The Old Manse
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The Old Manse Concord, MA
9 acres

About The Old Manse

The first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired nearby – and, less than a century later, Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau spawned a revolution in American philosophy from here.

What makes the Old Manse a special place?
Built in 1770 for patriot minister William Emerson, The Old Manse, a National Historic Landmark, became the center of Concord’s political, literary, and social revolutions over the course of the next century. In the mid-19th-century, leading Transcendentalists such as Bronson Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller discussed the issues of the day here, with the Hawthorne and Ripley families.

A handsome Georgian clapboard building, The Old Manse sits near the banks of the Concord River among rolling fields edged by centuries-old stone walls and graced by an orchard. From upstairs, you can look out over the North Bridge, where the famous battle of April 19, 1775, took place. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne both called the Manse home for a time – and each found inspiration here. Emerson would draft his famous essay “Nature” from an upstairs room, and Hawthorne would write a tribute to the homestead called Mosses from an Old Manse. Hawthorne and his wife, Sophia, started their married life here, and you can still see the poems they wrote to each other, etched on the Manse’s window panes. The heirloom vegetable garden, which has been recreated today, was originally planted by Henry David Thoreau in honor of the Hawthornes’ wedding.

The stone boathouse provides access for canoeists boating along the Concord River. Canoe launching is not allowed from the Old Manse but canoes are allowed to tie up if visiting the grounds and the house.

Facilities
The Old Manse does not have public bathroom facilities; however bathrooms are available at the National Park Service parking area less than .25 mile from The Old Manse.

Trails
The grounds are open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. A short network of footpaths connects the Old Manse to the North Bridge and boathouse on the Concord River. Easy walking.

The Old Manse is a National Historic Landmark and a link in the Bay Circuit Trail.

Tours, Programs, and Events at the Old Manse
To see hours and tour schedule, click on "Admissions" tab on left. To see more information on programs and events, click on "Programs" tab on left.

The Old Manse Bookstore
This specialty bookstore is open the same hours as the house (see "Admissions" tab on left).

It sells current and classic volumes which inform visitors about The Trustees of Reservations, The Old Manse, 19th-century Concord authors, American Transcendentalism, women's history, and the American Revolution. The store is a perfect place to browse, and it also sells assorted souvenirs such as postcards and t-shirts. Trustees members receive a 10% discount on all merchandise (except rare books).

Regulations & Advisories

  • Mountain biking is not allowed.

  • Canoes or kayaks may not be launched from the property. Landing only.

  • Photography is not permitted inside the house at any time, nor on the grounds without a Trustees permit.

Directions

269 Monument Street
Concord, MA 01742
Telephone: 978.369.3909
E-mail: oldmanse@ttor.org

 

Please direct all mail to:
The Old Manse
PO Box 572
Concord, MA 01772

Latitude: 42.468
Longitude: -71.348

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Points East: Take Rt. 2 West. Where Rt. 2 takes sharp left, continue straight onto Cambridge Turnpike. At end, turn left onto Lexington Rd. to Concord Center. Turn right to take Monument St. north 0.5 mi.

From Points West: Take Rt. 2 East. At Concord Rotary, take 3rd exit onto Barretts Mill Rd. for 2 mi. Turn right at Lowell Rd. for 1 mi. Take 3rd left onto Bow St., then left onto Monument St. Entrance and parking on left just before North Bridge.

Admission

WHEN TO VISIT

Grounds: Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.

House:
Walk-In Tours:
Saturdays & Sundays, March 16–May 26  |  12Noon–5PM
Tuesdays–Sundays, May 28–October 31  |  12Noon–5PM
Saturdays & Sundays, November 2–December 29  |  12Noon–5PM
Monday, May 27  |  12Noon–5PM (other Mondays by appointment)

Pre-booked, by prior appointment tours are available year-round, seven days a week.

The Old Manse Specialty Bookstore is open for business from 12Noon–5PM when the house is open, and by prior appointment also.

Please call 978.369.3909 for more details when planning your visit.

ADMISSION
 
Grounds: FREE.
House tours: Members FREE. Nonmembers: Adult $8; Child (6-12) $5; Senior $7; Student (with valid ID) $7; Family (2 adults and up to 3 minor children) $25 (25% savings). Group tours by prior appointment (min. of 10 people): $6 per person.

Property History

Built in 1770 for patriot minister William Emerson, the Old Manse became the center of Concord’s political, literary, and social revolutions over the course of the next century. The iconic house overlooks the North Bridge where the famous battle of April 19, 1775 took place, triggering the Revolutionary War.

In the mid-19th-century, leading Transcendentalists such as Bronson Alcott , Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller discussed the issues of the day here, with the Hawthorne and Ripley families.

Property Acquisition History
Purchased in 1939.

Archival Collections
Archival material related to the Old Manse is available to researchers at the Archives & Research Center in Sharon, Massachusetts.

The Old Manse Manuscripts (25.0 linear feet)
Regarding the families who lived in The Old Manse, 1700s-1900s.
In process.

The Archives & Research Center welcomes donations of documents, manuscripts, records, photographs, maps and memorabilia that pertain to a particular property. Please contact us at 781.784.8200 or arc@ttor.org.

Programs

In addition to our regular guided tours (see "Admissions" tab on left), you can enjoy a variety of special events through the year. For details on the events below, as well as other programs and activities in the Greater Boston region, check our events calendar.

