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Cheapskate’s Guide to Boston: Fourth of July

By Shawn Musgrave • July 3, 2011 at 10:00 am


Alright, cheapies, July 4th has snuck upon us once again (many happy returns, o’ country) and Boston is a fantastic place to be for Independence Day shenaniganzas. Just like any bank holiday that gets you off work or school, the Fourth can bring a lot of pressure to make the most of it. As ever, The Quad is here.

Last month’s Memorial Day guide to Boston beaches is a great place to start. Bare your all-American pastiness at Revere or Pleasure Bay or while some time away along the Boston Harborwalk. Check particular beaches for grill facilities, which are sure to be in short supply and subject to skirmishes with lobster-faced (but not lobster-backed) U.S.A.-ers.

Monday's forecast calls for a picnic-able Jamaica Pond | Photo by Flickr user rezsox

If you’re looking to capitalize on the (currently forecast) great weather, but would prefer to avoid the Red Sox tramp stamps that will absolutely pack the Boston coast come Monday, consider heading to Jamaica Pond. The 70-some acre pond is pretty easily accessed by T (take the Orange Line to Green Street) or on foot or wheeled transport through the Emerald Necklace. The Courageous Sailing Center will be open for the 4th to rent out rowboats ($10 an hour), and the geese are reasonably pleasant.

Just a few blocks off the Pond will be Jamaica Plain’s Go Local Week hosted by City Feed and Supply (get the Farmer’s Lunch sandwich — it’s a Phoenix Best of Boston favorite for this year). Local vendors such as Taza Chocolate from Somerville, J.P.’s Batch Ice Cream, local soda-laboratory Spindrift and Walpole’s Fancypants Baking Co. will be sampling at City Feed and promoting local consumption. Because it wouldn’t be July 4th without someone talking up buy-American.

The undefeated USS Constitution salutes the nation this Monday | Photo courtesy Official U.S. Naval Imagery

Boston offers history buffs more than their share come Independence Day, and plenty beside standard Freedom Trail fare. Early rising nerds can hear a reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House at 10 AM. The USS Constitution will depart from its Charlestown berth at 11 AM and execute a 21-gun salute near Fort Independence at Castle Island (which will be hosting free tours from noon to 3:30 PM), followed by a 17-gun salute near Coast Guard Station. Old Ironsides will return to the pier by 2 PM and conduct gun drills periodically throughout the afternoon, all free and open to the public.

Boston Harborfest wraps up Monday with a series of free concerts and events on City Hall Plaza. There will be sailing races at Fan Pier in the afternoon, as well as a parallel Cape Verdean Independence Day celebration starting at 2 PM with food, music and dancing.

Last year's fireworks as seen from the Esplanade | Photo by Flickr user jameskm03

The impatient have most likely scrolled down to the main event — the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on the Esplanade Hatch Shell. Now in its 38th year, the Boston fireworks and Pops concert draw thousands upon thousands out to the Charles. Be warned — getting into the Hatch Shell oval is not for the faint of heart. The City opens the wristband line at 9 AM, and God knows every Dick and Sally in the metro area will be out for red,white and blue blood to get prime real estate. The Pops start playing at 8:30 PM with guest performer Michael Chiklis (yes, THAT Michael Chicklis) and begin the 1812 Overture at 9:30. Fireworks kick off at 10:30 PM, with grand finale around 11 PM, just in time for a 10th piece of watermelon and a stampede of sunburned Bostonians to head home and pass out. Happy Fourth!

 




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