Hey all! I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite philosophy books, Walden or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. I had always wanted to venture out to Walden Pond in Concord, MA to walk the same trails and take in the scenery as Thoreau did in the 19th century. Keeping a strong connection to nature and removing myself from society on occasion is something I hold to a high esteem. I was determined to get there whether it was with company or alone, so I thought “Why not make a day trip of it?”
I was lucky enough to bring two friends along, a writer and a musician. We hopped in the gas guzzling Jeep at 9 AM and hit the road. As we drove up the Hudson Valley to our destination of Mt. Washington, MA, we took in the rolling hills of the Berkshires and the corn fields for miles..and I mean miles. Before I knew it, we arrived at our first stop.
Aka the tallest waterfall in Massachusetts, that also happens to be in New York too. It lies right on the border between the two states! I don’t know about you, but I was pretty fascinated by that fact. Anyway, we unknowingly parked in the Massachusetts lot because that’s where my GPS directed us, but more about that later. We stepped into the woods and embarked on a steep-yet-short descent to the falls. It was very, how you say, Lord of the Rings? Everything was covered in a thick layer of lusciously green moss and there were a number of stream crossings. Under the canopy of the trees, it was a cool sixty-five degrees. After slipping and sliding a few times, we reached the falls. Woohoo! Sixty feet of natural wonder! It’s a gorgeous double waterfall rushing into a pool below, eventually leading into the Hudson. It was a bit populated, but with considerate and nice people offering to take your picture after they see you struggling with your self-timer.
Boy, oh boy. Nature is a real beaut. Oh yeah, I forgot we had to hike up that steep path to get back to the car. Once we got going, there was some huffing and puffing and sweating, but we eventually made it. Totally worth it. Remember when I mentioned the Mass. parking lot? Well there’s a New York one and it doesn’t include a steep ascent on the way back. Woops. It’s exercise, right?
After a long three hour drive from Mt. Washington, we arrived in Concord! I could barely contain my excitement. As we pull into the parking lot and get ready to pay the $5 parking charge, we are quickly informed that New York cars are required to pay $10. I guess it’s true, MA and NY really are rivals. It was then clarified that all out of state cars have to pay $10…sure. But I digress.
I was surprised to see how many cars had taken over the parking lot. Then I remembered that we were at a pond, and people are probably swimming. Anyway, we made our way over to the gift shop to check out all the Thoreau goodies. I bought myself a Walden Pond patch for my backpack and a shirt that says “What Would Thoreau Do?” because why wouldn’t I?
We visited a replica of HDT’s house which measured roughly 12 x 8 I would estimate. We continued to walk the trail to the site of the real cabin that unfortunately no longer exists. There was a wooden sign that read one of my favorite quotes, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life. And see if I could not learn what it had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Warms the heart. Standing at the sight, Thoreau’s motive behind living in solitude in the woods could not be any more apparent.
We sat on the shores and took in the vastness and foliage and contemplated for a bit. I dipped my feet in and the water was really clear and eighty-five degrees. After ample contemplation, we moved on to our next and final destination.
Like any city, Boston has it’s wonders, and parking is a bitch. Be surprised not. My musician friend had gone to BU, so he knew his way around and brought us to all the best spots. Our first stop was In Your Ear!, a record/VHS/8-track/CD/DVD/poster/t-shirt/free stuff store. When I say they have an extensive selection, I mean it.
After perusing records and such, my friend insisted we stopped next door at Blue Slate Coffee to grab some cascara iced tea. I learned that cascara tea is made from the fruit that surrounds the coffee bean, so naturally it’s a bit bitter with fruity notes and enough caffeine to get you through your day. I wanted to bathe in it.
We looked around some more, and then we got to the most important part: food. Most places didn’t cater to a cheaper budget, so we ended up at Max Brenner, a restaurant based around chocolate. I’ll say it again: chocolate. Their menu was small, in a wonderful way. I still ended up being torn between three things. Of course after dinner, I had to peek at their specialty chocolate selection and pick some up for my mom. A full belly and a $40 parking ticket later, it was time to go home so we drove off into the night sky, and without turning around we whispered Massachusetts “Adieu”.