Day 4: Conquering Concord

The four poster bed in the Concord Room at the Hawthorne Inn yielded a lovely sleep.  I awoke to the sounds of birds chirping and a gentle breeze wafting through the open windows.  Sam slept on as I dressed and sauntered out to the garden, a beach towel and mat in hand, for my morning puja and hour long yoga practice before breakfast.  The garden is big and filled with a variety of flowers, trees and shrubs attracting birds of all types.  A charming little hummingbird sips from some sort of trumpet- like flower while I move through my asana practice.

A highlight of staying at The Hawthorne is the breakfast. The first course is a medley of fresh fruit including watermelon, cantaloupe, Mandarin oranges, and grapes served with your choice of fresh squeezed orang, grapefruit or an orange/grape juice combo. The next course is a delectable house-made granola, a recipe that Marilyn has created herself and sadly for me, refuses to share but I can tell there is maple syrup in it. The granola comes with your choice of plain or strawberry yogurt or milk. I had to stop there but all the other guests were served eggs with tomatoes, green peppers and cheese served with toast (in Sam’s case, gluten free toast).

One of the fun things about staying in a B&B is conversing with the other guests.  We met a couple who have relatives in my home town and indeed had a niece or something who had attended Montessori school with Sam.  The other couple at the table had an adorable four month old baby they let me hold while they consumed the egg course of their breakfast.  Marilyn helped us create the day’s itinerary according to the weather forecast and off we went back towards the city, our first destination being Writer’s Ridge at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.  We decided to walk against Marilyn’s advice and later regretted eating up the time but we did get to see the architecture and gardens up close along the way.  Sleep Hollow is a fairly big cemetery and Writer’s Ridge is a good distance if on foot.  We saw the graves of Samuel French, Louisa May Alcott and her parents and sisters, Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau’s.  We took photos of gravestones for Sam’s Grandmother who is enamored of cemeteries and collects images of famous people’s death markers.

Next stop and pleasant walk to North Bridge, the sight of the first battle of the Revolutionary War.  There is an excellent tour one can access by phone describing and explaining the importance of various points of interest. Canoes can be rented and paddled up or down the creek that flows under the bridge. We were getting hot and hungry at this juncture so we walked back into town and stopped at the Colonial Inn.  Although the food is reported to be inconsistent at the Colonial Inn, my friend Janis Jaquith implored me to eat there as she spent a night there on her honeymoon trip and loves a good ghost story.  Yep, it is supposedly haunted and there are actually printed handouts describing some of the incidents on hand in the gift shop.  Sam was fascinated by this aspect of the place, making our lunch even more of a thrill for her.  I am happy to report that the only thing scary about our meal was the waiter who was a bit too deadpan for my taste but the food was great.  Sam’s BLT salad was a flavorful plate of romaine lettuce with maple bacon chunks, cherry tomatoes and a creamy ranch dressing. Her side order of sweet fries were crispy yet light and airy- truly unique and delicious. I thoroughly enjoyed a bowl of steamed mussels simmered in a coconut curry broth with strands of onion.  A slice of moist, flowerless chocolate cake complemented the flavors of our “entrees”.

Energy restored, we ventured over to the Concord Museum where it was free family fun Friday (lucky for us!)  On Fridays during the summer there is free admission, making me grateful that we waited until Friday to come.  There are exhibits of clocks, period rooms, Thoreau’s cabin furniture, Emerson’s study, costumed re-enactors and on the top floor a series of photographs by Annie Leibowitz, many of which have ties to Concord. I enjoyed thinking of connections I had to each subject of the photos and sharing them to Ad nauseam with Sam.

We walked back to the Inn around 4:00pm for a siesta in the heat of the day before going by car back into town to the Cheese shop to buy items for a picnic on the “beach” at Waldon Pond. The Cheese Shop has take-out food and a vast selection of gourmet cheeses and fresh bread to go with them.  They carry one or two kinds of gluten free crackers for those of us who care about that sort of thing.  We had a tarragon chicken salad, greek salad of peppers, cucumber, grape tomatoes and feta, a half dozen dolmas, some super expensive yet wonderful goat gouda, rice crackers and some dark chocolate covered marzipan for our pond-side meal.

Walden Pond is big and a popular destination on warm summer evenings. On the way to the pond from the pay-to-park parking lot is a replica of Thoreau’s Cabin which fascinates by its small size and sturdiness. At the pond itself, there are a couple of little stretches of sand, a roped off children’s swim area, a bath house that was oddly closed at the height of the season and a place to rent canoes and kayaks.  The water is clear and the pond bottom is solid and silt free.  Sam met some other girls and enjoyed playing in the pond while I, who forgot my iPhone at the Inn during this outing, simply relaxed on the beach observing people and cloud formations floating across the sky.  The park closes at 8:00pm so we stayed as late as we could before heading back to the Hawthorne Inn to relax and prepare for the drive to Hyannis in the morning.

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