When I need to get out of the city, one of my favorite destinations is Walden Pond in Concord. I’m a huge Henry David Thoreau fan and find the site that he called home for two years in the mid-1800s to be incredibly peaceful, beautiful and rejuvenating. Most people visit Walden Pond in the summer to swim in the refreshing waters and lay on the beach, but it’s possible to visit and enjoy the pond year-round.
In the warmer months, Walden is home to those seeking solace from the heat. People lounge on the beach and little outcroppings along the path that runs alongside the perimeter of the pond. Walden is perfect for swimming, canoeing and fishing and the surrounding wooded areas make great picnic spots. The pond can get really crowded in the summer, so be sure to come early to snag a spot.
While summer is high season at Walden, I prefer fall. The pond is often nearly desserted, making it a peaceful spot to spend a cool, crisp morning or afternoon. Walking on the paths surrounding Walden provides stunning views of the changing foliage reflected in the clear blue water. It’s truly New England at its prettiest.
While you’re walking around, be sure to stop at the site of Thoreau’s house. I always imagine him living and working there, fishing on the pond, building a cozy fire in the frigid winter months and of course, writing Walden. You can also visit a replica of the cabin (near the parking lot) to get an idea of how small of a space he occupied. Walden also has a nice visitor center and gift shop not far from the cabin replica.
And while I’ve never been to Walden in the winter, it’s on my list of things to do this year. I’m eager to see the pond and woods blanketed in snow and trek around the property via snowshoe (or cross-country skis).
The pond itself and surrounding paths are open daily at 5 a.m. and the park closes a half-hour before sunset. Parking is available on a first-come, first-serve basis (limited to 1,000) for $5 per day in the large lot off of Route 126.
Walden Pond is one of my absolute favorite places and if you’ve never been, I highly recommend taking the short trip out to Concord. While you’re there, drop into Concord’s downtown, which is populated with cute shops and some very good restaurants. You can also visit the nearby DeCordova Museum, which has a beautiful sculpture garden that’s lovely this time of year.
Have you been to Walden Pond? What’s your favorite season to visit and favorite thing to do there?
P.S. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can ride your bike all the way to Walden from Somerville. It’s a long ride, but well worth it if you’re prepared!