The Best Freedom Trail Boston Travel Tips
The Best Freedom Trail Boston Travel Tips
Our son who was recently engaged, lives in Providence Rhode Island. That gave us the perfect excuse we needed to travel out to New England. Of course we were going to visit him and his new fiance, and we also wanted and see and experience as much as we can in the shortest amount of time. We wanted to become the experts so that we can give you the best Freedom Trail Boston Travel Tips!
This particular post is the 1st few days of that trip as we flew into Boston. We wanted to take in as much as humanly possible without killing ourselves.
I had posted on Facebook a request to all my friends to give me ideas of places we must see and visit in New England. See the post here! So we had a great list of things we wanted to do in Boston. You can find the list at the bottom of this article.
Day 1 – Boston Arrival
The airplane arrived in Boston at 10:45 a.m. and immediately we decided to try to check into our hotel. I ordered an Uber for the first time, believe it or not, and it was awesome. Both of us had tried before from our house in MN to the airport but at 4:00am there were none available.
Anyway, we headed to our hotel in downtown Boston. We stayed at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. It is a lovely hotel right in the middle of the shopping district and a perfect place to start our first afternoon of Boston sightseeing.
By this time we were getting hungry and and New England seafood was very high on our list for what to eat for most of this trip. For right now we decided to grab something quick so that we could get on our way.
Boston Public Library
We knew we were going to be heading out to get to The Freedom Trail and we knew we were going to walking all day so we had to start the day with great shoes.
Going to Commonwealth Avenue would bring us past the Boston Public Garden and then on to Boston Common at which point we could connect with The Freedom Trail. This is where I am kicking myself already because we walked right by Boston Public Library and did not go in. The Library is an architectural masterpiece (see images here ) and I love to photograph architecture and we did not go in. This is an example of how travel is always a balance of time and seeing everything you want to see. Our goal for this particular day was to finish as much of The Freedom Trail as possible so we had to move on.
Boston Commonwealth Avenue
Our route to The Freedom Trail led us to Commonwealth Avenue.
Brownstone Buildings of Commonwealth Avenue Boston MA
Commonwealth Avenue (colloquially referred to as Comm Ave by locals) is a major street in the cities of Boston and Newton, Massachusetts. It begins at the western edge of the Boston Public Garden, and continues west through the neighborhoods of the Back Bay, Kenmore Square, Allston, Brighton and Chestnut Hill. It continues as part of Route 30 through Newton until it crosses the Charles River at the border of the town of Weston.
Often compared to Georges-Eugène Haussmann’s Paris boulevards, Commonwealth Avenue in Back Bay is a parkway divided at center by a wide grassy mall. This greenway, called Commonwealth Avenue Mall, is punctuated with statuary and memorials, and forms the narrowest “link” in the Emerald Necklace. It connects the Public Garden to the Fens.
Walking down Comm Ave, you get to walk through 200 years of history and touch the lifestyle of the rich and the famous. The things that caught my attention most quickly were the historic statues and the beautiful historic brownstone buildings.
Yikes, I can just image all of the stories that could be told from those houses and apartments.
Boston Public Garden
The Public Garden, also known as Boston Public Garden, is a large park in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, adjacent to Boston Common. It is a part of the Emerald Necklace system of parks, and is bounded by Charles Street and Boston Common to the east, Beacon Street to the north, Arlington Street and Back Bay to the west, and Boylston Street to the south. The Public Garden was the first public botanical garden in America.
Boston Public Garden Boston MA
Boston’s Back Bay, including the land the garden sits on, was mudflats until filling began in the early 1800s. The land of the Public Garden was the earliest filled, as the area that is now Charles Street had been used as a ropewalk since 1796. The town of Boston granted ropemakers use of the land on July 30, 1794, after a fire had destroyed the ropewalks in a more populated area of the city. As a condition of its use, the ropewalk’s proprietors were required to build a seawall and fill in the land which is now Charles Street and the land immediately bordering it (now a part of the Public Garden).
Much of the landfill material came from Mount Vernon, formerly a hill in the Beacon Hill area of Boston. Initially, gravel and dirt were brought from the hill to the landfill area by handcart. By 1804, a gravity railroad had been constructed to rapidly bring material from the top of the hill to the marsh; today, Mount Vernon no longer exists, having been completely removed to be used as landfill for the Back Bay.
Howard Everett Hale Boston Public Garden
The Freedom Trail – Part 1
The Freedom Trail is a detailed adventure of the history of Boston. Check here: http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/ This is truly one of the best ways to see the city. They have a mobile app and everything to help you see and understand as much as you can.
Being we got started relatively late in the day we assumed that we would have to break this down into two days. On the first day we were going to see as much as we sould experience and take in.
You can find our map of the Freedom Trail here: Official Freedom Trail Map
Boston Common is the beginning point of the trail, but it is also a modern cultural center of Boston. It is filled with people living their lives, taking lunch brakes or having a boy scout outing. There are local food vendors all over so that you can get a quick bit and experience the local fare. We were hungry again already so we grabbed some food from an asian food truck and sat down at a table in the park to experience some local people watching and entertain.
