Itinerary For A Week In Concord
As life issues from the three rivers running through the fertile Concord valley our fair village is likewise nourished by the springs of history, literature and artistic tradition. We hope that you may feel refreshed in body and, more importantly, in spirit as you amble the ways of authors and patriots and draw from their full cup of inspiration.
Put on your best walking shoes and get ready to tour Concord! Start your adventure, directly across the road from the Hawthorne Inn, at Nathaniel Hawthorne's home, the "Wayside". Notice the tower, added by Hawthorne to this fascinating 17th century dwelling, and learn of the Waysideâ€™s many other famous residents including the Alcotts and Margaret Sydney, who here wrote The Five Little Peppers childrenâ€™s books. Visit next door at the "Orchard House", long-time home of Louisa May Alcott and her family. In the Orchard House Louisa penned Little Women and, alongside, her father, the great educator Bronson Alcott, built his School of Philosophy. A five-minute walk along the roadway reveals the Concord Museum where you will discover a treasure-trove of Americana. Take time to study the period rooms, Ralph Waldo Emerson's study, Henry David Thoreau's flute, furniture and other belongings, Paul Revere's lantern and the many icons of the Revolutionary War on display. You may then step across the street and tour Emerson's Home before walking to town center. On your way to lunch view the site where the Provincial Congress met and, under the leadership of Hancock and Adams, commissioned the Minute Men troops. Newly refreshed, you will enjoy a short stroll along Monument Street to the "Old Manse", built by Emersonâ€™s grandfather. Within the old walls of the Manse Nature flowed from Emersonâ€™s quill and Hawthorne wrote Mosses From an Old Manse. From the windows you can glimpse The Old North Bridge (site of the first battle of the American Revolution) where "The shot heard 'round the world" was fired on the morning of April 19, 1775. Observe the famous Minute Man statue by Concord sculptor Daniel Chester French (who also created the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.). More of Frenchâ€™s Sculptures may be seen at the Concord Free Public Library that also houses many first additions from the plethora of Concord writers. Then make a pilgrimage to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Meander by ancient boughs and mossy mounds to locate the resting-place of French, Emerson, Hawthorne, the Alcotts, Sydney and Thoreau. Enjoy dinner at one Concordâ€™s many restaurants. Return to the Inn and curl up with a copy of Walden by Thoreau.
Before breakfast, take an early morning walk to discover the birds abundant at Great Meadow Wildlife Refuge. You may prefer to jog along the five-mile bike trail that wends passed fields and historic sites of Minute Man National Historic Park. Later spend a contemplative morning in the woods about Walden Pond and take a refreshing dip in the cool, deep waters. Finish your picnic and then go visit the shops, bookstores and galleries in the quaint village center of Concord. Don't miss the Concord Art Association that was founded over a century ago. Have dinner at one of the Innkeeper's recommended restaurants and then drive through the rolling countryside to sample from the many outdoor ice cream stands. Spend the evening perusing Emerson's Essays.
Tour Cambridge and Boston, both within thirty minutes of the Inn. You may choose to take your auto in town, utilize the commuter rail system or drive to the nearest subway station. Greater-Boston is home to over forty Colleges and Universities including Harvard, MIT, Wellesley, Brandeis, Northeasten Tufts, Boston College and Boston University. While in Cambridge tour Longfellow's house and see where General Washington first took command of the Continental Army.
Enjoy pastries in Harvard Square before exploring the various university museums of art, ethno-history and natural science. Move on to the tourist haven of Boston where you will find convenient subways, trolleys and the Freedom Trail walking tour. Start at the State House on Beacon Hill and follow old lanes as you make your way past burial grounds, historic taverns, Quincy Marketplace, the North End and Waterfront, Bunker Hill Monument and the U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides). Children enjoy the Swan Boats in the Public Garden, the Children's Museum, the Science Museum, the land/water Duck Tours and the New England Aquarium. Other interesting destinations are the Museum of Fine Arts, Isabel Stuart Gardener Museum and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library. For lunch choose an outside table among the galleries and shops of the Back Bay. Experiment at dinner from an eclectic selection of cuisine including Thai, Brazilian, Japanese, Cambodian, Cajun, Indian, Portuguese, French, Italian, Chinese and other tastes representing our ever expanding American heritage.
Enjoy breakfast early and then drive forty-five minutes to the Atlantic coast and take a whale-watch excursion from the fishing port of Gloucester, the America's oldest seaport. Landlubbers can continue their explorations on the coast road north to Newburyport and discover the Federal style captain's houses and the Plum Island National Wildlife Sanctuary replete with ocean sprayed sand dunes, sun and salt-air. On to Salem for an afternoon at the Peabody Museum where you will find on display whaling items, ship models, China Trade goods and an ethnological collection from the South Seas. Also in Salem is the "House of the Seven Gables" and the popular Salem Witch Museum. Enjoy a fresh seafood dinner before heading back towards Concord where you can partake of a board game or choose from the variety of poetry books in the Inn's collection.
Explore the surrounding New England landscape as you drive West one hour to Old Sturbridge Village, an interactive museum showcasing a working 1830's farm village. Many craftspeople will be demonstrating their skills and sharing knowledge about the sawmill, gristmill, blacksmith shop, one-room schoolhouse and apothecary shop. Or, perhaps, head an hour South to Plimoth Plantation, a re-creation of a 1627 Pilgrim Settlement built in the midst of the Wampanoag, just seven years after the landing of the Mayflower. All of the guides have taken on the persona and costume of an original settler and carry on their daily lives for your viewing. An all day outing complete with dinner on the road. Time to write a few postcards before bed.
Today choose a direction and trust the compass. Spend the afternoon at the Lowell National Historic Park (thirty minutes North) to understand New England's growth in the Industrial Revolution. Tour the Textile Mills and the New England Quilt Museum. You may choose to head East (thirty minutes) where the Arnold Arboretum awaits with its acres upon acres of specimen plants and trees. West of Concord (twenty minutes) is Fruitlands, the Alcott's communal living experiment that is now a museum. Here you can also visit a Shaker Museum and New England Portrait Gallery.
Sleep in and linger over the morning paper with a cup of coffee or attend service at a local church. Then follow the nineteenth century Transcendentalists and take a canoe on one of Concord's three rivers to commune with nature. On to the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park where you may view the works of contemporary New England artists and sip cappuccino from the rooftop terrace overlooking a reservoir. In the winter you might choose to cross-country ski at Great Brook State Park. Your trip nears to a close, share a fine evening meal and reflect on your wonderful experiences.