April 22, 2024

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Complete Guide To The Massachusetts Home Of Emerson, Thoreau, & Alcott

Complete Guide To The Massachusetts Home Of Emerson, Thoreau, & Alcott

The small but charming town of Concord in Massachusetts is found just 20 miles northwest of Boston, with a slower atmosphere for those who want to escape the big city. This destination is drenched in history; it’s mainly known for its role in the Revolutionary War, as the site of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, marking the start of the war.


However, Concord isn’t just for history buffs; nature lovers also have plenty of things to do in this picturesque part of New England. Hiking and biking trails, scenic rivers, and tranquil forests abound in the town’s environs, offering a vast playground for outdoorsy visitors.

Despite being a small town, this destination has enough to keep visitors busy. For those planning a trip, this article is an in-depth look at the things to do in Concord and much more a visitor would need to know.

Things To Do In Concord, Massachusetts

From sites for history buffs to attractions for literature lovers, Concord offers a number of things to do in Massachusetts. Below is a look at some of the most popular.

13 Learn About Local History At The Minute Man National Historical Park

The Old Bridge in Minute Man National Historical Park
Photo by Christopher Ryan on Unsplash

The Old Bridge in Minute Man National Historical Park

The Minute Man National Historical Park is an important part of Concord’s history as it preserves the sites of the battles that started the Revolutionary War. Found in three towns, Concord, Lexington, and Lincoln, this park spans 970 acres in which there are trails that lead to different exhibits and monuments.

Visitors can start their visit at the Minute Man Visitor Center to get deeper information about the Battle of Lexington and Concord as well as experience interactive exhibits.

Other sites at the Minute Man National Historical Park are the Old North Bridge and the Minute Man Statue. While here, visitors can hike the park’s trails, including the Battle Road Trail, which is a 5.5-mile route that retraces the steps of the British march from Boston to Concord.

  • Address
    : 210 North Great Road Lincoln, MA 01773

  • Hours
    : 9 am – 5 pm (daily)

  • Admission
    : Free

12 Tour Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House
Photo by Sebastià Giralt distributed under a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House was the childhood home of the Little Women author, Louisa May. The house was built in 1690, but the author’s family bought it in 1857 and lived there for 20 years. The house has been preserved in its original state, allowing visitors to get a feel for life in the 19th century.

The popular book, Little Women, was written right in this house and the room is part of the tour. There are also exhibits on the Alcott family, showcasing their life in Concord. Only guide tours are offered and visitors have to make a reservation via the museum’s website.

  • Address
    : 399 Lexington Rd, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : Mon – Fri: 11 am – 3:30 pm; Sat: 10 am – 5 pm; Sun: 1 pm – 5 pm

  • Admission
    : Adults: $15; Seniors (62+): $12; Youth (6-17yrs): $8; Children under 6: Free

11 Visit The Old Manse

The Old Manse
Photo by Midnightdreary distributed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

The Old Manse from afar

The Old Manse holds a treasure trove of history; it was built in 1770, and it overlooks famous battle sites of the Revolutionary War. This house is a Mecca for literature lovers as it served as the home of two prominent writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, at different times in the 19th century.

Visitors can find out about this house’s history via the exhibits of its former residents.

It also boasts stunning gardens, including a recreation of a vegetable garden that was planted in honor of Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife during their wedding.

  • Address
    : 269 Monument St, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : House Tour: Sat & Sun: 11 am – 4 pm; Grounds Tour: Sunrise to Sunset (daily)

  • House Tour
    : Adults: $12; Seniors (65+): $10; Children (6-14 yrs): $6; Children under 6: Free

  • Grounds Tour
    : Free

Related: 14 Quirky Roadside Attractions In Massachusetts Worth A Road Trip

10 Explore Walden Pond State Reservation

Thoreau's Cabin in Walden Pond State Reservation
Photo by Ryan Taylor distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.

Thoreau’s Cabin in Walden Pond State Reservation

The 61-acre Walden Pond earned its fame from author Henry David Thoreau’s book, Walden, which he wrote while living in a cabin at the pond. In fact, the pond inspired the writings of this famous book. Presently, there’s a replica of the writer’s cabin, which is open for tours.

Several hiking trails are available within the pond’s reservation area, including a 1.7-mile loop trail that circumvents the pond. Visitors can also swim, boat, or fish in the pond during the summer months. There are also a number of picnic areas.

  • Address
    : 915 Walden St., Concord, MA 01742

  • Hours
    : 7 am – 6:30 pm (daily)

  • Price
    : Parking: MA residents: $8, Non-MA residents: $30

9 Hike The Trails Of Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge near Concord
Photo by liz west distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Marshland in Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge near Concord

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a vast site that spans more than 3000 acres. This scenic refuge is home to a variety of birds, like the bald eagle and the great blue heron. It’s a haven for bird watchers as well as hikers who have miles of trails to explore.

For instance, the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge Trail is a 4.5-mile loop trail that’s popular among visitors. The Concord River is one of the rivers that flow through the refuge, offering opportunities for boating and fishing.

