Concord, MA – A Must-See for Everyone Interested in Historic America
The town of Concord, Massachusetts sits within the state’s Greater Merrimack Valley, a swath of inviting cities and towns just outside Boston. Easy to reach and fun to explore, your visit to Concord can take you to some of early America’s most important sites and homesteads. Concord retains much of its pastoral origins, and the food here is fresh, natural, and delicious.
The Past Has Presence Here
Thanks to centuries-long efforts of loving preservation you can stand where the American Revolutionary War’s first battle was fought. You can experience Life in the Woods first hand when you see where Henry David Thoreau’s cabin stood when he lived on his own and penned the classic Walden. His colleague, orator and writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson lived here, too. Emerson’s preserved home is open to visitors as a public museum. And if you are a fan of the classic book Little Women and its author, Louisa May Alcott, her Orchard House is preserved and waiting for you to come by. A visit to the Robbins House will reveal the ways in which the first generations of free Concord African Americans pursued independence and contributed to the antislavery movement and abolitionist causes. In 2010, the house was saved from demolition, moved here, and restored. Today, the Robbins House embodies the determination of Caesar Robbins and his family to support themselves on the land and to shape their own destinies as free men and women—and serves to inspire conversations about race and social justice issues.
Great Traditions in Natural Foods
Touring Concord raises one’s appetite. In fact, the town’s food history is longer than its American history. The area that became Concord, with its fertile soil, forests and rivers has supported its changing residents for thousands of years. Town dining has been farm-to-table for Native Americans, settlers, and colonists. In the 1800s, Concord held cattle shows and agricultural exhibits. You’ve heard of Concord grapes. The hearty bunches were developed here by Ephraim Bull on a farm next to the Alcott family. Today, the town still offers farm stands and restaurants for fresh produce and great eating.
When You’re Hungry
Here are some of the many, reliably good Concord dining places to try:
The Saltbox Kitchen. This farm-to-table restaurant offers seasonal menus feature fresh ingredients from the Saltbox Farm. It’s home to Concord’s only craft brewery. Try their famous farmhouse ale, an oatmeal stout, or an Imperial IPA. Cheers!
Woods Hill Table. Their farm-to-table meal offerings are organic, sustainable and delicious. This award-winning restaurant uses ecologically viable ingredients while partnering with family farms to provide a satisfying menu.
Do It Yourself
Debra’s Natural Gourmet. Take it away. Concord’s independent natural market offers groceries and seasonally-scheduled cooking lessons for best preparing different healthy foods.
Verrill Farm. Concord’s centuries-old farming tradition lives on. Scenic Verrill Farm provides healthful food that’s grown and raised with sound and healthy practices. Come see and taste all that goes into true sustainable agriculture.
Gaining Ground. This Concord farm has been active for over 300 years. It grows organic produce for many food banks, shelters, low-income residents, and others in need. See what this largely volunteer-maintained is planting, tending, and harvesting.
Take a Walking Tour
Concord’s Visitor Center provides many different walking tours with knowledgeable guides, great scenery, and interesting stops. These include the popular Emerson-Thoreau Amble, which travels the same trails as those iconic Americans all the way to famous Walden Pond.
Other walking tours include:
African-American History. Concord’s history includes enslavement, but you can learn about the town’s first generation of self-emancipated African-Americans and the growth of Abolitionism.
Indigenous People. This tour introduces you to the native Musketaquid people who lived for centuries in what would become the town of Concord.
Chocolate Twist. A decadent walking tour of downtown Concord where you’ll discover the signature handmade chocolate bark, truffles, fudges, caramels and nuts that have treated residents and visitors for many, many years.
Autumn Twilight. Mark your calendar for next fall and this awesome mix of foliage and historic burying grounds.
For more information, and to book your tour, be sure to check Visitconcord.org
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.