Onto the next trip! New England. After a short visit home to work a few hours and see my boys, I was on a flight back to Boston to spend a week with my friend Katie. We met when she lived in Utah for a couple years and moved back east a year ago. I haven’t been to New England in recent memory so a trip out for a visit seemed a solid plan.
So day 1: Scenes from Boston. I flew Boston as Jet blue had RT tickets for only $200 direct from SLC. I did have an overnight flight so I got in bright and early on a Sunday morning ready to explore Boston. Katie picked me up from the airport and we headed over to the Boston Commons area.
Pro tip: Sunday it is free parking at metered spots in Boston! And there were definitely plenty to choose from at 7 in the morning. Boston apparently sleeps in quite late on Sundays.
Now I hadn’t been to Boston since my sophmore year of highschool
10 years ago and I don’t think I even did the entire freedom trail then! So for all intents and purposes, that was a major game plan.
We grabbed some breakfast sandwiches as Thinking Cup. (If you look at their website it says they have the best hot chocolate. Friends it’s Starbucks like hot chocolate: bitter. Be warned before you spend 5 dollars on 12 oz of it) And we headed over to the state house for the 2nd stop. (the beautiful gold dome you saw first) Then it was onto the Park Street Church and Granary burying ground (where notable figues such as Mary Goose, the original Mother Goose is buried) Oh also Benjamin Franklin as you can see the giant Obelisk erected as a memorial to him. Although if you actually tried to find anyone else, the head stones are all so old it is hard to make out any of the writing.
Next we’ve got the Old South Meeting House where the Boston Tea Party was born. The building was built in 1729 and is marked as being the first successful preservation effort in New England. (Also the church were Benjamin Franklin was born)
Next stop: probably my favorite building on the entire trail, the Old State House. Why do I love it so much? Because it is the oldest building in Boston, built in 1713 and it has it’s sitting smack in the middle of the sidewalk. From all angles with the sky scrapers rising about it, it just looks crazy cool.
(also there’s a museum in it which was closed at 8 in the morning, not surprised, and a subway station below it!)
Then it’s onto Faneuil Hall (which I hope someday to be able to pronounce) and the Quincy market. Again closed at 8:30 in the morning but I love how there were zero people around and the light coming behind the buildings.
From here we deviated from the trail a bit to walk out to the Aquarium and historic North End. We didn’t actual go into the aquarium (as that is one of the things I definitely remember doing when I was here 10 years ago, HELLOOO Penguin island) but we did stop to check out the seals playing in the outside exhibit. We also just enjoyed some of the parks and piers before making our way back to freedom.
After we finished checking out the North end, we were back on the freedom trail but it wasn’t long before we had another slight deviation and I highly recommend everyone check out this Holocaust memorial as it is just off the freedom trail in front of the Boston City Hall. It was built in 1995 and consists of six glass towers symbolize a different major extermination camp (Majdanek, Chełmno, Sobibor, Treblinka, Bełżec, and Auschwitz-Birkenau) Engraved on the outside walls of each tower are groups of numbers representing the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust (1 million on each tower). Inscribed on the inner walls are quotes from survivors of each camp. Underneath the towers, steam rises up through metal grates from a dark floor with twinkling lights on it to represent gas chambers. It is incredibly haunting and solemn to walk through each column.
Soon you will leave the sky scrapers behind and experience a different, quainter side of Boston.
This time we got to Paul Revere’s house just in time for opening at 9:30. Admission is $5 per person and allows you to walk through the old home, a small gallery, and gift shop with restrooms. Well worth it to us as in each of the rooms of the house they have a guide who explains different parts of the room, the history of the house, and also some information on Paul Revere and the “midnight ride.”
My favorite thing I learned/ saw was that Paul Revere was a silver smith and in the gallery they have silver pieces crafted by him with the name Revere inscribed in them.
And it just keeps getting better. Check out the freedom trail red paint that takes you across this super cool bridge into yet another vibey part of Boston. At this point we were finally starting to see some life in Boston. (and loads of dogs!)
The trail splits and kind of ends at 2 different locations. We ended up at the Bunker Hill monument first which the hill itself has some nice views and an even cooler statue of William Prescott. But you can actually climb the tower for free for some even more amazing views of Boston. You do need to get a ticket (don’t worry free) from the museum that is across the street where there are also restrooms, a water fountain, and a small museum.
The climb itself will take some work as the tower is 221 feet tall and it’s a total of 294 stairs to the top with little ventilation within the tower and a constant spiral of steps to go up. The obelisk was created to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill (one of the first major battles in the American Revolution) and was erected between 1825 and 1843. Needless to say, we had a nice sit on a bench out front once we got down.
After the Bunker Hill we doubled back to the USS Constitution national monument and museum. Let me tell you, I get VERY excited about going on boats now. (which is interesting since I’m sure my parents can tell you stories of me complaining their ears off about being dragged on boat tours) but I LOVE them. So going on this ancient war ship that was active during the American Revolution was definitely a cool experience for me.
The area has both a museum and the ship you can go on for totally free! (They do have suggested donations of 5 pp for adults though)
The museum did NOT have air conditioning and I was losing some steam at this point with walking so we skipped out on that and went straight for the boat. Be aware you go through metal detector security and adults will need a license to get on.
Most of the ship is just bare bones but they do have some wonderful guides again stationed throughout the ship to tell cool stories about the ship.
For example: the story we overheard down in the hull was how the ship excaped 5 British naval ships with NO wind in the sales by A. Lightening the boat… standard procedure of throwing all your fresh water overboard. B. attempting to TOW the boat with people paddling in smaller boats haha C. People rowing out and dropping the anchors out and then essentially “crawling” the boat along the ocean floor. D. The thing that finally worked was after 3 DAYS of being in a tight pinch with the British on their tale, a Squall rolled in so they headed for that, opened the sales without tying them down, THUS escaping the British.
We LUCKED out because as it turns out the Destroyer ship USS Cassin Young was also open and ALSO free to board and explore around a bit. This ship was built and commissioned in 1943 and served in the Pacific during WWII. You were a little limited in where you could go but they did let you go below deck to the mess halls and cabin quarters. (Although I would’ve really loved to see the engine rooms.)
After the Naval Yard and climbing the stairs up the Bunker Hill Monument (plus a red eye flight) it’s safe to say I was pretty tuckered out so (I’m ashamed to say) we took the easy way out by taking the train back to the commons. We did go over a different bridge when walking to the train station though which was a pedestrian bridge over a series of lock systems. I wish I’d gotten a photo of it because it was really pretty cool.
Back in the Boston commons, we realized we were starving to death and that lunch time was overdue. LUCKILY we were less than a half mile from the original Cheers. So time to be a tourist .
After lunch we walked off some of our heavy lunch and checked out the beautiful parks. Seriously with the sun shining and the live music within the park, it was the perfect end to a wonderful adventure around Boston.