Battle Road Trail and the Old Manse
GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:269 Monument Street, Concord, MA
Hours:Trail: dawn to dusk daily
Fee: Trail: free; Old Manse: adults, $8; children ages 6–12, $5; Trustees of Reservations members, free
Contact:; 978-369-6993;; 978-369-3909

Bathrooms: At the visitor center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain at the visitor center

Combine hiking and biking with visits to famous Revolutionary-era sites.

Old North Bridge was the site of the "shot heard 'round the world" in 1776.
Photo by: iStock/Ken Wiedemann

At some point or another, most New England kids will probably visit Concord and Lexington on a school field trip, but the beautiful area is worth more than one visit and may be more fun when a lesson isn’t the only agenda.

The Battle Road Trail is a 5.5-mile pathway that follows a part of the route taken by the British regulars in 1775 on their march from Boston to Concord and back. Along the route are historic houses and significant landmarks as well as farmlands, wetlands, and fields.

If walking or biking the entire route is not an option, park across from the Old Manse, built in 1770 by minister William Emerson. The house became a central meeting place for transcendentalists in the mid-nineteenth century. Both Ralph Waldo Emerson (grandson of William) and Nathaniel Hawthorne lived here at various times. Paddlers on the Concord River can tie up their boats at the small boathouse dock on the property, but launching is not allowed. If the house is not open when you visit, you can still walk or snowshoe around the property, then head to the North Bridge next to it. The first effective resistance to British rule in the American colonies occurred here. Rangers are usually stationed near the bridge to answer any questions you may have.Concord and Lexington celebrate Patriots’ Day on the third Monday in April with a parade, reenactments, and music.

Continue up the trail to the North Bridge visitor center, which was the former mansion of Major John Buttrick of the Concord Minutemen. You can see exhibits of clothing, uniforms, and gear of colonial militia and British regulars. There’s a bookstore and replica colonial toys for sale. Outside, beautiful gardens offer a peaceful place to relax.

Remember: The Minute Man National Historical Park visitor center in Lincoln has exhibits, information, and ranger programs.

Plan B:

Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (Trip 38) is a wonderful place to see wildlife and offers a pleasant walk to the Concord River.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Head back on Monument Street to Concord’s center to find a variety of restaurants and cafés.


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