Just off Rt 62 is an area that is set aside as conservation land for migrating waterfowl. You can easily walk to it from the North bridge, if you know the way, but it is probably best reached by car or canoe.
There are actually separate areas that make up Great Meadows, the larger is about 10 miles away in Sudbury.
Open from sunrise to sunset.
It's the real house and it has been converted into a museum of sorts. Famous authors and philosophers Nathaniel Hawthorne & Ralph Waldo Emerson, the author of Nature, a pivotal book in American literature lived here and it is literally a stone throws away from the side of the North Bridge when the British troop were 'stopped'.
The Alcott's were frequent visitors to the house.
Open mid-April through October 31 Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays and holidays 12 noon to 5 p.m. Guided tours. Museum shop. There is an admission fee.
The Old North Bridge stretches across the Concord River and it marks the spot where, on April 19, 1775, the Concord minutemen met with the British troops for the first time. The minutemen were in fact a group of untrained farmers who were ready to fight against the Bristish. As Ralph Waldo Emerson described it in his "Concord Hymn", as the British troops advanced towards the bridge, the farmers "fired the shot heard round the world."
Just like that, the American Revolutionary War had begun.
The North Bridge is now part of the Minute Man National Historic Park and it is a very popular tourist destination - school groups and history buffs gather around Daniel Chester French's Minute Man statue to take pictures, and people dressed up as minutemen and British soldiers are usually around to give some information and answer your questions. Just a short walk away from the bridge you'll find the North Bridge Visitor Center, where you can get more information about Minute Man Park tours and activities.
Sleepy Hollow is the largest cemetery in Concord. It was designed in 1855 and is mostly famous because of a section called "Author's Ridge", in which all of Concord's famous writers have been buried. Henry David Thoreau (1862), Nathaniel Hawthorne (1864), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1882), Bronson and Louisa May Alcott (1888 - both were buried on the same day), and Margaret Sidney (1924) are all buried within a few feet of each others. The family plot of the Alcotts is especially nice to see, since the four Alcott sisters - whom many have come to see as the four Little Women - are all buried next to each other.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is open year-round, from 7:00 am until sunset. Admission is free, and there is a map near the entry on which you can easily locate Author's Ridge. You can drive right up to it and there's a small parking spot at the bottom of the hill.
From July 1845 to September 1847, Henry David Thoreau lived in a small cabin he built himself on a remote spot near Walden Pond. He wrote that he decided to try this experiment because he "wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life". For 2 years, 2 months and 2 days, he lived in relative isolation (but he did have some friends over and he also visited Concord quite frequently) and tried to live off the land as much as possible. He believed that by removing himself from society, he would be able to gain a better understanding of it, and he also wanted to explore the concept of self-reliance. He spent a lot of time writing in his diary, recording his thoughts and experiences as he went through this process, and he would later use this material for his book "Walden; or Life in the Woods".
The Walden Pond State Reservation was created so that future generations could see Walden Pond the way it was when Thoreau lived there. There's a small beach, and swimming, fishing and canoeing are allowed. There's also a nice hiking trail that goes all around the pond, eventually leading to the spot where Thoreau's cabin used to be (the exact spot was discovered in 1945 when an amateur archeologist succeeded in finding the foundations of the cabin's chimney). A replica of the cabin can also be seen near the parking lot.
The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset. Admission is free, but parking costs $5.
This house was built in 1770 as a parsonage for Rev. William Emerson, the grand-father of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who had chosen this remote location because he wished to live in a quiet and peaceful environment - little did he know that the American Revolutionary War would start in his backyard about 5 years later! His grandson Ralph Waldo Emerson lived there shortly and there he began working on "Nature", one of his most famous essays. He's also the one who arranged for his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne to rent the house when he moved to Concord after getting married. Another Concord writer and friend, Henry David Thoreau, created a garden in front of the house as a present to the newlyweds, and this garden still exists today. Hawthorne spent 3 years at the Old Manse, writing "Mosses from an Old Manse", a collection of short stories, while his wife Sophia also left her mark, etching a few quotes ("Man's accidents are God's purposes" and "The smallest twig leans clear against the sky") on some of the house's window panes with the diamond of her wedding ring (some might say she wasn't a very good tenant!).
The Old Manse is open to visitors from mid-April to October, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm every day. Tours run every 30 minutes and last about 45 minutes. Admission: $8.
Orchard House was the home of the Alcott family from 1858 to 1877. At that point, having reconciled herself with the idea that her father's unconventional ideas and unsuccessful ventures meant that she would have to become the family's sole provider, Alcott began working on her semi-autobiographical novel "Little Women", which was published in 1868. The "shelf desk" on which she wrote her novel can still be seen in what used to be Louisa's bedroom. Also of interest in the house are the many drawings by May, the family's artist and inspiration for the character of Amy in "Little Women"; the family having very little money, May took it upon herself to decorate the house by drawing on the bedrooms' walls, and many of the portraits she painted later are also on display throughout the house.
Anyone who has read "Little Women" will love touring around Orchard House - the tour guides obviously know a lot about the Alcott family and I've got a feeling they have read "Little Women" more than once! It is open year-round and the tours last about 45 minutes (guided tours only - you can stop by the tourist info center to find out more about tour hours). Admission: $9.
