Massachusetts

Boston: Birthplace of American Liberty

Program No. 5717RJ
Explore Boston, a city of great social and cultural heritage, as you visit its landmarks and learn about revolutionary events alongside scholarly experts and friendly locals.

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At a Glance

Discover one of America’s most historic cities by retracing the steps of Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere. Learn how American independence was born in Massachusetts as you walk along the Freedom Trail. Led by expert instructors, explore the city’s historic sites such as Faneuil Hall and Bunker Hill, beacons of Boston’s revolutionary past.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 2.5 miles per day; some cobblestones and hills.

What You'll Learn

  • Explore the Boston Massacre site, Granary Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House and the Old State House.
  • Visit Paul Revere’s home in Boston’s historic North End neighborhood, and see where the famed lanterns were hung at the Old North Church.
  • Relive the first days of the Revolution at Old North Bridge, along the path from Lexington to Concord.

General Notes

Public transportation and ferries used.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Charles Bahne
Charles Bahne is a historian, author and local expert, focusing on Boston and its role in the American Revolution. Charlie came to Boston for college and fell in love with the city. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he majored in urban studies and planning, focusing on urban history. He has been a seasonal park ranger at Boston National Historical Park, and has worked with many of the city’s guide companies and museums. His guidebook, “The Complete Guide to Boston’s Freedom Trail,” has sold more than 580,000 copies since its publication in 1985. Charlie has taught over 100 Road Scholar programs about Boston over the past 25 years.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Charles Bahne
Charles Bahne View biography
Charles Bahne is a historian, author and local expert, focusing on Boston and its role in the American Revolution. Charlie came to Boston for college and fell in love with the city. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he majored in urban studies and planning, focusing on urban history. He has been a seasonal park ranger at Boston National Historical Park, and has worked with many of the city’s guide companies and museums. His guidebook, “The Complete Guide to Boston’s Freedom Trail,” has sold more than 580,000 copies since its publication in 1985. Charlie has taught over 100 Road Scholar programs about Boston over the past 25 years.
Profile Image of Nancy Coolidge
Nancy Coolidge View biography
Nancy Coolidge graduated from Mount Holyoke College, and later attended the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in business administration and worked in a bank trust department. In 1979, she became a founding trustee of the Lynch Foundation. She later moved to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA), where she served as staff director from 1983 to 1992. She has since led groups to maritime Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, and Antarctica. She continues her work with the Lynch Foundation.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Boston, MA
D
Hyatt Regency Boston

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m. If you arrive early, you may leave your luggage at the front desk.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, get any up-updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. Your program materials will be sent to you a few days before the program, digitally, through your roadscholar.org account. This includes your program itinerary, any related handouts, and restaurant/free time suggestions. Please plan to print them out and bring along to the program, utilize the hotel's business center to access them, or view them on your own personal electronic device. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. Unless noted otherwise, we will be using the MBTA (public transportation) that includes a ferry from Charlestown to Boston and the subway. Scheduled free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Revolution Roots, Boston Intro., Bunker Hill, Old Ironsides
Boston, MA
B,L,D
Hyatt Regency Boston

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 5 miles total, approximately 1 hour. Use of MBTA public transportation system including ferry to/from Boston and subway. Not all stations have elevators and may require walking up/down flights of stairs. Getting on/off a ferry. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; up/down hills, cobblestones, standing at various sites.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll be joined at the hotel by a local expert who will serve as our Study Leader for a presentation on roots of the American Revolution. We’ll then board a motor coach for an introductory ride around the city with commentary by our Study Leader.

Lunch: At a restaurant near the waterfront in Charlestown.

Afternoon: We will hop back aboard the motorcoach and ride to Bunker Hill. Along the way, we’ll hear about the USS Constitution, the ship that achieved glory as Old Ironsides. We’ll explore the Bunker Hill Monument, followed by an expert-led walking field trip to Breed’s Hill, actual site of the Battle of Bunker Hill. The famous order “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” may never have been uttered, at least in that form, but it lives on as a legacy of the Battle of Bunker Hill that began on the afternoon of June 17, 1775. The colonists lost the first real battle of the American Revolution, but their valiant defense inspired the patriots. The site is marked by a massive granite monument visible from many parts of the city. We’ll then make our way over to the Charlestown Navy Yard to see Old Ironsides — the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy. Please make sure you have a government issues ID with you for entry We will return to downtown Boston on the ferry.

