Concord, Massachusetts, September 2022


I stand in front of Louisa May Alcott's historic home.

Finding Home at Orchard House

By Anna Krejci

September 2022

Concord, Mass.


My husband and I traveled to the historic home of Louisa May Alcott, the author of the children’s novel, "Little Women."  We toured the grounds and home where Alcott lived when she wrote the novel. Her novel was originally published in 1868 and is an endearing story about love and sacrifices made during the U.S. Civil War. In the novel the four March sisters lived together, cared for by their mother, while their father served for the Union in the war. The tour of the home revealed how Alcott’s family lived.  From my visit, I learned that Louisa May Alcott served in the war as a nurse; in reality, it was not her father who went.  Alcott was one of four daughters.  She drew upon her service and family experiences to write "Little Women." A home such as Orchard House looked charming and special, and I think it was because of the relationships housed there; I had imagined them from reading the novel.

 We saw the small desk where Alcott wrote. It was so simple, a tiny tabletop. In the time that Alcott lived, not every woman had a desk. Our tour guide told us that Alcott’s father, who advocated for reform, believed she should have a desk for serious writing projects.  As our tour guide also mentioned, for less formal letter writing, women sat on a couch and wrote on their laps; at that time only determined writers sat at desks.

 In the novel there was trouble and suffering, but some of the more contented moments happened around food.  Alcott wrote about food and drinks that the March family consumed, and lemonade is mentioned several times – as Amy’s start-of-summer beverage and as the source of stains on Jo’s white gloves.  I was fascinated that New Englanders in the mid-1800s drank lemonade.  In the Orchard House gift shop, I found a cookbook of recipes adapted for modern-day cooking that were based on American cookbook recipes of the 1850s to 1880s.  The cookbook is called, "The Little Women Cookbook: Tempting Recipes from the March Sisters and Their Friends and Family," by Wini Moranville.  Quotations from the novel are interspersed throughout the book, and there is even a recipe for Amy’s Lemonade. Making homemade lemonade to share with my spouse each summer delights me. I bought a copy of the cookbook, happy with the collection of recipes that I was set to try at home.

Mind, I was visiting Orchard House in Massachusetts, and we traveled two days to arrive.  Every now and then I long for a road trip, to get out and explore a new place.  Being in that home, however, reminded me how my own home life is so dear to me.  While I love exploring new places, home has been a comfortable, and even exciting, place for me.  It is because I love to establish traditions at home, to arrange things the way I like them and to create a refuge for myself and others.  I purchased a glass vase secondhand, and now it holds fresh flowers on the mantel.  Each fall I wind down to the same autumn-inspired recordings of music, beginning the long transition into winter.  In December I bring a freshly cut Christmas tree inside.  Whenever I acquire a new sunflower-themed object, like a pillow or trinket, I photograph it with the rest of my sunflower collection.  These routines hold joy for me.

"Little Women" is my favorite novel, and one that I have known since my childhood. One of my most anticipated stops was Alcott’s home. Visiting Orchard House made me appreciate my family and home, even though I love traveling so much and my spouse and I had come a long way from home to see New England.  The tour of Orchard House did not disappoint.


Works Cited


Moranville, Wini. The Little Women Cookbook: Tempting Recipes from the March Sisters and Their Friends and Family. Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc., 2019, Beverly, MA.



For more information visit the Orchard House website: