by Yasmina Platt
Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2020 issue
During a trip to Boston (to teach a “Rusty Pilots Seminar” for AOPA), I had the chance to travel back in time while visiting the Minute Man National Historical Park (https://www.nps.gov/mima/index.htm), and also stopped at a couple of nearby airports. You all already know it… I love it when I can combine aviation with the National Park System (NPS).
You may remember (possibly from your high school or college history class) hearing about the “Minute Men,” Lexington Green, Concord’s North Bridge, or the Battle Road. All of this is linked to Massachusetts and the start of the American Revolution. On April 19, 1775, nearly 4,000 colonists fought against 700 British soldiers, forcing the British out of the area along the “Battle Road,” from Concord to Boston. The details of the battles, how the militia and Minute Men were formed, how they operated, etc., are interesting.
Following this successful day for the colonists, on July 2 of that year, George Washington took charge of this army. Later, on March 17, 1776, British troops evacuated Boston. In Massachusetts, the fighting was over, but the war for independence had only begun.
The Minute Man National Historical Park preserves sites where colonial militia men and British soldiers clashed on April 19, 1775. They also schedule quite a few reenactments and exhibitions throughout the year.
Laurence G Hanscom Field Airport (KBED) is a very convenient airport to fly into to visit the park. The airport is so close, it might as well be part of the park. One, can walk/hike, ride a bike, or even jog (for those overachievers out there!) from any of the fixed base operators (FBOs). You could also consider taking one of the FBO courtesy cars and drive over or request a rideshare.
The park has a number of trails. You can walk from one end of it to the other, using trails, while taking in all that history has to offer: battle sites, agricultural fields, colonial homes and taverns, forests, fragile wetlands, and historic landmarks. Portions of the trails are on Battle Road where the British column marched; other sections follow stone walls and farm lanes traversed by the colonists.
One of those taverns you can visit is “Hartwell Tavern.” Once home to the Hartwell family, this setting evokes the story of families who lived along Battle Road on April 19, 1775.
I also particularly enjoyed seeing Samuel Hartwell’s old house near the tavern. It was cool to see its ruins, with the middle chimney structure still in great shape.
And, if hiking is not “your thing” or you’re short on time, you can always take one of the Liberty Ride Trolley Tours.
By this point, both you and your plane are probably hungry. My suggestion is to make a quick flight over to Minute Man Air Field (6B6) for gas and a wonderful meal at Nancy’s Air Field Café. This restaurant is not your typical “$100 hamburger-type” joint. The concept is much more gourmet – farm to table – so, as such, some of their menu items are seasonal! You can get a burger (heck, you can even get a lamb burger!), if you want, but they also offer much more elaborate platters.
For additional information and more photos, visit www.airtrails.weebly.com. Go exercise your freedom to fly! Fly safe and fly often!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Yasmina Platt has been with the international airport planning and development consulting firm AECOM since 2016. She also writes an aviation travel blog called “Air Trails” (www.airtrails.weebly.com), in addition to articles on pilot destinations for Midwest Flyer Magazine. Pilots can locate articles Yasmina has written by going to www.MidwestFlyer.com and typing in her name in the search box.