Have you ever heard of Concord, Massachusetts? I have heard about it but knew little about its significance. Mama Nomad really, really wanted to go there. She said “Salem, Massachusetts is not far, we can visit it while we are in the area.” That was enough to intrigue me so we made a day of going from Concord to Salem.
First of all, do not pronounce it like we did initially. We said Con…Cord. Nope! Wrong! They pronounce it Con…Kerd, like the word conquered. I did not know why Mama Nomad wanted to go so bad initially. That was until I was informed that Louisa May Alcott was from there. In addition, so were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. But Louisa May was Mama Nomad’s favorite. She thoroughly enjoys the book series that starts with Little Women. And, in Concord, is where Louisa May wrote the book as well as the house she lived in that inspired the setting.
We loaded up and headed to Concord. Our first stop, when we reached the city, was Orchard House. This was the family home of Louisa May, her sisters and parents; the place where she wrote Little Women. We went on the tour of the home and learned its history. Come to find out, her Father was pretty innovative in practical applications of things as well as forward thinking in educational practices.
I was amazed that he joined a cabin from up the hill to their home at the bottom of the hill. He rolled the cabin on logs down to the house. When he joined it to the house, he covered up their water well. This was by design. He cut a door in the floor and now they could fetch water without having to go outside. Revolutionary thinking in his time.
The whole family was talented in some art form or another. Did you know that Louisa May learned how to be ambidextrous so she could continue to write with another hand when one hand cramped? Heck, there was a kid that lived down the road who carved turnips to express his artistry. His mom sent him to the Alcott house for tutelage, form Louisa’s sister May. That man later went on to design the Lincoln Memorial! Wow!
We toured the house, learned the history of the family, as well as the grounds. It is a truly interesting story of a family and those they knew and touched. This includes their neighbors and family friends Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. If you are a Louisa May Alcott fan, the tour is worth it!
We spent a few hours at Orchard House and then we decided to venture on. Just down the road a few hundred yards is the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The home was closed so we just scouted it a bit from the outside and then headed on.
From there we went on to Minute Man National Historical Park. This is adjacent to The Old Manse, a home that Ralph Waldo Emerson’s grandfather built and where Emerson wrote Nature, an essay that sparked the Transcendental movement. From this house, the Emerson family watched a battle, on the North Bridge on April 19,1775, that started the American Revolution. It was the first time that American Militia was ordered to fire on British Troops.
We explored the North Bridge and the surrounding area. We took a few moments out of our schedule to allow the Nomad Sons to run, slide and slip on ice that was next to the walkway. Let me tell you, that gave Mama Nomad and I some laugh out loud enjoyment for a bit.
We left Minute Man National Historic Park and headed over to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. No, not the Sleepy Hollow with the Headless Horseman. That is in New York. This is a cemetery in Concord where the famous authors were buried. Coincidentally, the Alcott, Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau families were buried on the same hill called Authors Ridge. We walked around and paid our respects. True to his roots, Emerson did not have a traditional headstone. It was, instead, a large rock with a plaque on it. Mama nomad placed the customary penny on the graves and then we returned to Ebony.
Once we were finished at the cemetery we decided to pass by Walden Pond; another famous area. Thoreau stayed in a one room cabin on the pond, on land granted by Emerson, so he could write. The area was beautiful (what we could see of it). We could not find any place to park and explore. They had a paid parking area. But, since we were only going to be there for 15 to 20 minutes, it did not make sense to go to the paid parking. We drove around the pond and then set our course for Salem.
Salem is about 30 miles from Concord. One thing I wanted to do was check out the Bewitched statue. It was the positive and less ominous item on our agenda. So, we swung by it and then headed to our other destination; the Salem Witch Trials Memorial.
Many people know about Salem because of the Witch Trials. What I find odd is that many people do not know the history past the fact that witch trials were held here. Most are unaware that 20 people were tried, 14 of them women, and all died; one was tortured to death. On top of this, it was later admitted that none of the accused were witches and essentially falsely accused and executed.
The trials were held in multiple surrounding towns around Salem. One was Danvers. And that is where the memorial stands for those who were falsely accused and killed. We visited it right at twilight. It was cold and snow was dancing across our noses. It was a surreal experience beyond description of words. Especially when you read the memorial and how all those that perished were killed. To top it off, we even took one picture that is especially eerie. There seems to be a steam or fog in the image. But none existed in that place. The air was clear. You can see it below. The image was not altered other than our copyright notations.
We began our day with authors of the past, sprinkled in the battle that started the American Revolution and concluded with a memorial to those who died from being falsely accused. It was a fairly long and somewhat intense day. But it was an experience I would not trade and suggest that others follow in our footsteps if you are in the area. Safe Travels.