With autumn fast-approaching, it seems a good time to highlight a popular fall foliage destination in the Northeast – Boston, Massachusetts. Boston is one of the United States’ oldest cities and is the unofficial capital of New England. Boston has a rich history dating back to its colonization by Puritans in the 17th century, and is also an internationally recognized mecca for higher education and medicine.
The American Revolution
Founded on September 17, 1630 by Puritan colonists from England, Boston has a storied history still evident in many facets of life in the city today. Most notably, Boston played a huge role in the American Revolution. Early incidents include the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. The first shots of the revolutionary war were fired in Lexington. Lexington and Concord remain popular tourist attractions, and are easily accessible from the city of Boston by car or commuter rail. Tourists typically flock to the Battle Green around Patriots Day each year to witness impressive re-enactments of the battle.
Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride on April 18, 1775, warning rebels throughout the Boston area that British troops were on the move. The famous statue of Paul Revere, a popular stop on the Freedom Trail, was unveiled in 1940 in Boston’s historic North End neighborhood.
Boston is surrounded to the West by the towns that make up “Greater Boston,” while the Charles River separates the city proper from Cambridge, Watertown and Charlestown. The Boston Harbor lies to the east. Interestingly, Boston is the only state capital in the continental United States that boasts an ocean coastline.
There are 21 official neighborhoods in Boston, including the Back Bay, home to Copley Square and Newbury Street, and Beacon Hill, home to the prominent Massachusetts State House with its gold-gilded dome. South Boston is the city’s traditionally Irish neighborhood, while the North End is the traditional Italian neighborhood. The John Hancock Tower and the Prudential Tower dominate Boston’s skyline. The Prudential Tower has an observatory on the 50th floor that offers great views of the city.
The Boston Common, located near Beacon Hill, is the oldest public park in the United States. Visitors should be sure to stop by the Boston Public Garden.
The Freedom Trail
Marked by red bricks embedded in the ground, the Freedom Trail is a path through Boston that leads to sixteen distinct historic sites across the city. Ground markers explain important events, churches and gravesites. Most sites are free and free maps are available at the Visitor Center on State Street. The trail runs 2.5 miles from the Boston Common to the USS Constitution, and included stops at the Granary Burying Ground, the Old State House, Faneuil Hall and the Bunker Hill Monument, among others.
Faneuil Hall, located near Boston’s Government Center, is a historic market and meeting hall which was home to historic speeches by Samuel Adams and others speaking out against British colonial rule in the 18th century. It is Boston’s most popular tourist attraction and is sometimes known as ‘the cradle of liberty.’
Home to Major League Baseball’s Red Sox, the National Hockey League’s Bruins and the National Basketball Association’s Celtics, Boston is undoubtedly a major sports city in the Northeast. Boston sports teams have enjoyed much success in recent years. In the past decade, the Red Sox won championships in 2004 and 2007, the Boston Bruins won it all in 2011, and the Celtics won the NBA championship in 2008. Also, the New England Patriots, who play in Foxborough, MA, won the Super Bowl in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
Fenway Park is a ballpark unlike any other, and is a must-see attraction for any sports fan visiting Boston. Fenway has served as the Boston Red Sox’ home park since 1912, making it the oldest Major League Baseball stadium currently in use. Due to the team’s popularity and the historic park’s limited seating capacity, the Red Sox have sold out every game at Fenway since May 15, 2003. The Green Monster, the imposing left field wall, is Fenway’s signature feature. Recently, terrace-style seating was added atop the wall. If you can’t make it to a Red Sox home game at Fenway, definitely look into the stadium tours offered.
Boston is my hometown, so feel free to post any questions in the comments section! And of course getting there is easy, check out our cheap flights to Boston page, with a list of fares from across the nation.
Featured image: George Washington Statue in Boston Common (Shutterstock.com)