  • Patriots Day Weekend Events: Special house and landscape tours, with terrific views of the re-enactments at the Old North Bridge.
  • Mother's Day Music Concert
  • Riverfest: early June: poetry, music, and art
  • Summer Solstice Celebration: Witness the sunsets enjoyed by Emerson and Hawthorne.
  • Fall Festival: Columbus Day Weekend: Celebrate the harvest.

Conservation and Stewardship

The Thoreau Garden

Henry David Thoreau presented this vegetable garden to Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne when they moved into The Old Manse on their wedding day, July 9, 1842. The Trustees and Gaining Ground, a local nonprofit organization that grows organic produce for hunger relief, have collaborated to recreate this historically significant plot. With reference to contemporary garden journals and historic photographs, Gaining Ground and the Trustees have planted the Thoreau Garden with heirloom varieties of vegetables and flora. These seeds were cultivated from local staples employed over many generations in New England farms, smallholdings and gardens, before the onset of large-scale agriculture.

Learn more about Gaining Ground >>

Management Planning for Our Properties
 


Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:
 


  • Describing in detail the site’s natural, scenic, and historical resources; identifying management issues related to the protection of those resources. 

  • Describing how visitors use the property; outlining the opportunities that the property provides for people to become involved in the work of conservation and caring for their community.

  • Developing a detailed list of management recommendations, a work plan, and a description of financial needs for implementing the actions.

  • Developing a prescribed routine management program for the reservation that will guide staff work plans, volunteer involvement, and the allocation of human and financial resources.


View Old Manse management plan.

Maps and Resources

You can download a watercolor map of the house and ground before you visit.



Private Functions

Weddings and Events
The beautiful and historic Old Manse grounds are available to rent to hold wedding and other events. Please contact Diann Strausberg at 978.369.3909 for rates and further information.

Planning Your Visit

The Old Manse is open for tours, programs and events throughout the year. Please see our Programs tab for more information on tours and upcoming events. The landscape and grounds are free to visit and open daily from sunrise to sunset, year-round.

Community Links
The Friends of Minuteman National Park

Before You Go
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.

Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:

  • Protect wildlife and plants.
  • Guard against all risk of fire.
  • Help keep air and water clean.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
  • Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
  • Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
  • Enjoy and share the landscape with others.

Click on links below for further visitor information:

Before Setting Out

Enjoying Trustees Reservations

Safety

About Hunting on Trustees of Reservations Land

Tell Us What You Think

We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:

  1. Take our visitor survey. If you have a question for us, you can ask us in the survey and we’ll get back to you.

  2. Post a comment about your visit on our Facebook page.

  3. Share your experiences with other visitors on our website. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll post your comment right here on this page.


Submitted by Claudia on: September 26, 2011
I had visited the Manse in the past but had left Massachusetts before the attic tour was offered. So, this tour was high on my list when I visited in mid-September. The guide was ideal: knowledgeable, humorous, and welcoming. I was a child on a great adventure as we explored the rough and unadorned upstairs. My visit was a complete success.



Submitted by hawthornegirl on: November 12, 2010
My visit to the Old Manse was wonderful!! I love learning about the history of Hawthorne. The rooms there were buetiful. People who have not been should definitely go!!! And the Old North Bridge is right next to the Manse!



Submitted by proust on: August 8, 2010
i enjoyed a lot the visit . the guide , a young man , is very pleasant and very erudite . a pity it was a brief tour



Submitted by Jen on: July 21, 2010
My friend and I visited the Old Manse this week, and it was truly inspiring. Our guide was very knowledgeable and made history come alive for us. I gained a new appreciation for the literature and history of my country that day!



Submitted by Rachelove1013 on: May 30, 2010
Tom Beardsley has a true passion for history! This property is a must see!



Submitted by Emily on: May 23, 2010
Tom Beardsley is a wonderful addition to the site. He is erudite, interesting, funny and has a unique skill of drawing everyone into the tour and the experience of this wonderful site.



Submitted by Anonymous on: May 22, 2010
Tom was an amazing guide! What a wealth of information and entertaining stories!



Submitted by olive on: November 1, 2009
i loved coming to the house and seeing all of the history. our tour guide was soooo mush fun and kept us entertained the whole time.



Submitted by Win Ko Ko on: September 6, 2009
Awesome..is the only word I can tell at this day. I visited with my Professor and classmates. I came a long way from Burma to Boston to study. I am Mr. Emerson's fan. The experience is really touching for me. May I know the names of two guides of the Old Manse on 5-Sep-09. Please let me know. I heard the song Yankee Doodle that day played by the piano in the Old Manse. They were very kind. I didnt ask their names. mgwinkoko@gmail.com



Submitted by Taryn on: August 21, 2009
I really enjoyed my visit to the Old Manse. The tour was unforgettable. I regret not buying the Old Manse booklet by Hawthorne that was available for sale in the gift shop. Is there a way I can purchse one from you? Thank you, tarbark@gmail.com



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Announcements & Alerts

Free Fun Fridays
Old Manse is a part of Free Fun Fridays, thanks to the Highland Street Foundation. Join us in Concord for free on August 22!

Upcoming Things To Do

Tuesday, September 2
Old Manse Tours

Wednesday, September 3
Old Manse Tours

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Long Hill
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The Old Manse in the News

Boston Strong: Tough Ruckers
Apr 16 – Chronicle