While I was in Massachusetts last month, Zach's mom took me on a lovely field trip to the Louisa May Alcott house. She is the the author of the classic semi-autobiographical book, Little Women. Louisa was one of four daughters who grew up in this house. Her father, Bronson, was a very forward thinking philosopher and teacher who believed in educating women, which was unusual at the time. Bronson and his family were actually brought to the area by Ralph Waldo Emerson who wanted to gather like minded people around himself. (Henry David Thoreau was also in the the 'neighborhood')
One of my favorite things about the family and the house is that each of the girls got a separate spot of garden to do what they wanted with- grow herbs, or flowers, or vegetables etc. The other thing I loved was the paintings on the walls. Not paintings that hung on the walls, sketches and paintings that were done on the walls by artist sister May (Amy in the book with her letters inverted). The only rule her father had was that she could keep drawing on the walls as long as she improved. With the proceeds of Little Women, Louisa (Jo in the book ) actually sent her sister to Paris to study art and you can compare the before and after paintings in the house. In the background is the lecture hall/school house where Bronson tried to eek out a living with his ideas. Although a very smart man, he did not make a lot of money and some times the family didn't have a lot to eat.
If you are ever up that way, I would highly recommend you take the tour. (And take my mother-in-law along with you. She knew more about the house and family than the tour guide!)