At this time of year I can’t help but think about New England and particularly Boston.  I, first, visited about eight years ago and spent a day discovering the City and drinking far too many spiced pumpkin lattes.  So, on my most recent trip to Boston, last summer I was keen to explore more of the City.  Especially the Freedom Trial, which I’d only walked a portion of last time, and really wanted to discover more of Boston’s rich history.

Boston, MA

My initial plan was to find the end of the Trail, on Boston Common, and then follow the 2.5 miles it weaves through the City.  However, upon arrival at Boston Common a tour was just about to start, rather than do all the hard work myself I joined the tour and it turned out to be the best decision.  Led by Private George Osbourne (who stayed in character for the whole tour) we spent over two hours walking the streets of Boston following the red brick trial and discovering its secrets.

Private George Osbourne, Freedom Trail leader, Boston

Here are some of the historic sites we saw:

Boston Common was established in 1634 when Puritan colonists purchased the 44 acres from William Blackstone, who was a settler from Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, England, and the land became common ground.  In the past it was also a burial site where some 400 people were hanged.

Boston Common, Boston MA

Boston State House stands dominantly looking over the Common.  The First Governor, Thomas Hancock, wanted to build a state house on Boston Common, but people thought he was mad, as in 1798 the area it was in, Beacon Hill, was the worst place to live.  Mind you, the rest of Boston wasn’t great either, two thirds of the City was built on landfill.

State House, Boston, MA

Park Street Church is one of the most historic churches in Boston having seen prison reform started in the church, women’s suffrage movement supported as well as protests again slavery.  It is still a church that is used today for weekly services.

Park Street Church, Boston, MA

Granary burying ground is just up the street from Park Street Church.  It is the third oldest grave yard, in Boston, and used to be part of Boston Common.  It is the resting place of some of Bostons most famous people. Including John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin’s parents, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, as well as Robert Treat Paine, three of the people who signed the Declaration of Independence.  There were some 8-10 thousand people buried in the graveyard and in 1850 the layout was changed and only the headstones were moved, not the tombs.

Granary burying ground, Boston, MA Samuel Adam, Granary burying ground, Boston, MA Paul Revere, Granary burying ground, Boston, MA

Boston’s oldest public school was founded in 1635 and a statue of Benjamin Franklin marks the spot where the original Boston Latin Schoolhouse was completed in 1645.  All of the four who signed the declaration of independence, including Franklin, attended the school.

Benjamin Franklin, Boston, MA

The Old State House stands, today, in the shadows of sky scrappers that have been built around it.  Back then it was at the centre of the American Revolution.  It is one of the oldest buildings still standing and it was here, in 1770, at the cross roads of two of Boston’s main streets the Boston Massacre took place.

Old State House, Boston, MA Downtown Boston,MA

Paul Revere’s house is very small, but then houses used to be.  Built in 1680 the house is still standing today and you are able to take tours inside. Revere was a French man whose trade was a gold smith and black smith, as well as being a grave master.  He knew everything and also knew everyone’s business.

Paul Revere house, Boston, MA

The Old North Church is really quaint and is the oldest church in Boston, having been built in 1723, and its steeple is the tallest.

Old North Church, Boston, MA

Copp’s Hill Burying ground is the resting place of normal Bostonian’s and it’s hilly vantage point was used by the British during the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775.  From here you walk across the bridge to Charlestown to view the Battle of Bunker Hill monument.

Copp's Hill burying ground, Boston, MA

I didn’t quite manage all 16 of the historic sites on the Freedom Trial.  So next time I visit Boston, as there will most definitely be one, I will need to make sure I finish seeing all the sites on the Freedom Trail.  If you love a city, I always find it’s worth leaving something for a future visit, that way there is always a reason to return.

If you’ve visited Boston, did you walk the Freedom Trail?

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