different directions, hoping one would escape. Revere was captured, Dawes escaped but lost his horse and couldn’t continue, and Prescott escaped and made it to Concord. No one knows what happened to the rider from Charleston, other than that he was sent.

All of the above is known today as Paul Revere’s ride.

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Following Old North Church, we crossed the Charles River and headed into Charlestown. Here we skipped to the 1790s, when the US was just a fledgling country. In need of an seafaring presence, Congress commissioned six ships, thus creating the US Navy. The USS Constitution, number three of the six and the oldest still surviving, is pictured above. 

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Finally, the last stop on the Freedom Trail goes back to the Revolution, to the site of one of its most famous battles, Bunker Hill. This battle, one of the earliest in the war, was won by the British but at heavy cost, much too heavy for the value of the victory. This battle was a signal that the revolutionaries were able fighters and that the British would not put down the revolution easily (or, as it turned out, at all).

In addition to Revolutionary history, the Freedom Trail also contained memorials to other historical events. Here are three, paying tribute to those lost in (clockwise starting on the left) the Holocaust, the Iraq and Afghan Wars, and the Irish potato famine.

That marks the end of the Freedom Trail, which also marks the end of the history section of this post. But Boston has a lot more than history, it also has beer and baseball!

We’re not huge baseball fans (although I used to be), but no trip to Boston is complete without visiting Fenway Park. Even the outside of this stadium had tons to offer, including statues, banners, tributes, and memorials. Yankee Stadium take note!

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Here it is, the greatest stadium in the US. For those who don’t know, this stadium is an icon; it is the oldest major league level stadium in the US (fourth oldest in the world) and the only major league stadium that is included in the National Register of Historic Places. The stadium features several iconic designs, most notably the Green Monster behind left field, and it is also significantly smaller than modern baseball stadiums, resulting in a more intimate sports-watching experience. This is why Boston calls Fenway a park and not a stadium.

Our Fenway tour ended inside the season-ticket clubhouse, where we got to check out their items on display. These included the team’s last three World Series champsionship trophies, autographed bats, all their Cy Young awards; it was like a Red Sox museum!

The most amazing item in the Red Sox clubhouse was their autographed baseball collection. Specifically, the clubhouse had an autographed ball from every World Series winning team all the way back to 1920. 

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Finally, like Fenway, no visit to Boston is complete without beer. The most famous Boston brewery, Sam Adams, is one of my favorites, but we heard their tour wasn’t too great, so we went to Harpoon (recommended by a friend) instead. And let me tell you, Harpoon beer was amazing! As good as if not better than Sam Adams. In fact, it was the best beer we had on our roadtrip (sorry Idaho, sorry Montana, sorry Seattle).

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These are not the friends who recommended Harpoon Brewery. These are other friends. Unfortunately, we forgot to take a picture with our Harpoon Brewery friend, so we made sure to get one with these guys when we saw them.

And that’s it! Quiet, calm Boston, a historic city without too much identity (especially compared to New York). But even so, our visit here was a lot of fun!

Up next, the last leg of our roadtrip. We finished in spectacular fashion, with one of the greatest waterfalls in the world, Niagara Falls!

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