A day in Boston

Boston Travel Blog

 › entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
Downtown Boston

I had flown into Boston the day before but had no time to sightsee.  I was there on business but gave myself one day to see this historic town.  I had booked a hotel up in Andover, MA, which put me close to where I was working.  I asked the receptionist at the hotel the best way to get into Boston in the morning, and he told me to head south and then take the subway into the city, as to avoid traffic and parking and the nightmare I had experienced the day before trying to drive out of Boston.  It was not an easy task!

I left the hotel at about 8:30AM, thinking I would miss the traffic into the city.  I made a quick stop at Walgreens to get an umbrella, and then jumped on the highway.

Boston Common
  I was doing great until I got about 10 miles from the subway stop, and all the sudden I came to a brick wall of cars.  From there I crawled at an average of 6 miles per hour for the next hour and a half to make it to my exit ramp.  I just don't have the patience for that kind of driving, and I really feel for all of you that have to deal with that every day.  It surprised me how many people were happily puttering along in their cars, while I had the mean look on my face the whole time.

I got off the highway and drove another couple minutes to the subway stop.  The hotel receptionist had saved me from having to spend more time in traffic and dealing with parking, so I was very happy.  It would have cost $32 to park my car in the city for the day, but I was able to park it at the subway stop for $5, and the subway tickets cost $2 each way.

Cemetary in the heart of Boston where a lot of famous patriots are buried
..what a savings!  Plus, not having to worry about car...yay!

I jumped on the orange line into Boston and headed downtown.  After 6 or so stops, I got off the train and walked right into Boston Common.  There on Trimount Street modern tall buildings meet the old Boston Common area, it was really a neat sight.  The sky was overcast and it looked like rain, but it was my only day in Boston...I was not going to let that stop me.  Actually, it was quite warm and I was bummed that I had brought my coat to carry around.  Soon enough I would be happy that I had it.  I went to the visitor center and got information on the Freedom Trail tour.  After talking with the lady a bit, she offered me the student discount and that sold me on the tour.

A memorial to Paul Revere placed 100 years after his death
  Shortly thereafter I was met by 4 ladies who were taking the tour with me and the tour guide, dressed in the outfit of a British soldier.

He took us through Boston Common and explained to us the history of the area, that there were three hills there at one point and that those hills had been used to fill in some of the harbor area that is Boston today.  I'll get into that some more in a minute.  We walked to the state building before heading towards the old cemetary in the heart of the city where many of our famous founders are buried.  It was a bit creepy seeing the large amount of tombstones in such a small area.  We learned that the bodies of the dead had been dug and redug over time, and that the tombstones themselves could no longer tell you exactly where someone had been buried.

Site of the Boston Massacre
  Every step you took you knew you were stepping on the remains of someone.

There are a couple exceptions to this, and I alluded to those exceptions earlier.  The first famous gravestone we saw belonged to John Hancock.  From there, we walked over to the tiny grave that belonged to a certain Paul Revere.  While this original grave was small and almost unnoticeable, a larger memorial was placed next to it after the "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" was published in the 1800's.  A large stone in the middle of the cemetary marked "Franklin" leads people to believe that Ben was buried here as well, but this actually marks the burial place of his parents.  Benjamin Franklin is actually buried in Philadelphia.  In the corner of the cemetary is one gravestone marking the burial place of the 5 men killed in the Boston Massacre.

Old North Church
  We would learn more about this in a bit as well.  Sitting next to the 5 is the grave of Samuel Adams, another influential person during the time of the revolution.

From there we followed the Freedom Trail through the streets of Boston until we came to the road that now runs above the spring that used to supply water to the people of Boston.  Why it's covered up now I am not sure.  We continued to the area where the Boston Massacre took place.  The area is now an intersection in the middle of a busy traffic area.  The story goes that colonists provoked British guards with repeated verbal abuse after having spent too much time in the pub.  The British guards took the abuse, but there is a large gray area about the actual firings.

Bunker Hill monument and harbor
  John Adams, although a strong patriot, did his moral duty and defended the guards.  They were found innocent of all counts against them.

From there we went on to Quincy Market.  The skies were growing ever darker and the rain started to fall very lightly to the ground.  The guide explained how Boston had grown over the years, soil was physically transplanted and much of the harbor was filled in.  All of Quincy Market was once water.  In fact, that area where the Boston tea party took place is now all on land.  It was here that our tour guide left us with a few more stops on the trail ahead.  I thought that was a little strange but I continued on my own.  By this point it was raining more heavily and I had to pull out my umbrella.

Onboard the U.S.S. Constitution
  I was just hoping that the umbrella would survive the day!

I debated getting some food in Quincy Market but decided to press on.  Leaving the ladies from my group scratching their heads and trying to figure out what they wanted to go, I headed toward the Old North Church and Paul Revere's house.  I had a good map, but also there is a red line painted on the sidewalk that takes you right to each site, it's really nice!  I made it to Paul Revere's house but chose not to go inside...what is there to see anyway?  I hope I didn't miss a lot.  From there, I walked to the Old North Church.  The view as you approach it is spectacular!  I only wish I could have had a nicer day.  To imagine the lanterns hanging in the tower though gave me chills!

