Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Boston Freedom Trail (Staycation Day 1)

Last Friday night Rachel landed in Boston from Dallas and I was officially on "staycation."  We filled the four days with a lot of stuff.  Rachel is just like me when visiting a new place - she likes to see it all.  We covered a lot of ground.  Day 1 was sightseeing in Boston and let me tell you we saw a lot of Boston - see for yourself with my picture overload below!!!

The next morning Rachel and I were up and ready to go fairly early considering how late we stayed up the night before.  It was an unusually HOT day in Boston.  Like really hot - 95 degrees!  Not typical for Boston for this time of year.  We made the best of it and made sure to drink plenty of water.

Our first stop was at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  This is a place I've always wanted to go so I'm glad Rachel was interested in seeing it.  It was beautiful - the one picture I took does not do it justice.  No indoor photos were allowed! :(  But overall, I must admit I was disappointed.  I had heard so much about the gardens and there were no gardens to see due to renovations.

Glad I saw it and at least it was cool in there but won't be rushing back anytime soon. . . 

We jumped on the T (Boston's public transportation system) and made our way downtown to start our journey on The Freedom Trail.  The Freedom Trail is a red line that runs 2.5 miles through the city passing by 16 historic sites.  It is a great way to see some cool sites while learning about the American Revolution.  (Let it be known that it may only be 2.5 miles but we walked about 10)!

We went to the Charlestown Navy Yard to see the U.S.S. Constitution which is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat.  Pretty cool that it is right here in Boston where I can see it anytime and it is FREE!  It is amazing to think about all this ship has "seen" throughout history!   

We walked around and checked everything out.  We tried to find a cute Navy guy to take a picture with but unfortunately they were all kind of busy talking to tourist about the ship.  We figured it would be rude to interrupt!

From the Navy Yard you can jump on the T but instead of a train it is a boat!  So for a couple of bucks you can take a boat ride across the harbor with gorgeous views of Boston.  Oh and the breeze was amazing!!!  It really was SO hot out!

We were dropped off at the Waterfront which is a newer addition to Boston.  I love it.  We finally have restaurants on the water!  We stopped for a much needed meal at Remy's (Remy is a former Red Sox player and current broadcaster during the Red Sox games) and I swear we each drank at least six pint glasses of water!

On our way into the restaurant we met "Brewster" from Boston Pedicab.  He really wanted to take us to our destination but we were just feet from it.  So we told him we would call him when we were done with lunch!

It was a great option for a couple of reasons - we were exhausted and it was a long walk to our next destination and it gave Rachel a scenic tour by a few things we wouldn't be stopping to see (such as The Boston Tea Party).

Once we were on our way Brewster says, "I guess I should go over rates?"  I'm freaking out in my head thinking "rates?"  I thought it was just for tips?!  Oh crap I have hardly any cash on me!  So he tells us his recommended rate of $25.  So yes they do work for tips only but they are not shy about telling you how much to tip.  It was fine but we needed to have him bike by the ATM so we could get some cash!  Haha!

He dropped us off in the North End (the Italian section of Boston) and we made our way into the Old North Church and just in time because it was closing for a wedding later that day!  This church was built in 1723 - a very long time ago!

It is famous for "One if by land, Two if by sea" because the two lanterns that were hung in the steeple singled Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington and Concord by sea, not by land and this was the start of the American Revolution (come on you remember all of this from your history classes in elementary school)!

We made our way through the North End toward Paul Revere's house but came upon this church.  It was open to visitors so we went in.  It was beautiful!  It looked like a church you would see in Europe!  St. Leonard Roman Catholic Church was founded in 1873 and built by Italian immigrants.  I love coming across things that I've never noticed before! 

Then we made it to Paul Revere's house.  His statue is a couple blocks away by the Old North Church.  Is house does offer tours but we were short on time, to tired/hot and too cheap to pay for it.  So we just looked at it from the outside.  I think I went on a tour of it in the 5th grade but I don't remember any of it!

This house is downtown Boston's oldest building.  It was built in 1680 - pretty amazing!  I love that it is there, in the middle of North Square, mixed in with much newer buildings.

We continued on our way - by the way we were not sticking to the "red line" for most of this.  I took Rachel on my own route which is likely why we walked SO much - but it allowed us to see much more than just the Freedom Trail.  We stopped by the Old State House which is associated with so many incredible moments in our history - The Boston Massacre took place in front of it and The Declaration of Independence was proclaimed from that white balcony to the people of Massachusetts in 1776.  It is now a museum but again we didn't go in. 

We also walked by two famous cemeteries but both were closed/locked because it was after 5 PM.  Many famous, historical people are buried in them.  We were able to see Samuel Adams' grave in right near the fence so we were able to see that.  He is famous for much more than just the beer!

