When you travel a lot for business, it’s easy to relegate yourself to lumpy hotel beds, bad fast food dinners, and listlessly flipping through television channels in the evening after a long day of meetings.
It’s important, though, that you get out and actually see things. Getting out and experiencing the city you’ve travelled to keeps your spirits up and helps you stay focused and more productive during the business portions of your trip.
For example, when you travel to Boston (a historical treasure of a city if there ever was one), you definitely need to make some time to check out The Freedom Trail.
What is The Freedom Trail?
The Freedom trail is, basically, a 2.5 mile long brick trail that winds through downtown Boston and takes you to a bunch of sites that are significant in US history.
The Freedom Trail was created in 1951 by Bill Schofield, a columnist for the Herald Traveler, and Bob Winn, a member of the Old North Church who kept the place preserved and loved entertaining church guests with the stories of Paul Revere, his ride, and the lanterns that hanged in the belfry.
They were frustrated by the fact that even though the people of Boston had put a lot of work into keeping historically relevant sites (like Paul Revere’s house, the Old South Meeting House, the Old State House, etc.) kept up and preserved, someone trying to find their way around to everything would inevitably lead to getting lost or turned around and missing things.
The two sketched out a map, Schofield wrote about it in his column and, after a few weeks, the mayor agreed to his proposal and work began.
The Trail Itself
The trail itself links 16 different but culturally and historically important sites found throughout downtown Boston.
There are, obviously, more than 16 sites in Boston that are important historical landmarks, but the trail links those conveniently located together into a walking tour of the founding of the US and the Revolution.
You can take proper tours given by guides, or you can claim your free map and go it alone. The tours are fun and given by spirited (and costumed) guides who play their roles well but, if you’re pressed for time or only want to see a few sites along the way, going it alone can also be a rewarding experience (and easier to do in the evenings when you aren’t busy with meetings and professional stuff).
What Should You See?
You can see the whole thing in a few hours (if you just want to do a “walk by,” you can cover the whole trail in about an hour and a half) but if you’re really pressed for time, start in Boston Common. It’s the city’s first park. The Old North Church is definitely worth a look, since that’s where the lanterns that warned everybody the British were coming were hanged. Then head over toward the Old South Meeting House and the Old State House.
These, along with Paul Revere's house, require an admission fee (they are the only sites along the trail that do), but you’ll get your money’s worth, especially if you’re a history buff. History, especially the way the Bostonians do it up for the tourists, is fun!
Plus, don’t you want to see the places in and on which the history of the world changed so dramatically?
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