On Saturday night we attended a “Pride and Prejudice” dance in Massachusetts; it was a fun night, and I got to buy a regency dress to wear. It was mostly a success, except people kept tripping on my train, and by people, I mean mostly me, I kept tripping on the train, but other people did too. It was still a lot of fun. The next day we got the opportunity to visit Louisa May Alcott‘s Orchard House. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures, since they are prohibited in the home, but I’ll share the link to the museum’s website where you can find some photos.
Concord, Mass is an adorable little town, that happens to have been the home to a number of famous Americans! In addition to the Alcott family (Louisa had several sisters — Little Women is loosely based on her and her sisters — one of which was a rather well-known artist in her time), Ralph Waldo Emerson was a resident, as was Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau. There are other more contemporary famous people from the town, but these were historical contemporaries with Louisa.
In addition to the museums and homes dedicated to these literary giants, there are a ton of really beautiful historic homes, and really beautiful less historic, but still impressive homes. After our tour we took some time to just drive around and admire the architecture. As we did so we found a rather cute bridge to stop and take some pictures from. There wasn’t any traffic so we were able to stop for a couple of minutes; when we did a lady driving the opposite way saw us put our window down and assumed we needed to ask her a question. She stopped and told us a little about her town. She was so, so nice, and really seemed to love her little town. You don’t always encounter such hospitality, it was refreshing.
Back to Louisa. The museum gives a fairly thorough history of the life of Louisa, her parents, and her sisters. If you like history, you will appreciate the level of detail they share.
Louisa, unlike the character she based on herself in Little Women (Jo) , she was a “free spinster;” meaning she was free to live her life as she wished without the encumbrance of a spouse. She truly seemed to prefer it this way…she often wrote in her journals about never needing or wanting to get married… except for one instance, where she said she would have gotten married just to receive a kiss from Thoreau (who had kissed her sister on her wedding day).
Sadly, Louisa died at a relatively young age due to a stroke, that was believed to e caused by mercury poisoning she suffered working as a nurse during the Civil War.
I highly recommend visiting the Orchard House if you ever find yourself in Massachusetts. It’s worth the entrance price ($15 or $10 if you get a group price) to spend an afternoon learning about the lives of this interesting family, though the inability to take photos was a bit disappointing. Also, certain Covid-19 measures are still in place for the visit — they still have timed entries, and they require masks to enter any of the buildings. I’m not sure if this will change in the future, but it’s good to come prepared so you can mask up when asked.