Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wait a minute, man.

Just down the road from where my friend is staying is Minute Man National Park, where the Revolutionary War began in 1775.  British soldiers marched this Battle Road Trail on their way from Boston to Concord and back. There are markers along the way giving distances to Boston Harbor.
Hartwell Tavern in Lincoln was a gathering place for local folks. The couple who ran the tavern and farm lost the first five of their thirteen children to diptheria. On one of my walks, there was a huge group of school kids listening to someone dressed in period costume. I'm guessing they didn't pass along that particular grim factoid. The highlight of the talk, judging from the happy shrieks, was the firing of a musket.
I walked with my friend Sunday evening after we got back from Cape Cod. He wanted to show me some of the more interesting features, like this multi-story fireplace. The house around it is gone, but you can see where it opened into rooms on different floors of the building.
 Where the Battle Road trail passes through wetland, a boardwalk protects the marsh.
We passed a clump of Mayapples and I checked to see if any of them had fruit. Not yet, but I was pleased to see the flowers hidden beneath the umbrella-like leaves.
We argued some about what this old structure might be.  It has two sections and I took this photo standing at the end of an earthen ramp that lead up to it via a forked entrance. The house belonged Job and Joshua Brooks and there was a slaughterhouse and tannery nearby, but I don't know if this was related to either of those.
The next morning I went back and walked some more on my own while my friend went to work.  I took the Vernal Pond Trail back into the woods to this little creek.
 Along the way, I spotted a nearly-hidden Jack-in-the-Pulpit. I find them endearing.
Back on the Battle Road trail, this time in the other direction. There were several of these signs with the oddly vague "near here." Next to the rock? Way back in the woods? What counts as "near here?" Every man between the ages of 16 and 60 in colonial Massachusetts was required to have a gun and train as part of the militia, to help the British fight against "enemies" (in this case the French and Native Americans). A smaller group of volunteer forces were trained much more intensively to be able to mobilize "at a minute's notice." (A complete aside - my old flame from Kentucky is part of a Joint Forces rapid response unit in the Reserves, required to be ready to deploy in 72 hours when called - sort of a modern day version.) These Minute Men were younger and enthusiastically non-Loyalist. According to the signs, the column of British troops walked along the road, with flankers on either side. The Minute Men would attack from the woods and fields.
But it's peaceful here now and I happily wandered along the trail for a couple of hours. I liked this interracial tree couple.
Some of the old buildings were less maintained than others. This shed has a healthy crop of Virginia creeper vines climbing it.
All told I walked 5.8 miles that Monday morning. I may or may not have gotten lost. Repeatedly. But finally, I made my way back to the rental car to make the drive to Logan airport.

42 comments:

  1. What an interesting walk. Love the pics.

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  2. ha. i like the interracial tree couple...the minute man park was cool too...i enjoy history...i think my mom beat it into us as kids considering most of our vacations were history...her being a teacher and all...ha.

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    1. I grew up in a military family, so we were over-loaded with this sort of thing.

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  3. What a beautiful walk! I wish I could have done it with you!

    The 'near here' is quite interesting. It makes me wonder if they are just guessing or if there is a reason they do that....maybe to keep people from pillaging the area?

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    1. Maybe, although if they were marked graves, that would also be interesting historically.

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  4. A very lovely walk but oh dear all that fighting and killing both from war and the slaughter house!
    Peace now.......
    Maggie x

    Nuts in May

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  5. Strange how the British have their citizens buried all over the world. In India, in just about every town of any decent size, you will come across cemeteries that tell interesting stories of whole families.

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    1. That's because Britain (not unlike my own country) has a tendency to run around trying to take over places.

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  6. Wonderful photos and narrative! I really got a keen sense of the rich history!

    Especially enjoyed the second photo down.

    Thanks so much for sharing you trip with us, gir. Really enjoyed it!

    Happy Memorial Day!

    X

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    1. That Tavern is really beautiful, isn't it?

      Enjoyed having you virtually along!

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  7. yay! another great post about your trip. loved seeing the area. I love taking walks like these.

