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In 1636, British settler Reverend William Blackstone (Blaxton) owned all of Beacon Hill including Boston Common. The Common got its name because the land was used as a common pasture for grazing livestock. Once the Puritans moved into the Boston area, the reclusive Blackstone moved to Rhode Island to get away from the crowds. Imagine how he’d feel today if he could see what’s become of his former land.

Boston Massachusetts State House
Massachusetts State House sits on top of a hill overlooking Boston Common. On a sunny day, the gold dome sparkles and is almost blinding. The State House can be toured free of charge on weekdays between 10:30 to 3:30. Click here for more information.

Boston Acorn Street
Acorn Street ~ one of the most photographed streets in Boston. Under the snow is a lovely cobblestone road.

There have been many interesting and famous people who live (used to live) here:

  • In 1625, William Blaxton (Blackstone) ~ was the first settler in Boston and owned all of Beacon Hill.
  • John Hancock, first signer of the Declaration of Independence and the one with the most wealth to lose by waging war against the British, lived here most of his life and was buried in Granary Burial Ground.
  • Robert Frost lived here for three years in the 1930s.
  • Before he became a famous author and film-maker, Michael Crichton went to Harvard Medical school and then worked at Massachusetts General Hospital. He brought us Jurassic Park, Andromeda Strain and “ER”.
  • Teresa Heinz Kerry (one of the wealthiest women in the United States) and Secretary of State John Kerry are current residents.
  • Senator Ted Kennedy lived here.
  • Sylvia Plath lived in Beacon Hill for a few years and she visited poetry classes at Boston University.She’s the author of “The Bell Jar” , a classic novel about mental illness and feminism.
  • Charles Sumner, ardent abolitionist Senator during the Civil War lived here as did Jack Welch, the former CEO and Chairman of General Electric.

The North Slope side of Beacon Hill was a central meeting place for abolitionists when Massachusetts banned slavery in 1783. The African Meeting House, under the leadership of William Lloyd Garrison, became a lifeline for runaway slaves. Beacon Hill was an important destination on the Underground Railroad which is where runaway slaves were hidden, fed, and clothed as they fled to freedom. Many of the residents were supportive of the Underground Railroad even though there were laws enacted making it illegal to help a runaway slave. Only two slaves who made it to Beacon Hill were returned to their owners and thousands of others gained their freedom. During the Civil War, men were recruited at the African Meeting House and made up the first black military regiment in the United States, known as the 54th Massachusetts regiment.

Old City Hall and Ben Franklin Statue
Old City Hall and Ben Franklin Statue

Boston Burro
Donkey Statue in front of the Old City Hall

Blog Boston Church and glass building
The Old reflected in the New

Boston Buried snow
Couldn’t resist another snow photo. If I knew a blizzard was coming with an expected 2-3 feet of snow and I parked on the street, I would move my car to a public garage for the duration of the storm and pay the overnight parking fees just so I wouldn’t have a buried car.

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According to the National Weather Service, Boston set a new record this past week for the most snow in a seven-day period: 40.2 inches. The average annual snowfall is 47 inches. We managed to fly in and out between the two blizzards. Despite the snow and cold, we wandered walked briskly around Boston Common which is approximately 50 acres and is the oldest park in the United States.

Boston Common Sign

Boston Common is the starting point of the Freedom Trail (a 2-mile walk with historic markers explaining the history of each stop). Due to the cold, we only managed the sites around the Common. The tour is self guided or arrangements can be made with a tour guide.

Boston Common Ice Skating
Ice Skating

Boston Common snowy pathways
Boston Common Paths

In the winter, Boston Common is used for ice skating and letting your dog romp through the snow. I imagine in the summer it’s a lovely gathering place for lovers of the outdoors.

The Common has a rich history:

  • Until 1817, there were public hangings
  • British troops used the Common as a campsite prior to the Revolution and was the departure point when they left to confront the colonist at Lexington & Concord in April 1775.
  • Many activists have given speeches in the Common including Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Many of our Founding Fathers, Presidents, Vice Presidents and other historic figures have walked through this park. I kept imagining John Adams, Sam Adams, Paul Revere and John Hancock wandering around the area.

Boston Common Dome and Learning Statue
The Massachusetts State House was built on Beacon Hill which sits across from the park. The land was originally owned by John Hancock (first to sign the Declaration of Independence and the first elected governor of Massachusetts). The beautiful, bright dome is made of copper and 24k gold.

Boston Common
Another view of the State House

Boston Common with Dome and Learning statue
I can’t decide which angle I like best!

Boston Common Learning statue with dome in background
With so many colleges and universities in the Boston area, the Learning statue is very appropriate.

Once we left the park, we stopped along the Freedom Trail…

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Despite the snow and cold, Boston is always a fun town to visit. Haven’t been here in years but the vibe is the same. After a smooth 1 hour flight from DC, we landed at Logan Airport and grabbed the Silver Line Shuttle to South Station. Then caught the T (Red Line) to Cambridge. Too easy!

Boston Bike snowed in
Best way to get around Boston after a blizzard ~ walk!

Boston throwing snow
Fun in the snow

Tufts Chapel
Chapel at Tufts University

Harvard Snow man building
Snow building at Harvard

IMG_2526 (1)
The “Man-Bun” is very popular in Boston ~ I like the style

Veggie Galaxy
Veggie Galaxy Restaurant, Cambridge ~ very friendly service and delicious food. We liked it so much we went back for breakfast this morning. Warning: go hungry, the portion sizes are crazy big. Especially breakfast. They’re located at 450 Massachusetts Avenue and it’s just a block or so from the Central T stop (Red Line).

Boston Breakfast

Next to Veggie Galaxy is Cheapo Records which has an extensive inventory of vinyl ~ 45s and LPs
Cheapo Records

Heading into downtown Boston tomorrow…

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