Ultimate Freedom Trail Tour Guide & Apps – Tips, Secrets & More

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“… just the right mix of content to make for a terrific tour…” David J. Asher  “Saved me with visitors from the West Coast…”  Steve S.

Download the free Apps – use with the Guide or by themselves when visiting the Freedom Trail!

For the iPhone                 For Android 

The Freedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour & History Guide provides everything you need to bring your visit to The Freedom Trail to life. Use it to plan your visit, as a interactive tour guide, or even as a souvenir! Includes FREE STREAMING AUDIO NARRATION – a personal tour guide in your pocket (requires web access)!

The most comprehensive guide available, by far!

  • Overview and detailed background information for all 16 Official and >50 Unofficial Freedom Trail Stops
  • Side trips to Harvard Square/Cambridge, Lexington, Concord, Adams NHP, & Boston Harbor Islands
  • Available in print or ebook formats.
  • Print version retains ebook features with QR Code access to auto-translate and web materials
  • > 70 photographs, maps and illustrations
  • Auto-translate all major book chapters (with web-access) into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and more
  • Access to additional free information including an interactive Google Map Tour, an Android app and iPhone/Pad app
  • Budget tips including the best free guided-tours, where to find a bargain lobster, historic restaurants, and even a harbor cruise for $3 (children are free)
  • Detailed itineraries for an hour, 1/2, full and two day visits. Learn exactly what to visit with your limited time
  • Child-friendly and family-oriented tips
  • Descriptions of all the events that bring the Freedom Trail to life including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s Ride, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill – more than is provided by any other tour guide

 

波士顿自由之路介绍 – 怎样安排最佳游览路线!

Prescott SAdams & OldNorthChurch on Boston Freedom Trail

自由之路全长2.7英里

红砖标出的街道连接着

16处重要的历史古迹或“站点”。

Freedom Trail Google Map Enhanced

它的正式起点是在

波士顿公园,终点在查尔斯顿的

邦克山纪念碑。

 

在一天之内全部游览完比较困难特别是如果您想参观每个站点。

 

这里还有许多非正式的

站点 -当您漫步时

您所看到的和您想要了解的。

 

请记住,这些站点不是按历史顺序排列的,

尽管从地理位置上能看到有些站点很靠近。

 

大多数的站点是以革命时代主题,但其中一些最受欢宪法号战舰迎的站 还要古

 

根据您的兴趣和计划,请确定您有足够的时间去参观您想看的。

 

关于距离,直接从正式的

自由之路起点波士顿

公园到法纳尔大厅大约只有0.6英里(1公里),

不超过15分钟。

 

从法纳尔大厅步行到的保罗里维尔故居需要10到15分钟。到查尔斯顿站点还需步行15分钟从考普山墓地和旧北教堂。北边的最后的站点到宪法号战舰和邦克山纪念碑还需要和步行10分钟。

 

从查尔斯顿回到波士顿,最佳建议之一 – 因为

步行一天之后可能感到很乏味

可以坐水上巴士。它从查尔斯顿的宪法号博物馆后面的

海军船厂开始到水族馆和波士顿万豪酒店旁的

长码头为止。很有趣,价格也不贵(成人只需三美金12岁以下儿童免费),这是从港口体验波士顿风情的不错的。

 

方法 –怎么做的呢?

 

最推荐的是选择

免费的国家公园导游,从法纳尔大厅

开始,特别是参观北边时,

那是波士顿我最喜欢的地方。

 

我喜欢的站点宪法号战舰,小朋友们也都喜欢的;旧州府

大楼,有奇妙的博物馆,非常不错的解说。

有还优旧北教堂。

 

说实话,我并不想省略其它站点,但

如果时间非常有限,那些只能是候选。

 

祝您游览愉快!

 

请购买从亚马逊或在波士顿购买“波士顿自由之路 – 最终旅游和历史指南”。它包括自动翻译,交互式地图,智能手机应用程序,推荐路线,小提示,除了参观自由之路外,还有哈佛,列克星敦,以及更多!

 

从iTunes或Google Play下载免费的应用程序。http://www.stevestravelguide.com/?p=1122

Freedom Trail Boston Visit Planning Video

Posted this as an intro for folks planning to visit the Freedom Trail.  Hope that it is helpful to visualize the trail length and breadth as well as some of the Stops.

Enjoy and have a great visit.

 

Freedom Trail Map & Tour App w/Auto Translate – Free!

Freedom Trail Boston Map & Tour App

 

The Freedom Trail Map & Touring App is now available on Google Play as well as Amazon  It is based on the interactive Google Map created for the Freedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour Guide – Tips, Secrets & Tricks eBook.

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The app is much faster and easier to use than the browser version and it exposes all the most powerful features of Google Maps including street mode, local search, directions, and local transportation information. The map itself contains all 16 official Freedom Trail Stops and over 50 additional interesting sites on or close to The Freedom Trail.

