Reporting Jay Lloyd
There were many reasons for rebellion in the American colonies, but taxation without representation that triggered the Boston Tea Party is at or near top of the list. It makes Boston a focal point for Revolutionary backdrop getaways. The Old North Church where the lantern signaling the arrival of Redcoats, hung is still thriving and open for visitors. Nearby, you’ll find the Paul Revere House. Just across the Charles River, see “Old Ironsides” the Continental Navy’s most famous Man O’ War. Use a water taxi to get around. Amidst the historic immersion, take the kids to the Aquarium and dine on the waterfront. As you can expect, harborside dining here will come with a salty price, since the iconic Jimmy’s has folded. But if you are price tolerant, make a stop at Legal Seafood’s Oyster Bar for a well crafted toddy and a wide range of raw bar slurps. Our choice for lodging was the Seaport Hotel, right on the waterfront with water taxi service from Logan Airport.
The fort overlooking a critical portage point between Lake Champlain and Lake George played a key role in the Colonial war. Both Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen made their marks here. The history is fascinating, the view is panoramic splendor, the muskets and music are stimulating, The kids get to take part in the re-enactor drills. You’ll get a glimpse into the life of a Revolutionary soldier. Don’t forget to stop at the King’s Garden for a magnificent view of Lake Champlain and an immersion into period plantings on the grounds that provided much of the food for a succession of armies. This trip should be a long weekend. It’s about a 6 hour drive and there is Amtrak service to Ticonderoga. We stayed at the Best Western near the Fort. Lunches were accompanied by a Lake Champlain vista at the pubby Fort View Inn. Dinner was a 15 minute drive from the hotel to Eddie’s with Italian flavors and an outdoor patio.
Williamsburg is a page out of the past from cook pots to cobblestone streets. The new nation’s founders and plotters had their roots in and near Williamsburg. There was George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. Even Benedict Arnold stopped by before turning traitor. The town is a combination of colonial streets, homes, pasture and shops blended with 21st century eateries, and stores bordered by the 17th century College of William and Mary. When in Williamsburg we stay at the reasonable Patrick Henry Inn, a short walk to the historic district. Lunches are outdoors at Berret’s for seafood while dinners are at the historic inns, whichever is open on a given night – King’s Arms, Christiana Campbell’s Tavern and Josiah Chowning’s Tavern. There’s often period music and 18th century vittles on the plate.
The final and deciding moments of the Revolutionary war played out right here. The British were boxed in by Washington, racing down the Chesapeake from the north and the French fleet blocking support for the British at the mouth of the bay. It was at Yorktown that Redcoat General Charles Cornwallis surrendered his sword. Yorktown just opened its’ own American Museum of the Revolution. The British encampment and battlefield on the outskirts of town are a fascinating look at the last vestige of Colonial America. But the city itself, just a short distance from Williamsburg is a fun visit. It has a beach, tall ship cruises on the scenic York River and modestly priced eateries. Our choice for lunch here was the Yorktown Pub, just steps from the beach and docks. Shared crab cakes, oysters and clams washed down by a sampling of beers fit the mood. It was needed to lift the spirits of British friends who had joined us.
CLOSE TO HOME
Philadelphia and suburbs were at the heart of the Revolution. A day trip to the soon-to-open museum here can be combined with a visit to Independence Hall and Fort Mifflin. Or, visit Valley Forge, the Brandywine Battlefield, The Red Bank Battlefield and Fort Mercer on the New Jersey side of the Delaware. Create your own local Revolutionary War trail to follow on weekend or day-trips close to home.