Throw your own tea party and recapture Bunker Hill in the heart of the American Revolution
Boston, Massachusetts, serves up a treasure trove of history to visitors. Perhaps you'd like to visit the site of the Boston Tea Party. How about the homestead of the second and sixth presidents of the United States? Maybe you want to see the old North Church, where Paul Revere alerted Bostonians that the Red Coats were coming. You can also see professional sports, go on a whale watching tour or just enjoy the beauty of New England. Not a problem—you can do it all in Boston!
Boston has so much American Revolution history within its borders that it's hard to decide what to see first. Of course, it's always best to start at the beginning, and the beginning of the American Revolution started with a few patriots throwing some tea into the harbor. The Boston Tea Party changed the course of American history in 1773, when dissatisfied colonists threw tea over the sides of merchant ships to protest taxation. Today, you can visit the very place where it occurred and even throw some tea of your own from the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum.
The next place you'll want to visit is just across the Navy Yard and is just as important as the legendary Tea Party. The Old North Church is the oldest church in Boston and was the place where Paul Revere lit a lantern to alert the regulars that the British were coming, "One if by land, two if by sea." The Old North Church is open everyday except Mondays and major holidays.
You'll also want to check out the Paul Revere House, Faneuil Hall and the Old South Meeting House. All three places were used by revolutionaries to hold public and private meetings to discuss the overthrow of British government control over the colonies.
A lot of people came together to bring America her independence, and more than just a few were from Boston. John Hancock, the president of the Second Continental Congress, was raised in the city. Benjamin Franklin was born and raised in Boston and ran away to Philadelphia when he was a teen. Paul Revere, Roger Sherman, Sam Adams and his cousin, the second president of the United States, John Adams, all hailed from this fair city.
Adams, in particular, was an influential partner in the American Revolution. He helped pen the Massachusetts State Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. Before he was a patriot, he was a lawyer, husband and father who lived in south Boston in a town called Braintree. Today, Braintree is known as Quincy, named after Adams' eldest son, who eventually became the sixth President of the United States. Visitors can see where the Adams children were raised, where Abigail held the home while John was in Philadelphia "tending to political business" and where the Adams' are buried.
Journey up the street a few miles and see the Adams Mansion, where the second president retired. Be prepared: it isn't anything like Monticello, where Thomas Jefferson lived, or Mount Vernon, George Washington's home. This is the home where many generations of the Adams family grew up. Most of the furnishings are original, as are all the books in the magnificent library.
If you would like to piece together the Boston of the past with the Boston of today, then you need to spend a few hours on the Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail spans two and a half centuries of America's history. Follow the red brick or red painted line and see the city as it truly is, with past living right next to the present. There are historical markers all along the trail, so make sure your sneakers are tied and get going.
Old State House
In front of the Old State House is the site of the Boston Massacre. In 1770, a riot broke out pitting the British troops against a group of American Colonists. The troops fired into the crowd, killing five Americans. Shortly afterward, Sam Adams penned the first piece of American propaganda, calling this skirmish a "massacre." See this sight as well the Old State House for free.
Bunker Hill, the site of a compelling revolutionary war battle, sits just up the hill from the harbor. Here, an outnumbered force of colonists attempted to fight off the British in an effort hold to the all-important high ground overlooking the city. Colonel William Prescott ordered the regulars, "Don't shoot 'til you see the whites of their eyes" in order to make every shot count, because the colonists were outnumbered and had little ammunition. Climb the 294 steps of the Bunker Hill Monument to see a magnificent view of the city.
Had enough history for one day? Go back to the harbor and hop aboard one of the many whale watching tours available. You'll venture out into the North Atlantic to see dolphins, humpback and finback whales. If you don't want to spend a lot of time on an oceangoing vessel, visit the New England Aquarium to observe sea turtles, little blue penguins and giant Pacific octopi.
For More Information:
Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism