Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Concord Visit

On Saturday, Jacob and I took a trip up to Concord, Massachusetts.  Concord is rich in Revolutionary and literary history.  It was a central location during the Revolutionary War, and was the home to four famous authors in the mid-nineteenth century: Waldo Ralph Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.  There are several museums, parks, and things to do within a small area in and around Concord, but we made three stops on our trip; Walden Pond, the Concord Museum, and the Orchard House.

Jacob and me in Thoreau's cabin replica
Walden Pond
Our first stop was Walden Pond.  We wanted to visit the place that inspired Thoreau to write his famous book about living simply in natural surroundings.  The idea of living simply resonates deeply with Jacob and me from a natural resources standpoint and as people who believe in the Quaker principle of simplicity.  There was a replica of Thoreau's cabin with furniture, and a nice park ranger to talk to visitors.  The pond, today, is far from Thoreau's simple, quiet place of reflection often with crowds of people.  It was amusement park in the early 1900's, and today is mostly a giant swimming hole.  We lucked out and there were relatively few other visitors since the weather was grey and cool.

Walden Pond 

Some of Thoreau's survey equipment

At the Concord museum, we saw more Thoreau items, Emerson's study, several revolutionary artifacts, and rooms displaying period pieces.  It was fun to compare Emerson's study which is luxuriant to Thoreau's simple desk, table, and bed.  I was very interested in seeing some of the revolutionary items since I grew up in Arizona I haven't had many chances to see artifacts from the founding of our country.  One unexpected exhibit, was a copper model of the Lincoln Memorial. The Lincoln Memorial was made by a sculptor who lived in Concord.

Original Desk from thoreau's cabin.  It was the only thing with a lock,
which he regularly used to protect his most important possession, his writing. 

Emerson's Study 
Oh! A wall of old books!

My favorite artifact is the thing with all the nails in it right of the shoe.
It's a cracker stamp.  Now you know how all those hols get in a cracker!

Orchard House, side-door to Mr. Alcott's Study.
They tour people didn't allow photography inside:

The Orchard House was the adult home of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women.  The house is one of the oldest houses in Concord, built in the 1600s.  The house was preserved with many Alcott family furnishings, even some of the original wall paper is still up.  This is because ever since the Little Women was published, the house has been a tourist destination.  May Alcott, Amy in the book, was an artist and the house was filled with her artwork.  Our tour was nice with stories, and information about the Alcott family including that Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and the Alcotts were all friends who were in the same circles.  To be a fly on the wall during a dinner party!  Unfortunately, the tour was crowded and some rooms were too small for the number of people in the group.  But I still enjoyed learning about the Alcott family.  My favorite fact that I learned about Louisa May Alcott is that she worked for voting rights of women, and was the first woman to vote in Concord.

It was a nice rainy grey October day with 
lots of beautiful fall colors to see during the drive.