Boston By Foot Tour

Jun 6th, 2006, 07:35 PM
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Boston By Foot Tour

We are taking out 10 year old son to Boston and Philadelphia in October to introduce him to American Colonial History and the Revolutionary War. In my research, I found that the Boston By Foot tour. It sounds interesting. Has anyone taken any tours from this tour company? Would you reccommend it for the Freedom Trail? Is there any other historical tours regarding this era that you would recommend?

Thanks for all your help.

Klgallo is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 08:00 PM
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Here is a link that includes many available historical and architectural tours you might find interesting:

And another

also if you have not, check out

I know some people who have done a Boston by Foot tour and enjoyed it, but I am not sure it covers all the sites on the Freedom Trail, but only partial coverage so you may want to compare to the Freedom Trail audio tour, which is a good take - I would definitely want to do the entire Freedom Trail - so if Boston by Foot doesn't cover it all, you could use the audio tour to do the rest on your own.

I don't know how many days you will have in the Boston area, but with these interests have you considered also visiting the areas of Concord/ Lexington Mass? and areas of Cambridge?

I don't know what type of reader he is, but the book Dark Tide: The Great Molasses Flood of 1919 , while not sticking to your Colonial/Revolutionary history segment of the trip, was a story my Dad used to tell with great flair when we were young that we enjoyed and if not the book, at least google some info on it as at his age we found it fascinating.

This is about the extent of my personal historical recs, but I am going to connect with a historian friend who works in Cambridge and has been cataloging local history his entire career and he may have some good takes for you. If so, I'll repost.
escargot is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 08:04 PM
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Also you may want to check the schedule if running while you are here for the 1833 Fort Warren on George's Island, - and some of the other historic Boston islands - at

escargot is offline  
Jun 6th, 2006, 09:10 PM
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I've never done a formal tour in Boston, but have walked the Freedom Trail several time and have walked much of Boston. So I can't help you with info about this tour other than to say that Boston is indeed a great walking city.

I would like to suggest a fun tour activity that we enjoyed - both adults and kids of all ages.

Duck tours:

If you're not familiar with these they are a combo of land and water tour with plenty of history and commentary from the boat captain. I've often seen them allow the kids a turn at the wheel (on the water) as well.

If you decide to give it a go I would suggest booking your tickets in advance via the website as these do book up.

cjbryant is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 03:40 AM
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When our kids were that age we did not take tours such as you describe because it sometimes was nice to take a break from tour and resume later. Along Freedom Trail things are very well marked, there are Park Service guides at various stops, booklets available, guides within a few buildings, and places to stop for ice cream, coffee, etc. along the way.

I would skip the tour, walk the Freedom Trail on your own and do a Duck Tour and/or Harbor Cruise which comes with lighter historical interpretation.
gail is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 06:07 AM
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I did a similar trip last October, and it was wonderful! I did not take any guided tours of the Freedom Trail, but did take the Duck Tour (which was great). The people on tours seemed to be enjoying them, but most of them seemed pretty large. I would probably do a tour and then make sure to see everything that the tour skipped (as escargot said). How many days do you have? I would make sure to visit Lexington, Concord & Minuteman Park just outside of Boston. The ranger tours there were great, and the park was BEAUTIFUL in the fall!

In Philadelphia, definitely do the Lights of Liberty tour. Another website I found helpful is It is a great listing of historical sights in Philadelphia.

I have to say that each park ranger guided tour in both of these cities was excellent. They truly made my experience unforgettable.

If you are interested, you can read through my trip blog at (Start at the bottom and read up if you want it chronological). The first post (at the bottom) is my 10 day schedule. It worked out pretty well. I'll warn you, the blog is pretty long, as I expounded on just about every place I visited. It may give you an idea of what things to see, though.

Have a GREAT trip! I hope your son developes a love for history like I have.
KatieL is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 06:10 AM
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Oops, that would be "develops" a love for history. Hopefully, he does't "develope" spelling skills like mine.
KatieL is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 06:32 AM
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Thank you all for your input. Unfortunately, we only have two full days in Boston as we are traveling from the West Coast the first day and leave for NY on the fourth day so we are not going to be able to get to LExington and Concord. We are planning on doing the duck tour and maybe the North End Market Tour. However, our main goal is to expose our son to Colonial America and the American Revolution as that is what he will be studying in school. We've never been to Boston so we are welcoming all input.
Klgallo is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 08:20 AM
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i'd recommend taking the duck tour first. it gives you a good overview and gives you an idea about how far/close things are to each other for your walking tour. i was surprised how close things were. very walkable.
ltt is offline  
Jun 7th, 2006, 08:56 AM
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Definately make a side trip to Lexington and Concord. So much history there and it's easy walking. Also, some nice places to picnic.
rizzo0904 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 06:51 AM
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To focus on the time in history you are looking at I would visit a few places and take my time, maybe read about them ahead of time.

