I grew up minutes from Concord MA. Worked at a Friendly’s restaurant near its train station. Drove to its long-gone White Hen Pantry nearly nightly for Cokes unneeded late-night chips, sandwiches and cigarettes. Marched to its Minuteman Park on Patriots Day as a Cub Scout and took swim lessons in the freezing early morning water of Walden Pond.
We began and will conclude our return to the USA in the Bay State, home of the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and Celtics. Home of Cape Cod and its miles of beaches, ice cream stands, lobster huts and fried clam shacks. My home state. Several years ago, I wrote about Boston based on years (ok decades) of visits (though, I barely scratched the surface in that post). But Concord is even closer to home. A tony little suburb with two train stations connecting it to Boston and other towns of the metro west. My mom taught here for years, first in the high school and later in a boys’ private school. It’s bucolic fields, rivers and streams and quaint little New England downtown have the charm you’d expect of a little Massachusetts town in this area.
Home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau literary sights or among the things to do. You can visit the house of Louisa May, pay homage to the writers buried (Thoreau, Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne) at the Sleepy Hollow cemetery or take a stroll around Walden Pond and visit the site of the shockingly small cabin where Thoreau spent his two years “in the woods”.
But the highlight, to me, is Minuteman National Park. Start at the Visitors Center in Lincoln where you can read and view the history of the birthplace of the American Revolution and then follow the walking path for several miles past sights of homes and taverns and where farmers and colonists were killed by the British troops as they marched and where Paul Revere’s famous ride ended when he and fellow rider, William Dawes, were captured in the wee hours of April 19th, 1775.
From there, you can drive to the Old North Bridge, where the “shot heard round the world” was fired upon the British soldiers who were marching to Concord to dispose of the Colonists’ stockpiles of ammunition stored there. Beautiful fields, meadows and tall trees surround the bridge over the, now peaceful, Concord River and the memorial statue of a minuteman with plough and musket. There you can sit, as we did, on a gorgeous New England autumn day and reflect on who was lost here, why we fought here and what was gained, starting here.
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