Wednesday 24 Sep, 2014

Walking in the Footsteps of Literary Legends

The Old Manse

The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts was the family home of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Concord, Massachusetts may be best-known as the site of some key battles of the Revolutionary War, but the town’s rich history is equally steeped in an American tradition of a different kind: our literature.

On student trips to Boston and its surrounding towns, Concord’s literary history comes to life as visitors experience the sights, settings and scenery that inspired some of America’s greatest writers.

Orchard House and the Old Manse
On EF Explore America’s Historic Boston tour, students will visit one of two historic literary homes in Concord: Orchard House or the Old Manse. Orchard House was the home of the Alcott family, whose most famous member Louisa May Alcott wrote the masterpiece Little Women. Alcott wrote the book while living in the house and used it as the novel’s setting, so students walking through the home get the unique sensation of stepping directly into the world of the classic book.

Not far away is the Old Manse, which was home to not one, but two American literary icons. The house was built in 1770 by the grandfather of the famed Transcendentalist writer Ralph Waldo Emerson, who moved there himself in 1834. Then, starting in 1842, American author Nathanial Hawthorne rented the house and lived there for three years with his wife (at just $100 a year).

Authors’ Row at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Meanwhile, at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery near the center of town, students have the chance to visit the final resting places of several beloved American writers, including Hawthorne, Emerson, Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. Their memorials, which are located in a special section called Authors’ Row, are often adorned with tributes left by admirers of their work.

Over the centuries, Concord has earned a special place in our country’s literary history. For students, a visit to town is an unforgettable chance to step in the footsteps of American literary legends, walk where their characters walked, and see the spaces where they penned some of America’s most celebrated works of fiction.