If you walk the Freedom Trail in Boston, you will eventually land at the old shipyard of the city. Not only is this THE spot to take this perfect shot of Boston (the downtown is well visible across Charles River), but it is also where is one of the most popular sites of the city, the USS Constitution.
On my first visit to Boston five years ago, I walked up to the USS Constitution, but I did not visit it. There were a lot of tourists waiting their turn to get on it, and I decided that I did not really want to wait in line. This time, there were few tourists, so I thought maybe this was the perfect time to visit this historic site.
The USS Constitution is the oldest warship in the United States still afloat. Launched in 1797, the war frigate was named in honor of the American constitution by George Washington himself. It was used during the Battle of Tripoli, the War of 1812 and the American Civil War before being removed from active service in 1880. The frigate became a museum in 1907 and is now docked in the old shipyard of Boston, the city where it was built.
To visit the USS Constitution is to take a plunge into history. The ship was restored a few times during the 20th century, allowing it to stay afloat and to give it back the appearance it had two hundred years ago. It is not difficult to imagine how life on a ship like this could look like at that time. Cannons, hammocks, narrow stairs, rudder, everything is there.
And the really interesting thing is that the USS Constitution still has a crew and a captain, all members of the US Navy. And when the ship is not at sea for a special occasion, it is the members of the US Navy who guide visitors and answer questions about its history and operation.
But the old shipyard is home to more than the USS Constitution. On the other side of the long wharf, there is moored another warship: the USS Cassin Young. The USS Cassin Young is more recent than its famous neighbor (it was built in 1943), but since it experienced the Second World War and the Korean War, it is not to be neglected (especially since there is a lot less visitors there).
It is especially interesting to be able to compare the two ships and see how the naval war has evolved over the centuries (you won’t find old cannons on the USS Cassin Young, but rather gun turrets and gigantic shells!).
I’m not really fond of boats (in fact, I do not know anything about them), but I enjoyed the experience and I would probably have stayed longer if it was not for the fact that I had a plane to take.
And the other big advantage: the visit to both ships is free (but you have to go through a security check).