An innovative ability for international travelers is the web-based auto-translate feature.  By selecting auto-translate on selected map entries, users with internet-access will access a web site where they can elect to read the entry in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean and other languages.

The app is the perfect companion for planning or when walking The Freedom Trail.

High-Resolution Photos from Freedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour & History Guide

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One of the great frustrations in publishing an eBook is that the publisher is megabyte constrained – e.g., there is an incentive to keep eBooks small.

High resolution photos use up a lot of megs.  So, to keep things small, the photos in the eBook are either 800 x 600 or 640 x 480 and have been compressed. They are illustrative and fine for an eReader, tablet or phone, but this resolution does not do them justice as photographs.

The gallery below contains the photos used in the “Freedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour & History Guide – Tips, Secrets & Tricks” eBook in 2048 x 1536 format compressed to +/- .5 meg each.  I’ve also include a few pictures that simply did not fit or that are representative of what you will see on and around the Freedom Trail. If anyone is interested in one in native format, 4000 x 3000 +/- 5 meg each, email me and we’ll figure something out.

Warmest regards,

Steve

Old State House – Freedom Trail Stop 9 Overview

Old State House - Freedom Trail Stop 9 - 1711

Old State House & Boston Massacre Site – Freedom Trail Stops 9/10

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Oldest Public Building in Boston (1713)

The Old State House was the site of the state legislature and British government offices until 1798 and was the site of many important Revolutionary-era events.

Official website

(617) 482-6439(617) 482-6439

The current building replaced the first Town House, built on this site between 1657-68, burned down in the Great Fire of 1711.

It is now the home of the Bostonian Society and houses an excellent museum and programs.
Open daily, 9 – 5, January 9 – 4, July and August 9- 6
Closed New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Christmas
Admission $6, Seniors & Students $5, Children (6-18) $1

$1 – AAA/MBTA Charlie Card discount. WGBH members, 2 for 1 admission.

The Old State House is not considered wheelchair accessible. There are plans to address this, but please call to confirm.

Public transportation: Orange or Blue lines to State Street. Alternative, Green line to Government Center, or Red line to Downtown Crossing.

The talks given by museum personnel are excellent and run 20-30 minutes – covering subjects such as the Boston Massacre and Old State House History. The museum has interesting collections. Plan at least an hour for your visit.

Background Information

Boston’s first official town hall, called the Town House, was started in 1657 and dedicated in 1658. It was enabled when Robert Keayne willed £300 for a Town House with stipulations not only to size and construction, but also that it would contain a marketplace, a library, and serve as the home for the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, of which he was the commander. Keayne’s bequest was doubled by over 100 “Townesmen,” enabling the Town House to be built.

The first Town House served for the next 53 years until it burned down in the Great Fire of 1711. Within two years, the current Old State House was built. This building was gutted by fire in 1747 and reconstructed over the next three years.

The Old State House was to serve as the location for British Government offices until the British left Boston in 1776. In addition to the meeting chamber of the Royal Governor, the Massachusetts Assembly and the Courts of Suffolk County and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Courts met here.

The Old State House was the site of many significant events leading up to the revolution, including James Otis’s impassioned argument against the Writs of Assistance in 1761. In 1770, the Boston Massacre took place just in front of the building.

Official proclamations were read from the balcony overlooking State Street (it was called King Street before the Revolution). On July 18, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read from the balcony to a crowd of excited Bostonians. Soon after hearing the Declaration, the lion and unicorn, symbols of the British monarchy, were torn down. They were replaced during the building’s renovation in 1882.

After the Revolution, the Old State House continued to operate as the seat of Massachusetts government until the new State House was completed in 1798. The state then wanted to sell the building and share the money with the town. The town rejected the plan and instead purchased sole title.

The building was subsequently rented to a wide variety of businesses including cobblers, harness makers, and wine vendors. A bank tried to purchase it in 1822. For a period between 1830 and 1844 it became a Boston City Hall.

By the 1870’s it was dilapidated and an eyesore. The city of Chicago offered to buy it, tear it down and move it to Lake Michigan “for all America to revere.” Shamed by the proposal, in 1881 the Boston Antiquarian Club was formed, later incorporating as the Bostonian Society. The Society persuaded the city to save and restore the building.

Today, the Bostonian Society operates an excellent museum that features talks and tours. The museum displays artifacts from the Revolutionary period that include many of John Hancock’s personal possessions. It is a worthwhile stop.

Boston Massacre Site – Freedom Trail Stop 10

Boston Massacre Site by the Old State House

Boston Massacre Site by the Old State House

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This was the site of the Boston Massacre, which occurred on March 5, 1770. The Massacre took place after an unfortunate chain of events led British soldiers to fire on an angry Boston mob, killing five and wounding six. Although hardly a massacre (most of the soldiers were later acquitted of blame), it was to be an important propaganda event in provoking Colonial unrest.