Three very popular American novelists have lived in this house: Louisa May Alcott, author of "Little Women", Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of "The House of Seven Gables" and "The Scarlet Letter", and Margaret Sidney, creator of the "Five Little Peppers" children stories.
The first literary family to have lived there was that of Amos Bronson Alcott, from 1845 to 1852. His daughter Louisa May Alcott spent most of her teenage years at the Wayside along with her three sisters, and many of the scenes depicted in her beloved novel "Little Women" were inspired by real-life events that took place in this house. I thought that one of the most interesting features of the tour was when our guide described scenes from the novel and showed us how they could effectively have taken place in the very room in which we were standing. It became very easy to imagine how Louisa and her sisters Anna, Elizabeth and May might have respectively become Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March :o)
In 1852, Alcott sold the house to Nathaniel Hawthorne who moved in with his wife and three children. Although he actually spent more time in England than in Concord during that period, Hawthorne made some substantial changes to the house, including the addition of a tower at the back of the house. He had fallen in love with the new "italianate" style of architecture while in Europe, but the American contractor he hired had obviously never heard of such a thing and the result was rather pitiful. Hawthorne himself said that he had frankly succeeded in transforming "a simple and small old farm-house into the absurdest anomaly you ever saw"! He would nevertheless live there until his death in 1864.
In 1883, Daniel and Harriett Lothrop (better known under her pen name of Margaret Sidney), who were both great admirers of Hawthorne, bought the house as soon as it came up on the market. They did their best to preserve it exactly as it was during Hawthorne's days, even buying some of the furniture that had belonged to the Hawthorne family. Their daughter Margaret eventually sold the house to the Minute Man National Historical Park, so that it could be transformed into a museum.
The Wayside is open to vistors from May to October. The guided tours last about 45 minutes and are really interesting - you'll learn a lot about the three literary families who have lived there (you can stop by the tourist info center to find out about tour hours). Admission: $5.
On our information-packed trip through history, we took a "minute" to visit Minute Man Park in Concord.
Here you find the Minute Man Statue and the place where there was the "shot heard 'round the world" and the bridge where the first skirmishes took place. The first battle of the revolutionary war was really small skirmishes that ranged from the Concord area and traveled down the 6 miles to the Lexington area.
The Minute Man statue is of a strong young man determined to temporarily put down his farm implements and take up arms to protect his rights and future.
The words on the monument at the old bridge where fighting began say:
"Here on the 19th of April 1775 was made the first forcible resistance to British agression.
On the opposite bank stood the American Militia. Here stood the Invading Army.
On this spot, the first of the enemy fell in the War of Revolution which gave Independence to these United States."
Sometimes you just got to fight for what is right.......
We studied the Thomas Pellett house for quite a while. The placque says it was built 1670's - 1728. My son conjectured ... that they finished the exterior walls to make them look older and more interesting than in a more sophisticated and finished fashion. My point of view was that these were true patches and repairs on the way to a true restoration which would be finished soon. The rest of the property was very well kept...along with the other houses on the street, so I didn't think the owners would choose to have a funky half repaired "look" to their wonderful old house. Not that I don't like funky...just thought this situation was a more sophisticated one. What would you think?
This stone is in the stone wall at the intersection where the historic cemetery is...the church, the early homes, and the Liberty Pole.
I have copied the words for you:
On this hill the settlers of Concord built their Meeting House near which they were buried. On the southern slope of the ridge were their Dwellings during the first winter. Below it they laid out their first road and on the summit stood the Liberty Pole of the Revolution.
Please enlarge some of my photos of the grave stones here. The art work on these stones is truly exemplar. I'm so impressed that everything is still in tact and quite readable...unlike most early stones, which wear away.... or the slate begins to flake. Bring your artist's pad and charcoal.
Because Concord is so close to Boston and has the history and architecture it has...it is a very popular community for a commuter to travel into the city and live in a quiet and peaceful town. Of course that means that the people here are paying premium prices for their homes. Businesses would be paying high rents...and thus...luxury prices charged for high style merchandise. Still....I enjoy examining such retail establishments and staying current with trends.
Concord is rich in religious architecture. Had I the time, I would love to have been able to investigate the interiors of each of the churches and learn about the history of why each group decided to build their own house of worship. Those early years were of course very much about religious choice.
Henry David Thoreau lived at Walden Pond from July 1845 to September 1847, where he got the inspiration for the book Walden. My VT friend Emilie picked me up at Alewife Station and we spent the day at the pond. It was heaven. In the summertime, it is an oasis of natural life and beauty. I was a real tourist and picked up rocks and moss for a teacher friend to use as a nature exhibit in her classroom back home. Don't forget the well stocked gift shop where you can even sign up to become a member of the Thoreau Society and receive their newsletter. Pack a pic nic, a good book and stop along the walking trail or spread a blanket at the water's edge and enjoy!
The number of visitors is limited to no more than 1,000 people at a time. Dogs, bicycles, floatation devices and grills are not allowed. Call the park in advance and check on parking availability.