Every romantic has heard of Walden Pond, a historical lake in Concord, Massachusetts just outside Boston, a stone’s throw from where I lived in Belmont many years ago. A famous example of a kettle hole, it was apparently formed by retreating glaciers 10,000–12,000 years ago. While that may be a fascinating factoid, that is not how people know the Walden Pond name nor why they want to go there.
The writer, transcendentalist, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau lived on the northern shore of the pond for two years starting in the summer of 1845. His account of the experience was recorded in Life in the Woods, and made the pond famous. The land at that end was owned by Thoreau’s friend and mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who let Thoreau use it for his experiment. Concord Museum contains the bed, chair, and desk from Thoreau’s cabin. Below is the foundation of where his house sat and while the photo may be deceiving, you can get an idea of just how small it was in size.
Because of Thoreau’s legacy, Walden Pond has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is considered the birthplace of the conservation movement.
The pond is now managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and people flock there to swim and hang out on its banks in the summer. Mostly undeveloped woods totaling 2,680 acres, called “Walden Woods,” surround the reservation and of that, 335 acres of protected open space are open to visitors.
My recommendation? Walk around the pond in its entirety and then go back around in the opposite direction and from there, find a lovely spot to sit on the shores and reflect on the beautiful nature that surrounds you as well as the history of the place.
I was a happy camper on that glorious summer afternoon…it’s all so breathtaking isn’t it?
915 Walden Street
Parking costs $5 daily although since prices change, be sure to check their website before heading out.