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Massachussets: Lexington & Concord

Travelling through Massachusetts on our way to New Hampshire we spotted we were passing Concord and Lexington. This didn’t mean a lot to myself or Karen, who grew up in the UK, but our son Jack informed us this was where the opening shots of the War of Independence were fired.

Our Lexington & Concord one-day itinerary

– Visiting the Minuteman National Historical Site & North Bridge Battle Site

– Louisa May Alcotts (author of Little Women’s) Orchard House  

– Lexington, MA where the first shots were fired in the War of Independence

1. MINUTEMAN NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

As we left Interstate 95 (exit 30B route 2A West) we noticed the signs for Minuteman National Historical Park – which we thought would be a celebration of cold war nuclear weapons. Were we wrong. The Minuteman was a colonial militia man who got his name from a state of continual preparedness. The essence of this story is that 700 British soldiers, based in Boston, were dispatched on April 19th 1775 on a secret mission to find and destroy an arsenal of the Massachusetts Militia, believed to be at Concord. Anyway a guy called Paul Revere (no stranger to most readers) set off from Boston to warn the Militia of the British mission. Consequently when the British arrived at Lexington Green at 5:30am some of the local militia were waiting – there was a skirmish and 8 militia died. The British rampaged towards Concord and there was another set-to at North Bridge where for the first time the Militia fired on the British soldiers (which would have been an act of treason), and a couple of British soldiers were killed. The British then retreated to Boston – these were the opening engagements of the war that would culminate in the emergence of the United States of America.

Never ones to be a sore loser we were quite happy to visit these historic sites – Jack had studied the War of Independence in 4th grade so he was very excited to see the actual sites he had read about. Also it was a glorious day as we tramped over North Bridge trying to picture what had occurred back in 1775. The kids, as one might expect, were more interested in the macabre aspects of battle and were excited when they stood on the spot where the 3 British soldiers were buried. We met a gentleman who was dressed as 18th century French admiral (he was actually just back from attending a presentation he had given – he had been playing the role of the Marquis de Lafayette – a key player in the War of Independence). This person turned out to be a Harvard graduate, and entrepreneur who liked to dress up in period costumes, re-enact battles and study colonial history. He also turned out to be a descendant of William Bradford a famous member of the Pilgrims fathers.

Massachussetts
North Bridge at Concord
Location:250 N Great Rd, Lincoln, MA
Website:https://www.nps.gov/mima/index.htm
Telephone:T: (978) 369-6993
Hours:The grounds of Minute Man National Historical Park are open daily, year-round, from sunrise to sunset. The visitor centre’s open seasonally, check the website for more information.
Entry Fees:There is no fee to visit or park at Minute Man National Historical Park

2. LOUISA MAY ALCOTT’S ORCHARD HOUSE

On the way through to Concord, we had passed Orchard House (on the 2A West) – which is where Louisa May Alcott, the author of “Little Women” and her family lived. Emily loved the story of Little Women and the book is largely based on Alcott’s family – so a visit was a must. The house is open to the public offering daily tours all year around.

The Alcott’s, particularly the parents of Louisa May, were interesting characters. The father, Amos Bronson Alcott, was a transcendental philosopher and teacher; and the mother, Abigail May Alcott, an independent-minded 19th-century woman who was one of the first paid social workers in Massachusetts.

Location:399 Lexington Rd, Concord, MA
Website:https://louisamayalcott.org/
Telephone:T: (978) 369-4118
Hours:11:00 to 3:30 Weekdays, 10:00 to 5:00 pm Saturdays, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm Sundays
Entry Fees:

Adult $12.00 | Senior Ages 62 years & up $10.00 | College Student Age 18 & up $10.00 | Youth Ages 6 through 18 $5.00 | Child under 6 $0.00

3. LEXINGTON GREEN

One of the good things about travelling is that we don’t have to do things in a particular order so we rounded the day off by visiting Lexington Green. This was largely on the pretense of visiting the historical site of the first engagement of April 19th 1775, but the real mission was to find an ice cream store. Luckily both parts of the mission were completed and we found a great store – Rancatore’s Ice Cream (1752 Massachusetts Ave, Lexington, MA.) The ice cream was homemade and the flavours on offer were varied and delicious. The store itself was clean with modern furnishings. If you happen to be in Lexington, MA well worth the visit.

Best time to visit Massachusetts

Average temperatures in Massachusetts vary drastically. Considering humidity, temperatures feel cold for about half of the year and otherwise nice with a fair chance of precipitation about half of the year. The area is less temperate than some — in the 39th percentile for pleasant weather — compared to tourist destinations worldwide. Weeks with ideal weather are listed above. If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Massachusetts, the hottest months are July, August, and then June. See average monthly temperatures below. The warmest time of year is generally mid-July where highs are regularly around 82.7°F (28.2°C) with temperatures rarely dropping below 65.6°F (18.7°C) at night.

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