A place to call home: The Orchard House | Concord, MA

For our six-year wedding anniversary, my husband and I packed up the car (and our sweet little babe) and made our way to Concord, MA, for a day trip. I have been wanting to visit this quintessential New England town for quite some time, so I was grinning ear to ear the entire ride up.

Our very first stop was The Orchard House — the home of Louisa May Alcott and her family. This was the place where she wrote Little Women, my favorite book … like ever ever ever.

Ever ever ever!!

It was surreal to stand in her bedroom and look at the desk where she wrote Little Women … while holding my little woman. * wipes tear *

The Alcotts were not a typical family during their time. They’d have conversations about women’s suffrage, abolitionism, and social reform around the dining room table. Bronson Alcott (LM’s father) was a transcendentalist, and would often gather with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau to talk about social issues. He was a teacher, consistently losing his position because of his progressive ideals.

The main thing that struck me about the house was that it was … very odd. The house is actually two structures: the original structure and an old tenant house from the 1600s. Louisa May’s father received the tenant house for free, and he and his friends rolled (?) it down to the main house and they attached it to the original structure. The house was certainly a home, filled with oddities and eccentricities that fit with the family and their style. Bronson seemed to be a DIY-before-it-was-cool kind of guy. He innovated ways to boil water and dry clothes in the kitchen. He built Louisa May a desk so she can write, something that was frowned upon during her time. He let his youngest daughter May (Amy) sketch on her bedroom walls to improve her art. When Anna’s (Meg) husband died, he built a nursery in the house for her twin sons to live in. Every corner of the house was unique and had special touches that were well preserved. It was an amazing look into the life of one of my favorite authors and it made me feel closer to her.

It got me thinking about my home. My husband and I bought our home in June 2020, and we have made a lot of progress in adding our own personal touches. We put a big barn door in our bedroom going into our bathroom. We built our own pantry in the kitchen. We converted an awkward bedroom closet into a cozy reading nook. We are making a house a home.

I moved a lot growing up, and there were many times when I didn’t feel like I had a home or solid roots. Not anymore. For over ten years, I have been building a home with Ian, and it’s wonderful to own an actual home and make it warm and fun and create memories together. Our home has cats and fluffy pillows. It has bookshelves and candles and more coffee mugs than I’ll ever need. It has memories of laughter and holiday joy. It has gardens and trees that we’ve planted. It has baby gates and stuffed animals and toys. It is home, and it is ours.