Friday, December 2, 2011

The Freedom Trail: Bunker Hill and Old Ironsides

Boston's Freedom Trail ends with a walk across the Charlestown Bridge and visits to two of its most dramatic sites: the USS Constitution and the obelisk commemorating the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Tours of the frigate -- probably better known as Old Ironsides -- are free, although you do need to show a form of identification, go through security and get your hand stamped. Tourists are allowed onto the boat in large groups and can wander the deck at will. Tours are also conducted below deck, but we headed off to Bunker Hill instead.

The 221-foot-tall Bunker Hill obeslisk looks exactly like a miniature Washington Monument. When we arrived, we realized you can go to the top. The catch: there's no elevator, only 294 steps. I was breathless by the time we reached the top but was rewarded with views in four directions. The space, however, was little larger than a hot tub. I won't be making that climb again anytime soon.

The red line of the Freedom Trail leading to Bunker Hill

Walking the Freedom Trail's 2.5 miles took us about 5 hours, but that included long stops for lunch and shopping along the way. We took our time, leisurely falling into place behind the hundreds, if not thousands, of other tourists making the pilgrimage on this Thanksgiving weekend. It was a lovely way to spend the day. We saw parts of Boston we never would have wandered into if it wasn't for the red line winding along the sidewalk telling us where to go.

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