American Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide



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Pages from Jillian's Journal

March 10, 2006
Amherst, Massachusetts

Today has been an amazing experience. I was really apprehensive about being on this tripnot knowing anyone except for a few acquaintances. But today was a great day.

Amherst, MA has such a great atmospherehistorical, collegiate and a downtown vibe. Although Emily Dickinson was not one of my favorite authors in class last semester, it was interesting to see where she and her family lived. I enjoyed seeing her personal things and learning about her. We walked into town which was only a few blocks away and visited her family's gravesite and had some time to explore the town.

I went with some of my newly acquired friends for Indian food and was a little anxiousI have only ever had it once before and I wasn't too thrilled about it then. Fortunately though, my meal was really good and I look forward to my next Indian meal.

We all wrote our reflections about the Dickinson home in the form of a pass-around poem.


March 11, 2006
Boston, Massachusetts

I have added a new word to my vocabulary of words deemed "old-ladyish" by my friends back homesauntering.

Today we sauntered all through Bostonwalking the Black Heritage and American Freedom Trails, following the footsteps of where the Transcendentalists and abolitionists would have walked and noting the places key to their time period.

I enjoyed admiring the architecture of a new city and took many photos. I ran out of room (on day 2!) and had to delete about 100 old photos on my memory disk.

Massachusetts is so beautifulso historical and well kept. I  love exploring a new city. I've been to New York City several times but Boston is so differentI notice a lot more brick and iron in Boston. There is such a unique blend of characteristics in Bostonuptown, yet laid back and collegiate and historical.

I've had a great time just hanging out around the city with my fellow travelersthis is what I imagined college to be. We've had a good time trying things together and have all looked out for one another. It's been a great experience.


March 13, 2006
Walden Pond

We set out this morning around Walden Pond to get to the site of the original cabin and I held my breath. The morning fog on the pond was incredible. We got to the site and saw the rock memorial started by Bronson Alcott and the original cabin marked out and took in the trees, the view, the sound of cars in the distance and the passing whistle of a train.

Thoreau was so lucky to be able to experience the changing look of the pondduring all four seasons. And for two years! How awesome that must have been.

By the time we came back from lunch, we got to see the pond without the fog. The sun was out completely, shining proudly over the pond. The wind blew and I will never forget the fragrance I took in, eyes closed and I felt the wind and took it all in.

I've experienced so much in the past few days. Last semester in Dr. Tate's American Literature class, we talked about the importance of stories.

I am of the belief that to have stories, you first have to have experiences and memories. I am so glad I took advantage of this experienceit's hard to believe now that I almost missed the opportunity to do this.

I will never forget this trip or the people I met. It has truly made me grow and step out of my comfort zone and learn so much about myself, people and the world around me. I have a newfound appreciation for life, nature and people.

  Jillian Kesner is a student  at Shepherd University (Spring 2006).

"American Transcendentalism: An Online Travel Guide" was produced by students in ENGL 446, American Transcendentalism, and ENGL 447, American Literature and the Prominence of Place: A Travel Practicum. These courses were team-taught in the Department of English at Shepherd University (formerly Shepherd College), Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in Spring 2002 by Dr. Patricia Dwyer and Dr. Linda Tate. The courses were taught again in Spring 2006 by Dr. Linda Tate. For more information on the course and the web project, visit "About This Site." 2003 and 2006 Linda Tate.