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18 miles NW of Boston, 15 miles NW of Cambridge, 6 miles W of Lexington

Concord (say "conquered") revels in its legacy as a center of groundbreaking thought and its role in the country's political and intellectual history. The first official battle of the Revolutionary War took place in 1775 at the North Bridge (now part of Minute Man National Historical Park). In the 19th century, Concord was an important center of literature and philosophy. A visit can easily fill a day; if your interests are specialized or time is short, a half-day excursion is reasonable. For an excellent overview, start at the Concord Museum.

After just a little time in this lovely town, you might find yourself adopting the local attitude toward two famous residents: Ralph Waldo Emerson, who comes across as a respected uncle figure, and Henry David Thoreau, everyone's favorite eccentric cousin. The contemplative writers wandered the countryside and did much of their work in Concord, forming the nucleus of a group of influential writers who called the town home. By the mid-19th century, Concord was the center of the Transcendentalist movement. Sightseers can tour the former homes of Emerson, Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott, and visit their graves at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.