Author Archives: Henry Thoreau

Our Online Auction Ends March 29 at Noon!

Join in the  fun and Retreat collageRegister to Bid !

Visit the online auction we are holding with the Thoreau Society at

There are many unique and unusual items to bid on, including a week or weekend in the Thoreau Farm Writer’s Retreat; round-trip tickets on Cape Air to either Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket; High-speed fast ferry tickets to Nantucket on the Steamship Authority; rare books; a private tour of historic Concord and lunch at the Colonial Inn with native guide Joe Wheeler; a session on how to get your book published with consultant Ken Lizotte of the Expert’s Edge ; a tour of the Battle Road section of Minuteman National Park with a focus on Colonial Farming with Brian Donahue; and a night’s stay with dinner at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club on Cape Cod.

The auction ends on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. It’s a great way to support the Thoreau Society and Thoreau Farm and the programs for both organizations!

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Henry Goes Solar!

“No light illuminates me.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Update on our solar campaign – We have raised $8,600 toward the $12,000 match and our total goal of $25,000. We also received an equipment donation which will defray the project cost by nearly $2,000. We continue raise funds for the balance – you can make a gift through our PayPal account (“Donate” button to the left).

Bottom line – we are moving forward with the installation! Take a look at the info below for more details on the project. And please help us raise the remaining $3,500 by making a gift today!!

Henry David Thoreau is going off the grid once again, 168 years after his famous experiment in living deliberately in a simple cabin at Walden Pond!

In keeping with Henry David Thoreau’s environmental values and in the spirit of living deliberately, Thoreau Farm has launched a fundraising campaign to install a solar photovoltaic system at his birthplace. We need to raise $25,000 by the end of November to get the system installed before the ground freezes.

This is a very important project to us and will have the following impact on our organization:

  • Environmental – we will no longer have to use electricity generated from non-renewable sources (we use a low temp heat pump for climate control, which needs electricity to operate so a solar pv system will enable us to be completely non-dependent on any fossil fuels, even for our heating and cooling needs).
  • Education – we use all the green features at Thoreau’s birthplace to educate visitors on how we can all be more environmentally conscious.
  • Economic – by being able to generate our electricity we will save $2,000-$3,000 in operating costs per year.

Take a look at this video to see just how important solar energy is to Henry himself –

A donation of any amount is welcome, and all donations make a difference. A generous donor will match your gift – this means your gift has TWICE the value and will get us to our goal TWICE as fast. You can make a tax-deductible gift using our PayPal account (“Donate” button to the left).

And please help us spread the word by sharing this campaign with your friends!


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Reading Season

By Sandy Stott

It seems a bit counterintuitive that, as the hours of daylight stretch out toward solstice and invite us outside, many of us also become expansive in our reading. But early summer brims with experiment; sleep seems distant kin of the other solstice. We sing the day elastic.

And so there seems also ample time for that sweetest of slow times, summer reading. Here is a briefly annotated list of summer books that also might have interested Henry, though, given his omnivorous reading appetite, that would be a safe wager in many instances.

This House of Sky – Ivan Doig: a lyrical first book by a noted writer of western landscapes (and behaviors), this memoir about Scottish immigrants making their way in another hard land is one of my favorites.

Reading the Mountains of Home – John Elder: Take Robert Frost’s great poem, “Directive,” topo maps of the mountains outside of Bristol, Vermont, Middlebury English professor, John Elder and ample stretches of time and combine them and you get a superb meditation on what it is to be guided into knowing a home landscape, which finally yields knowing home.

Teaching a Stone to Talk – Annie Dillard: Yes, this book of essays has knocked around for years, but it is still in print for good reason. Written after Dillard’s homage to Henry, A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, these sometimes cryptic pieces were Dillard’s primary work. Some of the essays – Total Eclipse, Living Like Weasels, Teaching a Stone to Talk – have been heavily anthologized.

The Thoreau You Don’t Know – Robert Sullivan: Would Henry have picked up a book about himself? If he’d been introduced to Robert Sullivan’s earlier work, perhaps he would have. Sullivan is a quirky mind drawn to off-the-beaten-track subjects – see his books, Rats or The Meadowlands – and so his take on Thoreau avoids others’ tracks too. A very fine storyteller.

Seek – Denis Johnson: Join the essayist on his honeymoon in the Alaska bush, where he and his bride contract with a bush pilot notorious for coming down hard, aka, crashing. Finally, Johnson and wife are out there 100 miles from anyone to pan for gold so they can forge their own rings; the bush is not interested. What else do they learn? Other essays from the edges of our world, a number of them grim. One of the best stylists writing.

Street Haunting – Virginia Woolf’s classic essay about rambling the streets of London resonates – for me – with Thoreau’s daily footborne looks at his world, even as the settings are wildly different. Woolf’s writing makes more music than most writers can imagine.

And you, what are your summer reads? Send them on and we can compile a list loosely linked to Thoreau, who, after all, read globally.

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