5 Essential Places to Visit in Concord, MA
Walden Pond, Orchard House, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Old North Bridge, Old Manse
Walden Pond is on Walden St., about a mile and a half from Concord Center. Visitors can hike on several trails (wear sturdy, comfortable shoes or boots), swim at the public beach, and visit the spot where Thoreau lived and wrote from 1845-1847. Pick up a trail map at the Walden Pond Visitor Center at 915 Walden St.
Orchard House, at 399 Lexington Rd., is where Louisa May Alcott wrote her classic novel, Little Women, inspired by her own growing up in Concord with her sisters. Guides in period dress take visitors through rooms of original furniture and personal possessions.
Stop by the Town Visitor Center at 58 main St. and pick up a map of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. The cemetery entrance is on Bedford St. about 1/3 mile from the center of town. Sleepy Hollow was designed to preserve the beauty of the natural landscape, and offers many scenic paths to explore. You can pay your respects to literary greats on Authors’ Ridge, including Thoreau, Alcott, Hawthorne, and Emerson. On Upland Avenue, don’t miss the magnificent Daniel Chester French sculpture that adorns the Melvin Memorial, a monument to three Concord brothers who died while serving in the Civil War.
The Old Manse, at 269 Monument St., was built in 1770 by Concord’s Patriot Preacher, Rev. William Emerson. On a tour of the house, you can look out the window where his family watched the battle at the North Bridge in 1775. You’ll also get to know some of the house’s later famous residents, like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
At the Old North Bridge and Minuteman National Park, next door to the Old Manse, you can stand on the spot where Concord’s Minute Men fired “the shot heard ’round the world in 1775.” Highlights include the 1875 Minute Man statue by Daniel Chester French and the grave of two Redcoats killed in that historic battle. In season, you may meet a costumed reenactor at the bridge, and see uniforms, weapons, and an interactive 3-D map at the National Park Visitor Center at 174 Liberty St.