The cornerstone of Concord’s historic attractions was the town’s political and social center throughout the 19th century, and boasts an impressive list of former guests. Now preserved as a National Historic Landmark, the Old Manse was originally built in 1770, for Reverend William Emerson, and stands adjacent to Concord’s Old North Bridge, where on April 19th 1775, it bore witness to the start of the American War of Independence, as Minutemen fired the infamous shot ‘heard around the world’.
The history of the Old Manse isn’t only political though; the landmark building also has a rich literary heritage, home to both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and serving as a meeting ground for other Transcendentalists, including Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. Today, visitors can explore the well-preserved Georgian residence, where they can admire the original furnishings, spot writings from Nathanial & Sophia Hawthorne etched onto the window panes, and look out over the fabled North Bridge, before wandering through the vegetable gardens and orchards.
The Old Manse is located on Monument Street in Concord and is open daily from sunrise to sunset, with guided tours from noon-5pm. Adult admission at the time of writing is $10.