Monday, October 21, 2013

Boston: Freedom Trail

We spent a few days exploring Boston, and enjoyed its wealth of living history. There is so much there that we could have done, but we chose to walk The Freedom Trail. A red brick line connects over a dozen places that have been preserved for their significance during the Colonial and Revolutionary period. This trip has brought US history to life for our family, and we're so blessed to be experiencing these places firsthand.

I always enjoy walking through old graveyard and am fascinated by the inscriptions on tombstones. This was an early Puritan graveyard, and many of the headstones featured a simple engraving of a skull with wings. The skull signified mortality, and the wings the promise of immortality beyond the grave. The inscription reads:
Servant to
John Hancock ESQr.
lied interr'd here
who died 23rd Jan

Frank was a slave owned by John Hancock, governor of Massachusetts, whose large monument stands nearby.
MAY 1818
Costumed interpretors gave tours and presentations along the Freedom Trail. It was so fun to see them dressed up in period clothing. I love the styles from this time period.
This pictures captures Boston for me: old and new settled happily together with a whole lot of life swirling around it all. The Old State House in the center of the picture is Boston's oldest standing building, erected in 1712-13. It served as the seat of the Massachusets legislature, and the Boston Massacre took place in front of it. The Declaration of Independence was first read in Boston from the balcony here on July 18, 1776. There's something sobering about seeing places that were so pivotal in the formation of our nation.  
This was Paul Revere's house in Boston's North End, which now appears to be the "Little Italy" judging by its many Italian restaurants and bakeries. It was from this home that Paul Revere set out on his famous ride to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were on their way to arrest them, as well as arousing the militia.
We enjoyed watching a printer hard at work at The Printing Office of Edes and Gil. The printer explained to us the origin of upper and lower case letters. Back when typesetting was a painstakingly long process, where each tiny letter had to be placed by hand, capital letters were kept in the upper case, and "small" letters in the lower case! I love learning interesting little things like that.

We got to watch the printing process, which was very interesting. The printer considered himself very fortunate to have come by this press.
And what was he printing? Copies of the Declaration of Independence, and Peregrine was pleased to buy one for himself and for a friend.
This is the famous Old North Church, where two lanterns were hung to signal that the British were coming by over the water. "One if by land, Two if by sea...." 
After all that walking, we treated ourselves to some delicious Italian pastries: cannolis,  tirimisu, and pignoli cookies. When I was a little girl and we would visit my mom's Italian family, pignoli cookies were a special treat, and it was fun to introduce the kids to their yumminess! We used to joke that you'd better not get between the Great Aunts and the pignolis if you knew what was good for you!
Sometimes referred to as "the Cradle of Liberty", Faneuil Hall is an historic meeting hall and marketplace. It was the site of many meetings where people expressed their growing discontent with England and seeds of Independence were watered and grew. A statue of Samuel Adams stands in front, and on top is a famous grasshopper weather vane. During the Revolution, suspected spies were asked what was on top of Faneuil Hall, and if they didn't know they were treated as British infiltrators! 

1 comment:

  1. You're making me nostalgic! LOVE Boston!


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