One of our days in Boston we spent following the red bricked/painted line, that guided us through the Boston Freedom Trail.
The 2.5 mile (approx 4km) trail starts in Boston Commons, the oldest public park in the USA. It then leads you through Boston past 16 historically significant sites, ending at USS Constitution also known as ‘Old Ironsides’. It is easy to follow, as the red line leads you through it all and guides you past all the sites.
We chose to walk the trail ourselves, and not do one of the guided tours. If you consider this make sure that you have a guide book or the internet, to tell you want you see along the way. Without it you would likely just walk past several sites and not notice the little special things. We just took our guidebook as companion, which gave us a brief outline of the different sites. We did also eavesdrop a little on one of the guided tours when we passed it.
Not knowing much about American history, we did learn a little of that along the way. However, we probably missed some pointers on the trip from lack of knowledge. We did see the tombs of John Hancock and Samuel Adams in the Granary Burying Grounds, whom we learned were important figures in Boston history and the Decleration of Independence. We found ourselves at the site of the Boston Massacre which we had never heard about, but learned happened in 1770 and resulted in 5 people dead. Notice the plack on the ground by the Boston Latin School, which has the alphabet around it. Take the time to go into the Old North Church and see how families had their own little cubicle that they could personlise with a chair or some blankets. We continued the walk, where we also saw the bulletholes from vengeful Brits on Captain Daniel Malcolm’s tomb at Copp’s Hill Burying Grounds. You will end up at the USS Constitution, where you can go for a visit. You get to go around inside, and their will be marines around that will do a talk every now and then for those interested. We learned about where the term ‘jarhead’ came from and what ‘gossip’ is called on board.
The red line will take you through Boston’s Little Italy, which is a lovely area too. We stopped for lunch at one of the restaurants there and had an amazing pizza.
If you find yourself in Boston, consider doing the tour one of the first days. It will take you around to see different areas, and help you get aquainted with the city. There are also other stops a bit off the trail that could be worth exploring, as well as other trails to follow (though not lined out this easily).
If you are interested in reading more about the official trail and booking tours, you can go to their site here.