Embarking on a trip to one of the largest cities in the United States can be explained in one word – terrifying.

Now make that into a historically educational trip, double terrifying, especially for a student who has never really paid attention in a history class. I was more excited to see the beautiful city of New York and Boston rather than the historical aspect of the trip. However, with everything planned, my opinion quickly changed.

With all the events scheduled, each student reported on the corresponding sight to add a more educational aspect to the trip. Although I didn’t want to do homework for the trip, I’m beyond grateful that I did. I’m almost positive I learned more on this trip from my peers and tour guides than I’ve ever learned in a classroom. And I found myself engaged and enjoying it as well. 

Planning a historical trip with so many stops is utterly mind-boggling. As to how one accomplishes it–let alone for 56 people-is beyond me, which is why I want to thank Julie Jackson for making this trip possible. She is a very talented lady who planned every aspect of the trip.

I give her props for handling our crazy group, especially since she was forced to solve problems we didn’t know would happen; saving the group of ladies who got lost in the baggage claim at the airport, a phone that was left in security at One World Trade, and a fellow student who happened to cut his foot on a clam while spontaneously running into the Atlantic in his underwear. 

Throughout the trip, we hit several stops with historical value, with a new and exciting history lesson taught at each stop, which started at the Statue of Liberty. We learned of the many hours workers put in, what it took to get the statue where it is today, and the original torch and moldings.

We were also able to witness many original buildings. Many dated back to the 1700s, including St. Patricks’ Cathedral, the Gershwin Theatre, where we watched the Broadway play “Wicked,” Old Sturbridge Village, the Old North Church and many more. Being able to touch and walk on the same grounds used to shape our country today is an unbelievable feeling I will never forget.

Still, nothing compares to the feeling I got when visiting One World Trade and the 911 Memorial. I’ve always heard the feelings people get when visiting the memorial, however, I will never be able to express everything I felt. The white roses placed in the names of whose birthday would’ve been that day, the number of names on the memorial, and the animals that tried their hardest to help save lives, brought on something I can’t explain. An out-of-body feeling is the best way to describe it, which made the sight of World Trade so much better.

Being where you could feel and see forever, hear the historical stories – there’s nothing like it. We went on to explore New York’s most well known staple, Times Square, which was the most terrifying yet thrilling experience.

Although it didn’t have a lot of “revolutionary” historical value, it did pose a vast majority of modern history, including Marilyn Monroe, Radio City Hall, Rockefeller Center, and the ball that drops every year on New Year’s Eve.

To end our time in New York, we took a walk in beautiful Central Park with all the changing colors, happy families and many fun activities going on.

With our time well spent in New York, we made way to a much less crowded city – Boston. We walked through Old Sturbridge Village, embarked on a walking tour of the “Freedom Trail,” which showcased the life of Crispus Attucks and the many wonders along the way.

We saw the Old House Church, where Paul Revere hung lanterns, the State House, Old Granary Burial Grounds, Park Street Church, King’s Chapel and Burying Ground, Old South Meeting House, Boston Massacre Site and ended at Faneuil Hall where the Sons of Liberty declared their dissent against the Royal Crown.

We had the pleasure of finishing our trip at Walden Pond, where we were able to wander around and admire the scenery of the fall colors, colors unlike any other place I’ve seen.

Along with participating in everything majorly historical, there was much more jam-packed in between. For the duration of this trip, I’d done quite the opposite of what I thought was going to happen. I learned and gained unlikely friendships, had odd conversations with the tour guides, and ended the trip with a newfound admiration for history.

If anyone gets the chance, I say take it. Opportunities like this only happen every once in a while, and this is one I’m glad I didn’t miss.