Monday, July 18, 2016

The Boston Freedom Trail

I was fortunate to have a training in Andover, Massachusetts way back in 2013. On a weekend, we were so excited to explore Boston, one of the famous cities in the world. For the Americans, Boston, is the most historic and one of the oldest cities. It is one of the key cities that played a vital role in the American Revolution. So, with our very eager guide, who has explored the freedom trail in her previous visits to Boston, we are off to follow the steps of the famed American revolutionaries.

The Boston Freedom Trail is 2.5 kilometers in length and if you don't have a guide, you can just follow the red line that runs through the city. That famous red line will take you to 16 important and historic sites in Commonwealth-time Massachusetts.

Quincy Market

This was our starting point. It's a historic market complex near Faneuil Hall. Constructed in 1824-26 in honor of Mayor Josiah Quincy. It is still an active market place. This was where we had lunch. It boasts of different food from different parts of the US like steak and barbecue from Texas, Mexican, Italian, delicious american pies, etc.

Right beside Quincy Market is Faneuil Hall. Faneuil Hall is near the waterfront and is now part of the marketplace buildings which includes three more buildings such as the Quincy Market, the North Market and the South Market. There is a statue of Samuel Adams right outside it. Adams used to deliver speeches here to encourage independence from the British and because of these speeches, Faneuil Hall has become widely known as the "Home of the Free Speech" and the "Cradle of Liberty".

King's Chapel and Burying Ground

The King's Chapel is the first Anglican church where the elite attend mass services. Rich families buy a box where their family can stay and sit throughout the service. Those who can't afford stayed on the side or on the second floor. Adjacent to the church is a graveyard which was Boston proper's only burying site for 30 years. MA first Governor John Winthrop and Mayflower's first woman to step off, Mary Chilton, are both buried here.

 Boston Common 

America's oldest public park. It was a common grazing ground for sheep and cattle. In the modern day, it is the site for rallies and all other activities. While we were there, there was a protest clamoring for the needs of American soldiers. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke here and Pope John Paul II held a mass in this park also.

If you follow this path, it will lead you straight to a gate. Right beside the gate is a big memorial for the Shaw-54th regiment, in commemoration for the outstanding contributions of the soldiers of the Civil War. Fronting the memorial is the famous Massachusetts State House. The land for the State House was originally used as John Hancock's cow pasture. Today, the State House is one of the oldest buildings in Beacon Hill.

Park Street Church

The 217-foot steeple of the church was once the first landmark seen by travelers when approaching Boston. As it's name suggest this church is located on Park Street. One of the most important protests against slavery was held in this church.


Granary Burying Ground

On the way to Boston Common, you will pass by the Granary Burying Ground. This is where most of America's notable citizens where buried like Benjamin Franklin's parents, revolutionaries like Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, James Otis, all five of Boston's Massacre victims and Peter Faneuil.

Old City Hall and Benjamin Franklin Statue

Boston's Old City Hall is now a restaurant. Right outside it is a statue of Benjamin Franklin. 38 Mayors served their terms in this building like John F. Fritzgerald. This office was used over 128 years.

On the same street is the Boston Latin School where Benjamin Franklin was one of the students. I think this accounts for the statue of Franklin in the premises. Boston Latin School is still in operation but is now in the Fenway area of Boston.

Old Corner Bookstore

This is the oldest commercial building in Boston. It was originally built as an apothecary and home. It later became a center for American book publishing in the 1800's when Boston became the country's literary mecca. The first published editions of Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson were born here. There were several bookstores that operated here. Currently it houses a number of restaurants and shops.

Old State House

The Old State House is a symbol of liberty which stood for over 300 years. This was where a many of the key events of the American Revolution took place like the declaration of the independence. Now it has become a museum which details all the efforts to achieve America's independence. The famous John Hancock, which in modern day, the same name is synonymous to a signature, was one of the people who signed the American Declaration of Independence.

When we visited, there was an on-going tour and we joined. The guide was very passionate about the history and she explained about what really happened during the famous Boston Massacre. It turned out, it was just a misunderstanding. It was Paul Revere who labeled it as "Boston Massacre". His widely circulated illustration of the massacre has brought a lot of sympathy and hate for the British troops.

Boston Tea Party Museum

Boston Tea Party or as what John Adams initially referred to as the Destruction of Tea in Boston. As we all know, the British are famous for their teas. As a sign of defiance for the British rule, citizens dressed as Native Americans destroyed boxes of tea shipment from East India Company by throwing them overboard into the Boston Harbor.

Today, tourists and locals alike can take part in the reenactment. Participants dress in costumes and get on the ship moored near the museum and do exactly as what the demonstrators did before. The museum is also a souvenir shop. It displays really cute sets of tea cup and various items for sale. We did our shopping here for souvenirs for friends in the Philippines.

Boston felt like where the heart of America is. It has been the center of the American Revolution and Independence. I was fortunate to walk in the same streets as Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams and other famous American revolutionaries who fought and died for the land we now call the "land of the free". It was another way of getting to know the American culture. It was definitely worth a half-day of walking around the city. And to culminate our tour, we went to Harvard University in Cambridge. Yes, Harvard, the famous Ivy-league school. It has been a dream-come true. For first-timers and tourists, it is a must to rub John Harvard's toe for luck. The statue is not actually the real face of Harvard as no one seems to know how he looked like. The statue was modeled after one of the students who was a descendant of the brother of the fourth president of Harvard.

We took our pictures outside The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library, never mind the photo bomber in pink shorts. Probably, the biggest library I have seen from the outside. It was closed. It was July when we were there - summer vacation. We roamed the grounds and the square. We bought shirts from the Harvard Bookstore.

In the words of John Harvard:

He gazes for a moment into the future, so dim, so uncertain, yet so full of promise which has been more than realized.

Some of the pictures were grabbed from my very close friends (Rudee and Arien) who were with me on the trip. I can't access my other pictures as my external hd was corrupted. Info sources are Wiki and