Monday, Apr. 26, 2010

Walden Pond and the DeCordova Museum

You could, and should, visit Walden Pond, a 20-mile drive west of Boston near Concord, Mass. This is, of course, the pond on the shores of which writer Henry David Thoreau lived for two years, between 1845 and 1847, and produced Walden; or, Life in the Woods.

But if you've simply tired of the oldness of things, you could go a few miles farther to the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, a refreshing jolt of the present, which nevertheless manages to be both tranquil and meditative. Situated on the museum's 35 acres of gently sloping hills and wooded areas are 75 contemporary, often massive, sculptures. The museum is open year-round but (and do I really need to repeat this?) it makes a wonderful daylong outing in pleasant weather as you can picnic on the grounds, read a book under a tree or, if you are truly feeling anti-Thoreauvian, nap under a hulking man-made monument of steel.

Ferry to Provincetown

Though known primarily as the gay vacation spot on the East Coast (the city's official tourism site touts it as "the number one destination for same sex weddings in America"), Provincetown is also a great destination for run-of-the-mill heterosexuals and their families. In addition to having world-class beaches, the town on the tip of Cape Cod deservedly maintains its longstanding reputation as an arts colony, with a number of fine galleries and theaters. In the center of town is Commercial Street, which is lined with 200 stores and restaurants and serves as a full-time parade route, whether you like to march or watch from the sidelines. If you drive from Boston, the trip can take three hours or longer, depending on traffic. Save time by catching a ferry, available through either Bay State Cruise Company or Boston Harbor Cruises, and enjoy a scenic, 90-minute ride.