Next stop was at the Old South Meeting House which is where the protests that led to the Boston Tea Party were held.  Oh and guess what I've actually been here!  I went to an Elon Alumni event here several years ago.  I felt like such a bad tour guide at times because I couldn't tell Rachel the significance of certain places.  I feel like we all take our own cities for granted - I know I do so I'm glad I got to play tourist with Rachel!

We then made our way through the Boston Common (oldest park in the country) and into Beacon Hill aka my favorite neighborhood in Boston.  The street in the photos is easily the most photographed street in Boston, maybe even in Massachusetts.  It is just so pretty!  We actually couldn't even take pictures of the entire street because there was a couple having engagement photos taken!

Rachel had to have a photo opp at one of the most famous bars in Boston, Cheers!  The outside was  used for the filming of the tv show so these stairs may look familiar to you!  I wonder if anyone would know my name if I went in?!  

We crossed the street to walk through one of my favorite places in Boston, The Public Gardens.  Somehow the "Make Way For Ducklings" statues were not too crowded and I managed to get a pic of Rachel with no kids in it.  Miracle!  Then Rachel insisted on breaking a law while in Boston - I told her I was way to tired to bail her out of jail if she got arrested!

At this point we were both SO tired and so sweaty that we didn't take too many pictures.  Plus I have hundreds from taking trips with my nieces and other friends. 

We did go by the September 11th memorial.  You may remember both plans departed from Boston Logan Airport so many of the victims were from Massachusetts.

We then made our way down Boylston Street and I showed Rachel the Boston Marathon Tragedy memorial and the sites of the two bombings.

AND THEN we finally made it to our final destination of the very long day, a bar!!!!  The Mass Ave Tavern was not using AC for some bizarre reason but we were way too tired to walk to another place so we made do.  We drank at least another six pint glasses of water and our waiter was the best with bringing refills!  My Pear Magners was delicious too.

Oh and I bet you are wondering about the picture on the top right?  Well just keeping it real here.  I don't always look beautiful and smell fresh.  It takes work.  Oh let me tell you I was disgusting after being out in the heat all day.  I felt so gross and knew I needed to come up with a solution.  Nothing a little body spray and deodorant couldn't fix.  We stopped at CVS for some beauty products.  I'm sure Rachel's friend appreciated it.  We met up with someone Rachel hadn't seen since high school.  We enjoyed watching the Bruins game - they won of course!!  Had to expose Rachel to Boston sports both via the bar scene and in person (post about our game at Fenway coming soon).

If you made it to the end of this very long post then Thank You!!!!  I hope I didn't bore you with our history tour!  We packed a lot in and believe me we were both exhausted by the end of the day.  The heat didn't help.  If only it had been a typical Boston June day. . .

I had the biggest blister on the bottom of my foot.  I'll spare you the picture.  It was massive and it hurt.  Not fun.  That is what I get for wearing flip flops!  Good training for the MS Challenge Walk though.

So what did you think of our Day 1 adventures?
Have you been to the Freedom Trail?

Stay tuned for Day 2 - we visit the witches in Salem and at night go to The Package concert (Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees and NKOTB)!!!!

Check out Rachel's blog for her recaps too!

I'm way too exhausted to proofread so please excuse any typos! :)


  1. You 2 look like you had a blast!!

    I'm jealous - I've never been to MA but would love to come visit sometime!

  2. I can't believe you did all that in one day! Looks like so much fun!

  3. It's so funny..I haven't done the Freedom Trail since I was a little kid. I should probably do it again since it looks like you guys had a blast!

  4. Looks like yal had a fun time! I love going on the freedom trail - we've probably done it 20 times, taking friends and family who come up for visits. It never gets old!

  5. Omg I'm tired just reading about all of this!

  6. You ladies packed it in! What a day! Some of my favorite Beantown sights in there.

  7. I'm doing the Freedom Trail as soon as I move to Boston! Looks so awesome.

  8. ummm...wow y'all were busy! Looks and sounds like you had a blast though!

  9. You are seriously making me want to visit ASAP. I did the Freedom Trail and LOVED it! I want to go back and experience it again. You're such a great host :)

  10. Wow, that is a LOT to do in one day. Ahh, I love Boston. I miss living right in the city. Speaking of Boston history, I lived at the top of Bunker Hill in Charlestown when I was in grad school, and went to school in the Navy Yard. Such a cool place to live.

  11. Oh, and have you ever walked though the locks over the water next to the bridge between Boston and Charlestown? So cool. There is a musical art installation there where you can play bells as you walk through the passageway and it's so neat.

  12. My feet hurt remembering all that walking!! :)

  13. Ahh! This post makes me miss living in the city SO much! There is so much to see and do in Boston and it never gets old. You're a great tour guide!!

  14. This post is making me miss Boston!! I loved the Freedom Trail so much-- there's SO much cool stuff to see and do! The Old North Church was my favorite-- it was so neat.

  15. I told Rachel in her post but now I want to go to mass in Boston. That Church is amazing. Both are actually. 95 isn't so bad. It's warm...but the walking 10 miles in flip flops was probably a beating. Lol