Today I headed out to Concord for an afternoon visit. We’ve been lucky enough to have had some lovely bright, sunny days over the past couple of weekends, especially after the snowstorm 3 weekends ago. So I’ve been trying to make the most of the opportunities to be out and about.
Concord is beautiful, and also a very historic region in general – and that includes literary history. It’s just outside Boston, and takes me about 40 minutes to drive there, so it’s easy enough for me to get to. Today I hit Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in the town. No relation to Washington Irving or “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” though!
Sleepy Hollow is Concord’s largest cemetery, designed in 1855, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery houses about 10,000 graves that have local, national and international interest.
One of its most visited areas is Author’s Ridge, and that’s where I headed today. This hill is the final resting place of some real literary giants – the Hawthornes, Thoreaus, Alcotts, and Emersons, as well as the lesser-known poet Ellery Channing. Interestingly, it was actually Ralph Waldo Emerson who gave the dedication speech at the cemetery’s inauguration ceremony in 1855.
I think Louisa May Alcott is my favorite of the authors, mostly because I remember reading her book “Little Women” at school, so it was quite surreal seeing her grave. Apparently she was also a Union Army nurse during the Civil War, something I hadn’t known before today.
Emerson’s gravesite is quite stunning – the marker is a huge, uncarved quartz boulder!
Something that I found interesting was that there were many family lots, including those of the Thoreaus and Alcotts. And I’ve never seen just “Father” or “Mother” inscribed on headstones before now – that was a first for me. Very simple dedications on many of the stones around the cemetery.
Even though there were a few other visitors to the Ridge while I was there, it was very quiet overall. Quite a peaceful experience just meandering around looking at the interesting stones.
And the colors were just lovely too – very “fall in New England”!
It was definitely well worth the trip to Sleepy Hollow, and for any of you who are bibliophiles, or even if you just love a bit of historical interest, this place is a “must” if you’re in the Boston region.
And who couldn’t love the name of the place!?