Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Visiting Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House: Home of Little Women

"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship."

Today we're sailing to Concord, Massachusetts to visit the home of Louisa May Alcott and her classic, Little Women!

Learning about the real-life Alcott family who lived in Orchard House brought the March family of Little Women completely to life, because of course all the characters in the book were based on Louisa (or "Louy's") real family.  From her impractical and idealistic transcendentalist-philosopher father to her genius mother to her brilliant sisters, Louisa's family was just incredible, and touring the house made me feel like I knew them all.  We got to see May (or Amy!) the artist's sketches, which were everywhere from the cutting board to the walls - and Louisa's "mood pillow" which would be propped up or lying down to warn anybody coming in about whether or not it was safe to go up and chat with her. 😉

I believe the house passed essentially straight from the family and became a museum, so a lot of their original possessions are still in the house.  It made it feel like they had all just gotten up to go for a walk and might be back any second!

My favorite room was definitely Louisa's bedroom, with a wall of books and a charming half-moon desk tucked between the two windows where she wrote Little Women!  You weren't allowed to take photos or video inside the house, but at least I found a mug with a sketch of the desk. :)

As soon as we came out of the house, I got out my camera and rambled on about all the lovely things we'd seen because I didn't want to forget them!

Another gift shop find - "I like good strong words that mean something." Love that quote!

Louisa's father Bronson wasn't quite the paragon from the pages of her novel, but he was a good carpenter!  He built Louisa's desk, gave May a vaulted ceiling in her bedroom (which she planned to paint but, alas, never got around to), and cobbled their house together - when they first bought the property it was apparently a large house with a smaller, separate house in the back.  He moved the smaller one and added it on to the bigger one, so there are lots of funny corners and unexpected rooms in the back of the house!

See those white patches on the window?  Those were dried queen anne's lace hung on the panes - they looked like snowflakes, and apparently the Alcotts would have hung decorations like that themselves.  They looked so charming - I think I might take that design tip for my own windows. 😊

Walking in the footsteps of my favorite authors is always magical to me - we had such a lovely time at Orchard House!

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