Check out the red coats.
They will be easy to spot in Boston this month, especially if you are willing to do a little time travel.
Travel back to the 18th century and you can even ask a British Regular, famous for their red coats, what it was like to serve so far from home where everyone seemed to hate them. (Not so much different from today, is it?) Watch the Regulars' Changing of the Guard at the site of their original garrison at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The British garrison was in use almost continuously until the Boston Massacre in 1770, which began as a confrontation between Boston citizens and garrison guards.
We toured Boston's famous Freedom Trail (www.thefreedomtrail.org) with a "British Regular" (actually a history professor at Quincy College named Michael Szkolka). Szkolka says he wants to give us an "objective assessment of history," as we make our way nearly three miles past some of the 15 historical sites on the Freedom Trail. We walk past America's oldest public park, Boston Common, the golden dome of the State House to the Granary Burying Ground where Paul Revere (did you know he had 16 kids?) and John Hancock, among others, are buried and then onto the Paul Revere House and Faneuil Hall.
While you are in the neighborhood, visit the Boston African American Historic Park (www.nps.gov/boaf/), which celebrates its 30th anniversary this fall. It sits just steps from the Freedom Trail. In Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood, there are 15 pre-Civil War structures that relate to the African-American community's fight to free the slaves. The Museum of Afro-American History's African Meeting House (http://www.afroammuseum.org), built in 1806, is the oldest standing African-American church in the United States.
After all that history, you probably are ready for some ice cream and souvenir shopping. Often called the "Cradle of Liberty," Faneuil Hall, built in 1742, was where the Sons of Liberty met and argued against the king. Today, of course, it is a top tourist attraction with shops, restaurants, bars and street entertainment attracting some 18 million visitors every year.
That's what I love about Boston (www.bostonusa.com). You can walk in the footsteps of 18th century soldiers and politicians one minute and watch a 21st century juggler the next all while shopping for Red Sox caps and lobster magnets.
You might even make a new canine friend, if you venture into the historic Fairmont Copley Plaza (www.fairmont.com/copleyplaza). This is where Black Lab Catie Copley holds court in the lobby, always ready to go for a walk or a run with hotel guests. She's a celebrity of sorts with two books to her name -- "Catie Copley" and "Catie Copley's Great Escape."
The hardest part about visiting Boston is figuring out what else you want to do besides walking in all those famous historic footsteps. Tour a college. Boston has the highest concentration of colleges and universities in the world -- 500,000 students and 100 campuses. There are so many colleges here that there is a new "Think Mass" brochure designed specifically for students and families planning college visits here -- request it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tour the New England Aquarium (www.neaq.org) where everyone loves the penguins or stop by the family art carts at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (www.mfa.org). Go to a baseball game or take a tour of Fenway Park (boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/ballpark/index.jsp).
Hop on and off the distinctive trolleys (www.bostonupperdecktrolleytours.com) that make a circuit around the city's top sites -- from Copley Square, across the street from the country's first public library, to the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat, affectionately nicknamed Old Ironsides during the War of 1812, to Harvard Yard.
Ride the swan boats in Boston Common or let the kids jump on the statues of Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings in the Boston Public Garden, made famous in Robert McCloskey's 1941 classic "Make Way for Ducklings."
Another lobster roll, please!