Patriot’s Day is commemorated in Massachusetts, Maine, Wisconsin and even as far away as Florida but if there’s one place you should be on the third Monday of April, it is without a doubt the city of Boston. Although the most iconic events of Patriot’s Day take place in several different locations around New England, picking up a car rental in Boston
will set you up in a central location and allow you to experience the very best of this colorful day.
Patriot’s Day has been a public holiday in Massachusetts since 1894, a day to commemorate the Battles of Lexington and Concord where the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired. The city of Boston was central to the events surrounding the Revolutionary War, with many momentous historical incidents taking place in and around city - a fact that the city’s residents certainly haven’t forgotten and which is particularly evident on Patriot’s Day. After all, that’s what Patriot’s Day is really about - connecting with American history in a compelling and vibrant way so we continue to remember the sacrifices that were made to create this great nation.
One way that history is vividly brought to life over the Patriot’s Day long weekend is through a series of reenactments. It’s one thing to read about the events that sparked a revolution and dramatically changed the course of history but it’s quite another to see those events play out before your eyes. The attention to detail and historical accuracy of these reenactments is very impressive and undoubtedly adds to the immersion. Though various historical reenactments take place over the weekend, things really take off on Monday, the official Patriot’s Day holiday. Be sure to get a good sleep the night before, because the ‘Battle on Lexington Green’ (a recreation of the skirmish that resulted in “the shot heard round the world”) starts around 5:30 am - thankfully an hour later than the actual event, but still pretty early. Another highlight of the day’s reenactments is the ride of Paul Revere, which kicks off at the more civilized hour of 9:30 am from Hanover Street in the North End of Boston, and progresses around the surrounding country, warning of the approach of British forces.
The Red Sox
Not every Patriot’s Day celebration has to have deep historical significance of course. One much loved Patriot’s Day tradition is enjoying a home game for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have played at Fenway Park on Patriot’s Day almost every year since 1959 with only a handful of exceptions, mostly due to weather. Morning games are an extremely rare occurrence when it comes to major league baseball but the Red Sox have a proud tradition of Patriot’s Day morning games that stretches back to 1903 when the team (at that time referred to as the Americans) defeated the Philadelphia
A’s. Attending the Red Sox morning game puts you right in the middle of this longstanding tradition and will give you enough time to catch the end of the Boston Marathon when the game is done.
The Boston Marathon
Speaking of the Boston Marathon: this is by far the biggest and oldest Patriot’s Day celebration. Attracting just 18 competitors in its inaugural 1897 race, the event has grown dramatically to become New England’s most viewed sporting event with around 30,000 participants each year. The Boston Marathon was originally created to mark the new Patriot’s Day holiday - the choice of a marathon race to mark the date is significant due to the link between the American and ancient Athenian struggles for freedom; today’s marathon takes its name and distance from the legendary run of a Greek messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, to declare Athenian victory. If you have the opportunity, make sure you catch at least a portion of this amazing event. Just being a spectator will give you the chance to be right in the midst of a truly electric atmosphere, especially if you can secure a spot near the finish line.
If you have a little more time than just the long weekend, a Boston car rental will allow you explore a little further. Washington DC
is just an hour and a half south of Boston for those who are keen to delve even further into American history, while a tour around New England provides an idyllic retreat for travelers wishing to unwind. And of course, New York
itself is virtually on your doorstep! Remember to book early
though, as there will be many people traveling in the time around Patriot’s Day.