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    1. I don't normally do a day-by-day post, but there was just so much to see on this trip.

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  8. I would love to visit there. I love all the History you shared with me. Enjoyed seeing all the pictures too. It does look peaceful.

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    1. Very peaceful - it would be a great park to have close to you.

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  9. Very nice pictures, I've wanted to go this spot.

    Do you feel some 'sense' of history when you walk in places like this? When I walked with my daughter across the long field at Gettysburg where the Confederate soldiers made Pickett's charge towards Cemetery Ridge I could almost feel them around me.....a flight of intellectual fantasy, I suppose.

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    1. Yes. Any place where I know the history and where there has been an effort made to preserve it. And I'm mixed about it, since so much destruction and death is part of the history.

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  10. I'd also like to thank you for sharing your trip. You saw, and photographed, some truly lovely things. Consider yourself complimented on each and every photo, as I found something to love in each of them.

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    1. You're welcome. And thanks so much for the compliment.

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  11. If you ever get tired of being a psychologist, you could consider photography.

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    1. I fear that would take the joy out of it for me.

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  12. it never lost on me that i've grown up with history on every side of me. after my father died, my Mother took me to Lexington, to a small cemetery tucked behind a parking lot, and in the corner was a small white plaque that said only "mother."

    my grandmother.

    i have enjoyed your trip to massachusetts, the cape, concord, immensely. the only thing about this great post is i wondered about you walking in the woods by yourself. i don't do that anymore.

    xoxoxox
    kj

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    1. Every place I've lived, I've been aware of the rich history around me. Maybe because my parents always took us to historical sites wherever we lived.

      And if I'm alone, I have no choice but to walk on my own. I asked my friend, though, and he said he'd seen lots of women walking on their own. I never felt unsafe at that park.

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  13. Whenever we make our way back to my childhood home in Iowa, we always see old barns and homes that are falling apart. Once, I begged Bing to stop and we got out and explored the house, barn and grounds. We found a private cemetery with one particularly large angel statue keeping and eye on us and VERY carefully walked into the old house. There was a table in the kitchen that must have been lovely once and rotting stairs leading up to a landing that still had a curtain blowing in the window at the base of it. I stood in that house and wondered about who lived there, why they left, etc. The barn contained two horse stalls, a pig sty and what looked like several rabbit hutches. I really, really wondered, especially since none of the grave markers were readable. Someone lived here once, loved this house, this place.

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    1. I have done the very same thing and I can't help but create stories in my head to make sense of why a place has been abandoned.

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  14. Sounds like a nice trip.

    I like long trails as well...though I haven't done this one when up in MA.

    Thanks for a serene roundup.

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    1. I'm happy as a clam wandering along a trail like that.

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  15. For a second there I forgot that a Minute Man isn't just a missile in a silo.

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  16. So much history and human tragedy but it is wonderful that this area remains mostly undeveloped. In a way, it must feel as if there is still a tangible connection with the past.

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    1. I think it was more developed and some of the land was reclaimed. I understand that a restaurant had to be torn down to make way for part of the park.

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  17. Nice pics and narrative. It's hard to imagine daily life back then.

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    1. Thank you. And yes, it is hard to imagine.

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  18. I guess it says "Near here" because they know a soldier is buried but nobody actually marked the spot or the marker somehow disappeared.

    I'm glad I grew up after conscription had ended. I'm sure I would have absolutely hated it.

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    1. The draft was still going on here when I was a kid. I remember wearing one of those POW/MIA bracelets in elementary school.

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  19. Lovely shots, SAW, I felt I was trekking with you! Also the history and the sadness and loss of war, some erased before they ever really lived and loved.
    XO
    WWW

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    1. Thank you. War, no matter the reason, is brutal. I always think about how the losses on either side are devastating for the families of those killed.

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  20. beautiful scenery and i love the history. and honestly, i wouldn't be surprised if the costumed guides DID tell the kids about the family's losses of so many children.

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    1. Maybe so, I didn't actually listen to the lecture.

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