Another beautiful day in New England and the perfect chance to take a walking tour of Boston. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile winding path that links significant landmarks in the history of the American Revolution. We had lunch in Boston Common where the trail starts and then made our way to the State House following the red brick line through the streets, in a manner reminiscent of Dorothy (that would be me) and her trusty companions. We stopped at the Granary Burial Ground where a friendly chap called Jimmy Cole stands all year round, loaning out copies of his free guide to the graveyard. The guide is several pages long and, although a little dog eared, it is clear that Cole is a keen historian, and a humble one at that. He has created the guide through his own research and now makes his living through the donations he receives from those grateful for his shared knowledge. It’s an interesting read and I particularly enjoyed his story of how he worked out that the current stone over Paul Revere’s tomb is not the original – all using his “noggin,” as he puts it, as well as his explanations for the coins left on many of the stones. With more time I would love to have stayed and absorbed more but the kids were impatient to follow that red line and we had another 13 stops to make.
As we approached North End we encountered an Anti Columbus Day protest, calling for the holiday to be changed to honour the indigenous people, as it is in South Dakota and parts of California. Having seen protests outside the White House, the boys were unfazed by this one and we took the opportunity to tell them about why Columbus Day is becoming less popular.
Just around the corner, in the Italian District, a drum beat heralded the start of the Columbus Weekend parade celebrating local Italian links with the area. Clowns mingled with boy scouts and locals dressed in renaissance costumes.
Teddy exchanged air punches with Tony DeMarco and, much to the boys’ delight, the Ghostbusters made an inexplicable appearance. We enjoyed the holiday atmosphere and stayed to the very end before heading onwards to Charlestown where the USS Constitution currently sits in a dry dock, part way through her 3 year refurbishment. The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in the world although her duties these days are ceremonial and educational.
Members of her crew were on board to talk to us about what life would have been like for serving officers and crew in the 19th Century and what their role was today. We had a good look around the lower deck and the boys posed for pictures at the helm, the wheel being considerably bigger than the three of them!
After a long but thoroughly enjoyable day, we headed back to the car to make our way back – not quite three clicks of the heels but not so bad!