At The Kensington, History Is in Our Backyard
If you’re thinking about visiting some of Boston’s historic spots, well — chances are, you’ve already done so. Every park bench and bit of pavement has a story to tell, and you can’t leave The Kensington without stepping into America’s storied past.
Pay attention to the plaques that abound, and you’ll have an instant history lesson. But if you want to be more deliberate about your studies, there are some spots you shouldn’t miss.
Sites Along the Freedom Trail
Introducing yourself to Boston’s history begins with the Freedom Trail. There are 16 stops along the red-painted path that wanders through Boston’s downtown streets. Here are a few highlights:
• Boston Common: Stroll along this verdant public park and take in the famous swan boats, Frog Pond and the bronze sculptures inspired by Make Way for Ducklings — Mrs. Mallard, Mack, Quack and the siblings. The ground beneath your feet has hosted far more serious characters, too: In 1776, the Common was the campsite of over 1,000 redcoats en route to Lexington and Concord.
• State Houses: Something Old and Something “New”: Only Massachusetts would call a 200-year-old building the “new” State House. Did you know the glittering 23-karat gold dome was painted black during World War II out of fear it could be targeted by enemy bombers? Be sure to head inside and take in the ornate chambers of the House and Senate.
Smaller in scale but just as imposing, the Old State House was the domain of Samuel Adams and friends. Their impassioned debates struck the first chords of the American Revolution, and in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to the public from the building’s balcony.
• King’s Chapel and Granary Burying Grounds: Located a block apart along Tremont Street, these were among the city’s first cemeteries, each established in the mid-1600s. The stone markers are worn thin, but look closely and you’ll see a number of famous (and not-so-famous) names from the Revolutionary era.
Other Sites to See Off-Trail
• The Rose Kennedy Greenway: The Greenway is an arc of lovely landscaping that stretches a mile-and-a-half through the city, above the tunnels of the massive Big Dig construction project. Kids frolic in fountains as adults relax on benches and enjoy offerings from the local food trucks as well as a free public Wi-Fi network.
• New England Holocaust Memorial: Rising up from the street near Faneuil Hall is the Holocaust Memorial, a sculpture of granite and glass, with six luminescent towers to mark six million lives lost. Etched in the panes of glass are rows of seven-digit numbers evoking the numbered tattoos of concentration camp prisoners. A beautiful, poignant work of art.
If you enjoy American history, Boston is one of the great places to live. And The Kensington puts countless can’t-miss historical sites within easy walking distance.