Overland Expo to TBEX: Roadschooling in Concord, Mass.

If you’re keeping up with the tales of our Overland Expo to TBEX expedition, you know that we struggled greatly with a string of travel woes during our six-week journey. But by the time we reached Boston, it seemed we’d turned the tide and gotten our travel mojo back. We were in full road-schooling mode again.

In between stops, we managed to pick up a few Massachusetts geocaching smilies…

Camping in Concord…

Typically in our extended, hybrid road trips we mostly camp with a few hotel stays here and there. This trip was proving difficult to keep mostly camping and we’d found ourselves in hotels way more often than my personality and budget found agreeable. So as we looked towards Concord, we were disappointed at the slim camping pickings to be had within reasonable distance.

Private campgrounds are usually more costly than those of state and national parks. It’s hit or miss whether or not the extra expense is justified by the quality of the facilities and the amenities offered. Unfortunately, we’ve not had great success with private campgrounds but in this scenario it was really our only choice. That’s how we found ourselves at the Minuteman Campground, a reasonable 20-minute drive west of town.

I’m relieved to say we were pleasantly surprised. While I still prefer simpler campgrounds and the lower cost that comes with them, this was one of the rare occasions where the facilities at least justified the higher expense. The campground and facilities were clean and in good repair, the staff was responsive and friendly, and overall it was a very nice place to camp.

We can finally chalk a private campground in the “win” category. But of course, camping was not our primary objective, but a means to an end to visit Concord.

Minute Man Trail…

In an effort to boost our American Revolution experiential education but not have to remain in Boston, we focused on the Minute Man National Historical Park. Where better to study the American Revolution than where the first shot was fired? Having found myself exhausted by exploring history in the expanse of Boston during trips there in my pre-kid years, I found this to be a more compelling and relaxed location to take in a history lesson.

Embracing American Revolution history in Concord…

This National Park unit consists of a several locations that stretch from mainly from Lexington to Concord. Some are closed in winter but in high season you can enjoy historic reenactments and a variety of tours and activities. One of the things I love about this park is the 5-mile Battle Trail that connects the different locations and partially follows the route of the Minutemen. It’s a great concept for combining outdoor activity with history. The small sections we saw were truly gorgeous.

By all rights we could have spent several days exploring here but Fred and George would have mutinied on me. To keep from souring them on history, and also to save time for some other places we wanted to see, we only hit the high points of North Bridge and the main Visitor Center and a quick look-see at Hartwell Tavern. Even though it was a whirlwind tour, I was satisfied the boys had good grasp of the setting and importance of the events.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery…

I’m not exactly a literary scholar but I do have a certain appreciation for the works of our renowned American writers, especially those who embraced nature in their work. This is why I felt it necessary to visit the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where Emerson and Thoreau are buried. Fred and George have not yet discovered the joys of these literary greats but I asked for their indulgence so I could have my mini-pilgrimage.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
The Thoreau family
A simple grave for a literary giant.
The Sage of Concord… Emerson’s grave

Walden Pond…

You really can’t go to Concord and not visit Walden Pond, right? Thoreau’s haunt is preserved through the Walden Pond State Reservation and we ventured out to visit as part of my Thoreau mini-pilgrimage and to grab the excellent Walden Pond earthcache there.

Being a June Sunday, the lake swimming area was packed in spite of threatening rain. The earthcache required us to walk the entirety of the lake to explore Thoreau’s history there as well as the geology of the lake formation. Simply road-schooling at it’s finest.

Part of the Earthcache required us to gather information about Thoreau’s cabin.
A replica of Thoreau’s cabin and a statue are located near the parking area.
In this well-loved park, visitor-impact mitigation was in full-swing.
A peaceful spot away from the crowds of the swimming beach and a chance to ponder kettle lakes and eskers as part of the earthcache effort.
Our explorations at Walden Pond took us to the cabin site.
So Thoreau’s story didn’t leave much of an impression on by moody adolescents but they humored me by tagging along.
I always love seeing great things happening in different states. The tree-hugger and former geomorphologist in me loves this…

Moving on…

There were certainly weeks worth of travel and exploration to be taken on in Massachusetts but we’d had our fill of the Bay State after 6 days and we were ready to move on to Rhode Island…

And now for your moment of green…

They may not yet grasp Thoreau but they did embrace the peacefulness of the trails around Walden Pond.

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