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With an intertwined past that dates back more than 200 years, the USS Constitution and the Charlestown Navy Yard offer Boston-area visitors a chance to step aboard a storied U.S. sailing warship and explore the yard where she, as well as hundreds of other vessels, was serviced.
The gathering on the Charlestown waterfront is no ordinary birthday party. For one thing, the guest of honor is turning 208, and she has been decked out with signal flags to mark the occasion. Along with cake, the refreshments include a wooden cask containing a steaming modern version of grog, a mix of rum, water, citrus juices, and spices.
The party is for the frigate USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. She was launched in Boston on 21 October 1797, and now makes her home at the former navy yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts, just across the mouth of the Charles River from the spot where she first slipped down the ways.