Thoreau's Walden Pond
"I went to the woods because I wished
to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and not
discover when I came to die that I had not lived."
~Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Before leaving for Walden Pond, visitors should learn a bit about
Henry David Thoreau. For ongoing tidbits of knowledge and observation from
Thoreau, visitors can check the Thoreau
Almanac—before, during, or after their trip to Walden Pond! A visit to Henry David Thoreau's famed Walden Pond should
begin with an orientation to the nearby town of Concord,
should take the opportunity to explore Thoreau's
personal possessions on display at the Concord
Museum, including his desk, his walking stick, and the bedstead from his Walden
Read Linda's reflections on
Thoreau's book, The Maine Woods. Anna has
something to say about this classic as well.
Right:Shepherd College student Dan Marrs with
Henry David Thoreau, reviewing Dan's journal (photo by Catherine Hall).
About a mile outside of Concord, Walden Pond State
Reservation preserves the pond and makes it available for public use.
Many resources exist for exploring Walden Pond—whether the traveler is moving
through virtual space or walking in the same woods Thoreau trod. A good starting
point is Walden Pond and Thoreau,
but Walden.Org is without a doubt the most
comprehensive site devoted to Thoreau and his famous experiment. This site is
the home for the Walden Woods Project,
the Thoreau Society, and the Thoreau
Institute. A good video introduction to Thoreau
and his life at Walden Pond is available at C-SPAN's AmericanWriters
As part of this web project, cyber visitors can also learn about the Thoreau
holdings at the Concord Free Public Library, the Thoreau
Institute, a portrayal
of Thoreau by Richard Smith, a modern-day re-enactor, and a high school discussion of the
Thoreau Alive and Well in Concord?"
Winter at Walden Pond (photo by Catherine Hall).
Although the pond is used by many people as a recreational
destination, many literary travelers make pilgrimages to the famous pond
every year. Francis McGovern's essay, "Sunrise
at Walden Pond," is typical of the experiences that many have at this
Left:Shepherd College students and faculty walking with
Walden Pond State Reservation director Steve Carlin to the original site of
Thoreau's cabin (photo by Lizzie Lowe).
"Thus I caught two fishes as it were with one hook."
Left: Fishermen at Walden Pond (photo by Catherine
visit to the original site of Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond isn't
complete without considering all of the other folks who have made a
pilgrimage to the site and paid homage to this unique man.
Left: Bronson Alcott's rock cairn tribute to Thoreau, at
the site of the original cabin (photo by Catherine Hall).
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 College,
Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in Spring 2002 by Dr.
Patricia Dwyer and Dr. Linda
Tate. For more information on the course and the web project, visit "About
This Site." © 2003 Linda Tate.