Boston, Plymouth and Revolution

Follow the trail of colonial struggles from the early Pilgrims at Plymouth, along the "Freedom Trail" in the heart of Boston, and the Road to Revolution at Lexington and Concord with the "Shot Heard Around the World."

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Sites and Highlights in and around Boston.... (click for more)

The Freedom Trail:

Nearly all of Boston’s historic sites related to Independence are conveniently located along the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail which snakes its way around the old city’s patchwork streets. The following major sites will be visited on the route:

The Freedom Trail begins in Boston Common which was established by Puritan settlers in 1634 as the nation’s first public park. Originally set aside for cattle grazing, it is now a retreat for recreation and relaxation inside the city. The Massachusetts State House overlooks the Common.

Just beyond Park Street Church, the Granary Burial Ground contains the graves of many of Boston’s distinguished patriots, such as Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and James Otis, the victims of the Boston Massacre, and the wife of Isaac Vergoose, who is believed to be "Mother Goose" of nursery rhyme fame.

King’s Chapel has the grave of first governor John Winthrop and as it had a mostly Loyalist congregation, it became the first Unitarian Church in America after Independence. Behind it, is the 1635 site of the first public school in America.

While the Old South Meeting House served as a public meeting place and venue for unofficial protest, the Old State House , built in 1713 was seat of the crown’s official government. Today it is a museum of Boston history. The Declaration of Independence was first read to Bostonians on July 18, 1776 from its balcony, overlooking the 1770 Boston Massacre Site.

Faneuil Hall was and continues to be a market and meeting place for public events. The surrounding Quincy Market is the lively epicenter of Boston’s restaurant and shopping scene (a good place to eat your Clam Chowder and buy your Red Sox hat).

The Paul Revere House is the oldest home in Boston, built in 1680 and lived in by Revere at the time of his famous midnight ride. Now a museum, it is a tribute to the man of many professions and many children.

The Old North Church is Boston’s oldest church, and its steeple was the highest point in Boston. Thus it was a logical place to alert the city of Boston of the coming of the British. This is where Robert Newman hung two lanterns to warn riders across the Charles River that the British troops were coming by sea, rather than land.

Continue past Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and cross the Charles River and head up to the Bunker Hill Monument honoring the battle which took a disproportionate toll on the British forces who eventually took the hill. The overlook from the 221-foot granite obelisk rewards you with a great view of Boston.

At the Charleston Navy Yard, the USS Constitution “Old Ironsides," is anchored. It was never defeated in battle and the oldest commissioned vessel in the US Navy. Also on site, is a naval museum and a WWII era ship.

Other Boston Non-revolutionary Options:

Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the U.S. and widely considered the most prestigious.
Prudential Building provides 360-degree panoramas from the 50th floor observatory.
Boston Duck Tour is a “quacky” drive around the city’s history and humor in a World War II style amphibious landing vehicle.
Fenway Park is the 1912 home to baseball’s Boston Red Sox and is the oldest sports venue in use in any US sport.
New England Aquarium is home to more than 15,000 fish and aquatic mammals.

Lexington and Concord (about 1 hour from Boston)

The quaint New England towns of Lexington and Concord have set aside and memorialized their sacred ground where armed American militia battled for the first time against British forces that were sent to seize weapon stores in April of 1775. In between these towns, The Minuteman National Historic Park has preserved sections of the route of march, attack and retreat, and the Visitor’s Center explains how the events culminated into “the shot heard around the world.”

Literary Concord: Concord was a hotbed of thought, literature, and art in the 1800’s. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery contains the graves of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, Luisa May Alcott, and Daniel Chester French. You can visit: the Wayside where these greats rubbed shoulders, the Alcott’s home inspiring “Little Women,” and Walden Pond where Thoreau built his cabin to live simply and reflect.

“Plimoth” Plantation and Plymouth Harbor (about 1½ hours from Boston)

Plimoth Plantation is the recreated site of New England’s first colonial settlement and contains the 1627 English

Village where historical interpreters actually play characters and interact with visitors in the accent and perspective of their time. They may even put you to work in one of their houses or in their fields. Also on site, is The Wampanoag Village where native American descendants portray native life of the past, but with the language and perspective of today. Nearby in at the original Plymouth site (and within current Plymouth Harbor) is anchored the Mayflower II, a recreation of the original Mayflower which brought the Pilgrims to America in 1620. Aboard ship, there are both modern day guides and in-character historic interpreters. On shore, Plymouth Rock is the traditional site of disembarkation of the Pilgrims.

Salem (about 1 hour from Boston)

Salem was once a seaport that rivaled Boston, but today it capitalizes on its infamy surrounding the Witch Trials of 1692. You can visit the Salem Witch Museum, Wax Museum, New England Pirate Museum, or go on an evening ghost tour. Also in Salem is 1668 home that inspired Hawthorne’s “House of Seven Gables.”

John Adams National Historic Site (about 1 hour from Boston)

The preserved home and burial sites of Presidents of the United States John Adams and John Quincy Adams represent the Adams family legacy and archive their writings and libraries.

The home in Brookline was the birthplace and childhood home of future President John F. Kennedy. The Kennedy library, museum, and educational research complex overlooking Dorchester Bay captures the 35th president's accomplishments and legacy in video, sound recordings and displays of memorabilia and photos.

Old Sturbridge Village (about 2 hours from Boston, en route to/from New York)

Old Sturbridge Village is a recreated living history village providing the experience of early New England life from 1790-1840. It has historians in costume, 59 antique buildings, three water-powered mills, and a working farm. Visitors can ride a stagecoach, view antiques, tour heirloom gardens, meet heritage breed farm animals, and enjoy hands-on crafts.

Professional Afflilations

Academic Expeditions is an accredited educational travel provider and a member of the major student travel, guiding, and transportation organizations across the country.



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