Massachusetts

Walden Pond, Thoreau’s place of solitude, now lures swimmers

 

Going to Walden Pond

Where: Walden Pond is located at 915 Walden St. in Concord, Mass.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the fall.

Cost: Parking is $5 per car, free to pedestrians and cyclists.

Information: 978-369-3254.


Cox News Service

Swimming holes rank up there with fine chocolate, wine and Italian food — I could spend an entire vacation sampling them and debating their merits.

Which is what I did during a recent trip to Boston to visit friends. Familiar with my love affair with freshwater swimming holes, they drove me to nearby Concord, Mass., home of Walden Pond.

Walden Pond is the quintessential swimming pool, tucked in a slice of woods so heavenly all you want to do is jump in, roll onto your back and smile up at the gods who created it. No wonder Henry David Thoreau spent two years here in the 1840s, reveling in its beauty and writing about its solitude.

I have but one complaint: Today Walden Pond draws great crowds, especially on hot summer weekends. If you don’t arrive by about 9 a.m. on busy days, parking in the lot is full and you’re sent away, told to come back another time. Because Walden Pond State Reservation operators are trying to minimize impact and limit overcrowding, you have to really want to go to Walden Pond to get there.

We, of course, did. We parked at a nearby school and walked three-quarters of a mile to the pond. As soon as I saw it glistening in front of me, I got that giddy feeling I always got as a kid when my mom took me to the pool or lake. We veered away from the tiny but bustling beach and found a cozy little inlet on the opposite end to stash our towels.

The open-water swimming community is on to it, and at least a dozen people were slicing across the half-mile length of the pond when we arrived.

We quickly joined them, wading into the water then plunging in full bore. We swam to the center of the lake, and I remembered that 150 years ago, an enterprising businessman harvested ice from this pond for export halfway around the world. I paused to spin around, absorbing the serenity and dipping my toes low, into a deep layer of cold. Then I dove straight down and surfaced like an otter.

We swam on, chugging all the way across the pond to the sandy beach, then turning around and cruising back. I lolled for another 30 minutes before sloshing onto shore like Godzilla emerging from the sea, sparkling rivulets of water rolling off my skin.

Something about swimming this way, in a deep pool carved by retreating glaciers, without stripes on the bottom to guide me, walls to constrain me or chlorine to tickle my nose, makes me blissfully happy.

We toweled off, then walked a few hundred yards to a pile of rocks and some markers outlining the site of the cabin where Thoreau lived.

Oh, to sneak away for a summer and live in a little cabin in sight of a glinting pond! Walden Pond is the happy place I imagine when I’m trying to relax. It’s a giant bowl of cool green water rimmed by a halo of boulders and shaded by tall pines standing shoulder to shoulder.

Read more Travel stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
This mural is a collaboration between New Zealand artist Tanja Jade and Australia artist Dabs Myla, on the wall and alleyway of a car dealership in Kakaako, in Honolulu.

    Hawaii

    Street art is the draw in Honolulu’s Kakaako

    Honolulu is famous for gold-sand beaches and big waves. But the city’s warehouse district, called Kakaako, is famous for a different sort of attraction. You won’t find kitschy Hawaiian souvenir shops or hordes of tourists here, but you will find a thriving urban arts scene, with colorful street murals so big they stretch across walls and sometimes entire sides of buildings.

  •  
A campsite at Floyd Bennett Field, an airport-turned-campground in south Brooklyn, New York.

    New York

    Camping in Brooklyn — who knew?

    When telling people that I would be camping in Brooklyn — yes, that Brooklyn, the borough of New York — a swift, two-pronged response usually followed.

  •  
A scene from Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain.

    Seville

    Lessons learned abroad: studying in Seville

    Things don’t start to feel real until you drag your two empty suitcases into your bedroom and start to pack for your semester abroad. That’s when you realize your life for the next six months will have to weigh less than you do.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK



  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category