Monday, April 12, 2010

in keeping with the spot...

Yesterday, at the library and center for the arts that I am happy serve as a trustee, we were blessed by a performance by Jan Turnquist, the Executive Director of "Orchard House" who presented a truly exceptional living history program as Louisa May Alcott.  For the past week, this blog has been looking at the character of Samuel J. May (Louisa May Alcott's uncle) and it has excerpted Amos Bronson Alcott as well. 
  Longtime readers will know that I love Concord and my family and I visit at least a couple of times a year.  Always on our itinerary is a stop at the Orchard House.  This from Bronson Alcott's "Concord Days":


MY neighbors flatter me in telling me that I have one of the best placed and most picturesque houses in our town. I know very well the secret of what they praise. 'T is simply adapting the color and repairs to the architecture, and holding these in keeping with the spot...

The view from the rustic seat overlooking my house commands the amphitheatre in which the house stands, and through which flows Mill brook, bordered on the south and east by the Lincoln woods. It is a quiet prospect and might be taken for an English landscape ; needs but a tower or castle overtopping the trees surrounding it. The willows by the rock bridge over the brook, the winding lane once the main track of travel before the turnpike branching off from the old Boston road by Emerson's door was built, adds to the illusion, while on the east stands the pine-clad hill, Hawthorne's favorite haunt, and hiding his last residence from sight.

On the southwest is an ancient wood, Thoreau's pride, beyond which is Walden Pond, distant about a mile from my house, and best reached by the lane opening opposite Hawthorne's. Fringed on all sides by woods, the interval, once a mill pond, is now in meadow and garden land, the slopes planted in vineyards, market gardens and orchards lining the road along which stand the farmers' houses visible in the opening.

This road has more than a local interest. If any road may claim the originality of being entitled to the name of American, it is this, — since along its dust the British regulars retreated from their memorable repulse at the Old North Bridge, the Concord military following fast upon their heels, and from the hill-tops giving them salutes of musketry till they disappeared beyond Lexington, and gave a day to history."

No wonder Concord is my "Mecca."  Many thanks to Jan Turnquist for her program and her work at Orchard House and

(photo:  Director Turnquist in front of Orchard House)

1 comment:

Jan said...

Dear Stuart,
Many thanks for your kind words. It was a pleasure to perform at the James Library and to meet you and the other wonderful people who made my visit possible. Thank you again for the tour of the church. It was a very moving experience for me. Looking forward to seeing you when you visit Concord again!
Jan Turnquist