In My Footsteps
Trip 50: Revere, Mass.
May 20, 2010
A beautiful beach and good food, they are what makes warm summer days memorable. When the beach is the country’s oldest public beach and the food comes from an immensely popular institution it makes the trip an all-time classic. That is what I had hoped for when I journeyed just out of the shadow of Boston and into Revere. The beginning of the North Shore, Revere is not quite the same as the towns further away from the city, but it fits right in none the less.
My journey in Revere began as many of my trips do, at the Town or City Hall(right). My GPS designates town halls as the ‘center’ of any town and that is where it leads me. The first inhabitants of Revere were Native Americans of the Pawtucket Tribe, known as the Rumney Marsh Indians. Originally known as North Chelsea, the town took its current name from the legendary Patriot Paul Revere in 1871. Though definitely not as large as Boston when I walked along the sidewalks of Revere I could feel the city just waiting to bust out. It was a feeling that is hard to describe, you would have to be there and you would understand.
Keeping with the theme of the first inhabitants of Revere I paid a visit to the Rumney Marsh Burying Ground(right) on Butler Street. The land was originally owned by Samuel Cole as part of his farm until 1654. Eventually the land was accepted as a burial ground by vote of the townspeople although the first recorded burial took place in 1693. The grounds include graves of original inhabitants of Revere, veterans of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War. The last recorded burial in the Rumney Marsh Burial Grounds took place in 1929; a Mr. Lewis Bullard, born in 1837. The grounds itself have a sort of quiet serenity befitting such a sacred area. The trees give shade to nearly all of the graves and it does not seem out of place at all in the residential neighborhood in which it lies.
Revere is also home to the Wonderland Dog Track. Opened in 1935, this attraction now only offers simulcast of races due to a ban on dog racing in Massachusetts as of the first of this year. There has been talk of partnering with the neighboring Suffolk Downs horse track to build a casino on the site. I did not stop in to gamble but I did notice quite a few who did during the time I was in the area. However, this spot was only a temporary stop on my way to the main attraction of this town.
Revere Beach(left), the country’s oldest public beach, is known throughout the state and New England region to say the least. First established in 1896, this stretch of sand has some incredible views of the neighboring North Shore communities. Weighing in at about three miles in length, Revere Beach is a seemingly endless sandy escape from the hustle of Boston’s city life. Still, even with the incredible size of the beach it is very easy for it to get crowded in the summer with the shear volume of folks who come to relax and enjoy the sun.
I had a personal reason attached to my enjoyment of this landmark area as well. My grandmother, on my mother’s side, was born in a house along Revere Beach more than eighty years ago. I had a desire to find this house and document it for her but sadly with three miles of structures facing the beach it was next to impossible to find the exact one; especially since my grandmother was not sure where it was located. This did not dampen my trip one bit as looking for the house did give me the chance to see the entirety of Revere Beach by default.
Although I did not find my grandmother’s birth house I was able to find and enjoy another local landmark situated on Revere Beach. Kelly’s Roast Beef(right), established in 1951, is the originator of the roast beef sandwich. It is amazing to me to think that before Kelly’s nobody had thought of making and selling such a sandwich. The location on Revere Beach is the original with its walkup service window still in operation. There are five other locations as well all located not too far from Boston. People come from far and wide to experience this staple of the North Shore; I am a perfect example. The fine folks working there did not seem the least bit surprised when I told them I had come nearly a hundred miles to try their roast beef.
Of course I had the Original Roast Beef sandwich with some fries. Sitting on the beach and eating Kelly’s was a perfect way to wrap up my time in Revere. Even on this day, well before Memorial Day, the beach was teeming with people, young and old, out to enjoy a beautiful spring day.
Though sitting in the shadow of Boston’s skyline, Revere is a different animal all together. It has areas that look and feel like a city, but then it also has areas filled with historic homes. It is filled with a bustling center much like Boston, and then you head toward the water and are face to face with one of the most famous beaches in the country. It can be said that Revere is a great mix of city and seaside; a great starting point for the North Shore. Come and see Revere Beach and stay for a great meal at Kelly’s Roast Beef, I highly recommend it. Have fun and happy traveling!
Directions: Rumney Marsh Burying Ground: From Rt. 3 heading north take Exit 20B to merge onto I-93, take Exit 20 toward Logan Airport. Merge onto I-90 E, continue onto Rt. 1A north, take a slight left at Rt. 60 West. Take left at first cross street for Rt. 1A south, continue onto Beach St., turn left at Harris St., take 2nd right onto Butler St. Burying Ground is on the left.
Revere Beach/Kelly’s Roast Beef: From Rt. 3 heading north take Exit 20B to merge onto I-93, take Exit 20 toward Logan Airport. Merge onto I-90 E, continue onto Rt. 1A north, take 2nd exit at rotary for N Shore Rd. Turn right at Oak Island St., turn left at Revere Beach Blvd. Kelly’s Roast Beef is at 410 Revere Beach Blvd.
References: Kelly's Roast Beef