For history enthusiasts there is no better place to visit than Concord. Home of the “shot heard ’round the world” and authors Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Concord offers numerous ways to explore its historical and literary heritage. The town has a wide variety of outdoor activities, beautiful scenery, and a surprising number of culinary creations.
The North Bridge Inn (21 Monument St., 978-371-0014, www.northbridgeinn.com, $165-$275) is a six-room, historic bed-and-breakfast located within walking distance of the Old North Bridge and the Main Street shopping district. The Colonial Inn (48 Monument Square, 978-369-9200, www.concordscolonialinn.com, $164-$204) has two on-site restaurants, the Liberty Gastropub and the upscale Merchants Row. The Hawthorne Inn (462 Lexington Road, 978-369-5610, www.concordmass.com, $149-$349) is located near Concord’s historic homes and offers a multicourse breakfast including seasonal fresh fruits such as baked stuffed apples and omelets cooked in herb butter. The Best Western Plus (740 Elm St., 978-369-6100, www.bestwesternmassachusetts.com, $135-$160) is 2 miles from the North Bridge and offers free breakfast, an outdoor pool, and fitness room.
Helen’s (17 Main St., 978-369-9885, www.helensrestaurant.net, $4-$13) is a local favorite that features hearty breakfasts, Brigham’s ice cream, and vintage photographs of Concord. For organic smoothies, vegan cookies, and other healthy options, Debra’s Natural Gourmet (98 Commonwealth Ave., 978-371-7573, www.debrasnaturalgourmet.com) in the quaint village of West Concord is a full-service market that shows a passion for sustainable foods and healthy living. The Concord Cheese Shop (29 Walden St., 978-369-5778, www.concordcheeseshop.com, sandwiches $8-$11) is a town staple offering the finest wines, cheeses, and gourmet foods from around the world. Trails End Café (97 Lowell Road, 978-610-6633, www.thetrailsendcafe.com, sandwiches $5-$11) has an impressive list of sandwiches and breakfast items from locally sourced ingredients. Serafina (195 Sudbury Road, 978-371-9050, www.serafinaristorante.com, $6-$33) recently reopened featuring a wide variety of seafood, pasta, and comfort food options. For special occasions 80 Thoreau (80 Thoreau St., 978-318-0008, www.80thoreau.com, $5-$31 appetizers/entrees) has creative and artfully prepared seafood, steak, chicken, and even rabbit entrees, and an extensive wine list.
DURING THE DAY
Concord is well known for its role in the Revolutionary War, and the Old North Bridge (Monument Street, 978-369-6993, www.nps.gov/mima/index.htm, free) is the site of one of the first battles and the “shot heard ’round the world.” This is where Paul Revere, Joseph Warren, William Dawes, and other Colonial militia helped prevent the Redcoats from seizing valuable weapons in town. The Minuteman Statue, the Obelisk Monument, and the North Bridge Visitors Center are located on the grounds near the bridge. Next to the bridge is the Old Manse (269 Monument St., 978-369-3909,
www.thetrustees.org, $8 house tours, grounds are free), which has the distinction of being a prime battle location for the Revolutionary War and the place where Emerson wrote his essay “Nature.” A short walk from Monument Square on Bedford Street is Authors Ridge in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (open 7 a.m. to dusk, 978-318-3233, free). Here you’ll find the graves of Alcott, Thoreau, and Hawthorne. Alcott’s Orchard House (399 Lexington Road, 978-369-4118, www.louisa
mayalcott.org, tours $10) is the site where the famed author wrote “Little Women.” The Concord Museum (Cambridge Turnpike and Lexington Road, www
.concordmuseum.org, 978-369-9763, tours $10) contains the town’s most extensive collection of historical artifacts, including Paul Revere’s lantern and Thoreau’s desk, chair, and bed from Walden Pond. The Concord Art Museum (37 Lexington Road, 978-369-2578, www.concordart.org, free) in a restored 18th-century home features the works of Elizabeth Wentworth Roberts. Perhaps the crown jewel of Concord is Walden Pond (915 Walden St., 978-369-3254, $5 parking) with over 330 acres of ponds, wooded trails, and boat ramps for outdoor recreational opportunities. The reservation inspired Thoreau to write “Walden,” and the site where his cottage once stood is located near Thoreau’s Cove. The South Bridge Boat House (496 Main St., 978-369-9438, canoe rentals $60-$80 a day; kayaks $15-$17 a day) provides an opportunity to view the area’s natural surroundings while paddling on the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord rivers. Paddling under the Old North Bridge with the fall foliage in full bloom is an experience that should not be missed.
Main Streets Market and Café (42 Main St., www.mainstreetsmarketandcafe.com,
978-369-9948) has live music six nights a week and a full-service market and cafe owned by the fourth generation of the Anderson family. The Village Forge Tavern inside the Colonial Inn (48 Monument Square, 978-369-2373) offers live music Wednesday to Saturday, and trivia Sunday nights. To enjoy the area’s best ice cream, head to Bedford Farms (68 Thoreau St., 978-341-0000, www.bedfordfarmsicecream.com) or the
appropriately named Reasons To Be Cheerful (110 Commonwealth Ave., 978-610-6248, www.cheerful-reasons.com) in West Concord.
Matt Taylor can be reached at www.matthewgtaylor.com.
Due to a reporting error, and earlier version had the incorrect website for Trails End Café. The website is www.thetrailsendcafe.com