When an open Saturday with (relatively) low humidity and clear skies presented itself, I knew how I was going to spend my afternoon. I needed to finish what I started three weeks previously and bike all the way to Lexington Center.
So, I headed out from Winter Hill, stopping in Davis Square for a bottle of water and a smoothie at the Blue Shirt Cafe (the Peanut Butter Delight, to which I am addicted). I headed out, again making some stops along the way, including at my revered Spy Pond. When I zipped past my previous farthest point on the bike path, I cheered. I knew I was just 1.25 miles away from Lexington Center.
Now, I had heard that Lexington Center was really cool and had lots of good restaurants, but I didn’t know what exactly to expect. What I found was a thriving and busy little square that reminded me of a more spread out Coolidge Corner, with a hint of Arlington Center. Everyone was out since it was a gorgeous day.
My co-worker had recommended a sushi restaurant, and in wandering down Mass. Ave in search of it, I stumbled across the Battle Green, which sported several monuments and remembrances to the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. Yep, “The Shot Heard Round The World.” Even though I knew that Lexington is where that all happened, I guess I didn’t expect that the battle site would be that close to where I was.
I found myself held rapt by history. Even though it was history with which I was intimately familiar, it was humbling to stroll the (oddly empty) green and see the various monuments to the battle and the Minutemen who lost their lives, and for whom the bike path I rode is named. I noted with interest that a flag pole had been designated the official memorial to the Battle of Lexington, and I was awed by the memorial erected in 1799 to the Minutemen from Lexington who died in that opening battle. (“The Die was cast!!” the memorial excitedly declares in recapping the events of that April morning in 1775.) I also enjoyed learning about Prince Estabrook, the slave who was the first black soldier of the American Revolution.
As I strolled the Battle Green, I felt like I was out of town on vacation, and I was delighted to be a tourist agog in my own state. For me, the visit gave Patriot’s Day — which rolls around every April with an implicit joke that we need a day off to watch the Boston Marathon and see an early morning Sox game — a bit more heft and importance. It was not lost on me that I had come there from Winter Hill, which was a stop on Paul Revere’s ride to Lexington. The thought of retracing, however loosely, that bit of history pleased me.
After I finishing touring the Battle Green, I did indeed find that sushi restaurant, where I scarfed down a couple of delicious sushi rolls. I then headed back out on the path, pausing once more by Arlington’s Great Meadow. My next goal for the bike path is to bring a friend and wear appropriate clothes and bug spray for exploring some of the walking trails that jut off the path in the area of the meadow. Or perhaps I will make it a goal to reach the end of the bike path in Bedford. It’s just over three miles from Lexington Center, and I know I can do it, though I’ve heard that as a locale it is not that interesting, aside from the feeling of triumph at having completed the path. (I think I’ll spare myself the off-road informal extensions of the path past Bedford.)
For now, though, I am basking in my latest accomplishment, and appreciating the unexpected history lesson I received as a reward.