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Posts Tagged ‘Orchard House’

A few weeks ago, I made a pilgrimage I’ve wanted to make for years – possibly ever since I picked up Little Women and fell in love with it. (It’s been my favorite book since first grade.) On Columbus Day, Abi, Shanna and I headed to charming, literary Concord, and to the Alcott home, Orchard House.

You can’t take photos inside the house, which still contains many of the Alcott family’s original furnishings and possessions, including Jo’s (Louisa’s) “mood pillow,” Beth’s (Lizzie’s) little piano, a copy of Meg’s (Anna’s) marriage license, books belonging to several family members, and Amy’s (May’s) drawings on the fireplace, the breadboard and even the windowsills. (I was in heaven – it was literally like walking through the book!) Anyway, here’s a view of the exterior:

Also on the property is the Concord School of Philosophy, opened by Louisa’s father in his last years. It’s unheated and chilly, but beautiful:

We had a fabulous time touring the house (kitchen, parlor, dining room, bedrooms and Mr. Alcott’s study) and browsing the gift shop (where I could have spent sooo much money). Since the Alcotts supported the suffrage movement, the gift shop sells mugs and teacups with “Votes for Women” printed on them. Abi and I each bought one, and I think Louisa, Jo March and Mrs. Banks (from Mary Poppins) would all be proud.

We drove into Concord proper to seek out some lunch and explore Main Street, which has adorable shops and a few monuments:

(This is the Civil War monument, which figures prominently in the Mother-Daughter Book Club series – the girls are always riding their bikes past it. And the leaves are so gorgeous right now…)

We all took about a zillion photos of the beautiful little church on Monument Square, complete with windswept leaves and cloud-brushed blue sky:

We all felt like we were walking through a storybook all day…the whole town is just so charming, and quaint, and pleasantly bustling. And since I have idolized Jo March for years (though I’m also part Meg) and read Little Women so many times that my old, orange-covered Yearling edition is quite tattered…well. There aren’t even words to describe how it felt to finally tour Orchard House.

I love living in New England: everywhere I go, I walk through history (political, literary and otherwise), which then becomes a part of my personal history. Or in some cases, I get to see the places where parts of my personal history were born. I get to close the loop, so to speak, and then keep writing my own story in a place that teems with so many voices, so many histories…and infinite possibilities.

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