Thursday, October 16, 2014

Little Women, Minutemen and Stars Hollow

Concord, Massachusetts is home to Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, where she wrote her most famous novel, Little Women and Minutemen National Park, where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired. It is also one of the cutest little towns I've ever been to - and in my mind - was a real life Stars Hollow of the Gilmore Girls tv show.

Have you read Little Women? Seen the movie? Written by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women was her most successful book. Based on her own family, Alcott used Orchard House as the setting for the popular novel. You can learn about the real life characters of Marmie, Amy, Meg, Beth and Jo by touring their family house.
The Alcott family lived at Orchard House in Concord for 3 years. Louisa's father, Bronson Alcott, was a transcendentalist who established a school at the house which was very progressive, even (gasp!) teaching girls. Thoreau, Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne were friends of the family and frequent visitors to the house. Unfortunately, the school was too progressive for it's time so the family floundered financially. Louisa started writing to help the family out and was wildly successful for a woman novelist at the time.

You can visit and tour Orchard House. Our tour started with a short film about the author and her family. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and told us all about the family's life at Orchard House. Even some of the original drawings from one of the daughter's are still on the wall. If you want to visit, you can find out more information here

Minutemen National Historical Park marks the spot where the first shots of the Revolutionary War were fired. A stop at the Visitors Center will give you a lay of the land and let you watch a multi-media presentation following the events as they happened, including the midnight ride of Paul Revere.

You can visit multiple battlefields, the historical Hartwell Tavern and follow the Battle Road Trail from Concord to Lexington. Our visit was on a rainy New England day - so we headed for the Visitors Center and watched the video presentation and wandered around the gift shop a bit. We didn't attempt to do any of the outdoor areas so I guess we'll just have to leave that for another day.

The actual town of Concord is small town New England at it's best. It reminded me so much of the fictional town of Stars Hollow from the Gilmour Girls tv show (a favorite in my house  - we spent many hot summer days watching the series, almost to the point of obsession. Just one more episode!)

The rain couldn't damper the cuteness. Though lacking the gazebo of Stars Hollow, Concord does have The Colonial Inn. Overlooking the town square, you can choose to stay here or dine at Liberty, the area's only gastropub.

We ate at the Main Street Market and Cafe. No words for how cute this coffee shop was. Pastries as large as your hand .(I was looking for the No Cellphones sign like at Luke's Diner in Stars Hollow but there wasn't one) I could visit Concord again and again.

(You can also visit Walden Pond, the famous pond where Henry David Thoreau went to live simply and immerse himself in nature. Once again, the weather was a bit of hindrance for us.)

How about you? Have you ever been to Concord? What did you think?

I'm once again linking up with #fridaypostcards !!!!


  1. Hi Jill!
    I haven't visited Concord but I'm ready to! We have enjoyed Louisa May Alcott's writing over the years and the film. I read a book recently that you might enjoy - "March" by Geraldine Brooks. It's about the absent father of the "Little Women" and his time at war. It's around in paperback and I think you'll really like it.
    Thanks for sharing this - good for a fall trip to the east. :)

    1. Thanks Sara - I will have to look for the book. The tour we took really shed some light on the other family members besides Louisa which was all new info to me - very interesting! Hope you make it to Concord someday.

  2. Wow, forgot about this town as a weekend destination. I must go. Little Women was such a formative influence on me. and the town looks like it has much to offer besides. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Definitely a fun place to visit Eileen! Hope you make it there some weekend!

  3. It's been a really, really long time since I visited Concord -- many years before Gilmore Girls premiered. But now that you mention it, yes, I can how Concord and Stars Hollow are practically one and the same. I love both Little Women and Gilmore Girls, and now I love each just a little bit more thanks to you.

    1. Oh Michele, that's so sweet! I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw Concord as a Stars Hollow. I think the creators of Gilmore Girls created a dream town, especially for those of us that love small towns, and I'm always on the lookout to find one like it. Life just seems a little slower and simpler in Stars Hollow (and Mayberry for that matter) so I idealize it a bit.