Friday, January 04, 2008

authors and such

Saturday was such a beautiful day, and we had such a good time. We put the bikes on the back of Scout again and headed out to Lexington.
Courtney and I on the green at Lexington, where the battles began. The American troops were sorely outnumbered and they quickly retreated back to Concord. The Redcoats followed them along the path which we followed ourselves...

The Minute Man National Park is a narrow stretch between Lexington and Concord including a few historic homes and a trail that approximates the path the British took in chasing the rebels. We stopped at the Visitor Center for a moment because, of course, that's what we do. We said hello to the ranger and filled up our water bottles. Then we began our day biking. The weather was ideal - warm and gorgeous.
About half way through the park we came to the Hartwell Tavern where various Redcoats were demonstrating their drills and weapons. We took a break from biking and ate our lunch.
We continued cycling and when we came out of the park we were on the edge of Concord, right by the Alcott home.
Courtney was especially excited to see this place.
We took a tour, and I would say it was the best tour I had this trip. We saw a short video of Louisa May's life in a room that had been her sister's (I forgot the real sister's name, but the Amy of the March family) and there were sketches on the wall done by her. Then a very knowledgeable guide took us through the house and we learned so many interesting things about Miss Alcott's life and her family. I never knew how much her family paralleled the story of Little Women. Not totally of course, but as I realized the extent to which the March story was modeled after this family and house, it was much more exciting to be inside it. I felt like I knew them all and was coming for a visit. Which I was.

We got back on our bikes and rode past the Emersons' house, just down the road a piece. (We would have stopped for tea, but had to get to Walden before the sun went down.)
We then arrived at the small town. Concord is adorable. We went straight toward the cemetery to continue the motif of our travels, if you will. Here we saw the graves of Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Thoreau, and Hawthorn, all on what is known as Authors' Ridge. We biked through the town, and I determined I would like to live there.

Then we mapped a route out to Walden Pond which is only a few miles outside of the town. Besides the fact that the March sisters go ice skating here, Walden Pond was an important destination on our tour because Courtney teaches Thoreau and has read Walden multiple times.
We walked around the pond looking for a place to swim. Something unique about Walden is that swimming is allowed anywhere in the pond, not just off the sandy beach. We didn't come to a spot until we hit the shady part of the lake unfortunately. The water was really freezing, and we hadn't wanted to carry our towels with us on our bike ride, so we only had handtowels.
Courtney's head bobbing in the water: She managed to stay in longer than me.
After we completed the loop we came to the site of Thoreau's home of two years. This pile of rocks marks the place where his little cabin was thought to be located. (Later someone excavated and found it to be about ten meters to the right.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately."
There was a small visitors' center and Courtney had to have her picture taken with Henry (I insisted). The replica of his cabin is in the background.

And then we left Massachusetts, heading for them western skies.
So long Concord. Howdy, Windham.

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