Concord, Massachusetts is a town of about 18,000 inhabitants located 20 miles (32 km) northwest of Boston. Founded in 1635, the first Massachusetts Bay colony town away from tidewater, it boasts a lot of history.
It’s a pretty town. Visitors come to walk its streets, forests and fields, bicycle its country roads and rail trails, visit its historic sites and museums, browse its shops, dine in its restaurants and even to stay in its small collection of country inns.
The three most important areas of Concord are:
—Concord Center, the main commercial center of the town near Monument Square and along the adjoining block of Main Street, traditionally known as the Milldam.
—West Concord, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Concord Center, is the second, smaller commercial area, with its own shops, restaurants and train station.
—Walden Pond, 1.7 miles southeast of Concord Center, famous for its historical associations and as a swimming, fishing, and walking destination.
On April 19, 1775, Concord was the scene of the first American victory over British Regular troops (the “Redcoats”) in the War of Independence. Thus the town has numerous historic sites such as Old North Bridge, where the first exchange of gunfire in the town took place; and the Wright Tavern, where the British made their expedition headquarters.
During the 1800s, Concord was a center of Transcendentalism, the philosophical theory that the individual does not require the guidance of organized religion to make right decisions. The town was also important for tis eminent thinkers and writers who helped to create and develop a truly American literature: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne and others.
The various homes of these authors, and their graves on Authors Ridge in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, draw visitors year-round. Thoreau’s famous cottage on Walden Pond has been replicated, and Thoreau’s birthplace restored and opened to the public.
The busiest time of the year in Concord is Patriots Day, a Massachusetts state holiday on the Monday nearest April 19th, when the battle at the North Bridge is re-enacted and commemorated with parades, costumes, musket and cannon volleys, cheers and speeches.