Not far from my hometown in Massachusetts is a minimalist writer’s mecca: Concord, home of some of my favourite writers: Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott. I requested a weekend outing to this charming New England town, to soak up some history and inspiration.
First we drive by Walden Pond, where Thoreau lived in a cabin from 1845-1847, writing Walden; or Life in the Woods [a must-read for aspiring minimalists!]. It’s too crowded to enter just yet – oddly, it’s a beach destination, despite the serene intentions for my visit.
Off to Emerson‘s house, where I learn that he was a curious and clever dude. He travelled often, and Thoreau would hang out at the house, doing odd jobs and building presents for Emerson’s kids. Cool Uncle Henry. Funny story – Ralph’s wife, Lydia, changed her name to “Lydian” because Bostonians pronounced it “Lydiar”.
On the way out, we stop in their beautiful playground-esque garden.
Next up: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where my Concord heroes lay to rest on Author’s Ridge. Some visitors left pens and pencils at their graves, reminding me of visiting Douglas Adams’s grave in London.
Lunch in Concord means Comella’s, obviously. A quick local Italian place that has burst into a Boston-area chain. The World Cup was on so we got a glimpse of modernity to break up the day.
Off to Thoreau Farm, a marvelous hidden gem – a walk-through museum on the site of Thoreau’s birth. I loved reading bits about his enthusiastic, deliberate lifestyle. They even rent out one of the room to writers – special!
Back to Walden Pond. The crowd has died down, so we opt for a nature loop around the place, retracing Thoreau’s steps. We observe the site of his cabin, and meander down to the edge of the pond. The beach-y part is across from us in the distance, but our spot is quiet and private, so we skip rocks and gaze on the rippling water. Nothing inspires like a walk – or even just a sit – in the woods.
> monday mini adventures: making the most of one’s surroundings through conscious exploration and appreciation
P.S. if you’ve caught the minimalist bug, here’s a list of 14 films that inspire minimalism and mindfulness!