A Day in Concord

This is Day 2 of our October 2016 trip to Boston. If you haven’t yet, make sure to read Day 1 here. We decided that one day in Boston proper would have to do as we reserved Day 2 for Concord – a place that Miguel and I were both very much interested in visiting.

Ralph Waldo Emerson House. Concord, MA.
Ralph Waldo Emerson House. Concord, MA.

Book lovers the world over have Concord on their list of must-make literary pilgrimages. A quick 2019 Wikipedia search will tell you that in the 19th century, a literary community of none other than Ralph Waldo Emerson’s friends – Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau and the Alcott family lived there. Now, I had Walden and Civil Disobedience as required reading back in my homeschooling days but I’m pretty sure I didn’t finish either (Did you?). The fact that I still remember it must mean I used CliffNotes or circa 2004 Wikipedia. Sorry, mother/teacher. Like many, er, young women, I have read Little Women numerous times. You would think I would readily identify with Jo (a clumsy, unrefined, tomboy writer #relatable), but I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve always wanted to live Amy’s life. I mean… Living in Europe? Drinking coffee? Painting all day? Yes, yes and yes, please.


Orchard House. Concord, MA.

Whichever of the March sisters you may have embraced as a girl, Orchard House is a must-visit. If you haven’t yet, you must go! Miguel and I got to take a tour of the house with just a few other people. It was lovely and romantic and did not disappoint.

The Wayside, Concord.
The Wayside, Concord.

Next door was The Wayside, which the Alcott Family also used to live in, but it’s better known as the former residence of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Margaret Sidney.

There are other houses around the area if you are into Ralph Waldo Emerson and of course, you can actually visit Walden Pond and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (not the horror NY one, the literary MA one). Other than a walk to the famous tombstones at Sleepy Hollow, we only had time for a cursory glance at the other literary sites. Miguel’s interests in Concord lay elsewhere, on the other thing that the town is most famous for.

The “shot heard ’round the world” was actually heard ’round here, in Concord. We walked the place where the first skirmish of the American Revolutionary War took place.

My husband is a war history buff. This was his favorite part of the trip.

Our very long day was not over yet. After  Concord, we couldn’t resist sneaking a peek at Harvard. I thought I would feel so out of place here but I didn’t – because there were literal bus-loads of tourists.

A few photos and one Ivy-League parking ticket later, and we’re out of the Boston area.

On our way back, we also got to stop by Mark Twain’s house in Hartford Connecticut but they had just closed by the time we got there. Oh well, a trip to Hartford must remain on our list then.

It was already nighttime but we also stopped by Yale to – as Miguel put it – “to look for Rory Gilmore”. We walked through some tunneled archways (they weren’t kidding about the archways), giggling as we pretended to be visiting our friend Rory. I’m not even kidding, we actually did that. Wow, we are weird!

There it is. Two days in Boston. Two days is too short for a visit anywhere – but life’s also too short and busy to not be taking that weekend road trip whenever you get the chance. This was 3 years ago. I’m so glad we just got into the car and drove to this amazing city, even if it was just two days. Soon, we might not be able to do a hectic trip like this (as we’ve just found out on our last anniversary outing a couple of weeks ago… boy, we’re getting older). I’m all for the advice that says “take slow, long trips… don’t rush, take it all in, etc” but for us, personally? Weekend trips are what works for now… for a variety of reasons. My point here though is, a two-day trip is doable. You’ll have to prioritize and you won’t be able to do everything, but it’s doable. More than checking off listed items, the best part of a trip like this are the stories you get to retell to each other over and over. Something like this:

Me:Remember when we went to Harvard that one time and we got a parking ticket?

Miguel *triggered*:You know I paid for parking but the meter was on the wrong side… the guy stole my meter… I hate Harvard… I liked Yale, Yale didn’t give us a parking ticket… blah blah blah… We never got to go back to Mark Twain’s house… blah blah blah… Rory Gilmore!… blah blah blah

See? Weekend trip = great memories = triggered husband = they lived happily ever after. The end.

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