Start at the Minute Man Visitor Center. There is a short multimedia theater program on Paul Revere's Ride and the battles at Lexington Green, North Bridge and along the Battle Road.
After leaving the visitor center, explore the Battle Road Trail.
Interesting business district with lots of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and sidewalks designed to accomodate the pedestrian shopper. Bricks, trees, benches and tastefully done signage combine to make the commercial strip a pleasant place to drive, walk or bicycle through.
My town has just gotten brick sidewalks and "bump outs" at cross walks. It certainly dresses up the streetscape and defines pedestrian walkways. I find that cross walks are more obvious and safer as a result.
A visit to Lexington can be easily paired with a trip to nearby Concord. After leaving Lexington, the British Regulars were met with a strong militia force at Concord. At Concord’s North Bridge, the militia held their ground and turned back the regulars.
Part of Minuteman National Park extends to Concord. Information on the battle that took place in Concord is available. A replica of the North Bridge spans the water at its original location. Statues mark the locations of the British and the Colonials as the battle was joined. Today this site of the 200 year old battle appears relatively serine.
Minuteman National Historical Park stretches between Lexington and Concord and is dedicated to the historic locations and events relating to the first day of the American Revolution. It includes the five mile long Battle Road Trail between Lexington and Concord. This trail connects many historic sites and was path of the British retreat from Concord. The trail can be accessed by foot or by bike. Several parking areas are provided along the route.
On April 19, 1775 Samuel Adams and John Hancock were staying in Lexington as the guest of Rev. Jonas Clarke in the Hancock-Clarke House. Rev. Clarke was related to Hancock by marriage. The house was built by Rev. John Hancock, John Hancock’s grandfather. John Hancock had lived in the house as a boy with his grandfather after the death of his father.
It was in this house that Samuel Adams and John Hancock were warned of the British advance by Paul Revere. Adams and Hancock were able to flee and thus avoid capture by the British. The house is a short walk from Battle Green.
The Revolutionary War Monument was erected in 1799. It marks the burial site of seven who died on Battle Green on April 19, 1775. Its 200 year old inscription has been worn by time but is still readable. The inscription includes the names of the men who died in the Battle of Lexington.
Visitors to Battle Green are greeted by the Minuteman Statue. The statue was erected in 1900 to the likeness of Captain Parker, who commanded the Colonial militia during the Battle of Lexington. The detailed statue standing before the green is impressive.
The Battle of Lexington was Captain Parker’s only action during the Revolutionary War. Parker witnessed the death of his cousin to a British bayonet during the skirmish. Although Captain Parker died the following September of tuberculosis, the valiant figure depicted in statue definitely looks like a guy you want on your side in a fight.
This open space was originally called Lexington Common, as it was the town’s common area. It was also known as Lexington Green. After the Battle of Lexington, it became referred to as Battle Green.
Battle Green is the site of the first battle of the American Revolutionary War. It was where in April 19, 1775 just over 70 Colonial militia stood their ground against a force of several hundred British Regulars. When the militia tried to withdraw, a shot rang out and the strong British force opened fire and charged, routing the Americans and killing eight in the process.
The flagpole in the Green marks the location of the British Regulars at the beginning of the battle. This flag is allowed to fly 24 hours a day. The American’s initial position is marked by a boulder inscribed with the orders of Captain Parker, the commander of the militia.
Today Battle Green resembles a city park. However, close inspection will reveal monuments and markers of historic significance. Seven of the militia who were killed in the battle are interned in the park.
Buckman Tavern was built inn 1710. Prior to the Battle of Lexington, the Colonial militia congregated in the tavern. Inside of which many minutemen, who would soon stand their ground at sunlight, spent the night awaiting their fate of the following morning.
Buckman Tavern’s interior as been restored to how it likely appeared at the time of the Revolution. A guided tour is available. The tour provides details on the Battle of Lexington, as well as the tavern’s role for the militia. One interesting exhibit is the old front door that still has a bullet hole received during the Battle of Lexington.
However, the tour also well covers colonial life in general, how an inn operated in the Colonial Era, and the history of the building. The tour guides are extremely knowledgeable. In fact, someone with no interest in the battle would still find this tour fascinating in respect to the information and exhibits of people’s lifestyle and how the inn functioned in the 1700s.
An interesting fact is that just as the were British entering Lexington and the militia were assembling in the Green on April 19, 1775, Paul Revere helped John Lowell carry away a truck of John Hancock’s papers out of Buckman Tavern. They did not want those documents to fall into the hands of the British authorities. They had no time to spare.
We considered the tour of Buckman Tavern to be of the more notable highlights of our visit to New England. I highly recommend taking the tour. It was well worth the small price of admission.
The flag pole at the grounds where the patriots assembled is awesome. Everything looked so great in the late day sunshine. The grass is like a carpet and there were folks lingering...enjoying the remainder of a long holiday weekend. We envied the town square or green area which anchors the town and its history. Massachusetts and Connecticut both have lots of these town squares, however Rhode Island didn't develop in the same style. Our towns are all very linear in comparison. Just an observation.....
I didn't have to be told we were in a National Historic District to know that the people who constructed this Dunkin Donuts definately had to go before the historic commission when they built this donut shop. Just goes to show you that not every chain food store has to be so irritably ill designed as most of them are. Whoops! My prejudices are poking out again. Too many years of struggling to preserve our village, I guess.
Bike path passes thru the park, but is screened by greens. When bicyclists and pedestrians enter a crosswalk....the traffic STOPS. Sometimes we have issues with this sort of thing where I live. The day we were in Lexington it was a quiet afternoon and everyone was moving pretty slowly...with plenty of consideration for cyclists...which is refreshing.
These chalk white church spires always look beautiful in small New England towns. Their simplicity is classic. I like to visit the interiors whenever I can. Unfortunately we were passing thru late in the day and had to promise to return when everyones' doors are open.
It was Memorial Day and my husband is a career Navy man, so of course we spent time reading the memorial placques. There was a section beside the visitors' center which had an interesting collection of memorials. They were basically dedicated to every Navy ship ever named for the town of Lexington. They told the story of each of the ships and the years of service. Important battles, men who served on them, whether or not they survived battle. Interesting to think of how many times the name has been used.
The Buckman Tavern was built c. 1709 and served as the headquarters of the Lexington Minutement. It is open daily for tours which are given every half hour. It's a stunning building...with absolutely fabulous grounds. People treat it all as their own park...leisurely enjoying the lush green carpet of grass. Lovers, bicyclists, parents and kids all share the space with equal joy. Unfortunately we arrived late in the day so everything was closed...but we'll be back! We were so impressed with the quality of the care given to the building as well as the park like grounds.