15 Best Things to Do in Concord (MA)

Revolutionary and literary histories collide in this fascinating city. On April 19, 1775, the first British army was killed at the hands of American colonial militiamen, firing “a gunshot heard all over the world.”

The famous transcendentalist who coined the term, Ralph Wald He Emerson (1803-1882), spent most of his adult life in Concord and wrote about some of the greatest writers and thinkers in American history. was an instructor.

From the mid-19th century, Concord became a hotbed of ideas and creativity for Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), and Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864).

In Concord, spend a few days exploring its many monuments of overwhelming importance, artifact-filled museums, and lovingly preserved historic homes. All these can captivate and impress anyone today.  

1. North Bridge Visitor Center

The National Historical Park’s North Bridge Visitor Center occupies a mansion built by the descendants of Major John Buttrick, the officer who first ordered the militia to open fire on British forces.

For background information, watch his eight-minute film detailing the events leading up to the battle with its grave consequences.

An interesting exhibit is his “Hancock”, one of his four brass cannons smuggled out of Boston. The recovery of this cannon was one of the main reasons for General Gage’s dispatch of British regulars to Concord on 19 April 1775.

The manor house is a short walk from the bridge but is very scenic and has a magnificent formal garden open to the public.  

2. The Old Manse

Along the Concord River overlooking the Northbridge is a Georgian house built in 1770 with a fascinating history, even by Concord standards.

The Old Parsonage is managed by the Reservation Board of Trustees and was built for Ralph Wald his Emerson grandfather. I lived here in my 20’s and 30’s. During this time he wrote the first draft of Nature (1836) and proposed marriage to Lydian Jackson.

Nathaniel Hawthorne then stayed here for several fruitful years as newlyweds in the 1840s with his wife Sophia Peabody, writing some twenty sketches and short stories during their stay.

Shortly before their arrival, Henry David Thoreau planted a vegetable garden for the couple on the property as a wedding gift. The structure of the house has remained largely unchanged for over 250 years, and each room is filled with mementos of America’s most revered figures.

Particularly moving is the little poem the Hawthorne family carved into their windows for each other some 180 years ago.  

3. Walden Pond State Reservation

For two years beginning in 1845, Henry David Thoreau lived in a one-room cottage on the north bank of the pond.

This stay later formed the basis of his famous book Walden. Or “Life in the Forest” (1854), which recalls a simple life in a natural environment.

Many believe that these ideas laid the foundation for the conservation movement of the second half of this century.

Feel connected to nature at this 335-acre state park centered around Kesseloch Pond, formed by retreating glaciers about 10,000 years ago.

A granite stake marks the original location of Thoreau’s hut. Visit the visitor center to see replicas, exhibits, and shops of the Solow Society. The pond is a popular spot for swimming and boating in the summer and is surrounded by walking trails and picnic areas near the shore.  

4. Ralph Waldo Emerson House

The roots of Concord’s decades-long activity as a literary center can be traced to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s return to the city with his wife Lydian in 1835, shortly after their marriage.

Emerson will live in this house at 28 Cambridge Turnpike for the rest of his life, almost fifty years. During this time he completed the final draft of his seminal essay Nature in his 1836 and Independence in 1841.

Emerson’s speeches and writings drew other writers and thinkers to Concord, many of whom visited his home.

And the barn on the property not only housed livestock, but was also used at one point as a classroom for Emerson’s children, Lizzie and Abbie Alcott, Lizzie and Barry Goodwin, and Caroline Pratt. The house is open until the end of October and is on display in its early 1870s restoration. 

5. The Wayside

This house is believed to be over 300 years old. Early in the revolution, the house was occupied by Samuel Whitney, his 1775 Massachusetts congressman and pattern master of the Minutemen of Concord.

The Wayside, adjacent to Orchard House, is best known for its rich literary establishments and requires a guided tour. Louisa Her Mae Her Alcott lived here with her family from her early teens until she was 20 years old.

Renowned author Nigel Hawthorne then moved in, making it the only home he owned. Between trips to Europe, he lived here from 1852 to his death in 1864, and shortly thereafter (from 1879 to 1881) the poet and novelist George Parsons Lathrop. continued. For the next 40 years, Wayside was the home of successful children’s author Harriet Lothrop (pseudonym Margaret Sidney), who lived here with her publisher husband, Daniel Lothrop.  

6. Verrill Farm

This sustainably managed farm in Concord has been owned by the same family since 1918 and the land has been cultivated for over three centuries.

Thanks to methods such as tillage, crop rotation, and the use of organic matter as fertilizer, Beryl Farm’s soil is more fertile than ever before. From June, you can buy PYO strawberries, hand-cut sunflowers, and PYO sweet corn, and there are many pumpkin fields.

This time of year hosts numerous events, including Family Farm Day in September and his annual Thanksgiving in October, with live music, hay wagon rides, farm animals, and games.

The field-front farmer’s market and greenhouse are open 24/7 and sell fresh, homemade produce, delis, fresh pastries, cakes, flowers, and plants. 

7. Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

The original of the two units on this 12-mile wetlands reserve is in Concord. These are two ponds along the Concord River that drain in the summer to reveal mudflats and are frequented by numerous bird species in late summer.

These are nutrient-rich feeding grounds for sandpipers, herons, egrets, Canadian geese, and various species of ducks.

There are about 3 miles of hiking trails, plus perhaps the best bird-watching spot in northern Massachusetts, the Lookout and Lookout Tower. 

