I truly enjoyed visiting Orchard House and grooving on all the Little Women stuff--btw, the tour guide did an excellent job, especially in describing transcendentalism. She also was diplomatic when it came to Bronson Alcott--I don't have much respect for the man myself, but she was factual in answering questions about him without going into all the aspects of his character that kept his family at poverty's door until Louisa published Little Women. I only read Little Women last year, so this wasn't so much a pilgrimage for me as an interesting place to visit. If you want to read up on LMA, Eden's Outcasts about Louisa and her father, Bronson, is excellent.
|At Orchard House, Concord, MA|
While Orchard House was fun, interesting, and special, I had expected to enjoy it...however, I was pleasantly surprised twice when we visited the Concord Museum. I absolutely loved peeking into Emerson's library...
Often what makes a vacation memorable is when you stumble onto something wonderful that you didn't expect. For Jeff and I, that was the Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage exhibit that is at the museum until September 23. We loved it so much we bought the last signed copy of the book that Leibovitz wrote to accompany the exhibit.
After the museum and Orchard House, we visited Sleepy Hollow Cemetary and found the graves, it wasn't hard, of Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathanial Hawthorne. My favorite part of the cemetary, and really may favorite part of Concord, was the peacefulness of the woods, and fields. The area has changed so much in the 150 years since these giants of American letters lived and worked here, but you can definitely feel the pull of Nature on your soul when you visit the area.
Next up was the Minuteman National Park where we visited the Old North Bridge, where the first battle of the American Revolution was fought. As to be expected in the summer, the bridge was crowded with visitors to the point where we really couldn't get a picture of the bridge without someone on it. No matter, my favorite part was the utter tranquility of the scene looking downriver from the bridge. It didn't take me long to imagine away everyone else and think how lovely it would be to spend the summer reading in this spot.
Our final stop in Concord was to Walden Pond, which is now a state park and was overrun with kids playing in the water. They did have a recreation of Thoreau's cabin near the parking lot, with his statue. I'd heard that Walden Pond was no longer a place where one could quietly retreat from the world, so I wasn't too disappointed.