If you're going to Boston one of the first things you will hear you should do (besides going to Fenway Park) is walking the Freedom Trail. But, what is it?
It's a 2.5 mile red-brick trail through Boston’s historic neighborhoods. It's so important because it takes you to 16 key sites during the American Revolutionary War. Among those stops are significant historic buildings, graveyards, churches, and more. Of course, this trail wasn't always there. Who's idea was it?
It was Boston Herald's Traveler writer, William Schofield, and member of the Old North Church, Bob Winn, who in 1951 saw the need of building a pedestrian trail as a tool for tourists to visit Boston's predominant historic sites.
Most of the stops on the Freedom Trail come at no cost, and those few that require an admission fee are just about $5 to $10. There's many group walking tours, so you have to adjust to everyone else’s walking pace and an extended explanation of the history behind each stop. But since at Cova Travels we are into independent and effective exploring, we bring you the tools to explore on your own. Below you will find a brief description of each stop, hours of operation, and cost.
1. Boston Common
Established in 1634, Boston Common is America’s oldest public park. Puritan colonists purchased the land rights to the Common’s 44 acres from the first European settler of the area, Anglican minister William Blackstone.
Cost: free, it's a public park.
2. Massachusetts State House
Built in 1798, this is the state capitol building and the seat of government for the Commonwealth of
Cost: It is free to visit and open during the weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. You can also schedule a tour of the building.
3. Park Street Church
It was once the first landmark travelers would see when arriving in Boston. The Park Street was a site where slavery was protested, woman’s suffrage was supported, and asked for prison reform.
4. Granary Burying Ground
Some of the most important citizens rest in this very old cemetery. Established in 1660, you can search for the tombstones of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and Benjamin Franklin’s parents.
5. King's Chapel and Burying Ground
Established in 1686, this is one of the oldest churches in Boston. It houses the oldest pulpit still in continuous use in the United States. Sitting next to the King’s Chapel is another cemetery. Mary Chilton, the first woman to step off of the Mayflower, is buried here.
6. Benjamin Franklin statue and former site of Boston Latin School
This was America’s first public school and offered education for boys no matter their economic status. Five signers of the Declaration of Independence attended this academy: Franklin, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Robert Treat Paine, and William Hooper. Even though we know Benjamin Franklin attended school here and was one of the brightest minds, he is also famous for dropping out.
7. Old Corner Bookstore
This was once a bookstore, selling works by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott. The building was going to be demolished in the 1960s, until a group of Bostonians concerned about losing an important architectural heritage of the city, formed a non-profit and used their resources to acquire and restore the building. Nowadays they rent it to retail shops and commercial offices, at the moment it is a Chipotle. Of course, no cost to visit this place, unless you want to stop for a burrito. Yum!
8. Old South Meeting House
It was here that people protested the tax on tea, which led to the Boston Tea Party.