Battle of Lexington Re-enactment

One unusual state holiday in Massachusetts is Patriots’ Day, which celebrates the first battle of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775. It’s related to the events of Paul Revere’s ride, and the battles of Lexington and Concord. Naturally, they have a number of events commemorating the day, including lighting the tower of the Old North Church, somebody riding a horse at midnight along Paul Revere’s route, and battle re-enactments in costume.

The most famous event of that day is not directly related to that history – the Boston Marathon has 25,000 runners and half a million spectators along the route. But it works well on that day too.

We moved to the Boston area 2 years ago, but with covid restrictions, the year 2022 is the first time in 3 years that Lexington has had mostly-normal versions of the day’s events. The Battle of Lexington is one of those events, and Jeremy decided to go see it last week. It was quite interesting to see

Where: Lexington, MA Battle Green in the town center

When: 5:30am on Patriots’ Day (get there somewhat earlier, though!)

Note the time. The event’s main downside is that it’s at 5:30am. The early time seems to be partly for historical accuracy, but also for crowd control. Even at that hour, there was a large crowd surrounding the Battle Green (thousands?). I arrived there at maybe 5:10am, and I wouldn’t have been able to see so much if I weren’t somewhat tall.

Be aware too: early morning in April in Boston isn’t particularly warm – dress warmly, maybe bring a thermos of coffee or cocoa, be prepared for a lot of waiting and standing. That said, enjoy the time and atmosphere!

In any case, I arrived in the early morning for the event, and at 5:30am, they rang the bell outside the Belfry Tower. The actual battle was definitely not a victory for the colonists – the announcer spend some time giving background. Particularly, Paul Revere had ridden through the night to alert the local militia, and at Lexington, the British troops encountered the colonists.

The reenactment started with the colonists retrieving a chest full of secret information from their meeting point at the Buckman Tavern, next to the Battle Green. Soon enough, the militia and the British Troops faced each other, which the British ordering them to disarm, while the militia leaders deciding stand their ground but not fire.

Nobody knows who fired the first shot in 1775, but after that, the battle started:

They had people in period costume tend the wounded, while the British went in formation and marched on towards Concord.

By about 6:15am the event was over, and the crowd started walking off in different directions.

There would be other related events later in the day. And we did also go observe the Boston marathon later that morning. Given the crowds and cold, it might not be an event that I’d necessarily go to year-after-year, but it’s definitely worthwhile to see once if you’re in the area on that day!

Keep reading our travel blog to find more activities in Lexington, Concord, Greater Boston, or New England!

Here are some more travel ideas in the Greater Boston area:

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