get lost! : day trip to Concord MA & a dip in Walden Pond

22 August 2012

this is the last of three posts about lovely weekend in new england. read about my weekend in boston here, and the boston public library here

wayland free public library

while driving around the suburbs of boston, i was constantly in awe of the grand villas dispersed along each winding country road, too many to count. each village boasted a myriad of majestic brick buildings, which housed the institutions of each community - libraries, post offices, town halls, courtrooms and schools. on the way to concord, we stopped to peruse the wayland free public library and it's contents.

exterior of wayland library

- built in 1900, the wayland library was designed with distinct roman influences - 

concord, massachusetts 

- one of many historical buildings in concord - 
- saint bernards rectory - 

one of many historic towns in new england, concord was dubbed 'the biggest little place in america' by henry james, particularly due to it's rich literary history. some of the prominent literary figures known to have resided in concord included louisa may alcott, ralph waldo emerson, nathaniel hawthorne and henry david thoreau. i will admit that upon arrival in concord, nate had to prompt me as to who thoreau was, but since i've been home, i've done a bit of research and let me tell you - this guy was a legend. an abolitionist who continually questioned and critiqued the 'progress' of government and industry, he is well known for his book, walden and his essay civil disobedience. thoreau was a leading voice in a group of transcendentalists based in concord, and was a profound advocate of simplicity in a nation and a world that was marching forward at a breakneck pace. 

if a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. - henry david thoreau

let my name stand among those who are willing to bear ridicule and reproach for the truth's sake, and so earn some right to rejoice when the victory is won.  - louisa may alcott

if the names hawthorne, emerson, alcott and thoreau mean nothing to you, don't be discouraged, you'll probably be happy to know that steve carell did a stint in concord, too.

- graveyard in concord - 

when we arrived in concord, we passed through a quaint little graveyard, which was the resting place of concord residents from as early as the late 1600s, many of the earliest headstones present not even sporting a epitaph, just simply a name, date of birth and date of death. many were inscribed with a skull bearing wings (as in the left photo above). if you know what that symbol means, leave a comment and let me know, i'd love to know the significance. 

- '...a virtuous wife, a tender mother, and was truely religious and examplary in her life and conversation.' - 

we made our way to main street cafe, a little hive of activity, alive with character and packed to the brim with chattering guests. i hear the chowda was delicious, but as it was a million degrees outside, i just couldn't bring myself to ingest hot liquids. i did, however have incredible food and locally-brewed cider, and was too full to even consider the delectable-looking take-away baked goods. dee-lish!

- main street cafe - 

- steamed mussels & garlic bread - 

- gorgonzola & mandarin salad - 

walden pond 

- the tree-lines shores of walden - 

- post-thoreau additions... - 

after lunch and a wander around concord, we spent the afternoon at walden pond, which, to be honest, i'd never heard of, but Nate assured me 'it's famous.' thoreau spent two years in a small cabin at walden pond, during which time he explored simplicity and solitude, and composed walden (which you can read online here!)

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. - thoreau; walden

- on a side it just me, or is this a biiiiiiit larger than what you would call a 'pond'? - 

one last impression of my amazing time in boston i'll leave with you - i have mentioned the hospitality and delightful company of my friends nate and wendy, who i stayed with in boston, but i have yet to mention their feline companions, who were equally entertaining company for the weekend. a particular highlight was waking up to a paw batting my face, and opening my eyes to find elvis the cat's face about two inches from mine, staring right at me. now there's an attraction they don't offer at most hotels.... 

- daytona & elvis - 

oh, and i DID get my chowda in the end... new england experience complete!!

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