The eye was placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. (Emerson)

I woke up this morning sore. Not jut my legs, but my lower back, shoulders, arms and neck. I forget, sometimes, that more than just legs are used in bicycling.
In the afternoon, I took off to Emerson’s home. Like the Mark Twain house, the only way to see the Emerson house is by doing a tour and no photos of the inside are allowed. The house is still owned by the Emerson family and all of the furniture was original to the home.

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Emerson owned the land where Thoreau built his house on the shore of Walden Pond and frequently enjoyed hiking to the pond. The path he took has been restored by the city, although I don’t know if it follows the same route. I hiked the path to the site where Thoreau built his one room house. The path went through a wooded area with a slow moving stream and small pond along the way. I took a short break near the small pond for a short meditation.

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Thoreau’s house on Walden Pond no longer exists. He only lived in it for two years as an experiment. When he moved out, the house was moved and used for grain storage for a while before being broken up for scrap lumber. The roof was put on a pigsty. In 1872, a friend of Thoreau’s took a visitor to Walden Pond and they put stones where the friend thought the house once stood. Since then, visitors have put their own stones as a tribute to Thoreau and a very large pile of stones has arisen. I added my own small stone to the pile.

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My little addition to the pile.

The foundation stones of the chimney were found later about 10 feet away.

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The outline of the location of Thoreau's cottage.
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Thoreau's cottage was located up the hill from this little cove on the north side of Walden Pond.
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This is a replica of Thoreau's cottage located across the highway from the pond.
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Inside of the cottage. It reminds me of my first apartment in Brooklyn.

After hiking back to Emerson’s house, I visited the cemetery where Emerson and Thoreau are buried.

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Emerson's headstone is the large boulder in the center. He is buried between his wife on the left and his eldest daughter on the right. His eldest daughter never married and often accompanied him on his lecture tours.
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Thoreau's headstone.

The Alcotts also lived in Concord and were close friends of the Emersons. I passed by the Alcott’s home, which was also the setting for Little Women, but didn’t get a photograph.

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Louisa May Alcott's grave.

Overall, it was a great day visiting some of the sights of some literary heroes. Some things that surprised me: It appears from the attitudes of some of the other tourists that these were just historic sites, like they thought, “I remember something about this from high school, maybe I should go see it.”
Thoreau appeared to be more popular than Emerson. I have always been a much bigger fan of Emerson and he has had much more impact on my life than Thoreau.
I also forgot that Concord was the location of some of the first fighting in the American Revolution. There are monuments to minutemen and marked paths taken by the British army between Lexington and Concord.

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Nathan Meriam House. "Lexington Common was a tragedy. Concord's North Bridge was treason. Meriam's Corner was war."

Riding the bicycle without the extra load felt strange today. It was light and agile. It’s kind of like getting used to driving around a large RV, then hopping into a midsized sedan and trying to drive.
There is an ice cream shop next to the motel I have been staying in called Bedford Farms. Every time I have left the motel, there have been long lines there. This evening I decided I needed to try it to see why it’s so popular. It was very good, about like Ben and Jerry’s. I had chunky chocolate pudding, which is chocolate ice cream with fudge swirl, chocolate chips and brownie chunks. One of the benefits of bicycle touring is that you can eat anything and everything you want. That 12″ pizza? It’s all mine. Rich, creamy ice cream? Yes, thank you. It’s okay because I’ll burn 3000 calories on the road tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Concord (May 22)

  1. An amazing amount of history. And for you more personal. I remember being in St. Peter’s in Rome and finding it almost surreal that I was actually standing in front of the Pieta – looking up at the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel, etc. You may have had some of the same feeling.

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