This is one in a series about touring Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island. My husband and I spent three weeks there in October, 2021. This Travelogue is a journal of our trip, done for my own sake and to show readers why you should visit Massachusetts.
The Battle Trail – Lexington
My intent was to do every step of the Battle Trail between Lexington and Concord, but there was so much to see in Lexington that at the end of the day we had to skip the trail between and drive straight to Concord. Oh well. We had a great day despite the light rain (wearing rain pants, rain jacket, and hat takes care of all discomfort).
To get our bearings, we began at the Lexington Visitor Center (1875 Massachusetts Ave). Their docents are well-informed, they have maps, displays, and a gift shop. I particularly liked their diorama of the Battle On The Green at Lexington.
The Buckman Tavern
From the visitor’s center we walked over to Buckman Tavern. It was here that Captain Parker of the Rebel militia ordered his men to wait until they were needed for battle. It was really cool to walk inside and stand in the same room where so many future Americans had gathered, ready to fight the tyranny of the British.
The Hancock-Clarke House
Our next stop was the Hancock-Clarke House (parsonage), home of Lexington clergyman, Jonas Clarke. Here among the large Clarke family, John Hancock, his fiance, aunt, and compatriot Samuel Adams were staying on the night of April 18, 1775. At midnight, Paul Revere rode up to warn them that the British Regulars were on their way to arrest Hancock and Adams. Outside the home, Revere was stopped by Yankee Sergeant William Munroe (standing guard with his militia) who ordered Revere to quit making so much noise. Revere replied, “Noise! You’ll have noise enough before long! The Regulars are coming out!” (Paul Revere’s Ride by David Hackett Fischer, pg 109) By the way, “The Regulars” were what the Yankee rebels called the British Army, and it was the Regulars who referred to the rebels as “Yankees.”
After Revere succeeded in warning Hancock and Adams that they must leave–they were vital leaders of the rebellion–he came back three hours later to find them still arguing. Hancock wanted to stay and battle the British Regulars on the Common (Lexington Green), but Adams wanted to leave so they wouldn’t be arrested. Revere likely yelled at them both and shortly before dawn, finally persuaded Hancock it was better to lead the cause rather than die too soon. It was a good thing too, as British troops marched into Lexington at dawn.
The Munroe Tavern
Before driving on to the North Bridge at Concord, we stopped and did a tour inside the Munroe Tavern. The tavern was owned by William Monroe, the same Sergeant Monroe who challenged Revere outside the Hancock-Clarke House on April 18, 1775. Retreating British soldiers briefly took over the Munroe Tavern on April 19, 1775, and used it as a field hospital. The historical society tour shows the British point of view; after-all, they lost over 70 soldiers that day with another 100 wounded.
The Battle Trail – Concord
The North Bridge
By the time we finished touring the three sites at Lexington, the day was nearly over, so we drove to Concord, not stopping until we got to the North Bridge. This is where the real battle took place–Patriots on one side of the bridge, Redcoats on the other. The Redcoats started the fight that day but Yankees ended it, sending the British army fleeing in confusion.
I was surprised to see how small the North Bridge is, the armies were practically face-to-face. It was also nice to see the fields and river, left nearly the way they were from over two centuries ago.
The Site Where Paul Revere was Captured
The day after we saw the North Bridge, we went back to view the site where Paul Revere was captured.
A stone circle marks the spot where Paul Revere was captured by British soldiers. In the early morning hours of April 19, 1775, Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott rode toward Concord, warning residents that the Regulars were coming to steal their armaments. The three were surprised by British soldiers (Regulars) silently hiding among the trees. Spotting them, Prescott yelled, “Put on!” Dawes fled back toward Lexington, Revere was captured, but Prescott escaped and rode on toward Concord. It was Prescott, not Revere, who warned the town of Concord that the Redcoats were coming.
The Concord Colonial Inn
By the end of our tour we were cold and hungry. Lexington and Concord make a great day trip from Boston, but we had chosen to stay in Concord itself, and I’m so glad we did. We stayed at the Concord Colonial Inn, circa 1716, and enjoyed a delicious dinner at their restaurant, as well as our most amazing room – the Thoreau Suite. I wish we could have stayed longer than one night, it was such a beautiful room!
The following day we visited the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and Orchard House where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. I’ll write about the Alcott family in the next blog. And if you missed part 2 of last week’s Freedom Trail blog, you can catch it here.