For those of you who are interested in history and want to learn more about the War for Independence in the United States, a visit to Lexington and Concord is a must!
Our road trip through New England was filled with a lot of exciting stops. Everywhere had it’s own special touch, and our first stop was the state of Massachusetts where we visited two places that were vital to the story of the American Revolution. We are, obviously, talking about Lexington and Concord. Located very close to one another, Lexington and Concord witnessed the events on April 19, 1775 when the first shots were fired in the American Revolution. Isn’t it exciting to think that we can walk the same grounds that one day saw such exciting events?
Things to see in Lexington
Lexington Battle Green
When you arrive in Lexington, one of the first things you will notice is a statue, a church spire, and an enormous American flag. The statue is of Captain John Parker, who led the militia of Lexington, and it is found on a beautiful town green. This is the scene, which when you think about it gives you goosebumps, as it is the place where the first shots of the American Revolution were fired. Can you imagine what this green lawn symbolizes for the entire country of the United States?
The Old Burying Ground
This place has a special historical significance in Lexington. Not only for it’s history, as there are gravestones dating back to 1690, but also for the people who are buried here. One of the most important among them being Captain John Parker, leader of the Lexington Militia, and as such, one of the first to fight in the Revolutionary War. Don’t miss it! It is really impressive.
This meeting place for the town of Lexington has been converted into a museum where you can learn about the historic events that took place there. The tavern was the place where, on the morning of April 19th, 1775, John Parker and his men met to prepare to confront the British military, an event that would become known as “the shot heard round the world.” When visitors come to the tavern, you can see all the details including how there were separate rooms for men and women. On the second floor, you can visit an exhibit where you will be asked to vote if you think that the Revolution actually began in Concord or Lexington.
The First Teacher’s College
Since Abby is a teacher (she studied at Teacher’s College in New York), this landmark was especially interesting to us. Formerly known as a “normal school,” this was where teachers learned their craft. In 1839, Cyrus Peirce decided to create the first Normal School for teachers in the United States. Today the building still stands near the town green in Lexington, though the institution has become part of Framingham State University. Even so, this is the spot where everything started all those years ago.
Hancock Clarke House
This house, which dates back to 1737, was the Pastor’s home in the city of Lexington during the 18th century. It is known because the Reverend Jonas Clarke, John Hancock and the famous Samuel Adams spent the night here when the American Revolution was about to begin. They were woken by Paul Revere and were able to hide in the first hours of April 19th, 1775. We recommend a visit to this well preserved home where you can really see what life was like during the colonial period. They have preserved a lot of artefacts, and we enjoyed a guided tour from a woman dressed in colonial clothing. From the windows on the second floor, there was a perfect view to see the Battle Green just a few blocks away.
Old Bell Tower
The old bell tower is found outside, so you can visit it at any time. On the morning of April 19, 1775 the bells rang to call the militia to arms. We might say that it was also a warning that the War of Independence was about to begin. The original tower was destroyed during a storm in 1909, so today what we see is a replica. Each year the bells are rung commemoratively on Patriot’s Day.
Other points of interest in Lexington
- Munroe Tavern
- National Heritage Museum
- Lexington Depot
- Liberty Ride
View the map of Lexington, Massachusetts on Google Maps
Things to do In Concord
Minute Man National Historical Park
This immense park and path run from Lexington to Concord where the Revolutionary War began. We visited the area of North Bridge, which is in Concord. This area stretches from the visitors center at North Bridge to the bridge with the same name and the famous statue of the “Minute Man.” The views of nature and open fields are impressive here, in addition to being an important place in the War of Independence. The Visitors Center is a spectacular House from the beginning of the 20th century and it belongs to the descendants of the Buttrick family who ordered the fight against the British.
Walden Pond is a national park that is found on the outskirts of Concord and is a calm place to rest and relax. There is a lake with a beach for those who live in the area, as well as those who enjoy kayaking or swimming. But perhaps more importantly, this was the home and inspiration for the poet and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau. You can visit the place where he lived, and while the cabin has been destroyed, there are rocks and a commemorative sign to mark the site.
The Concord Museum began in the year 1850 and brings together an impressive collection of objects owned by Emerson and Thoreau. It’s amazing to see so many original artefacts from the time when these authors lived in Concord. In fact, it is one of the most important museums with antique american objects in the United States. There are different videos that you can watch to dig deeper into the history of the Revolution and the past of this area.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
The cemetery is the most important one in Concord, and perhaps also in the surrounding area. In addition to preserving the historical past of the United States, this is the resting place of the poets Thoreau and Emerson. It is worth taking a walk through the park and traveling back in time through United States history. The cemetery was considered to be so important that it’s been named a National Historic Site.
Other points of interest in Concord
- Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
- Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House
- The Wayside
- Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial House
View the map of Concord, Massachusetts on Google Maps
Where to stay in Lexington and Concord
Inn at Hastings Park
The Inn at Hastings Park is found in Lexington, only 10 minutes drive from Concord, so it is ideal if you plan to visit both towns and stay in the same hotel. It is made up of three restored homes, and we had a fantastic experience from comfort to service to the little details in each room and breakfast. If you have the opportunity, and there is room (as it’s difficult to get a reservation here!) Make sure to take advantage and spend the night at the Inn at Hastings Park. Click here for more information about Inn at Hastings Park.
Restaurants and cafés in Lexington and Concord Area
- Bondir Restaurant, Concord
- Main Street Café Restaurant and Bakery, Concord
- Peet’s Café, Lexington
- Mario’s Italian Restaurant, Lexington
More information about Lexington and Concord
- Download the map of Lexington and Concord
- Download the map of the Minute Man National Historical Park
- Download the map with the interest points in Lexington
If you are ever in Lexington for the third Monday in April, you will have a fantastic opportunity to see the patriotic festivities. This holiday usually falls around April 19th, the day that commemorates the start of the Revolutionary War. It is a state holiday and it coincides with the Boston Marathon. In addition to a reenactment of the battle on the Lexington Battle Green, there are also parades and many activities. Another curious fact: Did you know that if the deadline to pay your taxes falls on Patriot’s Day, the people in Maine and Massachusetts have an extra day?
If you have more time…
Look at the colonial houses
One of the things that New England is known for, and you can see this as soon as you drive through the towns, are the colonial and historical homes. It’s impressive to take a walk through the streets and see the homes (which seem like they are taken right out of a movie). The hotel where we stayed, The Inn at Hastings Park, definitely falls in this category. If you have time, you can drive to other towns in the area, you won’t be disappointed by the beautiful houses.
Visit the nearby town of Lincoln
The town of Lincoln, just ten minutes from Lexington and Concord, is lesser known than it’s neighbors. Even so, we had time to see a little bit of it, and we want to point out the colonial style homes, the deCordova Museum and sculpture park, Hartwell Tavern and Sandy Pond (which is actually bigger than Walden Pond in Concord). This town also played a part in the American Revolution, although it did not become as famous.
Spend a day outside
Although we spoke about them before, if you have some extra time, in addition to visiting the national parks, you can spend a day at the beach in Walden Pond or enjoy kayaking on Sandy Pond, cross the Sudbury River or the Concord River by boat. The area is surrounded by parks, so if you enjoy nature, you are sure to find something that you will enjoy!
**We were invited to visit by Visit Massachusetts Tourism Office. In no way were we swayed to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are our own.