- - Thursday, October 5, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“It is the beauty within us that makes it possible for us to recognize the beauty around us. The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”

— Henry David Thoreau

Bucolic Concord, Massachusetts, is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s 1817 birth. It was here that the writer found inspiration at Walden Pond for his utopian work, and you can explore that natural world in and around his hometown. It’s an ideal place to see the fall foliage surrounding Walden Pond along with the recently opened exhibit at the Concord Museum, “This Ever New Self: Thoreau and His Journal.”

Thoreau’s keen observations of the inner and outer world reminds us of the power of inspection and reflection. A visit to the iconic Walden Pond with a focus on fall foliage allows you to enjoy both the hues of the season and the journals of Thoreau in this historic New England town.

The Walden Pond State Reservation is a popular destination for walkers, boaters and swimmers, as well as a spot for personal reflection. This is where Thoreau was inspired to write “Walden; or, Life in the Woods.” You can hike to the very place where he built his cabin, learn more about this visionary environmentalist at the visitor center or just take a pause to appreciate the pond itself, formed by a retreating glacier some 10,000 years ago.

The Concord Museum is displaying over 20 personal journals of Thoreau’s in an excellent showcase, which offers insight into him as a Harvard student, reader, writer, thinker, neighbor and observer. Jointly curated with the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City, this exhibit also displays assorted artifacts like Thoreau’s simple green writing desk, walking stick, a collection of pressed flowers and his flute.

Concord Museum Curator David Wood makes a point to show off Thoreau’s final journal — ending deliberately in the middle of the page in the center of the book. The blank space is there not by accident, but with deliberate design — just as he lived his life.

Seeing the show in Concord, where other literary figures like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott flourished, gives the material added context. This literary enclave of the 1800s still remains a quaint town, with links to the past such as the lantern of Paul Revere, Minuteman statue and historic North Bridge.

Stay and Dine 

Concord offers high-end places such as the tastefully decorated boutique Hawthorne Inn, an intimate B&B run by a friendly couple. Design elements make a statement with attention to details: Reclaimed barn wood from sculptor Daniel French serves as dining room doors, and color makes a splash throughout this well-situated, lovingly restored, elegant property from 1860, which was once owned by Emerson, Hawthorne and Bronson Alcott.

Hawthorne Inn

462 Lexington Rd.

Concord, MA. 01742

978/369 5610

HawthorneInnConcord.com

In nearby Lexington the Inn at Hastings Park offers spacious guestrooms that feature gas fireplaces. Fine dining is on offer at their restaurant, Artistry on the Green, and features fresh, seasonal ingredients alongside excellent service.

Inn at Hastings Park

2027 Mass. Ave.

Lexington, MA.

781/301 6660

InnAtHastingsPark.com

Iris Brooks, a travel and arts writer, has explored all seven continents. Learn more about her and photographer Jon H. Davis at NLSCreativeMedia.com

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