Experience the Great Outdoors in Concord This Fall

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Concord, MA:  Summer vacations may have come to an end, but there is still time to enjoy all there is to see and do in Concord, Massachusetts. Did you know that there are more than 17 different trails in Concord, many with interpretive materials to help you get to know this wonderful area?  Businesses in Concord have become very creative – from new walking tours highlighting the great outdoors to a StoryWalk, History at Home and an Art Scramble, there are plenty of activities to appeal to everyone.


“We’re all adapting to virtual learning and working remotely and even though we’ve had to reimagine how we experience a destination, there are still a wide variety of things to see and do both at home and outdoors in Concord,” said Beth Williams, Tourism & Visitors Services Manager, Town of Concord.  “We offered drive-in movies this summer, there was picnic table painting for families to be creative together outside, and we have tremendous amount of creative experiences available this fall.”


Following is a sample of activities that are taking place this fall through various businesses in Concord:


  • Distance learning has us all looking for things to engage kids of all ages.  Why not take advantage of History at Home, virtual experiences offered by the Concord Museum? Videos are available to watch online that show what it was like to live and work in the Colonial era.  From Craftsmanship & Apprenticeship to Colonial Cooking and Colonial Clothing, from Paul Revere’s ride to the Minutemen and much more, these videos filmed on location, bring this time period to life.  There is also a free weekly newsletter that is filled with fun videos, activities and images for all ages.  To learn more, go to: https://concordmuseum.org/education/teachers-and-students/teacher-resources/learning-at-home/
  • Looking for more activities for the kids? There’s still time to experience Summer Quest, where kids are encouraged to explore the lands of the Concord watershed to learn about science, history, art and other topics.  The Umbrella Arts & Environment, in collaboration with Minute Man National Historical Park, Drumlin Farm-Mass Audubon, OARS, the Concord Land Conservation Trust and other organizations have created a number of free activities to choose from. Complete those activities and collect badges and certificates of accomplishment! https://theumbrellaarts.org/arts-environment/summer-quest.
  • And don’t forget the Concord Free Public Library.  The Children’s Department has installed a StoryWalk on the Main Library front lawn, where children of all ages will enjoy book pages from D.B. Johnson’s Henry Builds a Cabin, displayed along the brick walkway outside the Main Street entrance. This book tells the story of a nature-loving Thoreau (in the form of a bear) who builds a cabin and gets advice from his friends Emerson, Alcott and Miss Lydia.   Later this fall, the 5th Annual Scarecrow Festival will take place at the Library from October 17 – 30, 2020, with a family day on Sunday October 25 ! Not only can you enjoy the Scarecrows on the lawn of the library, but organizations can also adopt a scarecrow. This year’s theme is Imagine Your Story. Participants can draw upon an initiative they are presently undertaking or use the theme to honor a major event that they had to forego due to the pandemic.  For more information go to:  https://concordlibrary.org.


Literary programs abound for adults as well:


  • To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Wicked:  The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, written by Concord’s own Gregory Maguire, The Concord Players will be hosting a virtual evening with him on October 30 at 7pm.  “Spellbound: A Conversation with Gregory Maguire” will be an intimate, yet socially distanced conversation with Maguire, author of Wicket, A Wild Winter Swan, due out this fall, as well as numerous other novels for adults as well as children. For the link to this program, go to: www.concordplayers.org.
  • From October 16 – 31, the 28th Concord Festival of Authors will go live on-line to celebrate the written and spoken word.  Find out more here: https://www.concordfestivalofauthors.org/


Feeling creative? The Art for All program of the Village Art Room has second installation in the Art Scramble Series: Our Local Farms, a mural project where they supply you with all of the materials you need to paint a tile or two at home. Once completed, take a photo and share it on their Virtual Village page, and then return the tile to the Village Art Room and the mural will come to life with over 300 tiles. This is a great way to be creative and contribute your work to the community.  The first Art Scramble: Music in the Village mural will be going up on the side of Reasons to be Cheerful in Concord later this month. For more information, go to: https://villageartroom.squarespace.com/our-local-farms-mural


Missing live theatre?  It will be a while before we can sit in a theatre and enjoy a live performance – but in the meantime,  The Umbrella Stage Company is performing plays live on Zoom! This @Home series of new works by local playwrights, virtual cabarets and other streaming programs will be offered throughout the fall. Find out more at  https://theumbrellaarts.org/theater.


Or tune into The Concord Players presentation of William Shakespeare’s comedy As You Like It.  Typically presented in the summer on the lawn of the Concord Free Public Library, this staged reading will now be safely recorded and will premiere virtually at 7:00 PM on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.  Directed by Nick Meunier and cast with the core troupe of actors that viewers have come to love from summer, As You Like It follows its heroine Rosalind she flees persecution in her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin Celia to find safety and, eventually, love, in the Forest of Arden. They encounter a variety of memorable characters, notably the melancholy traveler Jaques, who utters many of Shakespeare’s most famous lines including All the world’s a stage speech. Join in from the comfort and safety of your own homes for the inaugural virtual presentation on Wednesday, September 30th at 7:00 pm.  Please visit www.concordplayers.org for the links and further details.


All of these indoor, virtual activities are a great way to experience Concord – but may have you yearning for some fresh air. Fall is a great time to get outdoors and get some exercise and there are a number of socially distanced activities in Concord that allow you to do just that:


The Town of Concord Visitor Center is offering ongoing and new walking tours highlighting the great outdoors!


  • Enjoy the Daily Historic Tour that introduces guests to the Downtown Concord area and touches upon Concord’s rich Revolutionary and literary history.
  • On The Little Women Tour learn about Louisa’s role as a suffragette and continue to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery’s Author’s Ridge, where Louisa and many other famous authors are buried.   
  • The African-American History of Concord Bike Tour is a 90-minute/5 mile bike tour highlighting African-American history and the first generation of freed African-Americans and Abolitionism in Concord.
  • During the Three Cemeteries Walking Tour visitors will hear the voices of the silent stones in Concord’s cemeteries.


For more information on these tours, including times, prices and reservations, go to: https://visitconcord.org/visit/visitor-center/#walking-tours-schedule.


Sometimes it’s nice to just go outdoors for a stroll – and The Umbrella Arts Center has just the program for you. Inspired by the En Plein Air exhibition on NYC’s High Line, the Go Out Doors outdoor installation encourages reconnection to nature as we continue to emerge from COVID-19 isolation, at home schooling and telecommuting.  Gorgeously decorated recycled doors crafted by regional artists become surprising waypoints of delight while traveling bike paths and walking trails.  Some emphasize local wildlife and environmental themes, others are fun and whimsical, stressing exercise and companionship. Initially conceived for and installed on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in West Concord, the exhibition will expand to other cultural districts, bikeways, and towns this fall. Go to https://theumbrellaarts.org/go-out-doors to learn more.


Looking for more to do outdoors? The Art Ramble is an outdoor public art installation in  collaboration with the Concord Natural Resources Division and The Umbrella Arts Center.  This year’s theme is water in the context of climate change.   From now through November 8, enjoy a stroll and experience 17 public art installations in the Hapgood Wright Town Forest.  To learn more go to: https://theumbrellaarts.org/2020-art-ramble.

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