8. The Robbins House

Another side of Concord’s fascinating history is revealed in this one-and-a-half-story mansion built in the early 19th century.

Robbins House is home to first-generation descendants of veterans Caesar his Robbins who served as slaves in the American Revolutionary War and the French and Indian Wars (1754-1763).

The apartment is shared by two of his families, the other being that of Jack Garrison, a former slave who found freedom in New Jersey.

An African-American, he lived at Robbins House until 1870, and when he visits North He Bridge (Friday-Sunday), he stops by for a glimpse into Concord’s African-American history. 

9. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Just a short walk from central Concord, you can visit the resting places of nearly every character mentioned in this article.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of many people who attended the lecture when Sleepy His Hollow Cemetery was dedicated in 1855 and took an evening walk here before this cemetery became a burial ground.

The expansive natural complex features transcendentalism and serves as a place of honor for the living and the dead.

Notable people buried in the cemetery include Emerson himself, Louisa May Alcott (along with many family members), Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and poet William Ellery Channing. included.

These graves are all in Author’s Ridge, and nearby, the moving Earl’s Nouveau Melvin Monument commemorates the graves of his three brothers who died in the Civil War, and the sculptor Daniel A collaboration between Chester French and architect Henry Bacon.  

10. Thoreau Farm

On 50 acres in Eastern Concord stands the home where Henry David Thoreau was born in 1817. The carefully restored Wheeler Minot Farmhouse is a beautiful half-timbered Georgian building dating from the 1730s.

The connection with Thoreau goes back to Samuel Minott (1714-1786), a butler who bought a farm for his son Jonas, who would become a stepfather to Thoreau’s mother.

The highlight of the tour is the writer’s birthplace room on the second floor. The Thoreau Farm is open weekends from May through October and works with the Thoreau Institute to provide the right environment for panel discussions, author talks, and writing workshops. 

11. Minute Man National Historical Park

In Concord, Lexington, and Lincoln you can see exactly where the American Revolutionary War officially began.

Relive the world-changing events of April 19, 1775, at sites such as Old North Bridge, where the first British died, and Lexington Battle Green, where the first American militiamen fell.

Just minutes from Lincoln’s Concord, the park’s main visitor center is a great starting point and hosts the 25-minute multimedia presentation, “Road to Revolution.”

Don’t miss Hartwell Tavern, his restored 18th-century inn. Park rangers dressed in period costumes are stationed. 

12. The Old North Bridge

A section of the National Historical Park is where American forces first inflicted casualties on British forces on April 19, 1775.

At this crossing, about 400 militia and Minutemen attacked and routed 90 British troops. Three British soldiers died in the battle, two of whom were buried near the bridge at the end of the old building a few steps away.

Ralph Waldo Emerson later described the event and its significance as “a gunshot heard all over the world”.

The bridge itself is the newest of the long wooden crosswalks lined at this point on the Concord River.

The current design dates back to 1956 and was restored in 2005. This is based on news reports at the time. Nearby is David Chester French’s sculpture, The Minuteman (1874), cast in bronze from 10 Civil War guns. 

13. Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

The house where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set Little Women (1868-69) is a historic residential museum open to the public seven days a week.

Dating back to the early 18th century, this clapboard colonial farmhouse had a 30-acre apple orchard when the Olcotts moved here in 1858.

The family, consisting of Bronson, his wife Abigail May, and daughters Anna, Louisa, and May, lived here until 1877. Elizabeth, the inspiration for Beth March, died just before her family moved.

The house remains as it was when the Olcotts lived in it, with most of the furniture dating back to the 19th century and belonging to the family. Visiting is like spending time in a book.
The walls are lined with May’s portraits and watercolor paintings, the kitchen has a soapstone sink purchased by Louisa, a clothes dryer designed by Bronson, who is known for its practicality, and a shelf desk where Louisa wrote “Little Women” is placed. 

14. Battle Road Trail

At the Minuteman Visitor Center, you can get a map tracing the route of the original British regular’s retreat and the course of the ongoing fighting between the British regulars and thousands of colonial militias.

The trail, which often preserves Battle Road’s original ruins, stretches eight miles from Merriam’s Corner to the eastern edge of the national park in Lexington.

Travel through colonial landscapes steeped in history, over rolling hills with forests, marshes, and fields.

Some sights to see on the Concord Route include the British graves at Merriam’s Corner and some of the residences that were there when fighting broke out.

These include the Nathan Merriam House (approximately 100 meters). 1705), Farwell Jones House (c.1716), Stohardy House (c.1689), and Samuel Brooks House (1692).  

15. Concord Museum

You can be sure that a city museum in a place like Concord has an impressive collection that spans both the history of the Revolution and many literary figures.

The Concord Museum does not disappoint. The largest single collection dedicated to Henry David Thoreau includes the one in which he penned A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849) and began the development of his most famous work, Walden. Walden also includes his Pound Shed furniture. (1854).

You can see Ralph Wald’s Emerson’s study, recreated after he died in 1882, and the lantern that appears in Henry Wadsworth’s Longfellow’s poem “Paul His Libyan Ride” (1860).

Historic site with American Revolutionary War cannonballs, muskets, whistles, and gunpowder whistles, as well as a fine collection of decorative arts from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, including furniture, clocks, pottery, textiles, metalwork, and mirrors, is exhibited in 

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