Monday, November 23, 2009

Walking the Freedom Walk

Boston was where the American Revolution and the birth of our country began. I consider myself a patriot and one who has a deep appreciation of the freedoms we enjoy as a result of the courage and sacrifices of a few brave souls. I came to Boston to walk the Freedom Trail but I had no idea how much it would renew my faith in the greatness of our country. History came alive for me this weekend in Boston.

We stayed at the Parker House, the oldest continuous hotel in America, since 1855, with a large room next to the John McCormick Suite (former speaker of the House). Parker House is the home of the Parker House Rolls and the Boston Cream Pie. It was here where the brightest lights of America’s Golden Age of Literature — writers like Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and Longfellow — regularly met for conversation and conviviality in the legendary nineteenth century Saturday Club. It was here where baseball greats like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams wined, dined, and unwound. And it was here, too, where generations of local and national politicians — including Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and William Jefferson Clinton — assembled for private meetings, press conferences, and power breakfasts.

Two cultural icons and notable revolutionaries spent time on the Parker House staff: Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh served as a baker in the bakeshop from 1911 to 1913, and
Malcolm Little (remembered as black activist, Malcolm X) was a busboy in the early
1940s, during the period of the Pearl Harbor invasion.

Our first night at the hotel, we stopped into the hotel’s bar, the Last Hurrah, (where JFK proposed to Jackie) and had some Boston Cream Pie. It was delicious and unlike any other so called Boston cream pie I had ever tasted. It had both a crispness and lightness that was unmatched.

The Parker House is right on the Freedom Trail. Just down the street is a statue of Ben Franklin, who was born in Boston and attended Boston Latin School on the site, now occupied by the Old City Hall.
And at the end of the block, was the Old South Meeting Place, which was the site of the protest against a tax on tea Dec. 16, 1773 and later that night the Boston Tea Party was held.

The next morning off we went, borrowing two umbrellas from the hotel, following the red brick road.
We then went to the Old State House, where the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was made and JFK first announced his candidacy for President. Then we visited the Boston Massacre Site where British soldiers killed 5 men who were protesting the occupation of the British, including Crispus Attucks, whose death was greatly romanticized as the first man to die in what led to the American Revolution. Attucks was of mixed race, part Indian, part black African but during the civil rights movement he suddenly became one of the most important men in African-American history.From there we walked a short distance to Faneuil Hall known as the “Cradle of Liberty”. Faneuil Hall has served as a marketplace and a meeting hall since 1742. Funding was provided by a wealthy merchant, Peter Faneuil, for the construction and local artisan to create the grasshopper weather vane that still perches on the building's cupola. Inspirational speeches by Samuel Adams and other patriots were given at Faneuil Hall. These oratories became the footstool for America's desire to obtain independence from the British.
Onward we trudged to Paul Revere’s House which is Boston’s oldest clapboard frame house. Then, the Old North Church. where Revere saw there were two lanterns shining from the steeple and along with other riders, went to warn the Minute Men that the British were coming by sea towards Lexington and Concord.

By then our feet were soaked and we were ready for some clam chowder and on our way back to the Parker House, we stopped and ate at the Union Oyster House, America’s Oldest Restaurant. For dinner we went down to the one of the restaurants listed in the book “1000 Places to See Before You Die”, the Legal Sea Foods. It was crowded and properly noisy and the food was excellent.
The next day, we traveled in the other direction from the hotel to see the Boston Commons, the State House, and Park Street Church, the Granary Burial Ground and the King’s Chapel.
The burial ground contains the graves of Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and the victims of the Boston Massacre.
We then took a taxi to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum.
We took the subway back to our hotel, then got a taxi over the bridge to see the USS Constitution which is the oldest commissioned was ship in the world. It was built in 1797 and was nicknamed “Old Ironsides” and earned fame in the War of 1812.
Here is a painting taken from the small museum on site which shows the ship at full sail.
Outside of attending a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, we saw and experienced a lot of Boston. Walking the Freedom Trail was all it should be and I hope everyone will have the opportunity to have the experience.


Tony Esposito said...
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Spooney said...

I'm glad that you enjoyed my city, Dad E. It's a neat old place, isn't it?

Anonymous said...
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GETkristiLOVE said...

I'm so glad you are getting some use out of that book. How many of the 1,000 places do you have checked off now?