Concord Academy’s proximity to the town center of Concord is one of the many things that makes the CA experience unique. While each member of the community has their own list of places they frequent, there is a lot more to this historic town than meets the eye. In my time at CA so far, I’ve come to love several places in Concord. These spots, along with the rest of the town, are worth exploring. A new favorite could be right around the corner!
The first location is Haute Coffee. Although adored by many CA students, this locally-owned coffee shop is easy to miss. The shop, a quick five-minute walk from Main Gate, is tucked away near the parking lot behind the Concord Bookshop and Caffè Nero on Main Street. Among the various expensive coffee options in Concord, Haute Coffee ranks high overall, especially in terms of ambiance and quality.
To start, the coffee itself is high quality, fresh, and always made to order. Haute offers an impressive array of unique drinks (my personal favorite is the Maple Spice Latte). For non-coffee drinkers, Haute has hot chocolate and a delicious chai latte, among other drinks, on their menu as well.
Haute Coffee also serves several breakfast and lunch sandwiches, as well as soup and salad specials that vary. Similarly, different baked goods and pastries are featured throughout the year. However, despite its changing menu, the food at Haute is consistently good, no matter when you visit.
Lastly, the ambiance of Haute Coffee is cozy and rustic. Although it can sometimes be crowded, there are plenty of seating options and free Wi-Fi is available. If the weather is nice, there are a couple of picnic tables outside too, making Haute Coffee a lovely place to unwind with friends or catch up on some work.
Other than cafés, CA is also lucky to have so many wonderful hiking trails and outdoor spaces easily accessible to the community. One of these spots is Chamberlin Park, a 180-foot-long bridge and stretch of grass right around the corner from the center of town. A six-minute walk from CA, Chamberlin Park is the perfect place to enjoy nature and go for a short stroll, even in the middle of the school week.
At the very back of the parking lot behind the Concord Visitor Center, a wooden bridge marks the entrance to Chamberlin Park. This bridge, known as the Chamberlin Park footbridge or the “zigzag” bridge, overlooks the wetlands below. While the rest of the park is mainly a walking path, there are a couple of places for sitting, including a cheerful, purple bench.
Chamberlin Park has an extensive history; originally donated to the town of Concord in 1969, the park has undergone several repairs and renovations over the years, most recently in 2020. However, in its fifty years as a part of Concord, Chamberlin Park has served a greater purpose than simply being a nice place to walk. The park is also intended to promote the preservation of Mill Brook and the surrounding ecosystem and wildlife. By incorporating Concord’s natural surroundings into the park, Chamberlin Park seeks to make environmental stewardship a community and town effort. Because of this, Chamberlin Park is the perfect place to intentionally slow down and appreciate the natural world.
Whether grabbing a cup of coffee or exploring the outdoors, Concord has so much to offer to the CA community. Despite being a small, suburban town, Concord is full of hidden gems and new adventures. Next time you get bored of the same old spots, try a walk in Chamberlin Park or take a trip to Haute Coffee!