Field Trip! Orchard House

Louisa May Alcott HouseThis past spring we read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  We thoroughly enjoyed this timeless classic.  There is something wholesome about stories that capture the overcoming of adversity.  Most families struggle at one time or another; it’s part of most of our life experiences.  I think it is great for kids to read how other children overcome tough times.

Lucky for us, the Alcott home was sold to a family friend who soon realized that the house really should be preserved as a museum.  As a result the house went pretty unchanged and eighty percent of the furnishings in the museum belonged to the Alcotts.  Unlike many authors of that time, Alcott was fortunate that her work became popular upon publication.  Stores quickly moved Uncle Tom’s Cabin to the side and made room for Little Women.  Alcott was surprised by the public’s response to her work.  Her other writings were quite different and she usually wrote under a pen name.  The book’s success afforded her the ability to help support her struggling family.

Orchard House can easily be done in an hour.  You are only able to view the house on private tour.  The tours run very frequently and are very informative.  There are many charming things to see in the house.  One thing that we found very sweet was a small wall desk that was built for Alcott by her father.  She actually wrote Little Women at this desk.  Another favorite, that I was completely amazed had survived the decades, was May Alcott’s drawings.  Amy, in little women was based off May Alcott, the youngest of the Alcott sisters.  Like Amy in the book, May was a very talented artist.  Her mother allowed her to sketch all over the walls of her bedroom.  As a result you get to see all these delightful sketches of Greek statues, angels, and scroll work when touring May’s bedroom.  It is definitely worth stopping by if you are in the Concord area or have a Little Women fan.  Walking through the house definitely brings the book to life in your imagination.