Emerson's Walks in Concord
The Emerson-Thoreau Amble
Walk the route that Emerson and his friend Henry David Thoreau traveled from Emerson’s home to Thoreau’s cabin on Walden Pond. While on these walks they held many conversations and commented on the nature around them.
These links connect you to guides for the trail:
The Old Manse and North Bridge
The Old Manse (1770) was built for Emerson’s grandparents, the young Rev. William and Phebe Bliss Emerson. William, a chaplain to the American troops, died during the Revolution. While young, Emerson lived at the Manse for a short while with Phebe and her second husband, Rev. Ezra Ripley; later, he often walked there to visit his Ripley relatives.
On July 4th, 1837, Emerson's Concord Hymn was sung for the first time at the dedication of the Minuteman statue at the Old North Bridge.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world,
The foe long since in silence slept,
Alike the Conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone,
That memory may their deed redeem,
When like our sires our sons are gone.
Spirit! who made those freemen dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid time and nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and Thee.
Before Sleepy Hollow was turned into a burial ground in 1855, it was a favorite walking place of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Fuller and the Alcotts: a rolling woodland retreat. When the decision was made to dedicate the land as a burial place, Emerson, a member of the Cemetery Committee, hired Horace Cleveland and Robert Copeland to create a garden cemetery that would honor the landscape and serve as an arboretum of native plants.
Speaking at the dedication of Sleepy Hollow, Emerson expressed the hope that,
In this quiet valley, as in the palm of Nature’s hand, we shall sleep well when we have finished our day.
Ralph Waldo Emerson and his family are buried at Sleepy Hollow.