Mapping Thoreau Country

Check out American Transcendentalism at the Concord Free Public Library.

See what the Appalachian Mountain Club is up to in Massachusetts.

See where the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities meet in Massachusetts.

Find your place at the Trustees of Reservations.

See what makes life worth living in Massachusetts at the Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.


Map of Massachusetts



Thoreau delivered several lectures in Boston including "Reform and the Reformers," "Economy," "Life in the Woods," "Life Misspent, and "The Character and Actions of Captain John Brown." Read more...



Thoreau read "Walking, or the Wild" in Fitchburg on February 3, 1857. Read more...



On July 4, 1854, Thoreau delivered a fiery speech, "Slavery in Massachusetts," before a large crowd at Harmony Grove in Framingham. Read more...


New Bedford:

Thoreau delivered one of his most popular lectures, "What Shall It Profit," at the New Bedford Lyceum on December 26, 1854. Read more...

Truro - detail


Thoreau lodged at the Highland Lighthouse in Truro from July 6 to July 18, 1855 while he collected plant specimens and studied the history, culture, and natural features of Cape Cod. Read more...



Cape Cod is often placed among Thoreau's nature writings because it includes so much information about the flora, fauna, and natural history of the region.  In his opening chapter, however, he indicated that he would take a more ethnographical approach: "I did not see why I might not make a book on Cape Cod, ... Read more...



Thoreau delivered his lecture on "Wild Apples" at the Bedford Lyceum on February 14, 1860. Read more...



Thoreau lived in Cambridge while attending Harvard College from 1833 to 1837 and returned often to borrow books and maps from the library. Read more...



Home of the Thoreau family from 1818 - 1821, Chelmsford is mentioned frequently in Thoreau's writings. Read more...

Clinton, Massachusetts detail


In January 1851, when the Bigelow Mills Mechanics Institute invited Thoreau to lecture in Clinton, he toured the mills where the operatives, mostly women and children, worked seventy-five hours a week for meager wages. Read more... Read more...



Thoreau received an invitation to deliver his lecture on Cape Cod in South Danvers after Ralph Waldo Emerson told the Danvers Lyceum Secretary that when Thoreau spoke on the topic in Concord, his listeners "laughed until they cried." Read more...



On December 20, 1848, Thoreau traveled to Gloucester to deliver a lecture entitled "Economy--Illustrated by the Life of a Student." Read more...



Thoreau walked from Concord to nearby Lincoln to deliver a lecture entitled "A History of Myself," his first public description of his life at Walden Pond, on January 19, 1847. Read more...

Lowell, Massachusetts


The city of Lowell played a significant role in Thoreau's life, both as the site of several of his lectures and as an archetype of industrial development. Read more...

Lynn, Mass detail


Thoreau delivered "Autumnal Tints" at Frazier Hall in Lynn on April 26, 1859. Read more...



Thoreau read "Economy," a lecture that became a chapter in Walden, in Medford on January 22, 1851. Read more...

Mount Greylock map

Mt. Greylock:

Thoreau spent a night on Mt. Greylock in 1844 on his way to meet Ellery Channing in Pittsfield. Read more...


Mt. Wachusett:

"At length we saw the sun rise up out of the sea, and shine on Massachusetts ...On every side, the eye ranged over successive circles of towns, rising one above another, like the terraces of a vineyard, till they were lost in the horizon. Wachusett is, in fact, the observatory of the State," H.D. Thoreau Read more...



Thoreau braved the cold to travel to Nantucket where he read a lecture entitled "What Shall it Profit" on December 28, 1854. Read more...



Thoreau gave a lecture about his excursions to Cape Cod at Market Hall in Newburyport on December 6, 1850. Read more...



In July 1844, after spending a night alone on Mt. Greylock, Thoreau met up with Ellery Channing in Pittsfield for an excursion to the Catskills. Read more...

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plymouth, MA:

During the 1850's, Thoreau delivered five lectures in Plymouth, which was, according to his friend, F.B. Sanborn, "nearly allied then with Concord in plain living and high thinking." Read more...

Provincetown detail


Between 1849 and 1857, Thoreau walked the length of Cape Cod four times, passing through just about every town on the peninsula and recording a wealth of observations that he turned into various lectures, as well a book-length history and travelogue that was published posthumously in 1865. Read more...


Salem, Massachusetts:

As secretary of the Salem Lyceum, Nathaniel Hawthorne arranged for Thoreau to lecture twice, first on November 22, 1848, when Thoreau spoke about "Student Life in New England, Its Economy," and on February 28, 1849, when his subject was "Walden, or Life in the Woods." Read more...



Thoreau lectured more frequently in Worcester than anywhere else except Concord. Read more...