This is a such special location. It was in this house and on this property that Louisa May Alcott wrote and based her famous 1868 novel, Little Women.
The Alcott family lived there for 20 years. Alcott wrote Little Women at a shelf desk her father, Amos Bronson Alcott, built for her.
Her father purchased the home — which had been there since the 1660s — along with 12 acres of land, for $945 in 1857. Mr. Alcott thought apples were the ideal food, so he was thrilled the property also boasted 40 apple trees. He named the home “Orchard House.”
No major structural changes have been made to the house. About 80 percent of the furnishings inside (which is open for guided tours when it’s not a stinkin’ pandemic) are original to the Alcott home.
A plaque near this flower garden features an excerpt from Chapter 10 of Little Women.
“The garden had to be put in order, and each sister had a quarter of the little plot to do what she liked with … for the girls’ tastes differed as much as their characters.
Meg: Meg’s had roses and heliotrope, myrtle and a little orange tree in it.
Jo: Jo’s bed was never alike two seasons, for she was always trying experiments. This year it was to be a plantation of sunflower, the seeds of which cheerful land-aspiring plant were to feed Aunt Cockle-top and her family of chicks.
Beth: Beth had old-fashioned fragrant flowers in her garden, sweet peas and migonette, larkspur, pinks, pansies and southernwood, and chickweed for the birds, and catnip for the pussies.
Amy: Amy had a bower in hers, rather small and earwiggy, but very pretty to look at, with honeysuckle and morning-glories hanging their colored horns and bells in graceful wreaths all over it, tall white lilies, delicate ferns, and as many brilliant picturesque plants as would consent to blossom there.”
A charming visit — we’ve actually been there a few times, just to walk around and enjoy the grounds.
My mom can’t wait to come back without me (sigh) so she can tour the inside. For now, and/or for people who don’t live nearby, a virtual tour is available for $10 on the website, which features a wealth more information about the house and the Alcott family and an online store.