What to see in Concord Massachusetts: cradle of history and literature

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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Concord is a small town of the Massachusetts, one would easily think that there is not much to see or do in the area, yet there is not, the city is an authentic concentration of historical and literary attractions, which make it one of the must-see stops for a tour in New England . Concord has had a notable historical importance, here in fact decisive events occurred for the evolution of the American War of Independence and also in this city one of the most important philosophical and literary currents of America developed, transcendentalism, thus acting as the cradle to the greatest intellectuals of the period.

In Concord you can therefore retrace the history of American independence and at the same time breathe a cultural climate that has strongly influenced the United States. So let's see what to visit in this small but charming New England town.

visit Concord we have prepared 2 itineraries, one dedicated to the numerous historical testimonies and the other focused on the literary and philosophical history of the city, obviously the 2 itineraries can be joined together. A day's visit might be enough to enjoy most of the things to see.


  • Concord Massachussets: historical attractions
  • Concord Massachusetts: Literature, Philosophy, and Culture
  • Tips on where to sleep in the area
  • Other useful resources

Concord Massachussets: historical attractions

  • Old North Bridgand: here was fired what Ralph Waldo Emerson defined as “the shot that rang all over the world”… what are we talking about? Of the clash between the minutemen, the militias of volunteers in support of the revolution, and the British army. Precisely on this bridge the Americans managed to repel the best organized enemy troops and to mark a fundamental point for the cause of the War of Independence. On the site you can admire the Minute Man sculpture by Daniel Chester French (the author of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC), but also a moving plaque dedicated to the fallen opponent, which shows the following verses by James Russell Lowell:

“They came three thousand miles and died,
to keep the past upon its throne:
Unheard, beyond the ocean tide,
their English Mother made her moan.”

“They came three thousand miles and died
to hold the past upon his throne:
Unheard, beyond the ocean currents,
their English mother screamed her pain. "

  • Sleepy Hollow Cemetery: do not make the mistake of stopping at the first historic cemetery that you will find near the main square of Concord, continue further until you reach the Authors' Ridge, where you will find the graves of the most illustrious exponents of the glorious history of Concord, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Thoreau family, the Alcotts and the Hawthornees.
  • Concord Museum: The city museum collects historical relics of great importance, including one of the two famous lanterns that were posted in the Old North Church in Boston as a signal for the patriot Paul Revere, who set out on a legendary ride to Lexington to warn the allies, event celebrated in many American patriotic songs.
  • Wright Tavern: it was an important meeting place for the minutemen; when the British arrived in Concord looking for weapons in April 1775 they searched this tavern and later used it as headquarters. At the moment it is not possible to visit it inside.
  • Annual parade: if you happen to be in the area for Patriots' Day, the day set up in remembrance of the battles of Lexington and Concord, you can participate in a very heartfelt commemoration, which opens with a ceremony at the Old North Bridge and continues with a costume parade that recalls the march of the minutemen.       

Concord Massachusetts: Literature, Philosophy, and Culture

Orchard House

As mentioned, Concord gave birth to one of the most important philosophical currents in the country, transcendentalism, as well as to some of the best-known American literary authors of the 800th century. Of this great artistic ferment there are still some places where it is possible to fully breathe the Concord of the past ... all the sites can be visited by purchasing the entrance ticket.

  • Old Manse: it is the house of Reverend William Emerson, the grandfather of the better known Ralph Waldo, built in 1769. Here you will find a number of interesting relics that belonged to the Hawthorne family, as well as a beautiful park with a vegetable garden planted by Thoreau.
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial House: it is in this house that the founder of transcendentalism lived and which served as a meeting place for the brightest minds of the town. Most of the furnishings and furnishings are the original ones, so you can take a real leap in time!
  • Orchard House: one of the flagships of all Concord, this is in fact the house where Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, lived. I strongly recommend you take a guided tour inside: you can find out how the whole family lived in that period and come into contact with another important and often little known figure, Amos Bronson Alcott and his important school of philosophy.
  • Thoreau Farm: the farm where Henry David Thoreau was born and lived his early years, halfway between Lexington and Concord. Also for this building it is possible to take a guided tour.
  • Walden Pond: no one like Thoreau took the doctrines of transcendentalism to the extreme consequences: motivated by the desire to live in close contact with nature, he abandoned the comforts of the city and moved to a hut in the woods of Walden Pond, a splendid natural area with a lake that it deserves to be visited even if you are not interested in seeing the poet's site.

To all these illustrious personalities, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, the Alcottes and the Hawthorne, one of the most important American composers (Charles Ives) has dedicated a work that has left its mark on the musical history of his country, the Concord Sonata .


Tips on where to sleep in the area

If you intend to stay in Concord in Massachusetts more than a day you can consult this list of hotels in the area, but in most cases, since the town can be visited well in one day, other solutions in the surrounding area could be convenient, especially if you have a rental car and are venturing into an on the road. Here are the distances from the main centers:

  • East: Boston (34 minutes). Read our tips on where to sleep in Boston
  • South: Providence (1 hour). Read our article on visiting Providence
  • South East: Plymouth (1 hour). Read our article on Plimoth Plantation
  • Northeast: Salem (40 minutes). List of available accommodations in Salem

Other useful resources

If you are thinking of embarking on a New England itinerary, I would like to point out some resources that may be useful for planning your trip.

  • Our guide on how to plan a tour of New England.
  • Our tips on Country Inn: the best Bed & Breakfasts in the region.
  • All you need to know about Acadia National Park, New England's most fascinating natural park.
  • Our advice on the city of Boston, a reference point for visiting the region.
  • Our section with all the recommended itineraries in New England.
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