Concord, Massachusetts has an intriguing political and literary history. Initially settled in 1635, Concord is best known as the site of the first battle of the American Revolution, The Battle of Lexington and Concord, fought 150 years post-settlement in 1775. Its history only increased in richness in the following centuries, becoming a hub for notable late 19th century writers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and Henry David Thoreau.
In recent years, Concord became notable for the environmental activism of its citizens: when residents enacted a city-wide ban on the sale of plastic water bottles at a town council meeting, it made headlines across the country. But, it shouldn’t be surprising that in a city birthed in a revolution, vocal politics is part and parcel of the community’s culture. It’s an exciting lens to explore Concord through.
Climate and Weather
In the winter months, the temperature in Concord, Massachusetts, ranges from -19 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees, with an average temperature of 25 degrees. In the summer, temperatures range from 42 degrees to 99 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average temperature of 71 degrees. Spring and Autumn are moderately cool, with afternoon temps hovering around the low 60’s.
Concord is a touch on the rainy side, with each month getting about three to four inches of drizzle and snow. March is the stormiest, of course, with 4.83 inches of rain and all those seasonal shifts provoking weather off the coast.
It’s important to be careful of the wind in Concord, especially in the spring. In March, it’s typical to have an average wind speed of 20 miles per hour, with high-velocity gusts pummeling people at 50 mph. The wind does mellow out somewhat in the summer, settling in at 15 mph with more manageable gusts, which can make for enjoyable kiting weather.
Places to Stay in Concord, Massachusetts
You’ll find that there are several suitable lodging options if you plan to stay a few nights.
Airbnb & HomeAway
On Airbnb, per-night prices for a single adult range from $59 for a room to about $300; the average stays around $133 per night throughout the year. Rentals in Concord are predominantly single rooms in a shared house rather than an entire house, but there are some full homes available.
- Amerscott House Inn is a Colonial House dating back to the 18th century. Visitors who take advantage of this homey bed-and-breakfast have the option of either the suite or one of three bedrooms, each furnished with vintage decor and original works of art. Stroll through three acres of gardens or munch on homemade cookies in front of an antique fireplace. Prices range from $75/night to $112/night.
- North Bridge Inn is a bed & breakfast with six suites. With furnishings like clawfoot tubs and canopy beds, the inn maintains a classic feel while still providing modern amenities and allowing pets. The site is near historic Walden Pond, a protected nature preserve. Prices range from $175-$300 per night.
- Colonial Inn was built in 1716, and history fills every room. Luxury amenities, including an on-site salon, a full private kitchen, and a jacuzzi, are available in some suites. Every December, Colonial Inn hosts the annual Gingerbread House competition, allowing visitors to admire the festive displays. Prices range from $129/night to $209/night.
Name-brand hotels in Concord include Best Western and Residence Inn by Marriott. Most of the recognizable hotel chains in the area are slightly outside of Concord, in the greater Boston region. If a six-to-seven-mile drive is feasible, there’s a Hilton Garden Inn, a Holiday in Express, and more than one Extended Stay America and Hampton Inn available to travelers.
Things to Do in Concord, Massachusetts
If you’re looking for activities to fill your days and nights in Concord, you’ll find that you have plenty of exciting choices.
- 80 Thoreau is an American-style restaurant aiming to serve you seasonal, chef-curated three-course dinners. Entrees might be anything as exotic as smoked swordfish to something homey and humble as grilled beef brisket dumplings. The meal is a genuine Concord experience, as the restaurant sources ingredients from local farms and fisheries. Entrees run from $23 to $33.
- Helen’s Restaurant is the place to go for anything in a bun in Concord. Burgers, paninis, and sliders abound in a variety of styles. For the sandwich-averse, a delectable selection of wraps can also be had, in some surprising combinations (teriyaki salmon burrito, anyone?). Anyone looking for a fun, inexpensive option might enjoy the place, as entrees range from $7-$13.
- Fiorella’s Cucina is five-star Italian food, often served with signature, house-made marinara sauce. Whether starting with a unique appetizer like goat cheese & glazed walnut salad, or skipping straight to the main dish of savory chicken marsala or salmon romano, any Italian food lover is sure to find Fiorella’s a treat. Entrees range from $15-$29.
