Tuesday, July 13, 2010

1,000 Great Places to Visit in Massachusetts

Massachusetts State House

It was announced today that a special committee in the Massachusetts legislature has compiled a list of 1,000 great places to visit in the state. This list was taken from an original entry of 2,000 places and was approved by Gov. Patrick. Coming from a political entity the list is perhaps more inclusive than one would expect and seems to be geared towards including sites from every city and town in the state. Here is the complete list from the WHDH Channel 7 News website.

The list has quite a number of entries for Colonial and Revolutionary War sites, to include the battlefields of Lexington and Concord, the Longfellow House in Cambridge and many of the historic sites on Boston's Freedom Trail.

There are many more places on the list with not quite as long a history - for instance the original Kelly's Roast Beef on Revere Beach makes the list. I'm glad Kelly's made the list because I have been going there for years - I highly recommend the seafood and roast beef sandwiches.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Freedom Trail Players

"Captain of the Guards"

An article in the Boston Globe regarding local tourist sights has created a small firestorm in the Boston areas Revolutionary War re-enacting community. The article concerns the Freedom Trail Players, a company that for the past few years has specialized in giving walking tours of Boston's famous Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail Players tour guides are noteworthy because the guides wear 18th century clothing and portray Colonial and Revolutionary War figures from the past.

Recently the company has added a small contingent of actors portraying soldiers of the British 10th Regiment of Foot, which was part of the garrison occupying the port of Boston from 1774-1776. Unfortunately, their portrayal of British soldiers belonging to an actual Regiment is to put it mildly, abysmal and is demeaning to the history of that Regiment, the British Army and the important role that Boston played in America's early history.

As a Revolutionary War re-enactor myself, I can easily spot the many errors in the drill, the uniforms and the general appearance of the actors as shown in the short video attached to the article. In fact the actors appear more suited to a "Pirates of the Caribbean" exhibit at Disneyworld than as actual British soldiers of the early Revolutionary War period.

What is really unfortunate in this, is that the tourists coming to Boston who happen to see their staged performances may mistake what they see as a real portrayal of British soldiers from that time period. For many years Revolutionary War re-enactors in this area have worked hard to create historically accurate portrayals of the British soldiers who served in the Boston garrison and fought valiantly at the Battles of Lexington and Concord and at Bunker Hill. "Street theater" of this caliber truly sets back that effort.