Day 4: Freedom Trail

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Jul 13, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

This morning we took the train from Salem to Boston. That's the way to travel! We walked to the station in Salem, boarded the train, and 30 minutes later we arrived at North Station. We were completely lost when we got there, but thanks to a free detailed map, we figured out how to get to the Freedom Trail.

The Freedom Trail is a red line (literally a red line of paint or brick on the pavement) that takes you to the most historic landmarks in the city. It makes it easy for dumb tourists like us! We started the tour with Copps Hill Burying Ground, the second oldest cemetery in the city, founded in 1659.

From there, we followed the line to the Old North Church made famous by Paul Revere..."One if by land, two if by sea." The church is still active with services every Sunday. Inside are not just pews, but family boxes. Since the church was not heated, the boxes were created to hold heat in for the worshipers. Many have brass plaques to indicate the families who originally sat there.
Around the corner in the midst of dozens or Italian restaurants, stands Paul Revere House. This building is the oldest standing in the North End. This is where Paul and his family, including his wife and five children lived from 1770-1800.

From Revere House, we walked to Faneuil Hall which is was a marketplace and meeting hall in the 1700's. Now the National Park Service conducts tours from here. The first floor is a marketplace with several vendors and other floors are used as meeting space.

Next we came to the Old State House. The most striking thing about this site is that it sits in the heart of Boston, an old historic building dwarfed by modern high rises. Here on March 5, 1770, an angry mob of citizens clashed with the British soldiers and the Boston Massacre occurred.

Another highlight of the Freedom Trail is Granary Burial Ground. Here lies the remains of Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin's family, and several signers of the Declaration of Independence. It's a beautifully shaded spot in the heart of the city. Danny and I both got a kick out the grandeur of John Hancock's monument, very big and showy, kind of like his signature on the Declaration. In contrast, Paul Revere's tomb has a tiny, unadorned headstone, and Samuel Adams' marker is a stone and plaque.

Just short walk down the red line took us to Boston Common. Today was sunny, cool and comfortable so the Common was buzzing with people enjoying the day. We walked to the Frog Pond and across the street to the Boston Public Gardens. If I lived in Boston, I would spend alot of time here. It was a lush and beautiful contrast to the hub-bub of the city. I really wanted to go here to see the duck statues. Danny didn't quite get my excitement. The ducks are a tribute to Robert McCloskey's 1942 Caldecott winning book Make Way for the Ducklings which was set in Boston. I guess only a librarian could get it!

At this point in the day we could tell the weather was turning and clouds were rolling in. Being newbies to the train system, we were worried if we didn't head back to the station we would be lost in the rain. We literally walked into the station, looked at the board and realized our train was loading at that moment.

Thirty minutes later, as we approached the station in Salem, the rain started. We walked several blocks in the rain before deciding to take cover and have a cocktail in Rockafellas bar. Of course Danny met some local sports nuts and spent the next 45 minutes in deep discussion.

We think we walked over 5 miles today and were pretty tired, so we came back to the hotel to rest a little. About 7:00 PM we headed out to do some exploring in Marblehead. If I ever win the lottery, I want a house like the ones on the ocean in Marblehead. Oh my goodness, what beautiful homes!! We walked out to Castle Rock and took some pictures. Such a cool spot! It's just a giant outcropping of rock into the Atlantic, but its a beautiful view!

Well, tonight is our last night in Salem. I can't imagine we will pack in as much sightseeing as we did here at any of our other destinations. I highly recommend visiting the area! New England is beautiful and the people were great!

Mindy & Danny
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