22 May 2010

Exploring Boston on foot

Samuel Adams outside Faneuil Hall by rmason
If you want to imagine what Boston was like in the olden days, take a walk. Boston is a great walking town. It may be because walking is easier than dealing with traffic or that there are so many things to see once you’re out and about, such as a sneak peek at a secret Beacon Hill garden. Just so you’re not aimlessly walking around and possibly getting lost, here are some great walking tours for you.

Boston has the self-guided Irish Heritage Trail, the Black Heritage Trail, and the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail. But by far the most popular and most famous walking tour is the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile red-painted line from the Boston Common to Bunker Hill Monument that comprises 16 official sites, including the Old State House, Granary Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House, the Boston Massacre site, Paul Revere’s houseOld North Church, and the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”). Admission fees are collected at some of the privately owned and operated sites along the trail.

Since part of the Freedom Trail is encompassed within the Boston National Historical Park, you can join a free 90-minute walking tour led by a National Park Service Ranger. Or you can pay for a tour with a historically outfitted tour guide provided by such companies as the Freedom Trail Foundation, the Histrionic AcademyLessons on Liberty, and Boston by Foot.

For the younger crowds, the Boston by Foot company has a one-hour Boston by Little Feet tour of the Freedom Trail designed especially for children ages 6 to 12. The tour guides point out Shem’s grasshopper, the Democrat donkey, the royal lion and unicorn, and Benjamin Franklin flying a kite as part of their presentation on the architecture and history surrounding the American Independence sites. The company also offers tours of Beacon Hill, Victorian Back Bay, Literary Landmarks, and the North End.

Get out there and explore!

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