The New Freedom’s Way App: An In-Depth Look

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Have you wanted to explore parts of the Merrimack Valley and the surrounding area in a new way? Travel along the Freedom’s Way National Heritage! 

With over 40 communities stretching across 914 square miles, it might seem impossible to see it all. Especially if you’re unsure of how to put together an itinerary or how to find new places in the area other than the 17 national landmarks you already know about. This is when the Freedom’s Way App becomes the perfect application to download on your smartphone. 

As stated on their website, the Freedom’s Way Heritage Association “serves as facilitator, host, and guide for heritage area-wide presentations, activities, and initiatives that recognize and preserve the unique identity of the region.” They are committed to promoting, preserving, enhancing, and curating the natural, cultural, and historical resources that define this area. 

Available free of charge on Apple iOS and Android devices, the app features places to go, things to do, and thematic itineraries in Massachusetts and New Hampshire within 65 miles of Boston. Plan the perfect vacation, trip, or weekend getaway in the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area! 

Download the App

Once you’ve downloaded the app, the dashboard interface is shockingly easy to navigate. Unlike many apps on the market, this one makes it easy to see all the options in front of you without unnecessary wordiness or jargon. 

Featured Section

The featured section makes it so easy to simply click and find a new spot throughout the trail and the greater Merrimack Valley. With about 10 featured locations, it makes it easy to see where to head to next. 

For example, the Concord Museum is currently the first option when you open the featured section. With a few taps, you can add the Concord Museum to your itinerary or even like it so you can return to it later and decide if you’ll add it to the My Plan section. 

You can also access Google maps via the Freedom’s Way app itself to get directions to each location and literally map out your entire visit. But we’ll talk more about that in a moment. 

Places To Go Section

Now this is the treasure trove of a section for folks looking to take a day trip, but are unsure of where to drive to next. It might seem overwhelming at first because almost every place on the trail is listed as a place to go, but with convenient filters, you’ll be able to condense the list down and decide to add it to your plans. 

In the upper left corner is the region option. Under this filter is the list of regions you can choose from:

  • Battle Road Scenic Byway
  • Minute Man NHO
  • Greater Boston CVB
  • Greater Merrimack Valley CVB
  • Merrimack Valley, NH
  • MetroWest Tourism and Visitors Bureau
  • Monadnock Region
  • North Central Massachusetts

Then in the center is the order menu which lets you organize the places to go section based on alphabetical order, what’s nearby (if your device’s GPS location is on), and if you’d like to reset everything so no filters are selected. 

Finally in the upper right corner is the Filter menu where you can decide to only see locations that are: family friendly, visitor centers, farms, historic sites, historical societies, libraries, museums, parks, public art, and trails. Who knew there were so many options? 

You can also decide to view all of the places to go (or what you filtered) in a list form or as a map. The map is very convenient if you’d like to see exactly what you’re closest to. 

Once I’ve selected a few filters such as Great Merrimack Valley and that I’d like to see farms, historical societies, parks, and public art, the list becomes tailored to me perfectly along with the map itself. 

So from this filtered list, let’s say I press the ‘+ Add’ button and add the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum along with the Acton to My Plan section.

Itineraries Section

Now, since I’ve been adding places, you might assume they would be listed under the Itineraries section. They don’t actually and go under the My Plan section instead. What’s in the itineraries section is a list of created itineraries made by Freedom’s Way such as:

  • Women’s History with 38 stops
  • National Historic Landmarks with 17 stops
  • Revolutionary War 101 with 53 stops
  • Gardens with 13 stops
  • Farmers Markets with 60 stops

So many places to visit! You could add the entire itinerary to your list, or go through each one individually to like the locations so you can make another day trip plan later. 

But let’s say we have a very open schedule this weekend and decide to visit all 13 stops on the Garden itinerary. Instead of adding each one individually you can actually add the entire list of stops to your list. 

Food+Drink and Places to Stay Sections

Sometimes traveling is all about trying the local restaurants and diners. Food always seems to taste better when eaten on a restaurant patio with a cool, summer breeze drifting past. So having a larger itinerary full of stops should also leave you feeling full too. You can add these places to your plan directly, or you could wait until the hunger strikes during the trip. That’s when you can use the nearby function and your GPS location to find the closest delicious place.  

You can filter down the selections to find local and nearby:

  • Breweries and Cideries
  • Coffee Shops
  • Farm Stores
  • Restaurants
  • Wineries

And to really make this a weekend getaway full of fun and adventure, you can check out the Stay Section of the app to find a cozy inn or bed and breakfast for an overnight stay

My Plan Section

We’ve mentioned and talked a lot about plans and the My Plans section. So far through this post we’ve taken a look through just a few of the sections available in the app that will help you get started and plan your next trip. 

Now the current plan so far is 15 stops and almost 7 hours long! That’s completely doable, but let’s say we were aiming to only take a 2 hour trip and this current plan is a bit too ambitious. 

That’s okay! You don’t have to start over, instead you can remove some of the places you’ve added to the list to make a more cohesive plan. 

You can also add a starting point location to the plan to make it easier for you to map out the day even before you activate your GPS location on your smartphone. 

Since we’re concentrating on the Greater Merrimack Valley today while using the app, we’ll click through and reduce the number of stops from 15 to 11 stops which reduces the time of the plan overall. Depending on how much time you plan to spend in each location will change the length of the overall trip, but driving time is estimated to be 2 hours and 11 minutes. 

From there you can also rearrange the locations through the list or the map so you won’t be overlapping or passing places on the list before driving back to visit them. Talk about a waste of gas unless you’re into that sort of thing. 

The Freedom’s Way app makes it so easy to create a plan that’s flexible, and can be adjusted easily if there’s a change of plans. After all this is your plan and the My Plan section can be tailored to exactly what you need for your next trip. 

Start Plan

Since the Freedom’s Way app has Google maps built in, you can click on Start Plan and begin to navigate your journey through the heritage trail with ease. No switching apps needed. 

Also, if you are the type of driver who would rather have someone read the directions out to you. That option is also available in the app and whoever is in the car with you can access your plan easily. 

Before starting the car and making your way to your first destination, you’ll want to go to the My Plan section, click on the arrow in the upper right corner. This arrow icon is to share the plan with someone through a text message app or even to save the direct link and share it. 

From there they can read it to you and help make the journey go even smoother. 

Final Thoughts

While planning a trip can sometimes be difficult to do, the Freedom’s Way app makes it even easier to explore parts of the Great Merrimack Valley and all the places included on the Freedom’s Way Heritage Trail. 

Head to the Concord Museum or pick a pre-created itinerary and spend the day looking in awe at National Historic Landmarks. The possibilities are endless with the Freedom’s Way app. 

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