So come along with me today— and we will see not one, not two, but three amazing historic homes in Ye Olde New England! 😀
Ever since I saw the HBO mini series “John Adams” I have wanted to visit the homes of John Adams. Lucky for us, THREE of his homes in his hometown of Quincy, MA still stand and are able for public viewing!
My family and I were able to take a guided tour of all three homes thanks to The John Adams National Historical Park, which runs all three sites. We signed up for the tours in downtown Quincy and took a trolley with a guide to all the homes. Let me just say— the price for these tours is fantastic. Kids are free and for adults its only $5. That includes admission to the three sites, transportation, and a guided tour at each location. Pretty fantastic. And if you’re collecting Nation Park badges, you can pick one up here! My kids had a lot of fun collecting the badges, as many of the historic sites we visited were also national parks.
The first stop on the tour leads to the two first John Adams homes— as they were built right next to each other! Its a bit disorienting to see them, literally on an island of green in the middle of busy streets, in urban Quincy. The town has grown around the old farmsteads, but the houses still stand proudly.
Unfortunately there was no photography allowed inside the homes, but I did manage to get some nice photos outside! The first house, with the dark wood shingles, is the home where the Adams’ settled in 18th century Massachusetts, and its the home where John Adams was born. The Adams’ could trace their roots back to the Puritans, and faith and community service were important to the family. John’s father was a church deacon and a town councilman, with many conversations and town business being discussed in the home’s kitchen. It is there, at his father’s fireside listening to the men make important decisions, that its thought John first grew interested in studying law.
Just across the yard, is the home where John and Abigail Adams raised their young family, and from here that John practiced law and set out for trials in nearby Boston. Later he would leave his young family here at the farm to attend the Continental Congress, and it was from here that Abigail and her children woke to the sound of cannon fire as the British and American soldiers battled in Boston Harbor.
You can see from the photo above that the streets of Quincy are literally– RIGHT THERE— around these houses. Can you imagine growing up here, looking out your car window and John Adam’s house is right beside you? Makes me giggle a bit. But I’m so so glad that this town had the sense to keep the houses standing and not tear them down for ‘progress.’ It is so inspiring to see the old and new together, side by side, history there within the present.
Next, we all hopped on the trolley and went a little bit closer in time— to the home of John and Abigail Adams after his presidency. The family had changed a great deal in the time between moving from the little farmstead to this house that John named “Peacefield” (isn’t that just a lovely name?)
It was, essentially, the home they came back to the US to retire to. It was actually chosen by Abigail, who had visited the house as a little girl and in her imagination it was extremely posh and spacious. The Adams bought it sight unseen, based on Abigail’s fond memories. Yet when they got to the house…it didnt quite live up to her recollections. By that time, Abigail had seen the palaces of England and France, and so when she came to Peacefield, having been the first lady of the new nation, she was a bit disappointed in its provincial looks.
So, a big building project began, and Abigail had her own lady’s parlor built to her now more refined tastes. A gorgeous garden, with shades of European design, was also built and it was so lovely to see it in all its blooming glory in July.
To John, however, it was his dream farm– because he fancied himself a simple farmer, who had gone on some very interesting adventures…
The home stayed in the Adams family after John and Abigail’s passing, and was owned by their son John Quincy Adams— you know, America’s 6th president! The Adams descendants understood their unique place in history and all the amazing books and papers they collected were later housed in a stone library built beside the house.
The library was built of stone to protect against fire, and is a gorgeous, gorgeous space filled with old books, artwork, and the writing desks and implements of the Adams men. After the tour was over, we returned in our own car to wander unhurried through the garden and around the house. The main house was undergoing some renovation at the time— so you can see some scaffolding— but it was such a wonderful place to visit, and I’m so glad I got to check it off my list.
The tours were so quick and well done, we were all finished with half a day left to spend. So we hopped in our car and headed down the Mass Pike, with the idea that we wanted to have a real New England lobster roll for dinner (not the ones from McDonalds that we kept seeing signs for! Yikes!)
We ended up driving down to Cape Cod— us, a bunch of Okies so excited that we saw ‘Cape Cod’ on the highway signs and figured, “surely they’ve got lobster rolls!”
That ended in such a lovely adventure….but one I will share another time 🙂
Thank you so much for your visit today! I appreciate you coming by 🙂 Please come again soon as I post more about Summer in New England! I’ve got so many pretty things to share with you!
And lets also make a plan…for a big end of summer celebration, shall we? In honor of Tasha Tudor’s birthday on August 28! We can have a big blog party and if you’d like– write your own birthday blog and share it here!
Lets start hatching our plans…. 🙂 meet back here soon!
Read more Summer in New England posts HERE