4 Must-Visit Houses

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The Merrimack Valley is a county full of history, from battlefields to cemeteries to monuments to museums. However, some of the most beautiful historic structures you’ll find are the houses. From stately colonial homes to innovative modern abodes, there are several incredible houses that you should consider taking a tour of next time you visit.

Home of American Authors

The Wayside is one of Concord, Massachusetts’ crown jewels, as it was home to not one, not two, but three great American literary figures. Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Sidney and Nathaniel Hawthorne all at different points call this house their home. Alcott, author of Little Women, even based several famous scenes in her book off of childhood events that occurred in the house. Hawthorne, who wrote The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables, wrote his last works while living in the house. Sidney, whose real name was Harriett Lothrop, wrote children’s literature and was most famous for her “The Five Little Peppers” series. She was also responsible, along with her daughter Margaret, for having the house and other local buildings preserved as historical places.

wayside

A House Full of Art

The Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell was the birthplace of the famous American artist, James McNeill Whistler. Now it is a museum featuring a distinguished collection of 19th and early 20th century art. The historic house-turned-museum features exhibits, lectures, concerts, and educational programs in the residence, galleries, and adjoining Victorian park.

Take a tour through the beautifully decorated rooms and view exceptional New England art. The first and second floor hall and bedrooms house the museum’s permanent collection, including a room dedicated to the works and etchings of Whistler himself. New exhibits are displayed in the Parker Gallery in the rear of the house. 

Home of a Revolutionary Architect

Merrimack’s history isn’t limited to just the Colonial Period. The Gropius House in Lincoln was built in 1938 by Walter Gropius, one of the twentieth century’s most influential architects and founder of the German design school known as the Bauhaus. This house combines elements of classic New England architecture with innovative (for the time) materials and features.

In-person tours of the house include seeing how Gropius put his own spin on the traditional New England home. You’ll visit his study, the living room, dining room, master bedroom suite, and more, all still decorated with his and his family’s original possessions. However, if you want even more information on the house, check out the Gropius House app which features photos, videos, and other archival materials related to the family.

House of Little Women

Another staple of Concord, Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House was the home of Alcott and her family for twenty years. Take a guided tour of this beautiful colonial home and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the story of Little Women. You’ll visit rooms where Alcott both wrote and set her story, and you’ll even get to see the very desk her father bought her to encourage her literary dreams.

Historic houses in the Merrimack Valley are always worth visiting, as they’re a chance to step back in time and view how life was lived decades and even centuries before. Grab your map and make sure to wipe your feet before you come in.

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