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Exploring the Freedom Trail in Boston

March 27, 2014

Seniors living in Massachusetts retirement communities should consider visiting the heart of the city of Boston, where historical sights are as common as authentic New England eateries. While visitors to the city can see many different buildings, monuments and streets - each ripe with its own story - those interested in learning about the rich history of Beantown should consider walking along the Freedom Trail. 

Spanning more than 2.5 miles, the Freedom Trail is the perfect all-day activity for older adults, whether they're embarking on the journey with family or friends. Not only can the expedition provide a well-deserved break, but it can offer great exercise for those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle for seniors.

Follow the red brick road
Walkers looking to embark on the Freedom Trail have two options: they can seek a city tour led by historical experts, or they can simply follow the red brick road that adorns the streets of Boston. Since the trail covers such an expansive area of the city, seniors have the option to tackle the entire journey in one session, or they can break it up over the course of a few days. While purchasing tours or maps may cost travelers a few dollars, following the red brick road is completely free. Sites along the way may charge entrance fees, but for the most part, the trail transports followers to public areas.

According to the Freedom Trail's website, it was first established in 1951, when Bill Schofield, the editor of the Herald Traveler, suggested that the city's citizens find a way to honor America's history. A group of Bostonians, ranging from nonprofit workers to volunteers, met and planned the route for the trail, which would direct visitors to the city's most significant sites. Currently, the path is preserved by the Freedom Trail Foundation, which provides tours, educates schoolchildren, raises funds for renovations and markets the area. Annually, the trail garners close to $1 billion in sales from both tours and souvenirs.

Visit the most historical sites of the city
Seniors can begin their journey at any point along the red brick path, but those who want to start from the beginning should first visit the Boston Common. From there, walkers embark through downtown Boston, passing by the State House, the Park Street Church, and the King's Chapel and Burying Ground, which acts as the final resting place for some of the country's most important historical thinkers. The trail then leads past the Old State House and Boston Massacre Site all the way to Faneuil Hall, which houses a number of shops, restaurants and public spaces that are frequented by local musicians. Walkers journey to the North End, where they can visit Paul Revere's House.

After passing through Little Italy, travelers go over the scenic Charles River, then circle around Charlestown to see City Square Park, the Bunker Hill Monument and the beautiful marina. The trail ends at the USS Constitution, the world's oldest surviving warship, from 1794.

Stop for a bite to eat
While the Freedom Trail winds walkers around the city's most influential sites, it also brings them by some of the area's greatest eateries. Food options depend on the time of day walkers choose to embark on the trail. For example, lunch time may serve as the perfect opportunity for television fans to drop by the Cheers replica restaurant in Faneuil Hall, which provides visitors with "Cheers" memorabilia and an engaging atmosphere. However, those going on the trail later in the day should consider having dinner in Little Italy in the North End, where they can not only enjoy the spoils of authentic Italian meals, but also drop by the famous Mike's Pastry for dessert.