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A Revolutionary Place to Visit: The Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass.

Old North Bridge, Concord MAOld North Bridge, Concord, Mass.

by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 11/09/16

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The scenic and serene grounds at the Old North Bridge contrast with its violent past where local Minutemen experienced its first American Revolutionary War victory by forcing the British to retreat back to Boston on April 19, 1775.

The Old North Bridge location, famous for the "shot heard around the world," today seems more like a peaceful walker's oasis with the placid Concord River, fields of flowers and big old trees along a quiet country path leading to "secret gardens" and the stately visitor center known as the Buttrick Mansion (currently closed due to the pandemic).

Peaceful scene near the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass..Peaceful setting near the Old North Bridge.

Scenic spot near the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass..Scenic spot near the Old North Bridge.

As part of the U.S. National Park Service's Minute Man National Historical Park network of historical attractions around Concord and Lexington, the Old North Bridge makes for a special visit -- full of rural personality and historical significance.

Distant view of the bridge with rural scenery on the forefront.Distant view of the bridge.

We consider this location one of New England's finest attractions, in part due to something that can't ever be written into words. You just have to be there to catch the incredible feeling of this famed area.

The quarter mile walk starts with a path leading to the reconstructed Old North Bridge, which seems infinitely more stable and safe than its rickety-old predecessor, "The Bridge." Before crossing the bridge, we encourage you to note the grave of two British Soldiers who died during the North Bridge fight, with a passage from James Russell Lowell's 1849 poem, Lines:

They  came three thousand miles and died,

To keep the past upon its throne.

Unheard beyond the ocean tide,

Their English mother made her moan

Scenic spot near the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass..Monument at The North Bridge.

The famous 1836 Monument, commemorating the Battle here in 1775, majestically resides before the bridge. Crossing the bridge (affording beautiful views of the Concord River) is Daniel Chester French's Minuteman Statue that includes a stanza from Ralph Waldo Emerson's legendary Concord Hymn:

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard 'round the world.

Scenic spot near the Old North Bridge in Concord, Mass..Minuteman Statue.

The neat gravel path --with some old, dignified beech trees along the way -- leads to the Buttrick Estate "Secret Gardens." This intricately laid our network of paved stones and steps offers beautifully terraced gardens and more views of the Concord River, making it the perfect retreat after a busy day. The irises, peonies, columbine, rhododendron and many more plants highlight this special place.

Gardens near the Old North Bridge overlooking the Concord River in Concord, Mass.Gardens overlooking the Concord River.

Vibrant plant life at the North Bridge in Concord, Mass.Vibrant plant life.

Beyond the gardens is the Buttrick Mansion, which was built in 1911 by descendants of Maj. John Buttrick, who first told his Soldiers to fire upon the British. The estate is an elegant brick mansion that houses a book store and exhibits as well as offering a short video about the fight at the North Bridge.

Flowers lead to the Buttrick Mansion at the North Bridge in Concord, Mass.Flowers, Buttrick Mansion.

The Old North Bridge is close to the 1769 Old Manse, best known as the residence of Nathaniel Hawthorne (yes, they rented).

Old North Bridge, Concord MAThe Old Manse.

A 10-minute walk leads to colorful downtown Concord, which includes historic Monument Square, many fine local shops and restaurants and a remarkable concentration of well-maintained Colonial era buildings and homes. You can't get any more "New England" than this.

Oh, and one more thing: This Concord attraction in a very family-friendly destination. Here's proof...

Family of geese at the Concord River in Concord, MA.Family of Geese at the Concord River near the bridge.

Oh, and one more thing: Try to get there early in the morning (and preferably during the foliage season) as the sun rising adds an extra layer of scenic magic to the beautiful surroundings!

Family of geese at the Concord River in Concord, MA.Morning on a path leading to the bridge.

The Old North Bridge is located on Monument St. in Concord MA. Tel. (978) 369-6993. Log onto the Minuteman National Historical Park web site for more information.

Old North Bridge, Concord MassachusettsAnother look at the Old North Bridge

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