My last weekend in Maine was actually spent traveling to Massachusetts. I wanted to spend this Fourth of July in Boston walking the Freedom Trail and learning more about the significance of Boston and the Fourth of July. To my surprise, I learned to appreciate not only how our Freedom was won, but also fell in love with the great City of Boston.
I made reservations to stay at the HI Boston hostel. Located in the Chinatown/Theater district, it was within easy walking distance of the Freedom Trail sites and Boston Commons. Also the Quincy Market with all the food stalls and free street performances. The hostel also offers daily breakfast, programs, lectures and pool/Wii in the game room. This is the most upscale hostel I’ve stayed at and I would recommend for singles or families visiting Boston. http://www.hiusa.org/massachusetts/boston/boston
For years I’ve watched the Boston Pops Fourth of July special and dreamed of being there in person. This year was my opportunity. Sadly, due to Hurricane Arthur, the city moved the Boston Pops and fireworks to Thursday, so I was unable to see John Williams conduct. However, the weather cleared for the remainder of the weekend and I was able to join other patriotic minded people walk the Freedom Trail and witness the USS Constitution perform a 21 gun salute in the harbor. It was spectacular!
The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile red brick path through downtown Boston that leads hikers to 16 significant historic sites. It starts at the Boston Commons and winds it way to the USS Constitution in Charlestown. You can take a trolley tour which I did to get a feel for the area before walking (http://www.cityviewtrolleys.com/boston/ ), take a self-guided tours or a guided walk with the National Park Service, which is FREE and very informative. For some reason the site of the Tea Party wasn’t included, but it’s not far off trail and easy to include. (http://www.thefreedomtrail.org/)
Once off the trail I was able to explore and enjoy the city itself. I want to go back to Boston and take the time to explore the amazing architecture that spans a hundred years. There are so many delicious restaurants just waiting for me to pull up a table. And still untold stories yet to be shared. One of the more interesting, and nearly unbelievable stories is about the Great Molasses Flood of 1919.
Yes, it’s true. Boston had a molasses disaster strike in January 1919. They built a fifty foot tank along the harbor in the North End which was close to the railway lines, but was also heavily populated at the time. The distillery received one last shipment of 1.3 million gallons of molasses to turn into liquor and sell before the Prohibition. A great pressure built up due to fermentation in the tank. And on January 15, 1919 the sides of the tank burst sending a 15’ tall, 160; wide wave of molasses traveling at 35 MPH into the North End. By the end of the day 21 people lost their lives, 150 were injured and the entire waterfront section of the North End was destroyed. Wow! That’s a sticky situation! http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/08/13/molasses-disaster-boston-north-end-showed-lethal-power-thick-substances/nbhChG332PTOLTAnd7L6DL/story.html
I’m so happy I did this and highly recommend Boston as a priority trip for all Americans. Boston is a safe and family friendly town. I saw many families on this walk discussing the reality of what our Founding Fathers had to do to make us free. History is brought to life for all ages on this trail. And the City of Boston is a vibrant, welcoming city at the forefront of American history, but has champion sports franchises, museums and great food. Did I mention the food? It was wonderful.
See my photos at: http://emiling.com/photos/boston-massachusetts/