For my last walk around Boston, I went to where Boston began. It’s a tiny block of buildings behind Boston City Hall and just north of the Faneuil Hall. This tiny block of buildings house some of the oldest establishments in all of the United States.
First, there’s The Bell in Hand Tavern. It is America’s oldest tavern established in 1795. It was opened up by the former town crier, Jimmy Wilson. It was only natural that the town crier would name his tavern after something related to his former occupation. The tavern was also famed for only selling ale for many, many years – no hard stuff, just ale.
The other famed establishment just on the same block is America’s oldest restaurant, the Union Oyster House. It’s a tiny little 4-storey brick building. My coworker had dinner here with her cousin before our work conference started. She says that it’s really seating inside. The restaurant has been around since 1826. Before that, it was owned by an importer that run a dress goods business. This building also saw a lot of action during the American Revolution.
Across the street from the Union Oyster House is a more modern monument. It’s the New England Holocaust Memorial. Giant glass pillars reach into the sky and line up like smoke stacks of incinerator. Each glass panel is etched with numbers of those who perished during the Holocaust. Little stones flank the walkway that runs through the pillars. They remind me of little tombstones to remember the victims.
Just down the lane from the Union Oyster House and The Bell in Hand Tavern is another famed tavern – the Green Dragon Tavern. It’s claim to fame is that it was the “Headquarters of the Revolution.” It says that it was the secret meeting place of the Sons of Liberty. Famous events of the Revolution such as the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s midnight ride originated here. However, it should be noted that this is not the original tavern, but it handily borrows the name and history.
Just further down the lane is the Boston Stone. I didn’t even know about this innocuous little ball of rock embedded in a building until my Airbnb host mentioned it. He says it was used as point zero for surveyors in the Boston area. For map and geography enthusiasts, the stone would be quite significant.
My feet were tired by this point. I had hit up Fenway Park, the Samuel Adams Brewery, TD Gardens, and this old block of buildings in Boston in one day. It was time to head back to Cambridge and call it a day. I’d be flying back home to Vancouver the next day. I had a card full of photos and a head full of memories. Boston was definitely a lot of fun and full of great walking experiences.