This Memorial Day, we’re heading to the 6th state admitted to the union to find great things to do in Massachusetts and Boston this weekend. Massachusetts has rich patriotic history from the landing of the Mayflower to the American Revolution’s Boston Tea Party. So what better place to honor our fallen service members on Memorial Day than beautiful Massachusetts?
Memorial Day is a time to remember those who died serving the United States of America. The day of remembrance was officially declared in 1868 to honor the soldiers of the Civil War. Though the celebration as a nation didn’t happen overnight. The North honored those who passed away while the South refused, honoring their dead on a completely separate day. That is until after World War I, where it became a day to honor all soldiers who died fighting in any war.
This Memorial Day, take a trip to walk the streets and see the sights and board the ships of historic importance while remembering those who served and died for our great nation.
You get a unique feeling of reverence and pride when walking streets paved on the memories of America. In Boston, the American Revolution began in 1765 when patriots and colonists rejected British rule. As a way to remember all the important events that occurred toward the end of the 1700s, guests can walk a stretch of over two miles and visit 16 locations that tell unique stories of the rich patriotic history of Boston. The Freedom Trail® lets you walk through history as you visit museums, churches, meeting houses, burying grounds, and historic markers that tell the stories of the people and events that helped form a new nation.
Frances H. and Jonathan Drake House
Frances H. and Jonathan Drake were abolitionists who lived in Leominster, Massachusetts. As part of the movement to end slavery, the Drakes followed suit of journalist William Lloyd Garrison, the founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society. The Drakes were Garrisonian abolitionists who believed in racial and gender equality for all people. With many people in their small village that were not fellow abolitionists, it was difficult to help slaves fleeing to the North and Canada. Understanding how difficult their journey would be, the Drakes built a trap door to help hide slaves as they passed through town. Famous anti-slavery advocates such as Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Frederick Douglass all spent time at the Drake house. The house is currently on the National Register of Historic Places and will be made into a museum honoring the heroes of the Underground Railroad. Today, a stone marker is outside of the home for viewing. This site is very important to the history of the United States leading into the Civil War, where over 600,000 soldiers lost their lives in the line of duty.
Frances Drake, left, with husband, Jonathan. COURTESY LEOMINSTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY
In Plymouth, at the Plimoth Plantation, you can go back in time and see the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established by Pilgrims. The settlement was re-created to near exact details with actors that dress and speak appropriately for the year 1624 and address their very strange visitors (YOU!). The original settlers have a compelling history with the native Wampanoag people. These Pilgrims were the first to come to America seeking religious freedom from England. At the plantation you’ll experience everyday life in the village with a craft center where you can witness how to make artisan tools and materials of the 1600s. You’ll also see rare breed animals and the Plimoth Grist Mill that uses waterpower to make cornmeal. The village is like a textbook coming to life, making for a great learning experience leading up to the discovery of a new nation.
USS Constitution Museum
Yes, this is part of the Freedom Trail®, but since there are 16 places to see over a few miles, I thought the USS Constitution deserved its own plug. The oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy (which is still afloat), the Constitution endured attacks from pirate ships and the British Royal Navy beginning in 1797. The most notable victory for the Constitution came during the War of 1812 when she captured merchant ships and defeated a total of five British ships! The perceived impenetrability of this miraculous ship earned her the nickname of “Old Ironsides.” It last sailed in 2012 to commemorate the 200-year anniversary of the notable victory against the British ship Guerriere.
Courtesy U.S. Navy – Naval History and Heritage Command
Minute Man National Historical Park
The Battles of Lexington and Concord signaled the start of the Revolutionary War in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. In April of 1775, British troops tried to confiscate weapons hidden by the colonists. The skirmish at Lexington was a quick victory for the strong British army. They continued toward Concord and found the hidden cannons and destroyed them. The colonists resisted again, but this time defeated the British, forcing their retreat back to Boston. At the Minute Man National Historical Park, you can learn all about these important battles and ultimate victory in the fight for independence. The park has tons of informative events to take part in concerning these historical events including musket firing demonstrations, house and museum tours, and an authentic tavern where you can mind your Ps & Qs. Plan your visit, take a guided tour, and learn about the Revolutionary War experience and the patriots that helped earn our freedom.
This Memorial Day, don’t simply have a barbecue and try to remember to grill all your favorites; please take a moment to remember the historical significance of the events that have led us to where we are, and paying your respects to all those heroes who have given their lives in the name of freedom.
Check back to see which state we’re covering next. You can always search “Road Trip Destinations Series” in the search bar at the top of the blog to see where we’ve been.