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Old 23 Oct 08, 08:31 PM  
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Candor's Leaf Peeping Tour 2008 - Day 10

Day 10 - Quacking around the Freedom Trail

We began our first full day in Boston fairly early. We'd got the temperature on the room control wrong and woke up early as it was too hot in our room. We ventured down to the ground floor and had our breakfast in "Stuart Grill" which was full of office workers getting some food prior to a hard days work.

We got ready and walked the 10 minutes to the Prudential centre where we were going to go on a Duck Tour. For the uninitiated, the Boston Duck Tour is a tour around Boston a W.W.II amphibious landing vehicle (They were called DUCTs in the war). The one we were on (pictured below) was actually used in the landings in Normandy. This was quite exciting for me as I am really interested in WWII and specifically D-day.

Once you are on board you are greeted by one of the legendary tour ConDUCKtors, who'll be narrating the tour. You go through the city and see all of the major sights. It was very funny - the ConDUCKtor made repeated digs at the British which were very humourous.

Then the ConDUCKtor splashes your DUCK right into the Charles River for a breathtaking view of the Boston and Cambridge skylines. It really was beautiful.

We then caught the "T" into the centre of town - as it was such a nice day we decided to walk the Freedom Trail. A guy called William Schofield came up with the idea of the trail in 1951. There is a red line painted onto the pavement and you just follow it round. We did it in half a day. I have included photos from all the main points.

The starting point is Boston Common. "America's first park" was set aside in 1634 as a training field for the army and for feeding cattle.

Point 2 is the State house. This was built in 1795. You can do a tour of the building but we were too late for that. The dome is actually 23 carat gold. During WWII they painted it black so it wouldnt' be bombed if the Japanese came that far over.

The third point is the Shaw Memorial. It pays tribute to the local black soliders who volunteered to fight for the North in teh American Civil War. Prejudice confined blacks to the ranks but Robert Shaw (a white Bostonian) led this regiment of men. He was killed along with 32 of his troops in an assault in South Carolina. The movie "Glory" is about this.

We walked the 100 yards or so to the Park Street Church. THis was founded in 1809 and is where the anti slavery campaigned, William Lloyd Garrison made his first speech in 1829.

Stop five was the Granary Burying Ground where some of the best known leaders of the Patriot cause are buried: John Hancock, Samuel Adams and most famous of all Paul Revere.

The sixth point is Kings Chapel. It dates from 1749 you may notice it's missing a steeple so looks rather odd.

Point 7 is this Diamond store. It used to be the Old corner bookstore. It is one of Boston's oldest buildings dating from 1712. One of their authors, Julia Ward Howe, penned the anthem of the North during the civil war.

Everything is really close together so across the road is the Old South Meeting House. In this building there were many fiery debates that inflamed political passions and led to the Revolution. Back then it was th elargest space available for public ceremonies in Boston. After the Boston Massacre in 1770, protestors marched from here to contront the lieutenant-governor. Three years later came the meeting that led to the Boston tea party. It is the second oldest church in Boston, built in 1729.

Just down a narrow street from there you find the Old State house. It's quite big when you are close to it but tiny compared to the skyscraper behind. On July 18 1776 Colonel Thomas Crafts stepped on to the balcony to read the Declaration of Independence.

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Old 23 Oct 08, 08:42 PM  
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From there we went to Faneuil Hall. It is famous for the freedom of speech there. Locals met there in 1764 to object to teh Sugar Act. Samuel Adams' speech in 1772 stirring up anti-British feelings was particularly provocative.

Behind the Hall is Quincy Market, full of shops and restaurants it is Boston's own version of Covent Garden though Bostonians claim theirs was there first.

It's a bit of a longer walk to the next stop - Paul Revere's house. Paul Revere was talented at lots of things but is most famous for his horse-ride to Lexington in 1775 to warn that the British were coming. His house is the oldest still standing in Boston (1680).

Around the corner from his house is the Old North Church. Sexton Robert Newman had to flash laterns to fellow patriots to warn if teh British were coming. This is the oldest church in Boston (1723).

Up the hill from teh church you come to Copp's Hill Burying Ground. No real famous graves here but lots of old ones. You can see the damage made to the headstones made by the British soldiers who used them as target practice.

You have another longer walk then to teh USS Constitution. There were long queues to get on this due to the Security (it was as bad as an airport). This is still a commissioned ship in the US Navy.

We then had a final climb to the Bunker Hill Monument - a 221 foot tall monument commemorating the first major battle of the revolutionary war which was fought on the hill on 17 June 1775.
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Old 23 Oct 08, 08:44 PM  
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After a nice ice-cream to refresh ourselves we went on the T to see teh Harvard Law school so I can say I've been to Harvard. It was very nice indeed. Certainly nicer than wehre I went to Uni. Some pics are below:

I'm not sure how many of the people we saw there were students or tourists!

We got back to Boston, had some tea and had a walk to see Boston at night before hitting the sat!
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Old 23 Oct 08, 10:24 PM  
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A fantastic day,love the piccies showing the old buildings against the skyscrapers
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Old 24 Oct 08, 08:10 AM  
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Another fantastic report with lovely photos.
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Old 24 Oct 08, 08:10 AM  
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