There is a plaque on the ground just beneath the balcony of the Old State House that marks the site.

This is a walk-by with a photo opportunity.

Granary Burying Ground – Freedom Trail Stop 4 Overview

Sam Adams & Boston Massacre Victims in Granary Burying Ground

Sam Adams & Boston Massacre Victims in the Granary Burying Ground

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Resting Place of Patriots

Founded in 1660, the Granary Burying Ground is the final resting place for three signers of the Declaration of Independence (John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Robert Treat Paine), nine Massachusetts governors, Paul Revere, the Boston Massacre Victims, Ben Franklin’s parents and, according to legend, even Mother Goose.

Free

Open daily 9 AM – 5 PM

Official website

617-635-4505617-635-4505

Handicap access is via the entrance at the end of Tremont Place. Go past the main Tremont Street entrance, turn left on Beacon Street and left into the alley at Tremont Place. Enter through the gate on the right at the end of the alley.

No rest rooms.

Public Transportation: Red or Green lines to the Park Street Station.

Plan about 15 minutes to walk through.

Background Information

The Granary Burying Ground is the third oldest in Boston, behind King’s Chapel and Copp’s Hill Burying Grounds. It is on land that was once part of Boston Common and takes its name from the town granary that was located next door at the current site of the Park Street Church. There are about 2,300 identifiable graves, but estimates of the actual number of people buried run between 5,000 and 8,000.

You will notice that the graves are nicely laid out in neat rows. This is not the way people were actually buried. They were buried quite haphazardly and often several deep. The stones were moved to their current configuration much later. Therefore, the headstone you are standing before likely has no relation to the body that lies beneath it.

There are three types of graves: the headstone or footstone is the most common. The table tombs look like tables and have the bodies buried in a vault underneath the table stones. The vaults were the most expensive and often favored by wealthy families. They typically hold several bodies even if there is only one name on the vault.

As you enter the graveyard, the first thing you will notice is the large Franklin cenotaph in the center of the cemetery. This obelisk marks the grave of Benjamin Franklin’s parents, Josiah and Abiah. Ben Franklin was born in Boston in 1706, but left for Philadelphia when he was 17. He died there in 1790 and that is where his remains are buried. The obelisk is surrounded by several other members of the Franklin family.

Taking a left turn immediately after entering the burying ground, you will find the stone of James Otis Jr. on the right. Otis was one of the most brilliant and important pre-Revolutionary thinkers. Otis was not a revolutionary in the mold of Samuel Adams, but instead remained a loyal British subject.

In 1761, it was Otis who delivered the famous and impassioned four hour legal case that questioned the legality of the Writs of Assistance. John Adams later said that hearing Otis’s argument was critical in influencing him to join the Patriot cause. After 1761, Otis suffered from increasing mental illness and became less influential as a Patriot leader. Otis died in 1783 at age 58.

John Hancock Memorial Stone

John Hancock Memorial Stone

John Hancock Memorial

Proceeding toward the rear of the cemetery, there is a white pillar on the left that marks the grave of John Hancock (1737-1793). This pillar is a replacement for the original monument, which was stolen in the 1800’s.

There are many rumors regarding what might have happened to Hancock’s remains as the grave remained open for some time when the original marker was stolen. One rumor has asserted that the ring-laden hand that Hancock used to sign the Declaration of Independence was cut off and stolen!

Next to John Hancock’s pillar is a stone that reads “Frank, servant to John Hancock, Esq.” Frank died in 1771 and, given the absence of a last name, was likely Hancock’s slave. It is obvious that Hancock held him in high regard.

At the end of the path is the table tomb of Peter Faneuil (1700-1743). Faneuil was one of Boston’s richest merchants and personally paid for the building of Faneuil Hall (Stop 11). Unfortunately, he died of dropsy at only 43 years, only six months after Faneuil Hall was completed.

Paul Revere Memorial

Paul Revere Memorial

Paul Revere Gravesite

Proceeding down the rear path towards the center of the cemetery is the square white marble Paul Revere monument. In addition to his famous duties as a messenger for the Patriot cause (he made at least 18 official rides with destinations that included Portsmouth, N.H., New York and Philadelphia, PA), he was a silversmith, dental technician, artist-engraver, entrepreneur, gunpowder maker, engineer, copper magnate, iron and brass forger, bell maker – the list is almost endless. He died in 1818 at the age of 83 – one Revere who deserves to be revered. The house Paul Revere lived in at the time of his famous 1775 ride is Freedom Trail Stop 12.

The next grave most tourists visit belongs to Boston’s version of Mother Goose. There is conflicting evidence as to who was the original Mother Goose, but this grave is much visited. This Mary Goose was the second wife of Isaac Goose (also known as Vergoose or Vertigoose), who added her own six children to Isaac’s ten. She died in 1758 at the age of 92.

