Tuesday, November 15, 2016

American Revolution Road Trip: Boston's Freedom Trail

Let's hit the road again, shall we?

After spending the morning at the New England Aquarium, we lunched (ie. ate squished sandwiches and crumbled cookies) at Boston Common. The kids quickly tired of squished pb&j and wandered off to see if the pigeons liked it any better--they did!
This photo is awkwardly framed and puts Will behind a trash can not because I'm too lazy to get out of my chair, but because I wanted to photograph not the children, but all of the random tourists watching the children. There are two guys actually videotaping my kids there, and there's another small crowd to the right that wouldn't fit in the frame. Tourists are so weird!
 The plan for the rest of our day in Boston was to follow the Freedom Trail as far as it went, allowing the children to earn their Boston Freedom Trail Junior Ranger badges in the process. In all, it took about seven hours, walking all the way!

I should also stop and note here: the Freedom Trail is the best tourist site that I have EVER seen. It's a long walking trail, but it's paved with a red brick line that goes the entire way from site to site, along the entire trail. I never had to look at a map, just follow the red brick road and stop whenever I saw something interesting!
King's Chapel Burying Ground, Boston's oldest cemetery, was actually my most anticipated stop, and I forced the family to spend ages cooling their heels here while I wandered around and took tons of photos.
It's hard to see, but the inscription is a misspelled quote from the Roman poet Persius, roughly translated: "Live and remember death; the hour flies."



This reads, "Bethiah wife to Enoch Greenlefe Resigning up her Spirit to her Creator in hopes of Mercy and acceptance through the merits of her dear Redeemer, departed this life Dec 28 1678 Aetatis Sua 28." Further down, and buried now, are the details for two children who also died.





This is apparently NOT actually where William Dawes is buried.


This is just about the closest that this Benjamin Franklin fangirl got to a Benjamin Franklin memorial, alas. I had big plans to visit the Benjamin Franklin museum and B. Free Franklin post office in Philadelphia, but after we got news that Syd's Nutcracker rehearsals were going to begin that weekend, we had to shorten the Philly leg of our trip to a single half-day of Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Franklin's grave, and cheesesteaks eaten in the car on a LOOOONG drive home.
I didn't photograph the Boston Massacre site, because there were a million tourists standing right on top of it, but we did see it. I also didn't photograph the Boston Tea Party site, even though we walked along the harbor after the New England Aquarium and before lunch, because they have filled in all of that area that used to be water. In some museum or other we saw a map, and the city of Boston and surrounding area used to be so much smaller--when you walk around the edges of Boston, you're walking on actual landfill!

I hadn't really meant to do more than look at Faneuil Hall, but for some reason the Faneuil Hall page of the children's Junior Ranger book was by far the most challenging, so we spent a lot of time there making close observations and answering riddles.


I'd also been on the fence about whether or not to go into Paul Revere's house, as it's an extra admission charge, but the kids' Junior Ranger books required it, so it was a convenient excuse to do so.
I made my more biddable child recite this poem fragment numerous times--basically anywhere that we found a reference to Paul Revere:


We have the entire first third of the poem memorized by now, so we should go back and do it again!

I did really want to go into Old North Church, but it was yet another extra admission charge and the kids weren't super feeling it, so we just admired the belfry arch from below. I'd have insisted if I thought that we'd have been able to visit the actual belfry arch, but I couldn't get a straight answer, and that usually means no.


Even though it was a ridiculously long walk from Old North Church to the Battle of Bunker Hill Memorial--across the bay to Charlestown, in fact!--and I was about to wet my pants by the time we got there, the kids were in much better spirits by the end of the hike, and happily ran back and forth between the monument and the museum to find all the rest of the information for their Junior Ranger books.
The sun was beginning to set as we finally finished up the Freedom Trail and, two plastic badges on two shirts, hiked the two miles overland back to the car.

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