"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." - HDT
It pains me to say this, but if you go to Walden Pond today searching for Thoreau you're going to be disappointed.
Henry David Thoreau lived at Walden from 1845 to 1847 and eventually used the experience to write his best known work, first published as " Walden, Life in the Woods." Thoreau went to Walden to find solitude, but now the location gets 500,000 visitors and is a popular, state-managed swimming and recreation area.
So, it's not quite the same. But that's not to say it's not worth a visit. There is a replica of Thoreau's cabin, the pond itself is beautiful and just 1.7 miles around, and the grounds are now being used for a sustainability project. The state is constructing a solar canopy and electric vehicle charging station that will power the visitors center, producing more electricity than it uses. As an energy reporter, that's pretty cool and I have to think that Thoreau himself would concur.
Trying to tie the spirit of a book about solitude and independence to any particular spot is probably a mistake, but it's hard not to think of Walden Pond as a spot to commune with Thoreau's ideas on living simply. And it is a beautiful lake, much larger than I'd expected it to be. And the cabin was smaller than I expected, a mere 150-square feet.