Continuing your walk around the edge of the Burying Ground and towards the front, pass the perimeter vault of Robert Treat Paine. Paine was one of the most influential Patriots, serving in the Massachusetts General Court, the Provincial Congress and representing Massachusetts in the Continental Congress. He was one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. He died in 1814 at the age of 83.

Samuel Adams & Boston Massacre Victims

Continuing to the front row, pause before the monument of Samuel Adams, who died in 1803 at the age of 81. Adams was the single most important influencer of the thoughts and actions that led to the American Revolution. There is a statue of Adams behind Faneuil Hall, and a wonderful John Singleton Copley portrait of Adams hangs in the Museum of Fine Arts.

Next to Adams’ stone is the memorial for five of the Boston Massacre victims – Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, James Caldwell, Crispus Attucks, and Patrick Carr. Also buried here is Christopher Seider, who was killed 11 days before the Massacre by a British customs officer. Seider’s murder inflamed the already volatile tensions between the Patriots and the British. After his death, Seider was proclaimed a martyr and Samuel Adams orchestrated his elaborate funeral, with over 2,000 people in attendance.

 

Freedom Trail Tour Guide – Maps, Sites, Tips & Secrets

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“… just the right mix of content to make for a terrific tour…” David J. Asher  “Saved me with visitors from the West Coast…”  Steve S.

Download the free companion Apps – use with the Guide or when visiting the Freedom Trail!

For the iPhone                 For Android 

The Freedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour & History Guide provides everything you need to bring your visit to The Freedom Trail to life. Use it to plan your visit, as a interactive tour guide, or even as a souvenir! Includes FREE STREAMING AUDIO NARRATION – a personal tour guide in your pocket (requires web access)!

The most comprehensive guide available, by far!

  • Overview and detailed background information for all 16 Official and >50 Unofficial Freedom Trail Stops
  • Side trips to Harvard Square/Cambridge, Lexington, Concord, Adams NHP, & Boston Harbor Islands
  • Available in print or ebook formats.
  • Print version retains ebook features with QR Code access to auto-translate and web materials
  • > 70 photographs, maps and illustrations
  • Auto-translate all major book chapters (with web-access) into Spanish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean and more
  • Access to additional free information including an interactive Google Map Tour, an Android app and iPhone/Pad app
  • Budget tips including the best free guided-tours, where to find a bargain lobster, historic restaurants, and even a harbor cruise for $3 (children are free)
  • Detailed itineraries for an hour, 1/2, full and two day visits. Learn exactly what to visit with your limited time
  • Child-friendly and family-oriented tips
  • Descriptions of all the events that bring the Freedom Trail to life including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s Ride, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the Battle of Bunker Hill – more than is provided by any other tour guide

 

What is The Freedom Trail?

Freedom Trail Logo Boston

Welcome to The Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is the largest attraction in New England, with over three million visitors a year. It is fun, walkable, accessible, family-friendly, engaging, and a bargain. You can see it in 1/2 a day, or spend several days and still want more.

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And, Boston has everything you might want in a destination – world class museums, fantastic restaurants, shopping, sports, music, theater and history. It’s a unique and charming place that can feed almost any passion. There are great options for almost any budget, even a bargain lobster lunch.

So, what is it? The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile red brick path  (mostly brick – some lines are painted) that connects 16 significant historic sites, referred to as “Stops” throughout this blog.  The Trail starts at Boston Common and officially ends at the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown.

Most of the Stops are free and many are handicapped accessible, but some may be difficult to navigate for non-walkers. For the few that charge admission, there are discounted tickets available.

The original idea for The Freedom Trail was conceived by William Schofield, a long-time journalist for the now defunct Boston newspaper, the Herald Traveler. In 1951, Schofield had the idea for a walking path that connected Boston’s great collection of local landmarks. With the support of local historians, politicians and businessmen, the Freedom Trail was born.

In addition to the official Stops, there are many “unofficial Stops” you pass as you traverse the Trail, or are very near by. Most unofficial Stops are directly associated with Revolutionary Boston and The Freedom Trail, but some are simply interesting places.  Many folks include them in their Freedom Trail visit.

So, how should you plan for your visit, and for how long? The posts on Planning to Tour, Part 1 and Part 2, will give you an overview of all the official Stops, a sense of how long it takes to visit each, and alternative itineraries for 1/2, full and two day tours. Use this free custom Google Map to help visualize your visit – it is practically a full blown self-touring guide in itself. For a complete view of The Freedom Trail, get a copy of the “Freedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour & History Guide – Tips, Secrets & Tricks“.

The influence Boston had on the thinking and actions that led to the American Revolution was extraordinary. Without Boston and its unique history, the American colonies break with Great Britain may have still happened, but not when and how it did. The Freedom Trail presents the essence of Revolutionary Boston and brings its amazing impact to life.