Boston is an incredibly diverse city. You will experience people from every nation, tribe and tongue. I must say, it was so invigorating.
Brewer Fountain Boston Common
The beautiful Brewer fountain is situation in the middle of Boston Common.
Brewer Fountain Boston Common
Brewer Fountain stands near the corner of Park and Tremont Streets in Boston, Massachusetts, by Park Street Station. The 22-foot-tall (6.7 m), 15,000-pound (6,800 kg) bronze fountain, cast in Paris, was a gift to the city by Gardner Brewer. It began to function for the first time on June 3, 1868. It is a copy of the original, featured at the 1855 Paris World Fair, designed by French artist Michel Joseph Napoléon Liénard.
At least sixteen other copies exist, including one on Av. Cordoba y Cerrito in Buenos Aires and in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. The fountain is decorated with the figures of Neptune, Amphitrite (Neptune’s wife), and Acis and Galatea, a couple from Greek mythology. It fell into disrepair and finally stopped functioning entirely in 2003. A major repair project began in 2009. After a year-long $640,000 off-site restoration led by sculpture conservator Joshua Craine of Daedalus Inc., it was re-dedicated on May 26, 2010.
We got our energy back and were ready to head out on the next steps of the journey.
For many of these next parts I will give you links to read more details of each stop but the stories I will tell are the fun little experiences along the way.
Massachusetts State House
Read more about the Massachusetts State House
Park Street Church
While we were there, the Park Street Church was under construction. Bummer! It is the church with the green wrap around it.
Read more about the Park Street Church.
Granary Burying Ground
Entrance to the Granary Burying Ground
Many people very active in the revolution are buried here.
Common Headstone at the Granary Burying Ground
Read more about the Granary Burying Ground
King’s Chapel & Burying Ground
The King’s Chapel
Read more about the King’s Chapel & Burying Ground
Boston Latin School Site/Benjamin Franklin Statue
Boston Latin School Site
Read more about the Boston Latin School Site
Benjamin Franklin Statue
Read more about Benjamin Franklin
Old Corner Bookstore
Read more about the Old Corner Bookstore
The Old South Meeting House
The Old South Meeting House
Read more about the The Old South Meeting House
Old State House
Old State House
Read more about the Old State House
Boston Massacre Site
Read more about the Boston Massacre Site
Faneuil Hall – Quincy Market
Read more about the Faneuil Hall
Inside the Modern Bustling Quincy Market
Read more about the Quincy Market
Paul Revere House
Paul Revere House
Read more about the Paul Revere House
Old North Church
The Old North Church and Paul Revere
Read more about the Old North Church
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
Read more about the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
Freedom trail was amazing! We made it through site 21 of the 23 sites. We have some more items to see and we will do our best to capture them the next day.
New England Holocaust Memorial – Boston
Wiki Site: New England Holocaust Memorial
Official Site: New England Holocaust Memorial
North End – Don’t Call It Little Italy
We ventured to the North End of Boston which tourists call Little Italy, but If you call it Little Italy the locals know you are a tourist.
We met at wonderfully joyful Italian woman named Francine.
Francine gave us recommendations for what to do and what to seen, then she pointed us to an Italian restaurant for dinner. Francine encouraged us to go to Bella Vista for dinner because “they will treat us right”. We got there a little earlier than the dinner hour so they sent us over to a little bar to get a glass of wine.
If you have not heard of Mike’s Pastry yet, you will when you get to Boston. Home of the Cannoli. You will see boxes being carried around the entire city. (Note my wife carrying the box above with Francine) Yes, it is that popular.
Look at the Beauty of Mike’s Pastry
Founded in 1946, Mike’s Pastry is located in Boston’s historic North End on Hanover Street. Michael Mercogliano (the “Mike” behind the famed Mike’s Pastry) created the one-of-a-kind cannoli that keeps loyal Bostonians and tourists coming from around the world to enjoy. Going to Mike’s has become a Boston tradition when in town whether visiting family, friends, sporting events, college, or any other event. We hope that you continue the tradition and come see us and grab a pastry.
After the glass of wine, we went to a local park and munched down a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry. That turned out to be our before dinner snack.
We ended up going back to Bella Vista for dinner. It turns out we were pretty disappointed with the dinner. Francine was nice and brought over a caprese salad, on the house because we told her we were sent here.
The staff looked very disinterested in the clientele and it almost felt like they hated what they were doing. It looked like they were trapped in the restaurant business. I can understand how difficult it would be to run a restaurant, but if you hate it get out.
We got up and got going the next day. I realized that after charging my batteries for all my tools, I had put my camera battery in backwards and now it was stuck and my camera would not work. I had to get my camera fixed. Pictures were one of the main reasons for doing this trip.