  • Address
    : Monsen Rd, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : Sunrise – S unset (daily)

  • Price
    : Free

8 Tour The Concord Museum

Entrance to the Concord Museum
Photo by Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism distributed under a CC BY-ND 2.0 license.

Entrance to the Concord Museum

Those curious about the history and culture of Concord and its people can visit the Concord Museum. This site boasts over 30,000 artifacts, documents, and artwork. For instance, the lantern used by Paul Revere during his famous ride is on display at the museum.

Visitors can also view a collection of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s belongings, including his study desk and chair.

There are also exhibits on the American Revolution and the town’s role in the abolitionist movement.

  • Address
    : 53 Cambridge Turnpike, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : Thu – Sun: 10 am – 4 pm (closed from Mon – Wed)

  • Price
    : Adults: $15; Seniors: $12; Children (6-17): $8; Children (5 and below): Free

7 Take a Walk Across the Historic Old North Bridge

Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts
Photo by Tom Henell on Unsplash

Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts

Old North Bridge is a significant historic site in Concord because it was where the first battle of the War of Independence took place and where the first soldiers of the Revolution died. The bridge was first built in 1760, but it didn’t survive the battle. The current bridge is merely a replica of the original version; this one was built in 1956.

Visitors can find the bridge in the Minute Man National Historical Park, over the Concord River.

  • Address
    : 210 North Great Road Lincoln, MA 01773

  • Hours
    : 9 am – 5 pm (daily)

  • Admission
    : Free

6 Stroll Down Main Street Concord

A section of Main Street Concord
Photo by Warren LeMay distributed under a CC0 1.0 license.

A section of Main Street Concord

Main Street Concord is the heart of the town, a historic street with historic homes several shops, and a variety of dining spots. This street is the home of attractions like Old Manse and Concord Museum, and it also hosts events like the Concord Festival of Authors.

Visitors can stroll down this street and explore the different shopping options as well as check out the historic architecture.

5 Where To Eat In Concord

Main Streets Market and Cafe in historic town center of Concord
Via: Shutterstock

Main Streets Market and Cafe at 42 Main Street in historic town center of Concord

From wineries that are New England’s best-kept secrets to restaurants serving famous cuisines like clam chowder and apple cider donuts, Massachusetts has its fair share of things to do for foodies. And, Concord isn’t left behind; below is a list of some of the top places to eat in the town.

Breakfast

Club Car Cafe

  • Address
    : 20 Commonwealth Ave, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : Tue – Fri: 7 am – 2 pm; Sat & Sun: 8 am – 1 pm (closed on Mon)

  • Popular Meals
    : Fried egg sandwich, cheese omelet, Belgian waffles, blueberry pancakes

Main Streets Market & Cafe

  • Address
    : 42 Main St, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : Sun – Wed: 7:30 am – 4 pm; Thu: 7:30 am – 8 pm; Fri & Sat: 7:30 am – 9 pm

  • Popular Meals
    : Grilled flatbread sandwiches, French toast, Belgian waffles, breakfast burritos, Acai Sorbet bowl with fruit

Related: New England’s Best: Where To Find The Perfect Cider Donuts

Lunch/Dinner

Saltbox Kitchen

  • Address
    : 84 Commonwealth Ave, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : Tue – Sat: 9 am – 6 pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

  • Popular Meals
    : Saltbox Cheeseburger, grilled cheese & tomato, apple-cider braised pork shank

Woods Hill Table

  • Address
    : 24 Commonwealth Ave, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : Sun: 5 pm – 8 pm; Tue – Thu: 5 pm – 9 pm; Fri & Sat: 5 pm – 10 pm (closed on Mon)

  • Popular Meals
    : Chocolate Hazelnut Torte, Smoked Fish Pate, Spaghettoni Bolognese, Crispy Duck Confit

Drinks

80 Thoreau

  • Address
    : 80 Thoreau St, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : Tue – Sat: 5 pm – 8:30 pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

  • Popular Drinks
    : Wines: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir; Cocktails: All Right Manhattan, Hot Rum, Abandon Ship, The Gimlet, Tonic & Gin

Liberty at the Colonial Inn

  • Address
    : 48 Monument Square, Concord, MA 01742, United States

  • Hours
    : Mon – Thu: 11:30 am – 7:30 pm; Fri & Sat: 11:30 am – 8 pm; Sun: 11:30 am – 6:30 pm

  • Popular Drinks
    : Cocktails: Raspberry Lemon Martini, Sangria, Longfellow, Peachy Palmer; Wine: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay

4 Where To Stay In And Near Concord, Massachusetts

Storefronts in historic Concord, MA
Via: Shutterstock

Storefronts in historic Concord, MA

Concord is relatively small, so depending on what travelers are looking for, they may want to book just outside the city limits.

