One of my favorite visits was to the Orchard House in Concord, the home where the Alcotts lived during the era depicted in Little Women.
The guide told many charming stories about the family and major funding has restored the house to its former glory. The best part were the paintings all over the walls done by the artistic sister, May (or Amy). I especially loved the little angelic doodles around the window frames in her bedroom.
Can I just say how much I wanted to be Jo when I was growing up? I’m just sure I would’ve cut my hair to feed the family and would’ve been as headstrong and would’ve married Prof Bhaer. Did you feel this, too, when you first read Little Women?
I took the photo above the small flower garden in front of the house. In the guidebook it explains that the garden around the house was primarily fruits & veggies back in the day, but now it’s all flowers. Though I loved the flowers, I think I liked Thoreau’s vegetable garden at the Emerson/Hawthorne house much better. But more on that garden later….
“If in Emerson’s study perpetual twilight reigns,” wrote a visitor to Orchard House in 1874,” in Alcott’s it is always noon. The great sun shines in it all day, the great fireplace roars, and the warm crimson hangings temper the sunlight and reflect the firelight. Quaint mottoes and pictures hang on the walls.”
I consciously crafted myself after Jo and Emily (of New Moon). I’m sure they are imprinted on my synapses.
Makes me think of this comment from poet Louise Gluck, “When you read anything worth remembering, you liberate a human voice. You release into the world again a companion spirit.”
Did I tell you how much I love meeting you?
I guess that should be “loved,” but the eternal present tense isn’t so bad . . .
One of my top 5 all-time favorite books. I read it over and over and over. I was absolutely Jo–bookish, tomboyish, and my hair was my one great beauty. I even created a “writing costume” for myself that I modeled after Jo’s. That book still makes me cry. Especially when she dumps Teddy. [*sob*] (None of the film adaptations get the dynamics of the Jo/Laurie relationship right.)
I’m enjoying your travel reporting!