New Hampshire

Thoreau, Emerson & Transcendentalism in Concord & on Walden Pond

Learn about Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and other New England authors, and see why charming Concord and tranquil Walden Pond inspired their works and philosophy.
Rating (4)
Program No. 23451RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Your tranquil retreat on the shores of Swanzey Lake in New Hampshire is the perfect home base for a foray into transcendentalism and its central figures: Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Do a deep dive into the work of these two legendary writers and the history of the Town of Concord as you learn about the pillars of this philosophical and social movement from experts and living history presentations. Plus, explore the quintessential New England town of Concord to find how the area influenced the writings of Thoreau, Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Fuller and other New England writers — and the influence they had on Concord. Stroll around Walden Pond to understand why this beautiful setting inspired Thoreau and his transcendental philosophies.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking around Concord and historic sites. Optional outdoor activities during free time.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • On a field trip to historic Concord, Massachusetts, visit Emerson’s home and take time to soak up the tranquility of nature that inspired Thoreau at Walden Pond.
  • Enjoy a presentation from a Living History Presenter that will bring you face to face with Henry David Thoreau.
  • Drive around the region to see the most outstanding views of Mount Monadnock, loved by both Emerson and Thoreau.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a value-priced single room.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Jayne Gordon
Jayne was executive director of the Thoreau Society before becoming the first director of education and public programs at the Massachusetts Historical Society. She also served as director of the Alcotts' Orchard House and director of education for the Concord Museum and the Walden Woods Project, and taught in the graduate museum studies program at Tufts. Jayne led classes and seminars on the Concord Authors (Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and the Alcotts) for decades. Now retired to Damariscotta, Maine, she teaches Thoreau at Coastal Senior College.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Jayne Gordon
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David Wichland
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Suggested Reading List
View 12 books

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