All within a half-mile of eachother The Old State House, Fanuiel Hall, Old North Church and the Paul Rever House.
Right across from the Old State House is the national park service.

In Charlestown, Bunker Hill and Old Ironsides. Both areas will have plenty of food/coffee places along the way.
TKT is offline  
Jun 8th, 2006, 10:24 AM
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Now knowing your time frame, here are my thoughts - of course some of this depends on arrival times and how much you like to pack into each day or if you like to rest after the day and before the evening -

If the weather cooperates and it is clear, and if you have some time on arrival day, (although I don't know your location for lodging) I would suggest perhaps taking the last Duck Tour before sunset, and then you can stroll on your own a bit around Newbury, Boylston, Commonwealth Ave and dinner.

Millions of dinner choices for whatever food you like; italian, seafood - all the chains like Cheesecake, California Pizza, Legal Seafood, mcCormick & Schmidts, La Familia Giorgio's or Maggiano's or wait for Italian in the North end - or your son might like Fire & Ice or head to Faneuil Hall and walk around and many resaurants surround you.

The next day, if weather cooperates, you might think of starting at the Prudential Skywalk (or do it the night you arrive if time and weather clear) amazing views from north into NH to the Cape, so a nice overview, plus an audio info incuded and some interactive historical related exhibits for a nice overview of history of Boston.

If you couldn't do the Duck tour before, you could begin with that this day, as apick up is near the Pru.

Then you could walk over to the visitors ctr on Boston Common and do the Freedom Trail - only you can decide if you want to do the Boston by Foot and/or the Freedom Trail - you can compare them online - but the nice thing about the audio tour is you can stop when you want (for snack, lunch, ice cream) and replay whenever you want, talking or discussing or also using your guide book and theirs inbetween - and spend as much or as little time on the different stops as you want.

They also have guided tours, and you can see all your options on the link I mentioned before. The entire trail being about 2 1/2 miles, but with stops you can literally take hours and hours and finish at your leisure -

On the way you would also go by the waterfront and could spend some time there as well

The next day you could do things in the first half of the day and later your North end market tour, which is about 3 hrs, and although you have some tastings, end with a light dinner/pizza after in the North End and enjoy it a bit after at night.

Or, do your market tour and have lunch in the North End and the last part of the day choose some other sites in Boston - if you want more history, the Mass Historical Society has many of John and Abigail Adams papers, etc or Trinity Church, or take the T over to Cambridge/Harvard Sq for a bit of sites, relaxing wandering, - and have dinner there

If you want something fun for at night, your son might like Blue Man Group if he hasn't seen it, or Sheer Madness or some other theater performance in Boston or Cambridge - or see if something interesting is happening at one of the museums, of which of course there are so many to choose from!

Depending on how fast you like to go, or weather and schedules, you could see about George's Island and fitting something like that in - or look into the Lexington/Concord thing if you could do that after the North End market tour - depends on your personal taste, but these are just some ideas to sift through.

Half the fun is the planning !

escargot is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 08:02 AM
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What I am hearing from all of you is that we should do the Freedom Trail by ourselves with the audio tour. However the Duck Tour is a definite yes. I would love to make it to Lexington and Concord but there is so much to see in Boston that I don't think we are going to make it there.

Thanks for the input. Keep it coming.

Klgallo is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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Kathy, I do think you can do the Freedom Trail on your own, especially if you like the ability to stop and go as you please, reading more or less about a certain stop, breaking for coffee, snack or ice cream when you want, etc.

That Freedom Trail site mentioned previously gives you a great pre planning option for looking into the things that might most appeal to you along the way.

escargot is offline  
Jun 10th, 2006, 10:44 AM
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This is a really helpful thread! Katie, your blog is terrific!
smalti is offline  
Jun 12th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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Thank you smalti! I enjoyed writing it. There is no way I could have remembered everything I saw without recording it daily.

Kathy, have a great time. With two days you are right about not trying to squeeze in Lexington & Concord. Do keep it in the back of your mind in case you have some extra time!
KatieL is offline  
Jun 15th, 2006, 10:02 AM
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Just in case you do end up wishing you had the time to see Lexington/Concord area where much fo the history unfolded, there is a 3 1/2 hour tour from boston - the tiny url link to the info with a description of the tour is:

This would be an easy way for you to do it, and it takes up only a part of your day.
escargot is offline  
Jul 6th, 2006, 08:03 PM
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Thank you KatieL for a wonderful blog. I am going to add things to our itinerary because of your great adventure. I too am looking forward to a wonderful adventure.
Klgallo is offline  
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