Orchard House My Home Sweet Home

5 Sep

Hello SK fans!

I realize I have been blogging for 18 months now and have never highlighted The Orchard House, the home I lived in in Concord where I wrote and set ‘Little Women.’

That was quite remiss of me. Perhaps because my family moved 25 times in 27 years I didn’t think to focus on one home. No, we did not like packing, we just did not like being chased by bill collectors, thus the frequent changes of address.

Orchard House is probably the most comfortable home we had. Anna, Meg in Little Women, and I were in our 20s when we moved in and May, Amy in LW, was about 18. Sadly, Lizzie, Beth in LW, died 4 months before we moved in at the age of 23.

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Here is a street image of Orchard House at 399 Lexington Road, Concord, Mass. My Pub did a pretty good job of cropping out the very busy street it faces. The street was not so busy when we moved there in 1858, probably because it was not paved.

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This is north side of Orchard House. The building in the back is the School of Philosophy, which my father, A. Bronson Alcott, founded for adult education. Did you know that by opening this school, my father is considered the father of adult continuing education? I am so proud of him!

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This is a view of the current entrance to Orchard House, which is now a museum. The Orchard House is actually two buildings that my father merged together. The front building, in the first photo, is a traditional early American 2-rooms-up 2-rooms-down center entrance Colonial built in the 1700s. The back building is a tiny cottage, built in the early 1600s, that was positioned further up the hill. One icy day in 1858, my dad and Henry David Thoreau placed logs between both structures and slowly rolled the cottage down to the Colonial. My dad’s excellent carpentry skills ensured a nearly seamless union.

Anyone over 5 feet 8, needs to duck their head to enter this door, which used to lead to our woodshed. It is now the main entrance to the museum. Apparently Americans weren’t too tall in the 1600s. And an FYI, my dad was over 6 feet, and was considered NBA material in our day, which of course did not have an NBA, so he stuck to philosophy.

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As I said before, Orchard House is now a museum, and tours are given daily with rare exceptions like Christmas. If you are ever in the area, I hope you consider a visit to my home. It is a 20-minute drive from Boston, and easy to get to. I would be honored to have you as my guest, xo LMA

Follow me on Facebook at Louisa May Alcott.

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8 Responses to “Orchard House My Home Sweet Home”

  1. Bruce Thiesen September 6, 2014 at 12:28 am #

    I’d go visit the house if I was in the area. I’d bring my Little Women book and settle in on one of those benches.

    • Louisa May Alcatt September 7, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

      Let us know when you’re in the area. And if you forget your copy of LW we sell it in the gift shop. I’ll give you a good price!

  2. onespoiledcat September 6, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    I really love the house and grounds……….it looks like a very inspiring spot to read OR to write!

    Pam

  3. Pamela September 6, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    For ten years, I lived 7 minutes away from the Orchard House. Can’t tell you how many times I took the tour – every time we had guests, that’s for sure, and each of the docents was fabulous. Been away for awhile, but coming back to the area and Orchard House will be one of the first places I (re) visit.

  4. soonie2 September 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    I remember my first visit there with my mom when I was only 10 years old, I loved it! It’s time to go back again!

  5. LB September 7, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    I’m so glad you introduced us to Orchard Hill! And how neat to read that Mr. Alcott was the father of adult ed! How long did the family live here? (yes, I could google it but I figure if anyone will know, it is you!)

    • Louisa May Alcatt September 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      Hi Lab. The Alcott’s moved in in 1858 and left in 1877 when Louisa bought the larger Thoreau family home on Main Street in Concord. The family lived at orchard House longer than any of their other residences. Maybe you’ll take the bike here someday. LMA

  6. sued51 September 8, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Never been…I HAVE to get there soon!

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