The Trail of Freedom

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Connecticut
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Howdy folks,

Steffi wasn't feeling good, so she decided to stay behind in the hotel room to rest. Steffie and I had a day to ourselves so we decided to checkout downtown Boston. We parked near Chinatown and started walking on the Freedom Trail. The trail is a tourist path which links many of the attractions of old Boston including several revolutionary buildings. The trial started at the Boston Common and went up to the State House. It is one of the icons of Boston being completed in 1798 and having a gold leaf dome. We went inside and did a self-guided tour starting in the Doric Hall which is the entranceway. It was interesting to note that it has been 100 years since an official presidential visit to the building! In the centre of the building is the Hall of Flags holding numerous different campaign and historical flags. If you love flags you would also love the Great Hall which had the flags from all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. The House of Representatives was off limits, but we took a look in the Senate and the stained glass window above the Main Staircase was pretty cool with all the historical state seals.

Continuing along the 3 mile trail, we went into the Granary Burying Grounds which held the likes of Paul Revere, John Handcock and Samuel Adams. There were various other graves, churches and buildings including the Old South Meeting House where the Boston Tea Party began and the Old State House which looks dwarfed by the many skyscrapers that now encircle it. Right next to the Old State House was the site of the Boston Massacre where British soldiers shot and killed 5 members of an angry mob who were protesting leading to the Revolution.

The visitor information centre is located in Faneuil Hall it has three levels. The ground level is information and shops, the second level is a meeting hall which is still used to debate matters of freedom and equality and the third level houses an Army Artillery Society. There are many different market shops around the hall as well, but we continued to the Paul Revere House which is where he famously set out for his Midnight Ride. The house is set in the middle of what is now Little Italy confirmed by all the restaurants and signpost giving distances to all of the major Italian cities.

We walked back to the car and brought some cheap Chinese food back for dinner. We didn’t have much planned for the evening so we watched numerous episodes of The Mentalist and had a drink in the lounge which seemed more like the local social club.

In the morning, we packed up our things into the car and jumped into the car at 9am. That proved to be a mistake because it was still peak hour traffic on the expressway and we had to crawl in towards the city for a good 45 minutes. Our first stop was Harvard University where Steffi went to go and explore while Steffie and I did some laundry. We found the Laundromat by pure chance and badly needed to do some, so it was quite lucky. Next we drove to Bunker Hill where there was a famous American battle during the Revolution. I climbed all 294 steps up the narrow spiral staircase to the top of the Obelisk Monument without stopping and we had a limited view of the surrounds.

Steffi hung back in the car, while Steffie and I walked down to the Charlestown Navy Yard where there was a cruiser in dry dock and the USS Constitution which is permanently moored there. The tall ship was built in 1797 and is the oldest of its kind in the world still afloat. I went aboard to check out the many cannons, riggings and sails. I’d never been on a tall ship before and found there to be about 4 decks although we could only see 2 of them. It even survived an engagement with a British warship back in the day.

Having seen enough of the Freedom Trail it was time to say goodbye. Boston has many different labels: Hub of the Universe, Beantown, birthplace of the American Revolution, the TV show Cheers and is a multicultural hotspot. All I know it has a lot to offer for a big city, but I just can’t stand the parking and traffic.

We drove south on the Interstate for about an hour until we crossed the border into Rhode Island. We stopped at the Pawtucket information centre which is the birthplace of American Industry. Apparently many cotton mills lined the river, but we had to continue along to the capital Providence where the State Capital building sits proudly on the hill. The state is the smallest in the union, but has a very impressive capital and was one of the original 13 states. We took a self-guided tour of the 3 main levels and it reminded us very much of the State Capital in Washington State. There were two artillery guns located in the lobby from the 19th century and unlike most other state buildings, the state seal was located underneath the dome just like in Olympia. The dome is the 4th largest self-supported marble dome in the world and looks great. We looked inside the House of Representatives, Senate, Library and State Reception Room and there were only a few other people there.

We stopped in at the Providence Place for a smoothie before leaving Rhode Island for Connecticut. This is the fourth time on our trip that we have crossed through 3 states in one day: Washington, Idaho and Montana, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan plus Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Not a bad feat really! We set up camp down at the Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic which is the next down over from the National Submarine Museum which might be worth checking out tomorrow.
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