J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

This Week in the North End

Patriots Day is a busy time in the North End of Boston, where Paul Revere’s journey on 18-19 Apr 1775 began, as well as out here in Middlesex County, where it ended.

A new addition to the North End is Captain Jackson’s Colonial Chocolate Shop, in the Clough House on Unity Street. This shop explains the role of chocolate in the eighteenth century. It’s named after Newark Jackson, a chocolate maker who was part of the Old North Church’s congregation (his family owned pew 13 before James Smithwick). The enterprise is sponsored by Old North, the Freedom Trail Foundation, and Mars Chocolate North America. See more of the shop’s opening at North End Waterfront.

In the same building, the Print Shop of Edes & Gill is opening for the season this weekend. Stop in to see Gary Gregory demonstrate how type was set and engravings printed. Printers were a vital part of the American Revolutionary movement—probably even more vital than chocolate, though I wouldn’t want to have to choose between them. Both shops will be open on weekends only until mid-June, then most of the week through October.

Nearby is the venerable Paul Revere House, with a full schedule for both tourists and families enjoying the spring school vacation. Its events include:

  • Paul Revere Pottery Hands-on Activity, Saturday, 13 April, 1:00-3:00. In the early 1900s, immigrant girls decorated tiles, plates, and bowls in a pottery named for Revere. Clay artist Anne Bowen, who reproduces these pieces, invites visitors of all ages to try that work.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Sunday, 14 April, 1:00-4:00. Longfellow himself (portrayed by literary historian Rob Velella) helps visitors young and old learn how to read and understand poetry better. At 1:00 and 3:30, he will present “Paul Revere’s Ride” and his reasons for writing it.
  • From North Square to Old North Church: A Paul Revere Walking Tour, Tuesday, 16 April and Thursday, 18 April, 2:00-3:30. A new guided walking tour of North End sites related to Revere, ending with a visit to the church’s bell-ringing chamber and the story of the Midnight Ride. Recommended for families with children in grades 5-8. Reservations required through 617-523-2338. $10 for adults, $6 children aged 5-17. A self-guided visit to the Revere House is included.
  • Midnight Ride Storytelling Program, Wednesday, 17 April, 2:00-3:30, and Friday, April 19, 10:30-12:00. Find out what really happened on Paul Revere’s ride! Separate facts from myths, then retrace Revere’s route from his home to the banks of the Charles River. Participants don hats and carry props as they go, taking on the roles of Paul and Rachel Revere, their children, British soldiers, rowers, John Hancock, and Samuel Adams. Particularly appropriate for kids in grades K-4. Reservations required through 617-523-2338. $4.50 for each adult and child age 5 and up.
  • Patriot Fife and Drum, Saturday, 20 April, 1:00-3:00. A lively concert of music that accompanied colonists as they marched, danced, wooed, and waged war. David Vose and Sue Walko provide insight into each selection they perform.
Visit the Paul Revere House website for a preview of its May events on spinning, gilding, basket-weaving, and Revolutionary War medicine.

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