After lunch, we walked to the Amtrak station and caught the train bound for Boston. This train ride was less than an hour so we barely had time to get all of our gear stowed away before it was time to get off. In Boston, we took the Red T-Line from South Station to Harvard Square. Emerging from the subway, we encountered massive crowds of people attending HONK, an annual festival to “reclaim the streets for horns, bikes, and feet.” Ironically, the crowd was so packed, it was difficult to navigate our bikes through the street parades and vendors:) We finally managed to maneuver our way to the Harvard Square Hotel, where my friend Cheryl was waiting for us with a rental car. We jammed our folding bikes, luggage, and four people into a Nissan Maxima and drove to Concord.Our first stop in Concord was Walden Pond, the location where Henry David Thoreau built a cabin and lived by himself for two years in the woods. Later, he wrote Walden, a book depicting his experiences living close to nature. We strolled along the path leading to the spot where Thoreau’s cabin once stood, and we placed a stone in the pile formed by thousands of visitors who wanted to show their respect for Thoreau’s literary works.
Our next stop was Authors’ Ridge in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Several prominent American authors, including Thoreau, Hawthorne, Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott (author of Little Women) are buried in this cemetery. My friend Cheryl really enjoyed reading the tombstones and hypothesizing about the lives of these famous authors.Although we knew the national parks were supposed to be closed due to the government shutdown, we decided to drive by the Old North Bridge at the Minuteman National Historic Park. To our surprise, the park was open. We walked across the bridge to the Minuteman statue and spoke with a costumed tour guide who was protesting the National Park shutdown. We praised him for his stance and felt like we also participated in a small act of civil disobedience. By this time, we were all starving so we drove to the Colonial Inn where we had reservations for dinner. The Colonial Inn, originally built in 1716, is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been in operation as a hotel since the late 1800s. We all splurged on dinner; personally, I ordered a Huckleberry Lemonade, spinach salad, sautéed shrimp & pasta, and pumpkin flan. Stuffed and exhausted, we drove to the Quality Inn & Suites in Lexington. I fell asleep feeling extremely blessed for my friends, both new and old. I thought about Thoreau’s words from Walden and felt fortunate to be able to pursue my goal of riding all of the Hall of Fame trails in the country.
“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.” Thoreau