Beacon Hill

Walks with Your Dog in Old Boston
Adapted from The Boston Dog Lover's Companion  by JoAnna Downey and Christian Lau

One of Boston's oldest
communities, Beacon Hill is home to the state legislature and many of the city's most illustrious citizens—both past and present. John, Abigail, and Henry Adams, Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John F. Kennedy, and Senator John Kerry are just a few of the notables who have made their homes here. Fiercely protected by its historical preservation societies, Beacon Hill maintains a direct link to a bygone era with cobblestoned streets, gas lamps, and brick brownstones. More dogs live here per square foot than in any other neighborhood in Boston, and locals love the social bonhomie that their canines bring to life on "the Hill."

Urban Walks

Black Heritage Trail
This historic tour through Beacon Hill commemorates the many contributions African-Americans have made to the growth of Beacon Hill, Boston, and the United States.

The tour's highlight is the celebrated Saint-Gaudens bas-relief memorial to Robert Gould Shaw and his 54th Regiment, whose story was depicted in the movie Glory. The route also includes the African Meeting House—the oldest black church in America—and the many majestic homes of Beacon Hill.

Although Fido is not allowed inside the African Meeting House, the rest of the tour is outdoors and he will certainly enjoy the many fire hydrants, lampposts, and other stops in this dog-friendly neighborhood. You can both bone up on a little history and get some exercise while you're at it.

Rangers lead tours on this National Park System trail three times a day on weekends and holidays. Obtain maps and brochures for self-guided walks, and additional information about ranger-led tours, at the Boston National Historic Visitors Center at 15 State Street. The visitors center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; (617) 742-5415.

The Freedom Trail
Both you and your Yankee Doodle dog can discover the roots of the American Revolution on this great free walk. The 2.5-mile self-guided stroll leads you through Boston's oldest neighborhoods. Top billing goes to the State Capitol, the Old State House (not to be confused with the new State House along the Boston Common), the Old North Church, and Paul Revere's House. Along the way you'll also encounter the Granary Burial Yard, Copp's Hill Burying Ground, and the Bunker Hill Monument. The entire route is marked with a painted red line on the sidewalk and streets of Boston.

Chow hound alert! The many aromas of Quincy Market and the Italian restaurants in the North End are sure to entice both human and canine nostrils. Steer clear until mealtime or we won't be held responsible for any digestive trouble you may incur.

The Freedom Trail starts at the visitors center in the Boston Common located near the intersection of Park and Tremont Streets. The booth is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a 90-minute guided tour, call (617) 242-5642 or (617) 242-5689.

The Boston Dog Lover's Companion is available from

Click here to visit Avalon Travel Publishing.

© Article copyright Avalon Travel Publishing. All rights reserved.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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