From there, the Freedom Trail took me to another cemetary.

Harvard Yard
  I am still unsure of the significance of it, but there were a lot of old old tombstones there.  The next stop on the trail was the U.S.S. Constitution, but I had to walk across a bridge and then head along the water.  The wind gusts while crossing the bridge continually tried to destroy my umbrella, but I prevailed and made it to the other side.  By that point I was running on fumes and decided to get a sandwich.  I ducked inside a restaurant just in time to miss the rain really come pouring down.  As I said before, I wasn't going to let the rain stop me...so with a sigh, I finished my sandwich and headed back into the rain.

I made it to the U.S.S Constitution, and right as I boarded my umbrella turned inside out and the metal frame creaked and cracked.

MIT
..I thought it was finished.  I ran onto the boat and went below deck.  As I walked around the ship, I salvaged my umbrella the best I could.  I couldn't imagine living on a ship like this one, I had to crouch to get around and hammocks seemed to be placed randomly to sleep on.  Even below deck, the stop was quite wet from the rain...I had to imagine that it was about that bad when out on the open sea.  I left the boat and walked to the boat's museum, my umbrella holding up okay.  I spent a little time at the museum (it was free) before heading out towards bunker hill.

The walk was not long, but my umbrella beginning to break down and the rain intensifying made it interesting.  By the time I made it to the monument, I was pretty soaked - and then I walked around the entire thing one time before figuring out where the entrance was - d'oh!  It was after I went inside that I realized I could climb to the top - some 294 steps!  I figured the view would be worth it, but once I got to the top, there were nothing but hard to see through windows.

Boston
  What a waste.  When I was done there I headed back to downtown Boston and took the metro up to Harvard.  I spent some time walking around the campus (I probably didn't look like I fit in) and then walked down to MIT to do pretty much the same thing.  By that point I was pretty tired but I wanted to make one more stop.

I walked from MIT back across the river to Fenway Park.  The sun had come out a bit but it looked like the game was going to get rained out for sure.  That didn't stop the fans from coming out, though.  From there I took the metro back into town and ate dinner at a nice seafood restaurant.  I had to try some clam chowder and then some great fish from the area.  That gave me enough energy to see a bit of the city at night before heading back to my car.

Fenway Park
  It was a busy day, but a great day.

yadilitta says:
nice pics!!! When I went to Philly going to Boston was in my plans too, but at the end I didn't have time. Now, after seeing your pics I know I have to go back...
Posted on: Aug 04, 2008
Vikram says:
Lovely pics mate...my favourite part of Boston is walking from Boston Common through the public gardens to Beacon Street. Beacon Street is like walking any street of Manhattan or London for that matter, I just love it!
Posted on: Jul 21, 2008
WalterC says:
A lot in 1 day, but the Freedom Trail does make it more manageable. And just the thought of clam chowder soup is making me hungry.
The Paul Revere House is a self-guided house tour, with the history of his life and the house itself. I thought it was ok, but not a must-visit.
Posted on: Jul 07, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Downtown Boston
Downtown Boston
Boston Common
Boston Common
Cemetary in the heart of Boston wh…
Cemetary in the heart of Boston w…
A memorial to Paul Revere placed 1…
A memorial to Paul Revere placed …
Site of the Boston Massacre
Site of the Boston Massacre
Old North Church
Old North Church
Bunker Hill monument and harbor
Bunker Hill monument and harbor
Onboard the U.S.S. Constitution
Onboard the U.S.S. Constitution
Harvard Yard
Harvard Yard
MIT
MIT
Boston
Boston
Fenway Park
Fenway Park
Paul Reveres actual grave stone
Paul Revere's actual grave stone
Samuel Adamss grave stone
Samuel Adams's grave stone
The grave stone of the 5 men kille…
The grave stone of the 5 men kill…
Boston
Boston
Boston
Boston
A significant church
A significant church
Site of the spring of Boston
Site of the spring of Boston
Quincy Market
Quincy Market
Quincy Market
Quincy Market
Boston Common and the State buildi…
Boston Common and the State build…
Downtown Boston
Downtown Boston
The State building
The State building
Grave of Ben Franklins parents
Grave of Ben Franklin's parents
John Hancocks grave stone
John Hancock's grave stone
A really old grave stone
A really old grave stone
Boston
Boston
Bunker Hill monument
Bunker Hill monument
Inside the Bunker Hill monument
Inside the Bunker Hill monument
Boston
Boston
Near Harvard
Near Harvard
Harvard Yard
Harvard Yard
Harvard Law School sign
Harvard Law School sign
Paul Reveres house
Paul Revere's house
Church in Boston
Church in Boston
Old North Church
Old North Church
Cemetary in Boston
Cemetary in Boston
Inside the U.S.S. Constitution
Inside the U.S.S. Constitution
Inside the U.S.S. Constitution
Inside the U.S.S. Constitution
Sponsored Links
Boston
photo by: bubu932