American Pastoral

This Concord hideaway holds the key to transcendental reflection—at a price.


Photos Provided

One consequence of the current trend toward urban living is that when the wealthy scramble for choice city properties, they leave the suburbs to the beavers, the hawks, and, sadly, the midlevel developers. In other words, though there’s lots of land for the taking at pretty good prices, it won’t be long before the bulldozers arrive. What we need now, more than ever, is a new philanthropic movement—a handful of heroes to buy up land for conservation’s sake.

Here’s one chance to do just that. Perhaps you never read Walden in high school, but chances are you’ve gleaned its significance over the years. In an eloquent (and sometimes mystifyingly meandering) sermon, Henry David Thoreau questioned the march of progress, our scramble for material gain, and our need for constant human interaction. The writer penned it while living in a tiny cabin in Concord, and this 24-acre estate, located just over a mile from Walden Pond, remains much as it was when New England’s most famous recluse observed it more than 150 years ago. Bordering protected land, the property boasts fields, sturdy trees, and 850 feet of Sudbury River frontage.

The 7,432-square-foot, circa-1901 house on the grounds is an amalgam of period details and more-recent additions, with views across the meadows to the water. It needs nothing but a conservation-minded buyer to love and protect it as the years march on. Of course, said buyer has to have a serious knack for material gain to be able to afford the property, but anyone who lives here will surely enjoy transcendental moments of his own. And isn’t that worth the price of admission?


Address › 846 Sudbury Rd., Concord
Listing price › $4.75 million
Listing agent › Brigitte Senkler, Coldwell Banker, 978-505-2652,
Stats › Five bedrooms, five full baths, one half bath

Don’t Subdivide Me!

Four more opportunities around Boston for an epic save.


Homer’s Pond, West Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard

As one of the largest swaths of practically untouched land available on the East Coast, this oceanfront paradise is no doubt teeming with creatures displaced by development. Listing price › $118 million. Stats › 314 acres (including a 35-acre freshwater pond), four-bedroom house, beach house, guesthouse.


11 Nason Hill Rd., Sherborn

Stannox Farm is the epitome of a New England gentleman’s farm, with a Colonial-era post-and-beam home, meadows, pastures, and enough room for a herd of thoroughbreds. Much of this land is already protected by conservation restrictions. Listing price › $4.2 million. Stats › 108 acres, five-bedroom house, pool, barn, five-car garage, workshop.


65 Brookline St., Pepperell

This working farm comes with a house built in 1790, and is part of the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program. Make hay when the sun shines, and knit socks by the fire in the winter. Cows not included. Listing price › $2.65 million. Stats › 140 acres, five-bedroom house, apartment, two barns, three storage buildings.


96–98 Larch Row, Wenham

You’re in horse country now, and this property offers enough acreage to keep your jumpers happy. You might be tempted to hack away at the 13.7 acres available for development. Don’t. Listing price › $3.2 million. Stats › 91.5 acres, five-bedroom house, two barns, apartment, stone-wall jumps.

The Boston Home team has curated a list of the best home design and home remodeling professionals in Boston, including architects, builders, kitchen and bath experts, lighting designers, and more. Get the help you need with FindIt/Boston's guide to home renovation pros.