A diary of my visit to two cities in the center of the founding of my country: Boston and Philadelphia Oct. 14 - 24, 2005

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

October 18 - The Shot Heard Round the World

Today was an adventure. The start was crazy. I had to get to the airport to pick up my rental car, in order to drive to Lexington, and then later, Concord. Getting to the airport was no problem, but it took a little longer than I had expected. Once I finally arrived at the rental car pickup, I figured the rest would be smooth. No such luck. I got through the paperwork and got to my car and drove toward the exit. The exit guy wouldn’t let me out, because the paper said I was supposed to have an Explorer and I had a Mustang (convertible! Yeah!). So, I had to go back to the office to get the paperwork fixed. Of course, there isn’t anywhere to park, so I just had to park in front of the office. I showed the lady the problem, and while she was fixing it, a big bus came by and started honking. My car was in his way. A Hertz guy outside took the keys from me and moved it, but told me to wait right there so he could give the keys back to me. While I was waiting for him, the lady came back out with the corrected paperwork, so I was good to go. Well, until I left the parking lot and realized I had left my bag in the office. So, I had to return AGAIN to get that. Finally, I was on my way. I never would have guessed I’d have more problems in the parking lot of the airport than on Boston roads!!!

I arrived in Lexington around 9:45, only 45 minutes late. No problem, it is supposed to be a laid back day anyway. My left food/leg is hurting and swollen, so I planned on resting it today. I succeeded at that…I only walked a measly 11,573 today…less than 5 miles. There are several things to see in Lexington. There is the Battle Green, where the Royal Army fired upon the minute men, the first shots of the Revolution. There is also the Tavern (Buckman Tavern) where the minute men waited for the soldiers, the house (Hancock-Clarke House) where John Hancock and Samuel Adams were staying when Paul Revere arrived with The News, and another Tavern that I did not have time to see. There was a tour for the Buckman Tavern at 10:00, so I was just in time. They asked if I could move the tour forward 15 minutes because they had a school group ahead of me, so I walked around the Battle Green before the tour. The tour was pretty good. It lasted about 30 minutes or so. After that, I walked to the Hancock-Clarke house. That same school group beat me there, so I had to wait a while for a tour. It was good foot resting time.

That tour was good as well. Really, the history of some of these buildings is more interested than the buildings themselves. One thing that this house had was the pistols from Gen Pitcairn (Royal Army). He fell off of his horse at some point during the battle and lost the pistols. Another interesting thing about the house is that it has been moved twice. One widow who owned the house wanted to tear it down. The Lexington Historical Society was able to purchase the House from her…but not the land. They moved the house across the street. After she died, her daughter inherited the land. When she died, she left the land to the Historical Society, so they were able to move the house back to its original location.

That was it for Lexington. Next I wanted to drive to Concord along Battle Road. This is the road that the Royal Army marched down to search Concord for weapons and ammunition. After their brief encounter with the Minute Men in Lexington, they continued down this road to Concord. Paul Revere, of course, rode down the same road a couple hours in advance of the Army. The location where he was captured is on the road. There is a monument to him, Dawes and the other guy (I think his name starts with a P) where he was captured.

Anyway, of course I started out on the right road toward Concord. I just picked the wrong direction. Luckily, I had the top down and it was a beautiful New England Day. I didn’t stress, because, after all, this was my laid back day. I stopped at a….you guessed it….Dunkin Donuts for directions. Of course, I purchased another pumpkin donut to pay for the directions. They pointed me in the right direction (where I came from) and I was off again. This time I made it to Battle Road. I stopped at the Visitor’s Center at one stop. They have a great multi-media presentation on the Army’s march to and retreat from Concord. As they tell the story in narrative/movie fashion, they have a clock that shows the time of the events. They also have a map with lights showing the paths of the Royal Army, the Minute Men, and Paul Revere, Dawes and the other guy (I think his name starts with a P). It was a great way to tie all of the events and places together.

After the Visitor’s Center, I decided to walk down the trail (The actual Battle Road is a trail. A real road runs parallel with several parking stops). So, instead of driving to the next stop (Paul Revere’s capture spot) I decided to walk. It was a beautiful walk, but a little longer than I had expected. My foot was killing me by the time I got back to the car. It was a nice walk, though. There were several interesting things on the path, including a burial spot for some British soldiers, Paul Revere’s capture, and several houses. I continued in car to the next few stops. One Tavern had a demonstration of musket loading and shooting.

Eventually I came to the end of the Trail….the Old North Bridge. This is where the Minute Men stood up to the Royal Army and someone fired the “shot heard round the world.” The Bridge has been replaced six times, but it is still neat to look at the river area around it. It really is a beautiful setting. I stayed there for quite a while. I hope my pictures turn out. It was sunny, a characteristic of this trip!!

At 4:30, I left and drove a couple miles to the home of Louisa May Alcott. It was the house where she grew up and wrote Little Women. At 5:00 I had dinner in downtown Concord at Colonial Inn. Mmmm…it was good and relaxing….just what I needed before the drive back to Boston in the dark.

The return of the rental car went smoothly. I made it back to my little Inn and am ready to go! Tomorrow, I say goodbye to Boston and hello to Phildelphia! I’m going to go pack now. If I it isn’t too late when I finish, I just might post some pictures.


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