Our family loves books, and our family loves Christmas. During the years when picture books and story time ruled our house, we never missed a December visit out to the Concord Museum in historic Concord, MA to see how volunteers had filled the museum’s galleries with over 35 trees as tremendous as a towering specimen in the front entryway to trees so tiny they can fit on a windowsill. All are decorated with original ornaments inspired by the storyline, illustrations, and characters or setting of a particular contemporary or classic children’s story book. If we happened to absorb some American history as we wandered from tree to shining tree, so much the better.
Here are some pictures of some of this year’s trees:
Admission to The Concord Museum is $15 adults, $10 seniors, $6 children (4–18); children under 4 and Members Free. Family Trees admission includes all of the Museum galleries and special exhibitions. The Museum is open Monday-Saturday from 9:00 – 5:00 and Sunday from 12:00 – 5:00 (winter hours begin January 4); the Museum will close at 1:00 on December 24 and will be closed all day November 26 and December 25.
More about my visit to Concord here:
I always feel so at home in Concord, and it’s no wonder. I counted 9 shops there that have locations in Wellesley: Irresistibles, J. McLaughlin, French Lessons, Comina, Sara Campbell, Lyn Evans, Winston Flowers, Comellas, and Footstock. Great places, sure, but I was looking to break different ground for the short time that I managed to bust out of Wellesley. A few shops that I popped into:
Nesting, 44 Main St.
They have an always-unusual mix of vintage and new treasures. The true fun of the place is the way it is staged. The owners are creative geniuses who have filled every nook with ornaments, jewelry, books, objets d’art, and all house-feathering things necessary and frivolous. I left with a half-dozen Christmas tree ornaments, bought with the excuse that our tree in its current state looks absolutely bare since an unnamed SOMEBODY broke a few during the decorating process. (Pssst…thanks for providing me with an reason to shop at Nesting, unnamed somebody.) As you can see, the very entrance promises good things inside.
Artisans Way, Fine Art & Contemporary Craft, 18 Walden St.
Owner Liz Stevenson fills her shop with ceramics, glass, jewelry, metal, wood, apparel, fine art, home furnishings and special holiday items from over 250 artisans from around the US. You already know all about the tree-ornament shattering that takes place in my home. Artisans Way made me not care and somehow convince myself that surely this time, when I did the same thing I aways do (buy fragile ornaments), I would experience different results (the ornaments would remain intact). That way of looking at the world is called insanity, I’ve heard. Pish. The truly insane would have left without the hummingbird ornament. I was swayed by its beautiful storage box, knowing full well that the storage end of things isn’t my problem. Whatever. One suffers for beauty.
Jack + Toba, 17 Walden St.
Christmas in every corner isn’t their thing. Vintage and contemporary really great things is. They’ve got woven rugs, cool candles, fabulous blankets and woolens, sturdy pottery, custom antique European grainsack pillows, and antiques that they describe as uniquely hip.
The Concord Cheese Shop, 29 Walden St.
Think of it as Wasik’s in Concord, figuratively, only with rather more space. They’ve got wonderful, stinky cheeses, wines galore, and specialty food items, all in a setting that hasn’t changed in decades. If you love Wasik’s like I love Wasik’s, you already know and love the vibe in that great shop. You can feel the same commitment to quality and service in The Concord Cheese Shop. I can’t help you with the guilt you most definitely should feel should you cheat on Wellesley’s own perfectly wonderful cheese shop, but I will mention that the one thing they’ve got that Wasik’s hasn’t got is a deli counter and four tables that seat around 10 in a back corner of the shop. The Concord Cheese Shop’s Mediterranean eggplant soup, chunks of eggplant, onion, and green pepper in a tomato base, is health in a bowl. A side of baguette makes it filling enough to power you through till dinner. They have a full range of subs, sandwiches, and salads as well. I didn’t buy any cheese there. I swear it.
All too soon it was time for me to head home. Next time I’ll walk around Walden Pond, and visit Depot Square, and check out Author’s Ridge and the Old North Bridge. Next time, I’ll give myself more time.
If you prefer to stay in town…