Enjoy, Boston is a unique city and The Freedom Trail is a national treasure.

The Freedom Trail Tour Planning – Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I provided an assessment for the time needed to visit each of the 16 official Freedom Trail Stops. In this post, I’ll suggest itineraries for 1/2, full and two day tours. If you can, plan for a full day (or more), especially if you want to spend time visiting any particular Stop. However, if it’s all you have, a 1/2 day is still fantastic, and it takes two days for an in-depth visit.

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Below find alternatives for 1/2 day, full day and two day visits. Use the custom Google Map referenced here to help you visualize what you are seeing and help as you walk your tour.

Most of the downtown Stops are close together. Walking directly from Boston Common (Stop 1) to Faneuil Hall (Stop 11) is only about .6 miles (1 km) and takes less than 15 minutes. Walking from downtown Faneuil Hall to the Paul Revere House in the North End (Stop 12) takes 10-15 minutes, but you pass through the Blackstone block, one of my favorites and a great place for a lobster lunch.

The Charlestown Stops (USS Constitution and Bunker hill) are another 15+ minute walk from the last Stop in the North End (Copp’s Hill Burying Ground), and there is a 10+ minute walk between the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill. If you can, save energy for the climb up the Bunker Hill monument, the view from the top is spectacular on a nice day.

Sam Adams & Boston Massacre Victims in Granary Burying Ground

Sam Adams & Boston Massacre Victims in the Granary Burying Ground

To review, the official stops are:

Stop 1 – Boston Common.

Stop 2 – The Massachusetts State House.

Stop 3 – Park Street Church.

Stop 4 – Granary Burying Ground.

Stop 5 – King’s Chapel.

Stop 5a – King’s Chapel Burying Ground.

Stop 6 – Boston Latin, Old City Hall, Franklin Statue.

Stop 7 – Old Corner Book Store.

Stop 8 – Old South Meeting House.

Stop 9 – Old State House.

Stop 10- Boston Massacre Site.

Stop 11 – Faneuil Hall and National Park Service visitor center.

Stop 12 – Paul Revere House.

Stop 13 – Old North Church.

Stop 14 – Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.

Stop 15 – USS Constitution and the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Stop 16 – Bunker Hill Monument.

1/2 Day Tour Recommendations:

Option 1: (Downtown) Walk by Stops 1 – 3, visit Stops 3 – 5, walk by 6-8, visit 9, walk by 10, and visit 11. Lunch and break at Faneuil Hall Market or the Blackstone Block area.

Option 2: (Downtown and North End): Walk by Stops 1 – 3, visit Stops 3 – 5, walk by 6 – 10, visit 11, walk by 12, visit 13 and 14. Lunch and break in Faneuil Hall Market, the Blackstone Block or the North End.

Option 3: (Charlestown – USS Constitution and Bunker Hill): Visit Stop 15 USS Constitution (bypass the Constitution Museum and USS Cassin Young), visit Bunker Hill Monument and Museum. Lunch at the Warren Tavern or at the Navy Yard.

Option 4: (Charlestown, USS Constitution): Spend a full 1/2 day visiting the USS Constitution, the Museum, USS Cassin Young and walk around the Navy Yard. Lunch at the Navy Yard or across the Bridge in the North End.

Option 5: (A little Downtown, free ranger-guided tour, North End, USS Constitution – requires a lot of walking and tour-time coordination): Start at Stop 11, Faneuil Hall, and listen to the NPS Great Hall talk, take the NPS  tour that goes to the North End, visit Stops 13 – 15, take the Water Shuttle back to Long Wharf.

Full Day Tour Recommendations:

Boston and the North End: Walk by Stops 1-3, visit Stops 3-5, walk by 6-7, visit 8 and 9, walk by 10, visit 11, lunch or break in Faneuil Hall Market, the Blackstone Block or the North End, visit 12-14.

Charlestown: spend a full 1/2 day visiting the USS Constitution, the Constitution Museum, USS Cassin Young and walk around the Navy Yard, lunch around the Navy Yard or at the Warren Tavern, visit the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum.

If you want to visit the entire Freedom Trail in a single day, it is recommended that you combine Options 2 and 3. It will be busy and there is a lot of walking, but you will have a great time.

Two Day Recommendations:

For a two day visit, combine both of the full day recommendations. It is worth the time if you can spare it.

What would I do?

If I could fit in a flexible half day, especially with kids, without question Option 5. This requires planning to fit in the National Park Service ranger tours, but is absolutely worth it. Start at Faneuil Hall  and enjoy the Great Hall ranger talk (every 1/2 hour) and get a sticker for the ranger-tour that goes to the North End (currently at 12, 2 & 3 PM – stickers available 1/2 hour prior. Confirm times at the NPS visitor center.) After the tour, visit Old North Church (Stop 13), walk through Stop 14, then walk quickly to Stop 15 and take the USS Constitution tour. Take the Water Shuttle back to Long Wharf (every 1/2 during non-commuting hours). Grab lunch where you can.