Hotels

Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Concord

  • Address
    : 320 Baker Avenue, Concord, MA 01742

  • Price
    : From $249

  • Amenities
    : Gym, indoor pool, picnic area, BBQ grill, free parking, free shuttle service, business center, bar

North Bridge Inn

  • Address
    : 21 Monument Street, Concord, MA 01742

  • Price
    : $175

  • Amenities
    : Tennis court, complimentary breakfast, parking space, pet friendly

Related: 10 Top-Rated New England Hotels Where You Can Experience Spring Break Like Never Before

Vacation Rentals

Spacious Third-Floor Loft

  • Address
    : Lexington, Massachusetts, United States

  • Price
    : From $163

  • Amenities
    : BBQ grill, vegetable garden, deck, biking trails, shared kitchen, deck, free parking, washer & dryer, workspace

Mid-Century Modern Guest Room

  • Address
    : Carlisle, Massachusetts, United States

  • Price
    : From $143

  • Amenities
    : Private bath, living area access, shared washer & dryer, hiking trails, free parking, 46-inch TV, shared patio

Entire Secluded Barn Suite

  • Address
    : Carlisle, Massachusetts

  • Price
    : From $115

  • Amenities
    : Studio, full-sized fridge, microwave, workspace, cable TV, full-size Futon

The Minuteman Inn

  • Address
    : Acton, Massachusetts, United States

  • Price
    : From $99

  • Amenities
    : Queen-size beds, free on-site parking, washer & dryer, free parking

3 Best Time To Visit Concord

Aerial view of Concord Town Center
Via: Shutterstock

Aerial view of Concord Town Center

The best time to visit Concord, Massachusetts depends on a visitor’s preferred activities and budget. Below is a breakdown of the different seasons and what they have to offer in this destination:

Spring (March-May)

Spring is a beautiful time to visit Concord since the flowers are in bloom and the weather is mild from April to May. During this time, the highs range from the mid-50s to the high 60s Fahrenheit (15 to 20 Celsius).

It’s a great time to explore the town’s outdoor attractions, such as Walden Pond and the Minute Man National Historical Park.

Related: Embrace The Bloom: 10 Of New England’s Best Spring Destinations For Nature Lovers

Summer (June-August)

Summer is the peak tourist season in Concord, with warm weather and longer days. Because of the high tourist numbers, it’s more expensive to travel at this time. The highs range from the high 70s to the low 80s (25 to 29 Celsius), making it a great time to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, and boating.

The town also hosts several annual events and festivals during the summer months.

Fall (September-November)

Fall is a popular time to visit Concord when the leaves change colors and the air is crisp. September and October have pleasant weather, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s (16 to 23 Celsius). Plus, it’s cheaper to visit the town at this time because there are fewer tourists.

Related: 10 Massachusetts Towns That Are Celebrating The Fall Season Perfectly

Winter (December-February)

Winter in Concord can be cold and snowy, but it’s a great time to experience the town’s cozy, New England charm on a budget. The town is decorated for the holidays, with several festive holiday events, and there are several winter activities to enjoy, such as ice skating and skiing.

2 Getting Around Concord, Massachusetts

MBTA Commuter Rail train
Via: Shutterstock

Aerial view of the MBTA Commuter Rail train

Concord is only 20 miles from Boston, another great city to explore,, a drive that lasts about 30 minutes. Visitors flying into the area can land at the Boston Logan International Airport, which is only 23 miles away. From here, there are car rental companies like Alamo, Budget, National, and Hertz for those who wish to drive themselves around.

Public transport from Boston to Concord is also available; the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates train and bus services. Below is a look at other ways of getting around Concord for those without their own vehicles.

Concord is a walkable city with its major attractions found within a short distance of each other. Visitors also have a choice of trails, like the paved Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, the REformatory Branch Trail, and the Battle Road Trail.

Bike

The town has a bike share program, the Concord Bike Share, allowing users to rent a bike at either the Concord Visitor Center or the entrance to Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. This service is available via the Movatic App.

1 Spending The Perfect Day In Concord

Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts at sunrise.
Via: Shutterstock

Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts at sunrise.

After breakfast at one of Concord’s restaurants (or a home-cooked breakfast) head to the Minute Man National Historical Park for a morning learning about the town’s history. Check out the exhibits at the Visitor Center and explore the park’s historic sites like the Old North Bridge. Spend some time hiking the trails before relaxing for a picnic lunch.

In the afternoon, visit the town’s links to literary icons. Visit Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House and The Old Manse before retracing the steps of Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond State Reservation. Spend some time hiking the reservation’s trails around the pond then enjoy a boat ride later in the afternoon.

In the evening, enjoy a stroll down Concord’s Main Street and have dinner at one of the restaurants there. Then, wind down the day at a local bar.

FAQ

Q: Is Concord MA worth visiting?

Yes, Concord is worth visiting because it offers some awesome things to do in Massachusetts for history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and literature lovers.

It’s known for its significant role during the start of the American Revolution as well as its connection to famous authors Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and Henry Thoreau.

Q: Is Concord a suburb of Boston?

Yes, Concord is considered a suburb of Boston as it’s only 20 miles away from the big city. There are bus and train services that operate between Boston and Concord every day.

Q: Is Concord MA a small town?

Concord is one of Massachusetts’ small towns with a population of roughly 20,000 people.