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Chronicles from Spacious Skies Minute Man: A Journey Through History, Nature, and TranquilityTrip

Dates: May 24 – June 1

Where do I begin with my amazing trip to the Spacious Skies Minute Man campground in Massachusetts? I stayed eight days, beginning with the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend. The campground was packed with excited families and laughing children, dogs trying to escape their leashes, and staff doing their best to please everyone.

Tipper heard it all, smelled the dogs, and refused to leave the car. She stayed overnight curled up in the backseat, basically afraid of all the action. I gave her water, enough food to take her medications and checked on her about every half hour. Finally, she had to pee and during a quiet Saturday afternoon period she ventured out only to do her business and hop into the camper.

So needless to say, I did not leave her until Sunday, which I spent in Cambridge with my friend for an afternoon of sightseeing and gorging on amazing Italian cuisine in Harvard Square.

Later that evening, I took a short walk around the campground to find a bird I heard that did not sound familiar, and instead found two new friends camping in a cute little retro camper. They live in Concord and have been camping at Minute Man for fifteen years when they need a weekend getaway. One of them was good with wildflowers, and she showed me where the pink lady slippers were, one of the must find endangered wildflowers on my list. She said that in the past there were hundreds of these lovely orchids in this little area near the campsites – but we only found one. I just took a photo this time.

There are many things to do in a close proximity to this charming campground. Start with the town of Concord at the Minuteman National Historic Park. There are two visitor centers, placed at each end of the rectangular park. Spring was the perfect time to visit as the flowers that only bloom in the spring were at their peak. As you drive along this historic place, there are many stops along the way – such as a famous tavern where politics were discussed, the place where Paul Revere was captured and detained, and the field where the skirmishes were held.

I went back to this park a few days later for a journey of more than one hundred years after the American Revolution. During this period Henry David Thoreau was at Walden Pond, which is now the Walden Pond State Reservation, today a popular place to go swimming. The famous pond was a favorite destination for Thoreau and his friends from the Concord Transcendentalists movement to take walks and have lively discussions. Thoreau’s writings inspired respect for nature and some consider the birth of this interesting conservation movement.

Thoreau’s friends included Concord resident’s Nathan Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Preacher Amos Bronson Alcott all advocates of the Transcendentalism movement. They all lived nearby each other on their farms, and often met in each other’s homes. This popular New England Unitarian belief at the time created many of our favorite writers, philosophers, and artists.

A must see is the Orchard House, the home of Preacher Alcott and his family where their famous daughter Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. Do not miss their garden where each of the four daughters had their own section and designed their garden differently, matching the descriptions in the book.

One day after getting my car’s oil changed in the quaint village Ayer, I drove along picturesque homes and strolled the historic main street. The town is adorable, and was decorated for Memorial Day.

In between laundry, camper cleaning, writing blogs and car maintenance duties, I found time to take a few hikes. There are many Rails to Trail opportunities in the Boston area, mainly because the railway system was massive, for passenger travel and goods. Bicycles rule in Boston, where they easily outnumber cars. The Minuteman trail passes historic sites.

My favorite hikes were on Massachusetts Audubon wildlife sanctuaries, in and around Conway Lake within a few miles of SSC Minuteman. If you do not mind stepping over and around lots of rocks, take a morning stroll along the Rocky Hill Wildlife Trail. It is smack in the middle of an upscale residential area near a Boston subway station, which is also good to know if you want to spend a day in Boston. It is a beautiful, serene walk through, over, and sometimes under gigantic boulders with trees growing out of tiny cracks and birds singing over your head. There are six miles of trails, and the Heron Trail runs along the pond.

On my last day I met Jill in Concord again, now our favorite town, to have an amazing breakfast at the Market Café and Bakery in the historic district. There are three coffee places on this block plus unique stores and historic churches.

Ann Bush

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