Massachusetts Vacation 2014 – Concord, Pt. 2 & Montague

On Monday, I described our trip to Massachusetts and our first day in Concord. Today’s post will cover “day two” at Concord (which I will forever say in my head as “Concerd” since apparently that’s how locals, and quite possibly the historical folks who lived there, say it…there’s a whole thing with how to say “Syracuse” properly, too) and our trip back to Western Mass. Y’know, for the test you’ll have on this whole thing next week.

No. There’s no test. Unless you really want one, but that’s just sick.

So, we got up after a great night’s sleep — as great as it could be with a pushy toddler wedged between two adults — and packed up every last bit of paraphernalia we’d brought into the hotel room. After loading up the car, we headed to the “Harvest Room” for our continental breakfast. We’re nothing if not cheap. Plus, I was shocked that they had organic oatmeal (which Dave ate, good boy). Hadley provided both entertainment and, to some, irritation with his feistiness and lack of willingness to eat, but we all made it through unscathed.

We drove back through town to the Concord Museum, showing up just as it opened. It was surreal and absolutely bemusing to see a man dressed in impeccably detailed Revolutionary War garb getting out of his Hyundai parked next to us. Dave almost grabbed a picture, but I’m a buzzkill. Dude, he was, like, two feet away.

We were SO lucky to show up on one of their Free Fridays (it would’ve cost us $20 otherwise), especially considering that we breezed through the whole thing in just over an hour.

We only went through the main building, but it was perfect for us. We tried to sit through the short-ish video about Concord (lots to cover, and we walked in late, so of course I missed anything regarding the transcendentalist movement or being the hub of the revolution…hmph), but Hadley immediately disliked the idea, so poor Dave dragged him out of the auditorium. I sat watching but worrying that he was tearing down precious artifacts or being his moody self (he has many sides; moodiness is just one of them). But, nope! Apparently, they had coloring stations set up for little ones, so the boys had colored a picture of a rather frazzled looking “colonial woman” and a powder horn. Whew.

We then turned our attention to the rest of the museum. I LOVE the fact that museums try to identify with the needs of all their attendees, be they families with various ages in tow, history buffs, people with little to no interest in history, etc. There was a time that the fanciest, most interactive part of a museum was a diorama, but today there are buttons to push (which play high-quality recordings), little doors with information behind them, uniforms to try on, and tons more.

Hadman was very much in an “okay, that’s great, what’s next?” mood, so I only skimmed through what I was interested in seeing. Besides, sometimes the artifacts themselves are enough. We looked at the rooms dressed in original furnishings and asked him simple questions — “What do you see in this room that we have?” “What color are the plates?” and explained things where I could — “Instead of a pen like we have, people used to dip a feather, or quill, in ink to write. Isn’t that neat?” He takes things in constantly, so anything that seeped into his mind makes me glad enough.

The museum workers were incredible with him, too. They were highly accommodating for a child of his age (I was worried we’d get the raised eyebrow, which only happened in, of all places, the museum shop) and talked with him lots.

The most impressive parts, to me, were that the original “Boston Massacre” print by Paul Revere (actually a copy of another man’s work, ahem) was on display. We happen to have a much larger scale of the print in our dining room, so that was AWESOME. I was also in awe over one of the two original candle lanterns — the “one if by land, two if by sea” ones. My mind was blown.

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I’m also a bit of a Thoreau fan, so seeing some of the original furnishings he used at Walden (you can see here where I enjoyed visiting the replica of the building over by Walden Pond), as well as his snowshoes and the last pen he wrote with before he died (again, quill…in the mid 1800’s? I couldn’t believe he’d be writing with something so simple at that stage in history; goes to show you I’m not a know-it-all after all).

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And, dude. Emerson’s pad. Not a replica. His actual study/sitting room. Right down to the original wallpaper. 

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I just loved the crap out of that museum.

We perused the gift shop and I ended up with a couple of Thoreau works (my “Civil Disobedience” had gone missing) and an awesome editing of his works that proves what an activist he’d probably be today in the world of environmentalism (which also discusses his beliefs on technology and more). I can’t wait to delve in when I finish my current read.

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As is our custom, we also grabbed a cool Concord magnet.

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I was bummed there was nothing Hadley-aged there, but he didn’t seem to care either way.

So, we bid adieu to our lovely Concord and hit the road westward to Montague to meet up with a friend of ours and his lovely lady friend. We had some major difficulties finding our way, but when we did finally reach our destination, it was wonderful. We met up at the Montague Bookmill (yup, more books) and grabbed a bite at their Lady Killigrew Cafe. The food was great, and we ate outside as a gentle rain started to cool things down. What a great time catching up and sharing a new experience.

We walked through the bookstore (I believe it was all used, so the prices were great) and I couldn’t help but think of the huge difference between the independent book stores we had visited. Both were great, but it showed the grandiose next to a more “mom-and-pop” almost counter-culture vibe. We grabbed a book with a built-in clock that monkey had gravitated to (numbers, people, the kid loves numbers), said our good-byes, and plopped him into his car seat. Moments later, he was napping.

After Montague, we headed to South Hadley to meet up with some awesome practically-family friends who let us sleep over and hang out. So, that’s where I’ll leave off for now. One more post, then we’re back home with the kitties! 😉