If I only had half a day, wanted to self-guide, and could not coordinate times for Option 5, I’d recommend Option 2 with a lobster lunch in the Blackstone Block. See as much as you can, and the North End has fantastic character and European feel. Don’t miss a Faneuil Hall tour or visiting the Old State House. If you are not from New England, the lobster is not to be missed.

If I had a full day, combine Options 2 and 3. The downtown stops are great and I love the Navy Yard and USS Constitution (it is easy to spend too much time here). Bunker Hill and the Bunker Hill museum are excellent. Have a lobster lunch in the Blackstone Block or grab some character and a Paul Revere Burger at the Warren Tavern in Charlestown (I’d choose the lobster, but it may be too early in your day).

Have a great visit.

The Freedom Trail Tour Planning – Part 1

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The entire Freedom Trail is only 2.5 miles long, but seeing it all in one day is difficult,  especially if you want to spend time visiting any particular Stop. To help you plan your visit, I’ve provided a quick assessment for each of the official 16 Stops, its significance to the Revolutionary period, and the recommended time needed for a visit. Where relevant, I’ve also mentioned unofficial Stops you will pass along the way.

It is highly recommended that if you have a Smartphone, download the FREE app for the iPhone, here; for Android, here. This is a tremendous resource for the Freedom Trail, or for other areas including Harvard Square, Copley Square, Lexington & Concord, and even Adams National Historical Park.  Add-on the premium content, which covers many many additional sites and auto-downloads pre-Google translated versions in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese or Japanese!

In Part 2 of this series, there are specific recommendations for 1/2, full and two day tours. Use this custom Google Map or Android app to help visualize and plan your tour.

Paul Revere Pew in Old North Church

Revere Pew in Old North Church

Stop Review:

Note: Most of the downtown (Stops 1 through 11) are close together. Walking directly  from Boston Common to Faneuil Hall is only about .6 miles (1 km) and takes less than 15 minutes.

Stop 1 – Boston Common. A great old park, but unless you want to walk around the park and enjoy the outdoors, there is not much of prime historical importance to see. There is a good playground for younger children at Frog Pond.

Stop 2 – The Massachusetts State House. There are excellent guided tours and it is a fascinating and elegant old building, Plan 1.5-2 hours to pass through security and take the tour. While it is worthwhile, there is not much relating to the Revolutionary period as the State House was built after the Revolution. Take the time to view St. Gauden’s Robert Gould Shaw & MA 54th Memorial across the street at the edge of Boston Common.

Stop 3 – Park Street Church. Closed for viewing except during the summer. Unless you take a tour, it will not take much time. There is little of primary Revolutionary significance.

Stop 4 – Granary Burying Ground. This is the final resting spot for Sam Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Mother Goose, the Boston Massacre victims, and others. Plan about 15 minutes to walk through.

Stop 5 – King’s Chapel. Great old church usually open for viewing. Plan 15 minutes to walk through.

Stop 5a – King’s Chapel Burying Ground. The oldest in Boston, plan about 10 minutes to walk through and view the old stones. Not much of Revolutionary significance as the Burying Ground was full well before 1700.

Stop 6 – Boston Latin, Old City Hall, Franklin Statue. Everything is outside (there is no interior viewing of Old City Hall). Plan 5-10 minutes to view the outside plaques.  If you want to see the Province House steps, plan for another 5 minutes to walk up Province Street.

Stop 7 – Old Corner Book Store. You will walk by and see the house, which now houses a Chipotle Mexican Grill. Nothing to tour.

Stop 8 – Old South Meeting House. Plan 1/2+ hour to view inside and the exhibits. The Meeting House is interesting given the number of important Revolutionary-era meetings that took place here. There are interpretive exhibits that place the building and its events in history and a good three dimensional map of Revolutionary-era Boston that highlights key locations – fascinating given the city’s changing topology. Check their web site for other programs. Benjamin Franklin’s birthplace and the Irish Memorial are directly across the street and are quick to see.

Stop 9 – Old State House. The Old State House features excellent docent-given tours and talks that cover the building and Revolutionary events. The museum has some good displays and exhibits. Plan about an hour to visit and take a tour. Highly worthwhile.

Stop 10 – Boston Massacre Site. This is a plaque embedded in the street directly below the balcony of the Old State House. This is a walk-by with a photo opportunity.

Stop 11 – Faneuil Hall. This is a great old and important building. Go inside and enjoy a Ranger-led talk (given every 30 minutes). Plan for 30-45 minutes to visit the Hall. The Faneuil Hall Marketplace (Quincy Market) is located next door, and is a good place to stop, get something to eat or shop. Plan accordingly. The new National Park Service visitor center is located in the first floor of Faneuil Hall.

