In the eight years I’ve lived in Boston (off and on), I’ve done the Freedom Trail about one bigillion times. Funnily enough, I’d never finished the damn thing. In all the times that I’ve started following that red line toward the State House, past the Granary Burying Ground, toward Old City Hall and past the Old South Meeting House, I’d never once made it across the Harbor, into Charlestown and up Bunker Hill. Until this past weekend.
With my best friend Sam coming for a visit, I was determined to finish the Freedom Trail if it killed us. And it almost did. Those 300 or so steps to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument nearly did me in, and my legs are still sore (translation: I need to work out more). But sitting at the top of Bunker Hill, with the breeze blowing and the sky a bluer blue than I’ve seen in quite some time, I knew that taking a Saturday to complete the Freedom Trail was definitely worth it.
In total, the Freedom Trail is a measly 2.5 miles, but it seems much, much further. Maybe it’s because you stop and stare at the old-timey, Revolutionary-style buildings; or you creep into the graveyards to read off the famous names of men and women who died hundreds of years before you were even born. It could also be because, like me, many people take a break in the North End to dine on its fantastic Italian food, or pop into the Union Oyster House for a quick drink. Whatever your pleasure, the Freedom Trail walk is definitely an all-day affair.
Finally finishing the Freedom Trail, after all this time, made me really appreciate all my years in Boston. Every time I’ve taken the path, it’s been a little different (like Sam’s first time, when I made her carry her suitcase the entire way), and after all these years, coming to the end of the line seemed almost symbolic of my time here. I hate to say it, but this may have been my last Freedom Trail experience for a while. I’m glad I went out with a bang.