Don’t you just love day-tripping? It’s the perfect way to unwind and see something new, yet still sleep in your own bed. Devoting a day off to an actual agenda also tends to lead to a satisfying feeling. You actually did something besides binge-watch the entire third season of The Crown (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Welcome to Concord, Massachusetts. So close to our beloved Boston, yet it feels like another world. With beautiful old homes, one of the most celebrated inns in the country, a quintessential New England main street lined with shops and restaurants, and a museum that is flat-out fabulous, Concord is more than just a mere mecca for literature lovers (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
Let’s start with the flat-out fabulous museum.
While the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum has a reputation internationally for its outdoor contemporary sculpture park, it tends to be one of those “Oh, I’ve never been there” places for a lot of people who live within driving distance. If you fall into the “never been” category, it’s time to change your status.
Sprinkled among 30 acres of gardens and lawns are approximately 60 sculptures. They are thoughtfully situated within the grounds so that each shines. Some are part of the museum’s permanent collection. Others rotate in and out. Many are oversized, colorful affairs; several are designed with children in mind (hello, climbing potential). You will want to take the time to explore. Trust us on this one. “Two Big Black Hearts,” part of the permanent collection, is a showstopper.
The museum itself began its life as the home of a well-to-do, globe-trotting couple, Julian and Elizabeth de Cordova. Much of its brick façade is still visible on the outside, with the modern additions to the building providing an unusual juxtaposition between architectural styles. Inside the museum are several spacious galleries with a rotating series of exhibits, many of which have a contemporary edge, and a small café. A museum store, housed in a separate building, has offerings for art lovers, and educational toys and games for children.
The deCordova isn’t especially large. If you arrived there by mid-morning, you should be ready for lunch by the time you’re done.
The choices for a proper sit-down lunch, the kind that does include table service and does not involve a spork, are limited in Concord. But when one of those choices is the Colonial Inn, one shouldn’t feel remotely limited.
Will the Colonial Inn win culinary awards for its Yankee pot roast or crab-stuffed cod with a Ritz cracker topping? Doubtful. Does it deserve a spot in every American’s heart as the spot the sparked the American Revolution? Yes; yes it does.
Should you be in the mood for a little post-lunch shopping, downtown Concord will not disappoint. Should you wish to continue your historical explorations, Concord will awe.
Head to Minuteman National Historical Park. Stand on the Old North Bridge and feel the history. This is where America was born, people. Grab a selfie with “The Concord Minuteman,” the famed statue by Daniel Chester French, if you’re so inclined.
You may well be ready to wrap up your day in Concord by now. Fair enough. As you prepare to leave town, plan on taking a meandering route of historic proportions on your way home. Make your way past the homes of Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott and Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is where American literature was born, people.
Whether you’re looking for a day of grown-up fun steeped in history, or place to occupy the kids during their inexplicably long Christmas break, Concord is cool.