First you check your National Park Service APP, and then you check the “HISTORY HERE” APP to “Explore the History Around You.” Did not need to go with Alex to the third grade, but I sure do need to continue my education. The Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in an old mill in Waltham jumped out at me. Did not know about it, nor the area. Checking WAZE (APP Gary introduced David to, and then David to me – now me to you – yes, of course free) I was provided 3 ways to get there. Fastest route by a minute is heading back up to the interstates and around for twenty miles. But the shortest route – 9.1 miles – is a few minutes more, and a straight line through suburbs I am still trying to learn. Is there a choice? They open at 10AM – free to retired military – and all is secure here so I will leave shortly to explore and learn, leaving plenty of time to pick up Alex and get him to his cello lesson.
NOTE TO RAY: — Websites may be out of date. — I did not call first to verify if the museum would be open because I wanted to arrive when it opened, so who would answer the phone beforehand. Sign on door CLOSED MONDAY/TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY — Website did not say that. Looked in windows, looks really nice as did the website – perfect three generation excursion at a later date, but now what to do?
I checked History Here APP – then thought, “the Larz Anderson Auto Museum is close by.” But that too can wait for a multigenerational visit. Fast thinking mind said, “Wayside Inn in Sudbury,” and I plugged it into WAZE. I had a wonderful overnight there in 2008, great dinner and worked on ACC. It was time to see it again, and I could have lunch there.
It was essentially a straight shot west on US Route 20 – The Boston Post Road at this point. I passed through Weston for the first time, but avoided the bypass turning in to see the town itself. It is the right zip code, and I encourage you to see Weston also. Next came Wayland with its own historic center of beauty.
Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts, is a gem to be experienced, and I am glad that I did it again. I cannot wait to share a return visit. Originally built in 1716, Henry Ford acquired it in 1923 to develop the area as a living history museum – just as he did later in 1929 establishing Greenfield Village in Michigan. In 1929 he commissioned a grist mill built, and added a colonial church and school house. To further preserve the original appearance of the area The Boston Post Road was rerouted south of the property. Sadly in 1955 the inn was almost a total loss due to fire, but extensive restoration brought it back to 18th century grandeur. The front rooms of the main structure are furnished as they would have been in an 18th century tavern, including a second floor ball room. Several dining areas, including the tap room where I had lunch, too are appropriately furnished. But it is the overall grounds and setting that make a stop a must for the history lover or couple who enjoys a gentile way of life. Here is a galley of the inn — click on any image to get a slideshow of much larger images.
Leaving Sudbury I decided to take back roads to Concord which I always enjoy along with following the Battle Road drive from Concord to Lexington. I turned down a few back roads in Concord that were new to me, and soon passed Orchard House, Home of the Alcotts.
So many times I have traveled past Orchard House exploring between Concord and Lexington, but other than going into the gift shop, never had the time to tour the house. But, turning around, today I did. Allow at least an hour and a half because the docents are excellent and well versed to discuss Louisa May Alcott her father, Bronson, and their famous literary neighbors. Even if you have not read LITTLE WOMEN, you get a feel for the Alcott’s life for 20 years in this 17th century home that
Bronson repaired for his family. He even built a curved desk for Louisa between two windows (really nothing more than a shelf – sorry no photos allowed inside – found this one on-line to share with you) where she wrote LITTLE WOMEN. This home museum is now in its second century, and the furnishings are mainly from the Alcott family assembled by relatives when the museum opened in 1911.
I continued towards Lexington on the Battle Road through the national park. What is fascinating here is the fact that over the years the National Park Service has acquired the properties returning them to their 1775 appearance so you truly get a feel for those historic events in context. On my next trip there I will provide a full report — in the meantime – GO.
Back to David’s in time, pick up cello, pick up Alex, go to cello lesson, “my Dad always get me ice cream next,” said Alex, ice cream on way home, dinner, homework, getting him to do his reading, and soon I will read some to him, and off to bed.
- Experience Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts
- Plan many, many trips to Lexington and Concord, and be sure to take in Orchard House, home of the Alcott family for 20 years.