One rainy afternoon, I drove to the Lexington Visitors Center in Lexington, Massachusetts to take the Liberty Ride, “a 90-minute tour along the Battle Road Scenic Byway”, according to the brochure. I was not disappointed. Our costumed guide was also a Revolutionary War re-enactor and he shared his interest and knowledge of the Battle of Lexington with our group.
The tour stopped at Lexington Green, site of the opening battle of the Revolutionary War. British soldiers marched through Lexington on the way to Concord to seize and destroy arms the Americans had hidden there. A statue commemorates Captain John Parker who commanded the militia.
Paul Revere rode through the countryside waking up every able-bodied man and alerting others to ride to neighboring farms. We drove past Revere’s capture site. I must have missed that page in my history book because his capture was new information to me.
We also went to Minute Man National Historic Park. Our guide took us to the North Bridge which spans the Concord River. There was an important standoff between American patriots and British forces here.
One hundred years after the battle, a statue was placed at the west end of the bridge. The artist, Daniel Chester French, also sculpted the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. On the base of this bronze sculpture are inscribed words by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Here once the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world.” The statue captures the spirit of ordinary farmers who took up arms against the British.
Our route took us through Concord which was home to several notable American authors including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Louisa May Alcott also lived here and wrote her famous Little Women in this house. In a nearby house and yard, Concord grapes were developed by Ephraim Bull in 1849. They say the original vine is still growing.
I loved this tour and am glad I happened to see the brochure for it.
Leaving Lexington, I drove a few miles to Waltham. I found the home of my dad’s grandmother (Nana). Dad spent a lot of time there as he was growing up. Sometime around 1920 when Dad was 7, his father became seriously ill and could no longer work. The whole family—parents and 5 children—moved in with Nana. My dad’s father lived only 2 more years before dying here in this house in 1922.
I would have loved to peek inside, but it’s a multi-family dwelling now.
The Waltham Watch Factory is a prominent structure along the Charles River. Precision watches were produced here for over 100 years. Some of my dad’s family held jobs in the factory. I drove by to see what it looks like today. The building is being leased for office space and luxury loft apartments.
On the way back to my campground, I was treated to a few glimpses of fall color.