Back to America
So after a lot of searching, I found a cheap last minute flight to Boston from Madrid for like $370. Luckily, I have a lovely friend, Sydney that let me stay at her place. She and her boyfriend were wonderful hosts. Posting on Facebook was the difference between spending about $40 on hostel and reconnecting with old friends.
I arrived on Memorial Weekend, one of the most patriotic holidays to be in America. It was a swift reintroduction back. I had only been to Boston one time before as a day trip from Amherst. So I hadn’t seen anything on The Freedom Trail. I figured I’d do the most American, touristy thing possible in Boston.
I did not get a sim card at the airport. Instead, I downloaded the NPS Boston app. It had maps with GPS, short histories of each place, directions and a list of available tours. The app was super helpful for getting around. Though there were tons of people on the Freedom Trail so it wasn’t too hard to follow.
The starting point was the Boston Commons which was super easy to get to by bus. I just put money on a Charlie Card though make sure you have small bills because they have no change on the bus.
The Boston Common is known for great speeches by Gloria Steinman and Martin Luther King Jr. However this was the USA’s first public park. It was used for public executions, military meetings and a burial ground.
Boston Commons has a great tourist center. There are lots of tours that begin here and you will see locals with their dogs as well as men in white wigs giving tours. You can choose a Black Heritage Walk that focuses more on the contributions of Africans Americans to our history as a part of the The Freedom Walk.
Across from the Boston Commons is the Massachusetts State House with its golden roof gleaming in the bright sun. There is a free guided tour but since I had only one day in Boston, I decided not to take it.
The site of The Boston Massacre is at the Old State House. The Declaration of Independence was signed in this building. There was also a homeless man with his dog that had a sign saying, “Give me money or I’ll vote for Trump.” I found it amusing but others found his sign incredibly offensive.
Paul Revere’s House is a very famous sight on the trail but it does cost money to get in. I wasn’t very interested in an old house but others might be.
Bunker Hill Monument resembles the Washington Monument and commemorates The Battle of Bunker Hill. The battle was June 17th, 1775, the British defeated the Americans but Americans managed to kill a significant amount of soldiers. Their loss actually encouraged Americans to proceed with more attacks during The Revolutionary War.
USS Constitution is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. Real Navy sailors give a short history of the vessel. You do have to have valid ID to enter and go through security. I loved exploring this giant boat with all of its rooms. It’s definitely worth the long walk across the bridge.
North Church was my favorite place on The Freedom Trail because I’m a sucker for a good crypt. This church is famous for being one of the locations Paul Revere put up the lanterns to warn of the British. The crypt tour is not advertised and I only knew about it because of Atlas Obscura. It’s about $5. The tour goes up to the tower with the bells. The bells are really cool and the history of the building is pretty interesting. Then they take you down below for the crypt. It’s an about 30 minutes of a tour.
There were about three cemeteries on the freedom trail with weathered tombstones. The Granary Burying Ground is the biggest graveyard. It has the graves of Paul and Rachel Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams and more. Most of the graves are well labelled and preserved.
South End Open Market
The next day my friend took me to this market. It’s pretty big with an arts area with a hula hoop corner. There’s a fresh food area with organic food to buy for home. Then there’s a large area of food trucks. I meandered at all the options and decided on The Clover food truck. I grabbed a vegan BBQ seitan sandwich for the most American yet vegetarian food I could find. The bread was fresh and fluffy. It definitely seemed like artisan bread. The BBQ sauce was pretty sweet but with a nice side of sriracha to bring up the taste profile. All the vegetables were typical, lettuce and tomato, but very fresh. The seitan had a great tender yet full constituency. The sandwich was delicious but I do wish the BBQ sauce was a little smokier or at least less sweet. Everything was incredibly fresh with whole and clean flavors.
Hello, this is America
It was very strange coming from Europe and being greeted with fields of American flag. Memorial Weekend was a warm welcome home. I loved Boston’s vibe of both old history and fresh new perspective. However it was shockingly expensive especially compared to Spain. Overall, it was a great place to reconnect with America.