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Massachusetts

Orchard House ~ Home of Louisa May Alcott ~ Concord MA

Louisa May Alcott's book, Little Women, captivated my imagination as a child. I would spend hours pretending I was Jo, imagining the wonderful world of sisterhood, the adventures and excitement that she wrote about in that classic novel. We were so excited to be able to visit Orchard House, the home of the Alcott's, while on our New England trip.

 

As so many of our adventures seem to do, we arrived in a rainstorm dropping an inch of rain in Massachusetts on a cool day in April. As we drove the picturesque streets of Concord, we were struck by what a beautiful area New England is. Concord is a delightful city that we thoroughly enjoyed, just wish we had more time and weren't in the middle of a rainstorm! That said, you have two choices when weird weather hits, grab an umbrella and go for it, realizing you will see great things even though you may not tromp about quite as much, or forget about sight seeing and curl up with a book. We decided to be adventuresome and go for it!

You go into the house, in the back, to the gift shop to start your tour. Be warned, the gift shop is filled with FABULOUS items, it is hard to keep a prudent disposition, when faced with so many wonderful volumes of Louisa May Alcott, gifts, books of all kinds, and just neat treasures! We got a few things, and always grab postcards. You can never photograph as well in the rain, so postcards make a nice addition!

Our tour was with two other families. It begins with a film in a small room, giving you the basics about the Alcott family.

When the film is over, you are wafted through a small door, and into the world of Little Women. The home has an almost familiar feel to it, a cozy, almost deja vu sense. It is so easy to see the four sisters, Beth at the piano, Jo writing in her attic, Amy painting and Meg bustling about the dinner table.

Each room you enter evokes a new chapter in Little Women. As you walk through the enormous rooms downstairs, so much of the book comes alive before your eyes. Upstairs, you get to go to Louisa's room, where she wrote the books. Standing next to the little tiny desk that she spent hours penning away stories, you can see how she had such tales running through her head. The family she so dearly loved, that so inspired her, busy in the rooms around her, she could not help but write:

  • Talent isn’t genius, and no amount of energy can make it so. I want to be great, or nothing. I won’t be a commonplace dauber, so I don’t intend to try any more. Amy in Little Women.
  • A little kingdom I possess, where thoughts and feelings dwell; And very hard the task I find of governing it well.
  • Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.
  • Painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us-and those around us - more effectively. Look for the learning.
  • What do girls do who haven't any mothers to help them through their troubles?

The Alcott home was filled with love, intellectual curiosity, bustling with activity and friends who came to visit often.

Orchard House - Home of the Alcotts is open year-round on the following schedule:

  • Apr 1 - Oct 31: Monday-Saturday 10:00-4:30, Sunday 1:00-4:30
    Patriots Day (3rd Monday in April): 12:00 - 4:30

  • Nov 1 - Mar 31: Monday-Friday 11:00-3:00, Saturday 10:00-4:30, Sunday 1:00-4:30

  • Closed: Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and January 1-15

Admission Rates 2008: Adults: $9.00; Seniors (62+)/Students: $8.00 Youths (6-17): $5.00Family Rate (2 adults / up to 4 youths): $25.00

The House is shown by guided tour only, you don't get to tour it on your own! All tickets for the day's tours go on sale at opening and are sold on a "first come" basis. Fire laws limit the number that may be accommodated at any one time, and pre-booked groups may limit public tours at certain times.

We HIGHLY recommend this tour - especially if you are a fan of Louisa May Alcott and her breakthrough book, Little Women! Kids will love the stories of Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy that they will hear on the tour! Tell the folks at Orchard House that Living History Sites sent you!

Orchard House is located at 399 Lexington Road in historic Concord, Massachusetts. Parking in front of Orchard House is very limited. It is prohibited on Lexington Road and the side street, Alcott Road. Please park in the Wayside Parking Lot, off of Hawthorne Lane on the opposite side of Lexington Road.

Orchard House

399 Lexington Road

Concord, MA

For more information call 978-369-4118, weekdays from 8:00-4:00.