Boston: Battles, Tea Parties & Massacres – It sounds like a dreadful place! One of the oldest cities in the United States, where key events took place during the American Revolution is a historically significant city in the north east state of Massachusetts. It was where we disembarked from our 19 day Caribbean Cruise and where we spent three days literally retracing the steps of the backbone of the American Revolutionary story.
Boston was founded in 1630 by Puritan settlers from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege of Boston. Who doesn’t remember the infamous midnight ride of Paul Revere in 1775 to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them! There is even a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow about the events of this night.
History revels that upon American independence from Great Britain, the Boston city continued to be an important port and manufacturing hub, as well as a centre for education and culture. It is possibly best renowned for the many colleges and universities that makes Boston an international hub of higher education and medicine, and the city is considered to be a world leader in innovation. Universities such as Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, and Brandeis University are located in the Greater Boston area.
Upon our early morning arrival into the port of Boston we caught a cab through the city across the Charles River, that divides Boston and Cambridge, to our hotel in Cambridge. We immediately set off on foot, eager to dust off the cobwebs of being confined to the ship for the past three days. Our first impression of Boston was that it was clean and surrounded by large bodies of water with spectacular river and harbour views.
After consulting with a tourist kiosk operator we decided that we would walk the Boston Freedom Trail, 4km of red-brick paths taking you to 16 historical sites that were part of the American Revolution story. We couldn’t wait to get started!
1. USS Constitution
With such an incredible story to tell America’s Ship of State, the USS Constitution earned her nickname “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812 when she fought the British frigate HMS Guerriere. After copping a barrage of cannonballs, she survived and 217 years later she is still startlingly a commissioned US Navy warship. You can see the USS Constitution at Charleston Navy Yard and visit the USS Constitution Museum nearby, that has interactive hands-on exhibits to bring the history to life of “Old Ironsides” sea battles.
2. Bunker Hill Monument
This monument marks where the Battle of Bunker Hill took place in 1775 between Colonists and the British Army.
3. Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
This old burying ground sits atop a hill with panoramic views of Boston Harbour and the faded stone headstones stand amongst beautiful green grass and yellow daffodils.
4. Old North Church
The oldest church building in the city of Boston and where the signal lanterns from Paul Revere ignited the American Revolution.
5. Paul Revere House
Built around 1680, the Paul Revere House is the oldest remaining building in downtown Boston and is the former dwelling of Paul Revere.
6. Faneuil Hall
One of America’s first public meeting places where the Sons of Liberty proclaimed their dissent against Royal oppression, Faneuil Hall is now a visitor’s centre and marketplace.
7. Boston Massacre Site
In 1770 a deadly skirmish erupted between nine British Redcoats and a large crowd of Boston residents, where five people were fatally wounded. There is a commemorative plaque placed at this site on the corner of State and Congress Streets.
8. Old State House
Built in 1713 to house the colony’s government, the Old State House was where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the people of Boston and still stands as an emblem of liberty. You can visit Old State House’s America’s Revolutionary Museum with exhibits and special events.
9. Old South Meeting House
Initially a Puritan house of worship, the Old South Meeting House built in 1729, was where 5,000 angry colonists gathered to protest the tax on tea. This started the infamous Boston Tea Party where 340 crates of tea where thrown into the Boston Harbour in protest.
10. King’s Chapel & Burying Ground
Founded in 1688, King’s Chapel was the first non-Puritan church in the colonies and houses the oldest American pulpit.
11. Granary Burying Ground
Revolutionary heroes such as Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, James Otis and all five of the Boston Massacre victims are buried in this cemetery.
12. Park Street Church
The impressive 217 foot steeple of this church was once the first landmark travellers saw when approaching Boston. Park Street Church was founded in 1809.
13. Massachusetts State House
With its impressive golden dome made from 23 karat gold leaf, State House is one of the oldest buildings on Beacon Hill.
14. Boston Common
America’s oldest public park was once a grazing ground for sheep and cattle. Today visitors to the Common can enjoy a concert, a Shakespeare performance, a ride on one of the swan boats or simply take a stroll or relax on the green lawns.
If you have had your fill of history that Boston is bursting with, then there are plenty of other sights to see in Boston. For starters you must take a stroll around the Little Italy area in Boston.
There are more than 80 restaurants and patisseries lining the narrow cobblestone streets of Boston’s Little Italy with their beautiful colourful flower boxes adorning the entrances. We dined here one evening and the Italian food was the best I have ever tasted, (but I haven’t been to Italy yet).
As Boston’s first neighbourhood, Little Italy in the North End evolved from an isolated village, from the home of American Revolutionists to Irish haven and finally to Little Italy.
A stroll around Boston Harbour is definitely a must do. Boston, being largely a harbour city, has some of the finest seafood. Indulge in a lobster roll or a winter warming bowl of clam chowder.
Located on the harbour is the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. You can catch a live show of the re-enactment of the Boston Tea Party uprising, tour the restored 18th century cargo ships or browse the floating museum and gift shop.
There are many great hop-on, hop-off bus tours that cruise around the city and there is even an amphibious ‘Super Duck’ tour. This is a fantastic way to see the city and harbour sights.
A trip to Boston would not be complete without two other places of note:
1. Fenway Park The home of the Boston Red Sox is the oldest Baseball Stadium in the Major Baseball League in The States. You can do guided tours of the ball park, however on the day we visited there was a game underway between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees – a big grudge match apparently!
2. Cheers Bar
And more importantly you must have a beer at Cheers! The infamous bar which was the set for the long running sitcom TV series ‘Cheers’, is located just near Boston Common with another bar located in Faneuil Hall downtown.
Boston was a vibrant, sophisticated and modern city with the most remarkable history. We found it extremely walking-friendly, easy to navigate your way around, had the most delicious cuisine and we felt very safe walking the streets. Three days was barely enough to take in all the marvellous sights of this magnificent old city.
Kathy Shade is a 50 something year old who is married with 2 children who has spent most of her life being a housewife, mother and working as an Accounts Administrator in the public school system. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Her friends would describe her as being a 'have a chat' with an outgoing personality and zest for life. Kathy also has a great love of shopping and is known for her bargain hunting prowess!
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