After last week’s day off the grid, I was pleased to have another opportunity to explore my city come up. A friend of mine is headed to San Francisco for the summer for a cool internship, and she wanted to do one last Boston thing before she left. What’s more Boston than the Freedom Trail?
This is the second time I’ve done the Freedom Trail, but the third time I’ve made my way to the Bunker Hill Monument. The first time I did the Freedom Trail was on a cold, rainy February afternoon, and though it was not the most pleasant experience, I took pride in showing my out-of-town friends the history of my city. (The other time I saw the monument and some snatches of the Trail was during a Charlestown/North End walkabout that another friend of mine and I took during that freakishly warm day late last December.)
One of the best things about living in the Boston area, I find, is being surrounded by history. I am often inured to it, as I am simply walking downtown to H&M or taking the 93 bus past the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill. But occasionally, it hits me, and I realize that, holy crap, the stretch of Broadway in Somerville near my house that is littered with banks and hair salons is where Paul Revere rode to Lexington and Concord (video from this year’s reenactment), around the corner from that H&M is where the Boston Massacre took place, and so on. It is a nice thing to remember every now and then, especially for someone like me who comes from a place lacking in significant history (hooray for South Florida).
This most recent tour of the Freedom Trail took place on Memorial Day, which weather-wise was perhaps the most beautiful day we’ve had all year. We had a great time following the red line with occasional sidetrips down interesting alleyways, stopping for pizza in the North End and ice cream in City Square, taking in the many beautiful views the walk afforded and analyzing the poses of various statues. (Did you know the statue of Ben Franklin at Old City Hall has his gaze cast downward — right at you?!) I was particularly pleased to see how many people had come out to the new Rose Kennedy Greenway to get some sun or cool off in the fountains there — it made me feel optimistic about the future of the newest greenspace in the city.
I think my first time walking on the Freedom Trail was more focused on reading the historical placards and getting a sense of what happened where. This latest walk was more about drinking in the flavor of Boston and savoring it before bidding the city farewell for the summer. Each is a great way to spend a day — particularly when you’re sharing the walk with friends.