- Blackbird Cafe serves breakfast all day, farm-to-table style. The trendy coffee and breakfast joint is vibrantly colored, with handwritten chalkboard menus and wall-length windows, making it a wonderful spot for a relaxing afternoon. A pancake stack is $7, and nothing on the menu costs more than $10.
- Merchant’s Row is a fine dining restaurant situated inside the Colonial Inn. The dining rooms are quiet, overlooking the water, and the wine is rich. Expect dinners like roasted Atlantic salmon over cranberry risotto, or a playful baked mac’n’cheese incorporating aged muenster and gouda. For more fun, join in during afternoon tea, which is formally served at 3 pm on weekends. A dinner plate costs $15-$25.
- Trail’s End Cafe serves comfort food, home-baked goods, and a hearty helping of local charm. The place excels at making healthy foods fun, especially with creative dishes like “Kung-Fu Cauliflower” (cauliflower and grilled pineapple with a spicy sesame glaze). Trail’s End offers plenty of vegetarian and kid-friendly options. Evenings often feature live music. Entrees are $12-$28.
Concord is filled with preserves natural parks and trails for anyone to enjoy.
- Walden Pond State Reservation is a state park. They strive to maintain the nature of the park as it was in the late 1800’s, when poet and essayist Henry David Thoreau was inspired to write Walden while living lakeside. The park allows swimming as well as hiking, and it is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm almost every day.
- Old North Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Concord River. Next to the bridge is an obelisk, built in 1836, commemorating the Battle of Concord in the American Revolution, during which many soldiers, American and British alike, died at the bridge. The current bridge is a replica of the bridge built in the late 1700’s.
- Bobby’s Ranch, slightly outside of Concord, offers Western-style trail riding and horseback riding, with horses available for both novices and experienced riders. The trails in Massachusetts run through deciduous forests peppered with ponds and hills, making horseback riding in the state a unique experience. Trail rides cost $30/hour, $35 on weekends.
America began in Massachusetts, and so did a grand literary tradition.
- The Concord Museum is the ultimate stop for local history buffs. Exhibitions run the gamut from displays of original, handwritten journals and manuscripts from Concord writers like Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau, to fashions from 18th and 19th century Concord, to a fine and folk art gallery on the theme of baseball.
- The Wayside is a historic house, open to the public, which is known for housing three famous American novelists: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and Margaret Sidney. Many of the events ongoing in the fictional Hillside house in Alcott’s Little Women were lifted directly from the author’s experiences at The Wayside.
- The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery has over 10,000 grave sites, with the earliest dating back to the 19th century. Many famous authors from Concord are buried on a hill known as Author’s Ridge, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and Henry David Thoreau. The gravesites are integrated with the woods to create a more peaceful experience.
Music, dancing, orchard-exploring! There’re plenty of ways to spend a day in Concord.
- Hubbard Street Music is a small venue that hosts traditional music and dance events. The genres vary: anything from jug-band folk music to Gregorian polyphony might be played there–and has been! Jazz and blues music is perennially popular, so if you’re in that kind of mood, Hubbard Street might be worth checking out.
- 51 Walden Performing Arts Center hosts dance shows, live theatre, and a variety of concerts throughout the year. The Concord Orchestra has an award-winning Winter concert in the last weekend in January every year, and in the Summer, Opera 51 is putting on a dramatic, costumed production of Faust.
- The Nashoba Winery grows Concord Grapes, which were first bred in Concord by Ephraim Wales Bull in 1849. They also grow peaches, nectarines, and apples perfect for crafting fruit wines. If you’re in Concord from June to September, spend some time picking fruit right off the orchard trees and taking it home, one bushel at a time. The retail shop lets you choose from a plethora of fruit-based wines, jams, and snacks to inspire you on your way.
What are You Waiting For?
Whether you’re a history buff, food connoisseur, or just an avid nature-lover, there are countless venues that will provide enjoyment for you and your family in Concord, Massachusetts. Whether you choose a single day to stop and explore or want to stay a few nights, you’ll find that it is an excellent place to visit.