One If By Land, Two If By Sea: Adventures in Boston

This summer I had the amazing experience of touring Boston with my family. This great city established a little thing called “The Freedom Trail” a few years ago. Establishing this trail helped preserve multiple historical sites that help tell the story of how our beautiful country came to be. This trail is literally a oath two bricks wide that runs throughout the city. At each historical site along on the trail, a silver Freedom Trail marker is placed. As a history nerd, this was definitely on my bucket list.

Her are some of these great sights:

IMG_0344The Old State House:

Also the site of the Boston Massacre which some say was the start of the American Revolution. It was built in 1713 and was the center meeting place for many patriots. It was also where The Declaration of Independence was first read to the city of Boston.

It was a chilling moment to think that the start of the Revolution was because of a couple Patriots threw snowballs at the prideful British soldiers. Standing there in that moment was so surreal. To see such a historical building placed in the whirlwind of concrete buildings with cars/taxis/buses whizzing by was like time had stood still.

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King’s Chapel and Granary Burying Ground:

These are two of the three major historical cemeteries in Boston. Paul Revere, William Dawes, the victims of the Boston Massacre, Benjamin Franklin’s parents, and many others who sacrificed their lives for the bettering of our nation lie at these spots.

Paul Revere House:IMG_0359

This house really took one back in time with its accurate restorations. Here is my mom standing out front! The furniture inside was mostly all donated from the Revere family themselves, keeping the house historically accurate as possible. The original doors are in the house along with some of the original wallpaper!

It was built in 1680 making it the oldest remaining structure in Boston. Revere lived here with this family during the time of his famous ride in April of 1775. Today, it sits between commercial buildings and busy roads.

The Old North Church:IMG_0369

If you’ve studied American History, then you have heard of the phrase, “One if by land, two if by sea” and the importance it played in the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The Old North Church was at the heart of this moment.

On April 18 1775 Paul Revere met up with the sexton Robert Newman to tell him how to signal the advancement of British troops towards Lexington and Concord. Newman then met fellow Sons of Liberty Captain Pulling and Thomas Bernard. Leaving Bernard to keep watch outside, Newman opened the church and he and Pulling climbed the stairs and ladders up eight stories to hang two lanterns for a few moments. It was long enough for patriots in Charlestown to learn what has been immortalized by the phrase “one if by land, two if by sea” in Longfellow’s poem. The British were advancing by boat across the Charles River.

(taken from the Freedom Trail organization)

The church still has services today and their pews are still designed to have families rent them out and decorate them as they please.

IMG_0413The Bunker Hill Monument:

This monument is on a grassy hill that overlooks the city. It remembers the fallen of one of the bloodiest battles during the American Revolution. Right across the street from the monument are apartments and tiny houses that are stacked on top of one another IMG_0414along the many narrow streets. It is seriously the cutest neighborhoods I have seen and makes one want to move in one day!

Down the block is The Warren Tavern which was built after the end of the Revolution. This is said to be where Paul Revere would spend most of his time conversing with townspeople. It is also said that George Washington had stopped in on occasion as well!

IMG_0436Concord and Lexington:

On our way back home, we made a venture to find where “the shot heard ’round the world” took place. It took awhile to get there simply because of how ‘in the middle of nowhere’ it is. There is a wooden bridge that once separated the patriots from the rebel lines. When we found it, the sun was setting and it was a weird way – peaceful.IMG_0438

I really loved the inscription on the monument,

“By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled. Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world”


It was a phenomenal trip. I feel as though every American citizen should spend some time researching their American history because of its great importance. Without history, we do not know where we come from. Without regard to what our ancestors once did, we are unable to appreciate – and therefore take for granted – the rights we have today. We need to recognize what those did in the past to embrace what we currently have here and now.

For me, this is why history is important. Throughout my teaching career, one of my goals will be to help my students find their reasoning as to why history is important to them as well.

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