“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”
– Henry D. Thoreau
Just a few miles north of Walden Pond is Thoreau’s birthplace, Concord, MA, a beautiful town bursting with history. The Minute Man National Historical Park, North Bridge, Paul Revere Capture Site… major historical events took place right here. I’d learned to appreciate their significance especially in a modern day context.
But what caught my attention as I drove into town was this church building, meeting place of the First Parish in Concord:
While the present structure was built in 1900, the Church – the gathering of a community of faith – stood as a monument of the social history of America dating back a few hundred years to the 1670’s. To me as an outsider, this is meaningful. It’s the first of many such Christmas card icon that I would see during my road trip, in every town I passed by.
The Concord Museum displays history in a nut-shell. In there I found the actual furniture from inside Thoreau’s cabin in Walden Pond:
I skipped Emerson’s House across from Concord Museum, instead, followed the sign of ‘Authors Ridge’ in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to the graves of Thoreau, Hawthorne, Alcotts, and Emerson. Much amused to see pens and pencils left at the authors’ graves:
As I was pondering the philosophical meaning of this sighting, a greater urge suddenly took hold of me, one Thoreau could empathize, the necessity of life sustenance: food. I said goodbye to the great authors and drove back down to the main streets of Concord in search of the essential.
It’s the name that first attracted me: La Provence. The little French restaurant/café and patisserie on, where else? Thoreau Street. I ordered at the deli counter their popular Jambon de Paris sandwhich and a cream of mushroom soup. To my delight, as I stepped into the dining room with my lunch I felt like I’d entered a van Gogh painting. (Click here to see what I mean.)
While the sandwich was just average, the mushroom soup was superb. I wouldn’t mind a second helping but reminded myself another essential I must make room for, a dessert from the patisserie.
I was over at the glass case in the pastry section in no time. As a chocolate lover, my choice was easy… just look for the brown color items. I pointed to my selection and upon asking its name, was given two different replies by two different staff. So here I’m combining them: “Milk and Honey Chocolate Dome”, and it’s heavenly.
A crisp milk chocolate dome shrouding smooth melt-in-your-mouth chocolate mouse on a thin layer of cake at the bottom, this little dome sealed the best a dessert can offer any chocolate lover. The white chocolate bee on top was the added fun.
Follow my New England series:
- A New England Fall Foliage Road Trip
- Historic Concord
- Lobster, Lobster
- Scenic Drive from Rockport to Camden
- Camden: A Gem of a Town
- Orange is the Primary Colour
- Finally, Fall Foliage
- Vermont: More Than Scenery
- Serendipity on Route 7