Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ralph Waldo Emerson House

Have taken so many day trips to Salem both this summer and last, that it was time to try a different commuter rail. The Concord train depot is about half a mile from the town center. The town is well prepared for tourists with an information booth and lots of places to buy a sandwich and soda. After taking my tour of the Ralph Waldo Emerson House , I pulled out a train schedule. The guides seemed surprised and one exclaimed, "That's more than a mile from here. I guess with the price of gas..." Actually, I don't own a car and I really don't mind walking.

The house itself is in bad repair with lots of cracking plaster and a strong smell of mold. The prints on the walls are very yellowed and the spines are separating from the books. The guides were just competent but somehow I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The house felt more like some very old people lived there rather than a sterile museum. Our two guides leaned up against and stroked the objects in the house. They told us that descendants of Emerson did repairs on the house. There was something very charming about my entire afternoon, including my stop at the elegant Concord Public Library. Strangers smiled in the streets and the cars stopped at the crosswalks. Culture shock for a city dweller.


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