So I found Hunt Photo, a company I was familiar with. I had done business with them while back in Minnesota when it was time to purchase a complete filter system for my Canon. We used an Uber again to get over to one of their nearest shops. They fixed my camera in moments for free. I was elated. If you are looking to work with a great photo company check these people out. http://www.huntsphotoandvideo.com/
Turns out, Hunt Photo was right next to Fenway Park, Home of the Green Monster and the World Famous Boston Red Sox. We decided to create our own little tour of fenway park. So we ran around the the place seeing what we could see. If you want a scheduled tour of Fenway Park there are many options. One is directly from the Red Sox. Fenway Park Tours.
Fenway Park is a baseball park located in Boston, Massachusetts at 4 Yawkey Way near Kenmore Square. Since 1912, it has been the home for the Boston Red Sox, the city’s American League baseball team, and since 1953, its only Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. It is the oldest ballpark in MLB. Because of its age and constrained location in Boston’s dense Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood, the park has been renovated or expanded many times, resulting in quirky heterogeneous features including “The Triangle” (below), “Pesky’s Pole”, and the Green Monster in left field. It is the fourth-smallest among MLB ballparks by seating capacity, second-smallest by total capacity, and one of eight that cannot accommodate at least 40,000 spectators.
Fenway has hosted the World Series ten times, with the Red Sox winning five of them, and the Boston Braves winning one. The first, in the park’s inaugural season, was the 1912 World Series and the most recent was the 2013 World Series. Besides baseball games it has been the site of many other sporting and cultural events including professional football games for the Boston Redskins, Boston Yanks, and the Boston Patriots; concerts; soccer and hockey games (such as the 2010 NHL Winter Classic); and political and religious campaigns.
April 20, 2012, marked Fenway Park’s centennial. On March 7 of that year, the park was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Former pitcher Bill Lee has called Fenway Park “a shrine”. It is a pending Boston Landmark which will regulate further changes to the park. Today, the park is considered to be one of the most well-known sports venues in the world.
Hop On Hop Off – Old TownTrolley Tours
After we had satisfied our curiosity of Fenway Park, we needed to find a way to get back to the last part of the Freedom Trail. We purchased tickets for an all day trolley online for about $42 each. One of the stops was Fenway Park so we were right on the route. The tour bus was a fabulous way to tour of Boston and get historical insights from local history buffs. The stories they were telling about Boston history were funny and compelling.
The company we used was https://www.trolleytours.com and the particular tour we used was Old Town Trolley
of Boston. Click here to see their complete brochure for this particular trip!
You can see a list Best City Attractions Here!
When the trolley got to the USS Constitution, it was time for us to hope off so that we could catch the last two stops in The Freedom Trail.
USS Constitution “Old Ironsides”
The USS constitution was fabulous. The ship had recently finished a complete reconstruction, therefore it looked good as new and was able to continue as the oldest ship in the Naval Fleet.
Read more about The USS Constitution.
Bunker Hill Monument
We climbed all the way up the monument on the top of Bunker Hill.
The Bunker Hill Monument was erected to commemorate the Battle of Bunker Hill, which was among the first major battles between British and Patriot forces in the American Revolutionary War, fought there June 17, 1775. The 221-foot (67 m) granite obelisk was erected between 1825 and 1843 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, with granite from nearby Quincy conveyed to the site via the purpose-built Granite Railway, followed by a trip by barge. There are 294 steps to the top. – wiki
Read more about the Bunker Hill Monument
It might seem like a lot, but exploring and conquering the Boston Freedom Trail is worth it. I want to strongly encourage you to do the entire thing and get a sense of just how difficult it was to get our country rolling. If you can’t do the entire trail, do as much of it as you possibly can. Each part has it’s own special importance in our history.
On to Providence RI
At the end of this dizzying day, our son picked us up from our hotel and took us to their home in Providence. Their place is in the historic district of Providence so it it is filled with an old world charm.
Nathan and Kelly are foodies so they get the responsibility of selecting the restaurant for dinner. They selected a restaurant called North which is an Asian Fusion place and the food was delicious. North Restaurant
Hew so do you think you could keep up? I hope we gave you some great ideas for your trip to Boston. You can certainly stay in Boston much longer and explore all the places in much more detail, but our time for this trip was limited and we had to move on.
Feel free to drop me a line with any question you may have about planning your trip to Boston.
And until next time, get out and capture the adventure.
Everything we wanted to do in Boston
- Freedom trial walking tour Freedom trial walking tour
- Boston commons (1)
- Beacon hill (3)
- Faneuil hall (12)
- New England Holocaust Monument (one block from Faneuil Hall Marketplace)
- USS constitution
- Charlestown Navy Yard(23)
- Mike’s pastry – cannoli (300 Hanover St. – 1 block from Paul Revere House- North End)
- Neptune Oyster Bar – lobster rolls (on North End, $$$ – 2 block from Mike’s pastry)
- North End – Little ltaly
- Boston Duck Tour
- James hook and Company Seafood restaurant 15 Northern Ave Boston (low price, waterfront shanty – take out) – on Boston Harbor
These images and much more are available for purchase.
Find the complete online gallery here: Wayne Moran Fine Art Photography
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The Best Freedom Trail Boston Travel Tips
Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website