Lincoln & Concord

This has been a “sta-cation” summer for my wife and me for various reasons, but there’s nothing to complain about when you live in a region that is a visitor destination and one of the most fascinating areas of the United States. One day this week we took the “back way,” as my father used to say, through Chelmsford, Carlisle, and Concord to get to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln. We hadn’t been there in years, I’m a bit embarrassed to say, so it was a surprise to be reminded that the grounds are 35 acres around. More than 60 works of sculpture, from small discovery pieces to monumental forms, are arrayed in the park. Works by Lichtenstein and LeWitt mix with veterans of the New England sculpture community like Paul Matisse, George Greenameyer, and Carlos Dorrien. Dorrien’s two-part granite “Human Construction” in the Industrial Canyon off Central Street is part of the Lowell Public Art Collection.

Ursula von Rydingsvard’s bold wood sculpture along the entry road complements her outstanding exhibition in the museum. Her massive wood and glass forms require expansive gallery space such as the deCordova’s. Lowell would benefit from an exhibition space on this scale. With all the large industrial and commercial buildings in the city, there must be some option to pursue. On the other hand, maybe we need something new constructed for this purpose.

The museum’s top floor includes a terrace that offers a spectacular view of the surrounding landscape. To the north and west is Flint Pond and adjoining conservation land and beyond a tree-packed scenic vista. A visitor might think he is in rural Vermont instead of the suburbs between Boston and Lowell.

Getting to the deCordova via back roads is a visual gift to the traveler who sees the populated and well-groomed but still countrified acres of a classic middle landscape in New England. We saw plenty of fenced-in horses enjoying summer sun, ample farm fields in peak production, many bicyclists cruising on the paved route, and landscapers making their rounds. A stream of families with picnic gear and blankets signaled our arrival at Walden Pond State Reservation. The replica Thoreau cabin stands in the woods close to the roadway. On our ride we passed Great Brook Farm, Seawrights’ daylily and hosta nursery, a robust community garden in Concord, and the Walter Gropius House, a compact Bauhaus architectural gem.

We wrapped up our day trip with a late lunch at the Main Street Cafe in Concord (chicken Caesar Salad and a Minuteman panini of bbq pork and cheddar cheese) and a little economic stimulus spending on clothes and books in the town’s vibrant shops. People travel from around the nation and abroad to see what we have in this part of New England. It’s worth making a “to-do” list of local attractions and taking advantage of what is close by. We have two national parks within a 20-minute ride, as the Greater Merrimack Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau reminds us.

3 Responses to Lincoln & Concord

  1. Marie says:

    Great way to stay-cation Paul. Much more my style these days. Check here at the Greater Merrimack Valley website for more about the Greater Merrimack Valley communities and what they have to offer – art, culture, history, recreation, sports, food, shopping, music, water, woods, walking, flora, butterflies, ice cream and sooo much more ! There’s a lot to like about Lowell, Greater Lowell and the Greater Merrimack Valley.

  2. Dean says:

    One can obtain a pass for the DeCordova Museum from the Chelmsford Public Libraary. Use it, we have . Check to see if your local libraray has a pass for the DeCordova.