Massachusetts, Where We've Been

Boston, Lexington and Concord, & Salem

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Boston is a “crooked” big city with a lot of history behind its name. By crooked, I mean that the streets meander every which direction and almost never align at right angles. Trying to find a good view of the Old North Church, one must stand on the opposite side of the street, cock eyed to the building to see the tower rise up from the street below.

It is a port city which has many harbors, but one in particular stands out as the location of the Boston Tea Party. There is a museum and reenactment located there (which we were not able to go to) that lets participants throw “tea” overboard into the harbor.

We downloaded the Freedom Trail app and walked through Boston, listening to the audio guide explain the importance of each of the places as we passed. We went through several cemeteries which held the graves of many famous people. Some were signers of the Declaration of Independence, like John Hancock, whose large gravestone embodies his real life character. Then there were more humble gravestones like this one which memorialized the victims of the Boston Massacre.

Here, in the center of downtown Boston is the site where the Boston Massacre took place. In this courtyard is also the location where Abigail Adams once stood when the Declaration of Independence had made its way to Boston and was read on the balcony pictured below.

Continuing on the Freedom Trail, we came across the house of Paul Revere, whose famous midnight ride into the countryside and up into Lexington warned others to be on the ready as he shouted, “The regulars are coming!” (Paul Revere would not have said “The British are coming!” because everyone there was a British subject at the time and would be confused with the phrase.)

There were 2 lanterns hung in the Old North Church that evening to signal that the British army was coming by sea. “One if by land and two if by sea.”

After his ride and capture, he was afraid to return home for a year following the event and instead kept himself out of harms way until he deemed the coast was clear to return.

Paul Revere’s statue sits behind the Old North Church.

Down by the harbor lies the U.S. Navy’s most impressive ship, the U.S.S. Constitution. Commissioned by George Washington, this ship has seen enough battles to have it sunk on the bottom of the ocean, but not only did it survive, a man on board proclaimed that the hull was like iron. Nothing could penetrate it! It was then nicknamed, Old Ironsides.



Lexington and Concord

The battle that begun the Revolutionary War happened at Lexington and Concord on the morning after Paul Revere’s famous ride. The people were awake and ready for the Regulars as they entered Lexington. 

No one knows who fired the first shot, but they started firing back. The troops then continued marching on to Concord.

Once they reached this bridge, several of the British troops remained here. The militia met up with the army here. The British fired first into the crowd of militia men, and the commander boomed, “Fire! For God’s sake, fire!” This was the first time the militiamen were ordered to fire on British troops.

Paul Revere never made it to Concord that night. He was stopped in between Lexington and Concord, but the two men who he met up with did get away and went on to warn others. Revere was arrested only to be released an hour later.

Concord is also home to a number of famous authors. There is a cemetery here with a section dedicated to these authors. This is the home of Louisa May Alcott, the author of the classic, Little Women.

And this is the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. 




Compared to the rest of Massachusetts, Salem’s history is more dark and foreboding. In the year 1692, the town of Salem became obsessed with condemning people to death for the alleged crime of witchcraft. The only evidence used to convict the accused were the testimonies of several girls who screamed, contorted their bodies, threw things, made odd sounds, and complained of biting and pinching sensations. They also did not want to be caught learning voodoo from Tituba, an enslaved woman from Central America.

The girls continued their acts until the first woman, Bridget Bishop, was hanged on June 10th. 

The accusations continued as more and more people became wrapped up in the debacle. The girls kept calling out names of people who were supposedly causing the girls to have fits.

All in all, over 200 people were accused of being witches, and 19 people were hanged before Governor Phips stepped in to put an end to the debacle. 

Our tour guide told some of the gruesome tales of the town’s past. 

However, once we reached the graveyard, he pointed out the houses that lined the street opposite of the graveyard. These houses were in full view of the Parker Brothers company. This is the same company that made the game Monopoly and the plastic houses that go in it. Is there a resemblance? 

For much of its history, Salem tried to bury its shameful past, tearing down houses and buildings that were related to the older village town. But since the 1970’s, the town instead began to embrace the ideas of witchcraft and Satanism.

In the downtown area, stores line the street that promote witchcraft, fortune telling, and Satanic temple worship. Naturally, we didn’t spend any additional time perusing the sites.

May those who lost their lives to the Salem Witch Trials now be at peace.




Hanscom AFB FamCamp

Hanscom FamCamp is located on Air Force land, but there isn’t a guarded gate to go through to reach it. It is adjacent to an airfield and planes can be heard taking off an landing at all hours. 

Most of the sites are on gravel/dirt, but we had the only spot there on concrete. There is a small basketball court on site, laundry room, game room, and bathhouse.

We came in after hours, but there was a sign in the office that assigned us to a site number and when the office opened the next day, we were able to complete our check-in.

The base had a summer bash on one of the days we were there. They had free food, face painting, and inflatables for the kids. 

The trees obscured the Starlink signal and we were unable to use it. Verizon was 3 bars on the phone. Both AT&T and Verizon on the cell antenna were 3 bars.