If you're ever in the Boston area, do yourself a favor and go to visit Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House museum on Lexington Road on the outskirts of Concord. It's a rambling, friendly old farmhouse set back from the main road and surrounded by apple trees; it's the place where the brilliant and eccentric philosopher Amos Bronson Alcott lived with his family from 1858 to 1877, and also the house where Amos's daughter, Louisa, sat herself down rather grumpily in her bedroom one spring day in 1868 to fulfill her publisher's request for a "book for girls," and gave the world LITTLE WOMEN.
For nearly a century now, Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House - which is preserved almost exactly as it was when the family lived there - has been a museum dedicated to the Alcotts in general and LITTLE WOMEN in particular. Visits are by guided tour, and for the magical duration of your time there you will be led by an expert through a place where fact and fiction intertwine, seeing the kitchen where the Alcott family (or was it the Marches?) did their laundry and prepared their meals, the horse-hair pillow which Louisa (or was it Jo?) would slam down to repel intruders, the bedroom where Louisa's sister May (or was it Amy?) had sketched angels and biblical figures on the woodwork and the door.
I guarantee that the instant you leave, you will race home to read LITTLE WOMEN all over again.
For more information on Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, including special events and education programs, click here.