Story times

Visiting Louisa May Alcott’s house

STORY TIME!!

I love doing reviews, but I also want to post about all the things that happen in my life that are at all related to the book world!

Back in July, I went on a trip to the Northeast part of the United States with my family. We stayed in Boston, Massachusetts but visited cities and states all around that area during the time we were there. One of the days, we took a day trip to Concord, Massachusetts.

The first place we went while in Concord was the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, a cemetery known for the famous writers buried there on a hill called “Authors Ridge.” I saw the graves of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott. My favorite, of course, was that of Louisa May Alcott. The second I saw the headstones for the Alcott family graves, I almost started crying. Louisa May Alcott is the author of Little Women, among other classic novels. Ever since I was a kid, I have read Little Women countless times, and the story means so much to me, being my favorite children’s classic of all time. And I got to see the author’s and her family’s graves. It was such a cool experience.

Next, we visited Orchard House, the home of the Alcott family when they lived in Concord. It was so beautiful and historic looking from the outside. I was able to take a tour of the house and see where the Alcott family did their living and working and socializing. I also learned so much about the history of the Alcott family and certain things that inspired the March family in Louisa’s Little Women. It was definitely the highlight of my trip.

First, we saw the kitchen and dining room. They had preserved so many real artifacts that were actually the Alcotts’ when they lived there, thanks to some descendants of the Alcotts still living in Concord. The entire house was extremely quaint and humble, just like one would imagine it. The dining room was where the family would sit around having intelligent conversations over dinner, because their father was an extreme feminist and believed that his daughters should be well-educated.

There was also a small area next to the dining room that contained the Alcott’s piano. Above the piano was a picture of Louisa’s younger sister, Elizabeth, who was the inspiration for the character Beth March. Elizabeth loved music just like Beth and that piano belonged mostly to her. The real Elizabeth caught scarlet fever at age 22 and died, just like Beth March.

Next came the living room, which was so beautiful and comfortable. I could just picture in my mind the characters from Little Women or the actual Alcott family themselves lounging in there. Our tour guide said that the Alcott family would put a curtain up in the large doorway between the kitchen and the living room. The girls would use the kitchen and the staircase leading to the bedrooms upstairs as their backstage area and would perform little plays with their friends for their parents and neighbors, just like the March sisters did in the book. It was said that Louisa’s older sister, Anna, was the actress of the family, just like Meg March from Little Women. Anna’s performances brought tears to people’s eyes. She married and had two sons, whose descendants still live in Concord today.

Also in the living room was a certain cylinder-shaped pillow sitting on a couch. The tour guide said that this used to be Louisa’s “mood pillow.” As a writer, she often got into bad moods (I can totally understand that). So she would either set this pillow on its end or lay it on its side to tell her family whether or not she was in a good or bad mood. I seriously love that!

Hanging in the living room were paintings done by Louisa’s youngest sister, May, the artist of the family and the inspiration for Amy March. May taught art in a little studio that her father added onto the house. May married but died from childbirth at age 39, and her daughter lived with Louisa.

Then, our tour guide led us upstairs to the bedrooms. Seeing Louisa’s bedroom was my favorite part of the tour. There was a bookshelf full of books and pictures of her on the walls. But the best thing was the small writing desk that Louisa’s father had built into the wall in her bedroom. This was the actual desk where she wrote Little Women. There was even some paper on the desk where lied a copy of the original manuscript of Little Women, with Louisa’s handwriting and everything. This brought tears to my eyes. A famous author wrote at the tiny desk right before me. Any book lovers out there will understand how amazing this was.

That concludes my experience at the old home of the Alcott family in Concord. I loved hearing all the history of the family and how similar Louisa and her sisters were to Louisa’s characters. Louisa herself was Jo March of course, the writer of the family. Little Women is a classic that everyone should read in my opinion. If you’re looking for a classic, this story will touch your heart like no other. And after reading it, you’ll have to visit Orchard House for sure!!

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