The city of Boston played a central role in American history, with Puritan colonists from England landing in 1630 and turning it into the political, commercial, financial, religious and educational epicenter of New England. But it was in Concord and neighboring Lexington where America’s thirteen colonies first battled the Kingdom of Great Britain to fight for their independence. Less than a century later Concord became a hub for some of the greatest writers in American history – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Amos Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau, who in 1854 wrote his famed novel, “Walden, or Life in the Woods” about the two years, two months and two days he spent living simply at Concord’s Walden Pond. In 1849 the Concord grape was developed on a farm just down the street from the Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Alcott homesteads, after Ephraim Bull planted 22,000 seedlings in an effort to produce the perfect grape. These are notable parts of Concord history that have helped shape it’s character and position as one of the most culturally and historically rich suburbs of Boston. For many people looking at Concord real estate, this is one of the things they find most alluring. Here’s a look at some of the most famous historical attractions in and around Concord.
North Bridge – Located in Minuteman National Historical Park, this bridge was the site of the first shot of the Revolutionary War, famously referred to as the “shot heard around the world.” There are informative volunteers on site as well as park rangers who do presentations about what happened at the bridge and the events leading up to the conflict.
The Wayside – This Concord home of Louisa May Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne also sheltered two fugitive slaves during the winter of 1846-1847 as they fled north to freedom in Canada, and is included in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Walden Pond – Not only is this historical site one of the most critical pieces of the literary history of Concord, but it also offers visitors a tranquil spot to swim and hike. There is a replica of Thoreau’s cabin with a map and trail to where historians believe the original cabin was located as well as a book and gift shop. Many people shopping for real estate in Concord do so because of the town’s remarkable natural beauty, and nowhere is it more apparent then at this alluring refuge of Henry David Thoreau.
Orchard House – Best known for being where the groundbreaking novel, Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott, this home is lovingly preserved and has many photographs and possessions of the Alcott family. Guests can take the tour and then commemorate their visit with memorabilia from the on site gift shop.
The Old Manse – There have always been luxury homes in Concord, and The Old Manse was one of the first. Built in 1770 for the grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the home was later rented to writer Nathaniel Hawthorne for only $100 a year. The house now contains an impressive collection of original furniture, books, kitchen and dish-ware, as well as original wallpaper, woodwork, windows and architectural features, which you can see on a guided tour by the Trustees of Reservations.
Ralph Waldo Emerson House – No literary tour of Concord would be complete without visiting the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, where you can get a guided tour that includes a biography of the writer, his family, the home and items inside like pictures and furniture.
Minute Man National Park – We mentioned North Bridge, which was where the initial shot of the American Revolution was fired, and The Old Manse and Wayside, all of which you’ll find in this park, but there are a number of other reasons to visit this historical gem. The surroundings are majestic and pristine, the demonstrations are informative and entertaining and the historical sites within the park are connected by walking trails where visitors often spot local wildlife. Altogether it’s a serene and beautiful location for learning about one of the most important events in American history.
Visitors and residents could spend days visiting Concord’s historic landmarks and absorbing the lessons of yesteryear, which is one of the things that appealed most to the builders of Black Birch II when they were identifying a site for the newest active adult community near Boston. The historical charm has shaped the town and added a depth of character that makes Concord real estate some of the most coveted in New England.