April 4, 2013

follow the red brick road.

    After working 7 days a week since starting my new job as a tutor, I finally asked for a couple of days off for Spring Break. Jason and I decided to spend one of those days visiting Boston. Because we were mainly excited to see Boston's history, we thought the best way to visit this city would be to follow the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile walk of 16 different historical sites that highlight the American Revolution in Boston. Just like in Philadelphia, I loved learning about the history of country by actually standing where significants events took place.
Starting the Freedom Trail at Massachusetts State House
    We started at Boston Commons and proceeded to the Massachusetts State House where we fell into the routine of Jason taking most of the pictures while I would read an excerpt from the Freedom Trail Guide we bought at the visitor's center. By the time we got to site no. 3 (Park Street Church) we realized that the Freedom Trail was was literally marked by a line of red bricks which it made it easier to follow.
Following the red brick road
    We definitely had our favorite sites along the trail. One of our traditional destinations in our adventures has been to visit cemeteries and the graves of famous people. The Granary Burying Grounds contained the famous bodies of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and the parents of Benjamin Franklin. Jason took a long time studying the encryptions and carvings of dancing skeletons and flying skulls on the tombstones in the cemetery. This was definitely one of the spookier cemeteries we've visited.
Who wouldn't want a flying skull on their tombstone?
Samuel Adams and Paul Revere
    Although nothing of the actual building remains, one of my favorite sites was where the oldest public  school once stood. Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine all attended the Boston Latin School. Today, there is a beautiful mosaic plaque on School Street marking exactly where the school stood as well as a statue of Benjamin Franklin in the adjacent garden.
Boston Latin School
Jason and I Uncle Ben
    Another missing piece on the trail was the Old Corner Bookstore. We probably spent a good 15 minutes searching for the building and on closer inspection of the map we realized that the Old Corner Bookstore is now a Chipotle Mexican Grille! We were quite disappointed, but we both thought it ironic that a historic building could be replaced by something as common as a fast food restaurant.
When did delicious burritos become more important than history?
    Turning the corner, it was beautiful running into the Old State House, which is Boston's oldest public building. It stands at a stark contrast to the modern skyscrapers around it at the crossroads of Boston's two major streets. The figures of the gold lion and silver unicorn above the balcony were gorgeous. They're supposed to symbolize royalty, but Jason believes it's clear evidence that unicorns existed in 1700s Boston. In front of the building, a circular monument of stones commemorates the site of the Boston Massacre. Again, it's definitely surreal to stand in the places where so many historic events took place that I read about in high school.
The Old State House
Site of the Boston Massacre
    Following the redbrick trail, we passed Paul Revere's house and the Old North Church where two lanterns were hung (one if by land, two if by sea) to signal Paul Revere how the British Troops were advancing so he could warn the minutemen in Lexington that the "the British are coming!" Jason has been to Boston before and his favorite memory was touring the Old North Church because Paul Revere's midnight ride is one of his favorite stories of American history. He always talked about seeing  it together one day, so it was fun being with him and getting our picture in front of the Paul Revere statue and steeple.
In front of Paul Revere's house
Paul Revere statue
    The Freedom Trail led us over the Charles River for the last two sites: the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill Memorial. The USS Constitutions is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world and fought in the War of 1812 garnering the nickname Old Ironsides. Unfortunately, the entrance to the ship was closed, but we were still allowed to view it at a distance.
The USS Constitution
    The Bunker Hill Memorial is a 221-foot granite obelisk that commemorates one of the earliest battles in the American revolution where the British suffered massive casualties to overtake a hill that ended up having little importance in the war. I guess it was appropriate that the last site of the Freedom Trail was up a steep hill. I think Jason and I could sympathize with the British soldiers, as we too had to dig deep to find the energy to finish. The memorial was actually in the middle of a neighborhood with a gorgeous view of the Charles River. As we were resting, I, of course, picked the homes that I would like to live in. At this point we were both historied out and we didn't linger long before we headed back to Boston Commons and stopping along the way to shop at Quincy Market.
Climbing the hill to the Bunker Hill Memorial

Bunker Hill Memorial
We made it to the end of the red brick road!
    Our trip to Boston was centered on its history and we both had so much fun discovering it together. Jason was a little disappointed that we didn't meet any stereotypical Bostonians wearing Red Sox jerseys and advising us to "pahk ah cah in Hahvahd Yahd", but he was happy to get some snide looks for wearing an NYU sweatshirt. There's always next time.

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