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Massachusetts has many unique events and ceremonies, but there’s nothing quite like Patriots’ Day.
Since the opening shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in 1775, the Commonwealth has held a special place in U.S history, a role honored each year on the third Monday of April. The weekend is now just around the corner, as are as the various reenactments and the activities that come along with them.
What do this year’s festivities hold in store? Let’s take a look.
To experience the American Revolution in the cradle of U.S. history, head over to Lexington and Concord for a weekend filled with all kinds of commemorative events.
On Patriots’ Day itself, early risers can rouse themselves at 5:30 a.m. to witness the annual reenactment of the Battle of Lexington at the Lexington Green, where members of the Lexington Minute Men Company and His Majesty’s Tenth Regiment of Foot recreate the emotions and spirit that existed in the battle back in 1775.
The Sunrise Youth Parade begins at Munroe Cemetery and passes through the Battle Green, starting at 7:30 a.m. The Patriots’ Day Afternoon Parade will begin at 2 p.m. in East Lexington.
Photo: Minuteman Statue in Lexington via MOTT
For those looking to start the day a little bit later, head to the North Bridge in Concord at 8:45 a.m. to view a reenactment of the battle, complete with musket firing! The Concord Parade will reach the bridge around 9:30 a.m., bringing with it more ceremonies and music groups. Visitors and residents should bear in mind that all the roads in the center of town will be closed to vehicles starting at 8:30 a.m.
Later in the day, the 3rd U.S. Infantry, known as “The Old Guard,” will be demonstrating 18th-century battle tactics and musket firing, along with fife and drum music, from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. at the North Bridge.
For folks in the area, a Lexington and Concord trolley tour is a great way to relive history, with sights including the Lexington Battle Green and the Hancock-Clarke House, where Paul Revere and William Dawes warned Samuel Adams and John Hancock of the approaching British troops.
Photo: Concord Museum via MOTT
Fans of history might also want to head over to the Concord Museum and check out The Shot Heard Round the World exhibit, which includes special collection items like Paul Revere’s lantern and William Diamond’s drum that was used to summon the Lexington militia. With museum admission, you’ll also get to attend the museum’s Patriots’ Day celebration from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and enjoy music from the Middlesex County 4H Fife & Drum Corps, participate in patriotic family crafts, visit with re-enactors and listen to a gallery talk. For more info and museum admission rates, click here.
There are many town events in and around Lexington, so for a full list of historical programs and events throughout the weekend, click here. To find more going on in the surrounding area, click here. To enjoy a comfy stay just a few feet from the battleground, opt for a room at The Inn in Hastings Park, a new and delightful boutique luxury inn.
Outside of Lexington and Concord, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Patriots’ Day, too! Walk along the Freedom Trail in Boston, a 2.5-mile route that points out 16 historic sites, and learn more about Boston’s role in the American Revolution. In the heart of the city, the Boston Marathon will get underway at 8:30 a.m.; find everything you need to know about it here.
Photo: Boston Common Freedom Trail via MOTT
West of Boston, Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA will host a Patriots’ Day celebration to entertain adults and children alike. Visitors will be immersed in history, with the opportunity to meet Minutemen and Loyalists in the Sturbridge Militia, hear how differently the two sides saw the Revolution, and learn more about the first-hand experiences of 18th-century battle. The event takes place on April 21st, and is a highlight of the special school vacation week events taking place from April 19 through April 27.
Photo: Old Sturbridge Village Revolutionary War Reenactment via MOTT
A little later on in the week, and a little further to the west, Historic Deerfield will host the Patriots’ Day Revolutionary Muster & Parade. On April 26th, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., spectators are invited to journey into the past with demonstrations of period crafts, activities, music and muster. The historic homes in the area will be open for touring and horse-drawn wagons will let visitors ride through the village, as was the style many years ago. Historic Deerfield guides and cooks will be on hand to dish on open hearth cooking, chocolate’s role in the military, and powder horn carving, among other intriguing subjects.
Photo: Historic Deerfield Cook at Hearth via MOTT
There will also be self-guided “Liberty Walk” tours and family-friendly food available for participants in Historic Deerfield. For tickets and visitor information, check out the website here. There are plenty of places where you can rest your head nearby, too.
For additional information and suggestions on what to check out during the holiday weekend, including museums exhibits, parades and more, click here. For a few spots where you can stay while visiting the various regions of Massachusetts, click here.
How are you planning to spend Patriots’ Day Weekend? Let us know in the comments section below!