Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Freedom Trail

While this post will be out of order in terms of how we actually visited the sites it's in order of how the trail actually goes. I thought that would be sufficient for this marathon post.

This is a cool trail that you can follow along and see tons of historical sights in Boston. We had a tour guide for half of it and just used the information apps for the other parts. Seriously, it was awesome.

This is Boston Common, the oldest public park in America. The park was huge and looked cold since we were there in the winter at 8am. Interesting fact: it was the location of the first stockade and the first person imprisoned in it was the man who made it. I guess he wanted more money than the owners were willing to pay...

Scott posing in front of the frog at Tadpole Playground.

If one of us poses, so should the other...

This was our amazing tour guide for part of the trail. He went by the name Isaiah Thomas and was so great. If you go I would recommend asking for him to lead your tour.

The white building is John Hancock's residence. He was the first governor of Massachusetts and had the state building built next to his house before he was even elected! We were told he wanted to donate the house to the Commonwealth so it could be the governor's mansion but he didn't leave a will. His wife was bitter (can't remember why) and didn't donate the land. So even to this day there is no governor's mansion in the state!

This is the Massachusetts State House. There is a cod in the foyer that must be present in order for laws to be passed. When some Harvard students stole it years ago they had to suspend business for 4 days. Weird.

The Freedom Trail is so awesome because it is marked by brick all along the way. It was doubly awesome because our hotel was along the path so we could always figure out how to get back!

The Park Street Church was the location of many abolitionist meetings. 

Our next stop was the Granary Burying Ground. Here we have John Hancock's grave. If you read an earlier blurb I talked about his wife being bitter. I guess she was so mad after he died that she made known that he was buried with expensive jewelry. Grave robbers came but couldn't get the rings off so they just cut off his hands. Ironic that we ask for someone's 'John Hancock' and yet he wasn't even buried with his hands!

Paul Rever's actual grave.

A larger headstone just next to the real one.

A grave of a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

While this isn't an official site along the Trail it is the oldest operating hotel in America and where we stayed. A word of caution: when you read 'oldest operating hotel' don't think how cool that would be to stay there. Instead think that it will probably have the smallest rooms imaginable. We were a bit cozier that comfortable (especially considering our Saturday night).
On a different note, it is here that JFK proposed to Jackie and where Parker House Rolls and Boston cream pie originated. We tried them both and they were delicious!

King's Chapel. You would think there's a steeple on this building but there's not. As first they didn't have enough money but once they got enough they decided it looked better this way! Whatever.

The Boston Latin School, America's oldest public school. This picture actually was taken from our hotel room. 

This is a statue of Benjamin Franklin in front of the school. One of their most well-known high school dropouts!

The Old South Meeting House. Here they met before the Boston Tea Party. After arguing for a long time Samuel Adams said "Gentlemen, this meeting can do nothing more to save the country." and that was the signal for men to go paint their faces and throw tea off the boats.

The site of the Boston Massacre

The city of Boston had decided to get rid of this building some time ago since it's in the middle of some main streets. When word got out some town in Illinois (I think) offered to pay for the demolition so they could bring the bricks to their state and recreate the building. Suddenly Boston decided to keep it!

A night shot.

This is the building behind Faneuil Hall. Our guided tour ended here (and so will my random tidbits) but I didn't get a picture of the actual hall. Some rich guy wanted to create a memorial to himself and decided to build a hall. It wasn't popular until they thought about tearing it down and suddenly Boston decided to keep it. Go figure.

And now onto our own tour stops. Paul Revere!

This picture probably should have gone in the previous post but it's the road right in front of Paul Revere's house. Wouldn't that be hard to walk on?! And imagine riding a horse or sitting in a wagon. Seems like your bottom would hurt pretty bad.

And now to his actual house.

We couldn't take pictures inside so instead you get 2 views of his house.
Inside was neat but smaller than I thought. Paul Revere had like 15 kids! They had 2 bedrooms and the house actually looked pretty nice for the times. It must have been cramped though.

Old North Church where the lights were hung for Paul Revere's midnight ride. The whole time we were there I kept thinking of how my dad memorized Longfellow's poem and would tell it to us as a bedtime story. While the poem isn't particularly accurate I still love it.

The sign.

We asked someone to take our picture and I was hoping for less sidewalk and more building...

The front of the church.

The back.

The pews were all owned by people and this one was for strangers. Interesting.

One pew was decorated to look like it might have been. One purchased people would decorate (and warm) the pew as they saw fit.

A statue of George Washington. The sculptor actually knew Washington so it's thought this is the best likeness of him.

And onto Copp's Hill Burying Ground. A lot of soldiers are buried here.

Look at the grammer and English!

I just liked how the headstones were so old and decaying.

Bunker Hill in the distance!
We took the subway to the closest stop and it wasn't very close. As you can see it was starting to get dark and it was already freezing.

A closer shot.

Once there we found out you could actually climb up steps inside the monument. They said there were 294 steps and that didn't sound hard so we went for it.
It was hard.

Once up we saw a majestic view of Boston. Too bad it was dark and overcast...

This was inside, a canon.

Yes, we felt like we climbed up to Heaven. I still hurt after we got back to California.

The oldest commissioned war ship in America: the USS Constitution. What does that mean? It means that TSA was there to have us strip down before going on the boat. Really? Like they couldn't decommission it (since it never goes out anyway) so that we don't have to pay a bunch of armed security guards? I was unimpressed with the security.

All the canons on deck.

Below the deck.

They named the canon spaces: Yankee Protectian.

Liberty Forever.

Scott showing how small the space was and evidence of another trip to Mike's Pastry.

The whole ship.

Yes, I went on the ship too.

Anyone still here?