Note: From Faneuil Hall, it is a 15 minute walk to the next official Stop, the Paul Revere House, in the North End. On the way, you pass some interesting unofficial Stops in the Blackstone Block area – the Holocaust Memorial, Union Oyster House, Marshall Street, and the Ebenezer Hancock House. The Blackstone Block is also a good, less commercial place to take a break or to eat. Some of the local restaurants feature good lobster specials at lunch.

Stop 12 – Paul Revere House. Built in 1680, it is the oldest structure remaining in Boston. It is a good example of a period dwelling and you will gain insights into Paul Revere’s life. The costumed docents provide interesting descriptions of the house and the Revere family. Visiting is worthwhile, but the house is small, consisting of only four rooms. Plan for about 1/2 hour.

Note: It is about a 10 minute walk through the North End to the next stop. The North End is also an excellent place to stop for lunch. It has a very European feel and many wonderful restaurants.

Stop 13 – Old North Church. A beautiful and important church, the oldest remaining in Boston. A walk through takes about 15 minutes. Purchase the $1 pamphlet that illustrate the highlights.

Stop 14 – Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. An 5 minute walk up hill from the Old North Church. Plan about 10-15 minutes to walk through the Burying Ground. There are a few interesting graves, a headstone used by the British for target practice, and a nice view of the harbor.

Note: From here there is another 15+ minute walk across the bridge to Charlestown and the next Stop, the USS Constitution.

Stop 15 – USS Constitution and the Charlestown Navy Yard. Visiting the Constitution and the Museum can easily be a half day visit. For the Constitution alone, plan at least an hour to pass through security, view the small museum and take the guided tour of the ship. The very good USS Constitution Museum (different from the small museum attached to the Constitution), is worth another hour. A walk around the USS Cassin Young will take another 1/2 hour. Walking around the Navy Yard area is also a pleasure, and there are a few restaurants in the neighborhood. This is a highly worthwhile 1/2 day, especially for children, who will enjoy exploring the ships.

Note: There is another 15 minute walk between the Charlestown Navy Yard and the Bunker Hill Monument and Museum. For a historic lunch, try the Warren Tavern, which is only a short detour between the two sites.

Stop 16 – Bunker Hill Monument. To tour the monument area, plan about 15-20 minutes, unless you plan to make the 294-step ascent to the top. That is a fun activity and provides a spectacular view of Boston and the surrounding area. If climbing the Monument, plan 1/2 hour. To visit the Bunker Hill Museum, which is excellent and best seen before the monument, plan another 1/2 to full hour. The museum features exhibits on the battle and Charlestown history, and has ranger-guided programs – great for children. If you have time, visit the Museum before the Monument. Highly recommended.

 

 

Freedom Trail Boston Video Virtual Tour in 5 Minutes

A 5 minute comprehensive video walk through of The Freedom Trail, it features all the 16 official Freedom Trail Stops, more than 50 unofficial Stops, historic restaurants, and other interesting places in and around The Freedom Trail – all included in theFreedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour Guide – Tips, Secrets & Tricks eBook. It moves fast as it contains almost 150 photos and video segments, so keep your pause key handy if you want to view anything in detail. A must see for anyone visiting The Freedom Trail and Colonial Boston.

The video was created as a companion to the  eBook “Freedom Trail Boston – Ultimate Tour and History Guide,” now available on Amazon.com. The Guide covers all of the sites in the video and more. In addition to any touring information the reader might need, the Guide provides detailed historical context from the time of Boston’s founding through events like the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s Ride, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the Charles Bulfinch era. In short, it contains everything someone might want to know to visit and enjoy The Freedom Trail and Revolutionary Boston.

For a companion map to the video, see my custom Google Map posting. The map includes everything in the video.

Enjoy the video!

Paul Revere, George Washington and John Adams Face to Face at Boston MFA

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is awesome, and it’s the only place you can see some of the most influential leaders of the American Revolution up close and personal.  John Singleton Copley’s vivid and compelling portraits of Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock and Joseph Warren are intimate and perceptive.  Gilbert Stuart’s works of George Washington are superb, and you can even see the original portrait used as the model for the U.S. one dollar bill.  This is as close as you can get to shaking hands with these leaders of the American Revolution today.

Revere’s Sons of Liberty Bowl with Copley’s Portraits of Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, & Dr. Warren

Located on the first floor of the MFA’s Art of the America’s Wing, the first thing you meet upon entering the gallery is Paul Revere’s 1768 “Son’s of Liberty Bowl.” The silver bowl was commissioned by fifteen members of the Sons of Liberty to honor the Massachusetts House of Representatives for standing up to the British after the Townshend Acts in 1767.  The chain of events set off by the Townshend Acts, and the troops Britain sent to quell the associated Colonial turbulence, was to lead inexorably to the Boston Massacre in 1770 then on to the American Revolution.

The Townshend Acts taxed imported commodities, including paper, glass and tea.  The Massachusetts House of Representatives sent a “Circular Letter” to other colonies asking for their support to protest the Acts – which resulted in boycotts of British goods by Royal colonies.  In Boston, resistance was so intense that British custom officials requested military assistance.  After the HMS Rodney, a 50-gun warship, arrived in Boston harbor, the Colonials rioted and Britain sent 4 regiments of troops to restore order. The presence of the troops led directly to the Boston Massacre.

Directly behind the bowl is Copley’s 1768 portrait of Paul Revere, painted when Revere was thirty three years old.  The portrait was unusual for the period, as it shows Revere without the traditional gentleman’s coat and wig.  (Revere’s family thought it made him look like a workman and actually hid it in the attic.)  The portrait works on many levels, both as a discerning picture of Revere and as a political statement.  Note Revere’s flaunting display of flowing linen shirtsleeves – the linen was manufactured in Boston in direct defiance of British laws.   Flanking the portrait are two cases of Revere’s silver – incredible works of art on their own.

Paul Revere’s Engraving of the Boston Massacre

On the wall to the left of Revere’s portrait you will find four important Revolutionary works, one an engraving and three Copley portraits of Boston revolutionaries.  The engraving is Paul Revere’s highly sensationalized depiction of the March 1770 Boston Massacre.  The Massacre took place after an unfortunate chain of events led British soldiers to fire on an angry Boston mob, killing five and wounding six.  Although hardly a massacre (most of the soldiers were later acquitted of blame) it was to be an important event provoking colonial unrest.  The famous engraving you see was a key piece of Patriot propaganda used to help move America closer to its break with Great Britain.

Sam Adams at 50 in 1772

Next is the 1772 portrait of Samuel Adams.  Adams is shown defiantly pointing to a petition from angry Boston citizens after the Boston Massacre.   The portrait was commissioned by John Hancock to hang in his Beacon Street mansion which was located at the southwest corner of the current Massachusetts State House site.

John Hancock at 28 around 1765

Next is John Hancock himself, painted in 1765 when he was twenty-eight.  Hancock is best known for his flamboyant signature on the Declaration of Independence, and he was a multidimensional architect of the Revolution.   A successful merchant, he was one of the richest people in America and personally funded much of the Boston-based dissension.  He was president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress (the Patriot shadow government that was formed after the Boston Tea Party in 1774), the second Continental Congress, which created the Declaration of Independence, and later served as the first Governor of the State of Massachusetts.

Joseph Warren at 24 around 1765

Further down the wall is the sensitive portrait of Dr. Joseph Warren at the age of twenty-four, also painted around 1765.  Warren was one of the most influential Patriot leaders, and served as President of both the Massachusetts Committee of Safety and the Provincial Congress.   After the April 1775 Battles of Lexington and Concord, he strongly advocated going to war with Britain.  Even though he had limited military experience, he was appointed a major general.  He died fighting as a private during the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.   John Trumbull’s painting “The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill” is shown elsewhere in the exhibit.

The exhibition features a number of other Revolutionary-themed works including Copley’s 1796 portrait of John Quincy Adams, the son of John Adams and the sixth President of the United States, and John-Antoine Houdon’s 1789 portrait of Thomas Jefferson.

George Washington at 64 “The Athenaeum Portrait” – on the U.S. One Dollar Bill

The next exhibit room features some monumental works by Gilbert Stewart, including the 1796 unfinished portrait of George Washington, known as “The Athenaeum Portrait.”  This painting was used as a model for more than fifty other works, including the image on the U.S. one dollar bill.  Also displayed are Stuart’s portrait of Martha Washington and his idealized 1806 painting of Washington at Dorchester Heights.

Other Revolutionary works in the same exhibit include Thomas Sully’s 1819 huge painting “The Passage of the Delaware” and Gilbert Stuart’s 1805 painting of General Henry Knox.  General Knox led the expedition that brought the cannons used to lift the Siege of Boston.  He then became chief artillery officer of the Continental Army and later Washington’s Secretary of War.  Stuart’s 1823 portrait of John Adams, ninety at the time of the painting, rounds out the exhibit.  Look into Adams’ tired, sensitive eyes.

Stuart’s John Adams at 90

In all, the five rooms of this gallery contain a treasure of colonial furniture as well as many other important paintings from the 18th and early 19th century colonial America.   Visit and enjoy, whether you are a Revolutionary War enthusiast or not.

 

Photos of Paul Revere Bowl and Gallery Entrance showing Paul Revere and other Copley portraits, stevestravelguide.com – all rights reserved.

Other pictures from Wikimedia Commons – these works are considered public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of the life of the author plus 100 years or fewer.