Dinner: At a local Boston restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to walk through the picturesque Boston Public Garden, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, or just relax.

DAY
3
Paul Revere, Mariners House, Old North Church
Boston, MA
B,L,D
Hyatt Regency Boston

Activity note: Use of MBTA public transportation system including subway. Not all stations have elevators and may require walking up/down flights of stairs. Walking up to 2 miles throughout the day; up/down hills, cobblestones, standing at various sites.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will gather in the lobby with our Group Leader and walk to the subway, known locally as the “T.” We’ll take the “T” to the Haymarket stop, and then walk from the waterfront to North Square in Boston’s North End, where Paul Revere’s house has stood since 1680. We’ll begin next door at the Mariners House where men and women who work at sea can come and stay while anchored in Boston. A Revere historian will give us an illustrated talk. We’ll then go on a walking field trip through the North End neighborhood. Following our neighborhood walk, we will have a behind-the-scenes exploration of the Revere House. While it appears small to us today, in its time it was considered a very fine townhouse. Paul Revere lived here with his wife, five children, and his mother! About 90 percent of what we see today is original.

Lunch: In the dining hall of the Mariners House.

Afternoon: Captain Jim Sorrentino will join us to talk about the history of the Mariners House and the Mariners Association. Next, we’ll walk to historic Old North Church, one of the oldest continually operating churches in America and famed site of the hanging of the lanterns, “One if by land, Two if by sea.”

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
4
Freedom Trail, Free Time
Boston, MA
B,L
Hyatt Regency Boston

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, approximately 1.5 hours; pavement, cobblestones.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: To begin the day, we’ll have a presentation by our Study Leader on the beginning of the Revolutionary War, setting the stage for our next field trip. We’ll then set out on a walking field trip along the fabled Freedom Trail. There are 16 official sites over 2.5 miles marked with a line of red brick or red paint. We will go part way, from Boston Common to the Old Granary Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House, the Old State House Museum, and Faneuil (rhymes with flannel) Hall, renowned as the Cradle of Liberty for the meetings, protests, and debates that have taken place there since its inception in 1742.

Lunch: At a Market with Vouchers.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Please note that the period scheduled for free time is subject to change depending on local circumstances and opportunities for independent exploration.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Lexington & Concord Field Trips
Boston, MA
B,L,D
Hyatt Regency Boston

Activity note: Getting on/off motor coach; driving about 40 miles, approximately 2 hours riding time with stops throughout the day. Walking up to 2 miles; paved and dirt paths.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will gather for a lecture by our Study Leader on the siege of Boston: eleven months from April 19, 1775 to March 17, 1776, when American militiamen kept British troops bottled up. We’ll then board our motorcoach for a field trip to explore two of America’s most iconic sites where some of the key events in the Revolutionary War took place. We’ll have onboard commentary as we ride out of Charlestown through Somerville and Cambridge en route to Lexington’s Battle Green, where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired. We’ll learn about revolutionary history on the other side of the Charles River and see the route the British took marching out to Lexington & Concord.

Lunch: At a restaurant in Lexington.

Afternoon: Our next stop is Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord. What happened at Lexington and Concord? British troops set out from Boston in the early hours of April 19, 1775, to seize revolutionary leaders as well as arms and ammunition stored in Lexington and Concord. Spies learned of the plan and spread the word. Paul Revere and others set out on horseback to rouse the countryside. When the British advance guard arrived on Lexington Green at dawn, they were met by members of local militias known as Minutemen. A shot rang out that was immortalized as “the shot heard ‘round the world.” The British had more than three times the numbers of the colonials, shot seven of them, and marched on to Concord. But there they met more militiamen at Old North Bridge and were repulsed, retreating back to Boston with numerous casualties along the way. The British general Percy wrote to London of the rebels, “Whoever looks upon them as an irregular mob will be much mistaken.” Riding on through the Concord countryside, we’ll pass the houses of Hawthorne, Emerson, and the Alcotts, ending at the North Bridge. We’ll return to the hotel after our field trip.

Dinner: At a restaurant in Boston. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure after our closing session in the morning.

DAY
6
Meet Deborah Sampson, Program Concludes
Boston, MA
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 12:00 p.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We’ll gather in the hotel to “meet” Deborah Sampson, a colonial soldier portrayed by a re-enactor. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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