A Boston “Tea Party” on the Freedom Trail at the Oldest Restaurant in America, Union Oyster House

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I just had the unexpected pleasure of going “home” to New England with my little family. I’m not from any of the states that make up the original upper colonies, but my husband and I started our marriage in Connecticut…a long, long time ago. It was always in the plan to revisit all the wonderful small towns and seaports that we love about New England, and some day take our boys on an explore of Boston’s Freedom Trail and to Plymouth Rock, but a last minute business trip for my husband made it possible much sooner than we had imagined. It was such a surreal feeling of coming home, like I’d just been there last summer, that I don’t think I stopped grinning the entire eight days we traveled.

Because my husband had to work in New Hampshire three of the days we were in New England, we tried to fit in as much as we could before and after his work days. We drove in on a Saturday, stopping in New York just long enough for our boys to add it to the list of states they’d visited, and to have pizza. That little stopover will be the subject of another blog post, but let me just say that I am so glad the New York border is just a few short hours away, because the pizza, and any Italian food we’ve tried, in the new area we live in pales in comparison.

Our next stop was outside Concord, MA where we spent the night. The following morning, one of my wildest dreams came true when we took a morning saunter around Thoreau’s Walden Pond.

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It was magical, though it was probably a dumb idea to hike through the woods before we headed to Boston to cram the Freedom Trail and a very late lunch into a couple of hours, but…mission accomplished.

The only problem was that we were exploring Concord so early in the morning, so early in the season, that the author homes I really wanted to tour were closed and we didn’t have the time to spare to wait until they opened. But just to see them from the outside was amazing enough for me.

Thoreau’s cabin site and replica cabin near the pond, which was situated on land loaned to him by Ralph Waldo Emerson…

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And, are you kidding me?, Louisa May Alcott’s family home.

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The Old Manse, where so many authors of the era gathered and lived for periods of time, is adjacent to the North Bridge, which was the site of the first battle of the Revolution.

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Because I’m a big-time planner, we worked out our day in Boston and Concord to include lunch at the oldest continuously operating restaurant in America, Union Oyster House.

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While no one knows for sure when the building that houses the restaurant was constructed, it has been documented to have existed as early as 1742 when it served as a dress goods shop, close to what was Boston’s waterfront, according to the restaurant’s website.

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The Revolutionary War history of the building is astounding, from the printing of the Massachusetts Spy before the war to the beginning of its time as an oyster house at the end of the 1800s.

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Of course I had the fried oysters, which happens to be one of my favorite dishes.

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My son’s burger looked amazing perched on a fluffy kaiser roll. He said it was very good.

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My older boy was in heaven with his pan seared lobster, crab, and fish cakes on a bed of greens with roasted potatoes.

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They shared a piece of authentic Boston Cream Pie, in the style of Boston’s Parker House Hotel’s famous version.

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The Parker House, which we passed a little while later on The Freedom Trail, was responsible for the creation of the rolls so many family’s include on the Thanksgiving table.

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Dessert for me was out of the question since I couldn’t eat the cole slaw or rice pilaf that came with my meal, after woofing down those perfectly cooked oysters, a block of soft and sweet, warm and buttery, freshly baked cornbread, and countless glasses of tea to hydrate myself after exploring Concord and Walden Pond, and in anticipation of hitting The Freedom Trail which the oyster house is situated near.

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We visited at the perfect time in spring, when all the trees were puffed with pink and white blossoms. Boston Common was gorgeous that day, and filled from one corner to other with people out enjoying the sunshine.

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The Old State House tour was great. My husband and I only saw it from the outside the first time we did The Freedom Trail.

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The Declaration of Independence was first read from its balcony.

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The old cemeteries were as interesting as I remembered.

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The controversial burial site of “Mother Goose”, whose gravestone conflicts with the known lifetime of the writer of so many children’s nursery rhymes. Charming, nonetheless.

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As my boys kept saying, it’s so amazing that all of old Boston is mixed in with the new buildings.

The old waterfront with skyscrapers built up, around, and on top of it.

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The birthplace of Edgar Allan Poe, which is only marked by a statue near the exact location, commemorating his return to Boston.

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My least favorite restaurant in New England, this Chipotle, is established inside the Old Corner Bookstore. It would be great if it were still a bookstore, but I guess I should just be

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We didn’t make the mistake of trying to walk over the Charlestown Bridge and up to Bunker Hill like we did all those years ago. This time we drove over. And because we did, and got caught in traffic and all turned around, and didn’t have time to go back and do them properly, we missed seeing the Old North Church and Paul Revere’s House, and the USS Constitution! So our boys missed out on them, but I think they’ll be okay, after all the historical sites we did see on the trip.

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It was the second Freedom Trail jaunt for my husband and me, but it was much more fun exploring it with our boys who didn’t even exist when their parents did it over two decades ago. They now love Boston as much as their parents do, and one said he’d even consider living there for a while once he finishes school and leaves the nest. I guess it’s a very good thing, then, that his father and brother and I are also toying with the idea of moving this caravan to New England one day in the future. I’m kind of wondering why we ever left.

 

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