Walden Pond & Orchard House

A few months ago, a friend recommended I check out Walden Pond. She said it was “close” but I brushed her off because Concord always sounded far from me. Turns out, it’s a hop, skip, and a jump away. Fast forward to the first nice day we’ve had in months, the weather was beautiful, 60s and sunny, and I couldn’t stand the thought of being inside, so I threw on some shorts and went for a hike. 

Walden Pond is BEAUTIFUL. The drive over is gorgeous and once you’re there it’s just…breathtaking. I can see why Thoreau lived there. For those of you that aren’t familiar, Henry David Thoreau wrote “Walden”, an essay about his time living on Walden Pond. He writes about his time there and uses the four seasons as a metaphor for personal growth and development. For more on the subject, check this out. I’ll be honest, I’m not much of a poetry fan, or a Thoreau fan for that matter, but after visiting Walden Pond, I am definitely going to check it out. It was so serene, even though it was fairly busy for a Saturday afternoon. You can take various trails around the lake, there is a small “beach” (sorry, former Floridian here), and you can also check out the remnants of Thoreau’s house, as well as a replica of the house itself. The house is very small, about 100 square feet, if that, and only housed a small wood burning stove, a bed, and a small table. I definitely couldn’t handle that! (Sorry, this girl likes to shop too much!).

After Walden Pond, I checked out Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s home. Louisa May Alcott is the author of “Little Women” and a native of the Boston area. Her family lived all over–in the city, Cambridge, and eventually residing in Concord. The Alcott’s moved 18 times before settling at Orchard House. Orchard House, named by Alcott’s father after the apple orchard on-site, is a beautiful old home, set against a large hill with large and dense trees. I wish I could describe it better, but it’s one of those things you’ll have to check out for yourself. The tour of Orchard House is $10, and well worth it. Our tour guide was a young girl, who couldn’t have been more than 16 years old, and she gave such a great tour. We were all impressed. She told us little secrets about each room, and told funny little stories about the family (Did you know the entire reason kids have recess today is because of Louisa’s father? He started an unconventional school for the time period and believed kids shouldn’t be chained to their desks or kept inside all day, that they should be able to run around and play outside?) No photo’s are allowed during the tour, but you’ll wish they could have been–May’s (Louisa’s youngest sister) original artwork is drawn onto the walls, there are original signed copies of “Little Women” in Louisa’s room, and if you look very carefully in the parent’s room, you can see an original doll from Louisa’s older sister, Anna. For more on Orchard House, and the tour, check out the Orchard House’s website, here.