The Freedom Trail in Boston should be on everyone’s bucket list; 16 of Colonial America’s iconic historic sites line the trail. But freedom comes at a price — and parts of the 2½-mile trail can get a little boring.
Hear ye, hear ye. We’ve found some hip, fun, and easy tours to see the trail’s standout sites — including tours for runners, pub crawlers, and little feet, too.
YE OLDE TAVERN TOURS
Sam Adams and his buds tied one on slaked their thirst at a handful of the taverns along the Freedom Trail, and you can, too. Ye Olde Tavern Tours stops at some trail sites, as well as making and makes pit stops at a couple of lively taverns along the way.
Company founder Brooke Barbier, who typically conducts the tours herself, has a doctorate in American history from Boston College. Tour participants get have a choice of three to or four local craft beers at each of the taverns. “We’re offering some great seasonal beers right now,” says Barbier, “including Shipyard Summer Ale, Cisco Grey Lady Ale, and Downeast Cider. All of these breweries are in New England.”
The visited taverns vary from tour to tour, says Barbier, depending on group size, day of the week, and tavern events. Possibilities include Green Dragon Tavern, famous for being where the Sons of Liberty planned the Boston Tea Party; Durgin Park; and Bell in Hand.
Before the tour, you can view videos that Barbier has posted about some of Boston’s most compelling historical stories from the past. “Many of our videos highlight stops along the Freedom Trail and guests often watch a few before or after the tour to learn even more,” she says. “Favorites have included videos about Boston Common and Paul Revere’s ride.”
FREEDOM TRAIL RUN TOUR
Runners will want to lace up for this fast-paced tour of the Freedom Trail, a 5K route that begins at the Boston Common and ends in Charlestown. The two-hour, guided run hits the celebrated sites along the way, including the Boston Massacre site, Paul Revere House, Old North Church, Bunker Hill Monument, and the USS Constitution. More of a jogger, not than a sprinter? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a marathoner to enjoy this tour. The pace is slow, with four-to-five-minute stops along the way for photo ops and to catch your breath. Cost: $40 for the run, a T-shirt, a post-run beverage, and the Inner Harbor Ferry ride back to downtown Boston from the Charlestown Navy Yard. www.freedomtrailrun.com
BOSTON BY LITTLE FEET
If you’ve got kids and you want to give real add meaning to their textbook history lessons, Boston by Foot has you covered.
The company offers Boston by Little Feet, an hourlong jaunt that is basically a CliffsNotes version of the Freedom Trail tour, ideal for children ages 6 to 12. The tour features 10 sites, including important spots like Faneuil Hall and the Old State House as well as and cool spots like the site of the first public school in America. Tour guides will also fill kids in on legendary events in Boston like the Boston Massacre. Cost is $12, age 6 and under free, per person; free for kids 6 and under; $2 discount if purchased online. Children must be accompanied by an adult. http://
FREEDOM TRAIL SUITE
Geroge George Washington may not have slept here, but The Fairmont Copley Plaza, which dates to 1912 and is located just steps from the Freedom Trail, is a history lover’s fantasy. Book the one-night Freedom Trail Discovery Package, which includes a guestroom; two passes to the Walk iInto History tour with a costumed guide; two tickets to the three Freedom Trail historic museums (Old South Meeting House, Old State House, and Paul Revere House); and a copy of “The Freedom Trail: An Artist’s View.” Package rate begins at $289 per night. For an extra $200, you’ll get an upgrade to the Freedom Trail Suite, a mini-minimuseum curated by historians and archivists, including goodies such as the celebrated etching of the Boston Massacre (designed by Paul Revere to incite the rebellion by Paul Revere), a map of 1722 Boston, and other historic Boston images and artwork. http://www.fairmont.com./copley-plaza-boston/special-offers/hotel-offers/discovery/boston-freedom-
Laurie Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.