Each year, half a million spectators line the streets of 8 consecutive Massachusetts towns to cheer on the 25,000 runners attempting to finish the winding, hilly 26.2 miles that make up the Boston Marathon. Held on Patriots’ Day — a Massachusetts holiday commemorating the beginning of the American Revolution — Boston’s marathon is the oldest and one of the most famous in the world.
But the marathon, in recent years, has obscured some other – much older – Patriots’ Day traditions.
Get a free dose of history this weekend at one of the many battle reenactments and demonstrations going on in the picturesque towns of Lexington and Concord. This Saturday, watch as 300 British and Colonial troops demonstrate the “Bloody Angle Battle.” Or get an up-close look at Parker’s Revenge when the Lexington militia company ambushes a group of British soldiers. Hartwell Tavern and the Captain William Smith House –2 historic sites that have been restored to revolutionary-era glory — will also be free and open to the public this weekend.
But the battles don’t end there. Head out to the ’burbs REALLY early in the morning (around 5:30 a.m.) on Monday to hear the “shot heard ’round the world” on the Lexington Green, then watch as all the minutemen and militias from the area parade around Concord. Paul Revere will also be ending his fabled horseback ride in Lexington around 1 p.m. — he will set off at 10 a.m. from Boston’s North End to warn Samuel Adams and other colonists that “the British are coming!”
Speaking of Samuel Adams … if you’re really not into the whole men-dressing-up-as-revolutionary-war-soldiers-and-pretending-to-fight thing, you can always stop by the Samuel Adams Brewery for a free tour and beer tasting. You might even get to try the special-edition 26.2 Boston Brew, a light beer created to celebrate the 116th running of the Boston Marathon.