The first shots of the Revolutionary War (War of Independence, depending on which side you were one) were fired as the sun rose over Lexington, Massachusetts. While visiting Boston, you'll be inundated with Revolutionary War history and sites, but why not start from the beginning?
Leaving Boston, you can follow the British foot steps, but don't worry you don't have to take a horse! Getting to Lexington and Concord from Boston is simple.
- Getting to Lexington & Concord from Boston
- What to do in Lexington & Concord
- Free Tours by Foot Boston
Getting to Lexington and Concord from Boston By Public Transportation:
To get to Lexington, you can take the subway and bus. In total, it only takes about 45 minutes.
Take the Subway (Redline) to Alewife MBTA Station, bus routes #76 and #62 run to and from Alewife Station in Cambridge. Travel time one way is about 25 minutes. On both routes, buses run frequently during peak hours, traveling along Massachusetts Avenue and making stops in Lexington Center.
You can also get to Concord by MBTA from Boston.
There are two commuter rail stops in Concord on the line running from Boston to Fitchberg. One stops in Concord, the other in West Concord. Be aware that while the one in Concord is closest to the usual tourist attractions it is still about a mile's walk to the downtown/Milldam area and about the same distance to Walden Pond.
If you need help navigating the T (subway), check out our post.
Driving from Boston to Lexington and Concord:
This is probably the most common as it's a pretty short drive and parking is available. Of course it depends on where in Boston you are and what time of day you're traveling.
- From Boston to Lexington Green: approx. 25 minutes
- From Boston to Monument Square Concord.: approx. 35 minutes
- Between Monument Square Concord. and Lexington Green: approx. 15 minutes
The first battles of the Revolutionary War were fought in these two (and other surrounding towns). The British Regulars (now remember, you can't call them British vs. Americans just yet, we were all British at that time!) were on the way to Concord to destory military supplies. They were first engaged in Lexington but beat back the local militia and continued to Concord, where they met more resistance and would return to Boston.
Though the first shot fired was in Lexington, it was at the Battle at North Bridge in Concord that Ralph Waldo Emerson called "the shot heard round the world."
Visiting Lexington, Massachusetts
You'll want to head to the Lexington Green as a good starting point for any historic visit to this small town. Here is where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired. The green today has some historic markers and sites but you don't have to give yourself a tour. Look for a Battle Green Guide in traditional Revolutionary garb who can offer you more information and answer questions you may have.
A marker now stands on the green where the Belfry stood in April 1775 that sounded the alarm to call the militia to arms, but an exact replica can be found across the street (there are signs and a walkway) which has an 18th century bell inside.
A few of the historic buildings in the area are open as museums, including John Hancock's childhood home (a 5 minute walk from the Green) or Buckman's Tavern which has the original tavern door with bullet hole in it from the battle.
Buckman's Tavern is included on the Boston Go Card and offers free admission!
Visiting Concord, Massachusetts
The Old North Bridge is located near the historic city center, though its not the original battle bridge (that was taken down in 1788), it is a replica. You can learn all about it at the Old North Bridge Visitor Center on Liberty Street.
Not far from the Bridge is the Old Manse, which offer guided tours of the house where Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathanial Hawthorne lived.
Concord is full of literary history and you can also tour Louisa May Alcott's "Orchard House" where Little Women was both written and set. Orchard House is included on the Boston Go Card and offers free admission!
Just a 10 minute drive from the Old North Bridge is Walden Pond, where you can see Henry Thoreau's cabin site and be inspired by the surrounding natural setting. There is a large paid parking lot off Walden Street (Rt 126) and it's only about a 10-12 minute walk around the pond to the site of his cabin, though it is no longer standing. You can also see a replica of the cabin nearby.
Once you've finished your historical and literary adventure, retreat back to Boston (just like the British regulars) and continue the journey on our Freedom Trail Walking Tour.