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Traveling Massachusetts: The Homes of John and Abigail Adams

This is one in a series about touring Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island. My husband and I spent three weeks there in October, 2021. This Travelogue is a journal of our trip, done for my own sake and to show readers why you should visit Massachusetts.

Anticipation

As we drove from Concord to Quincy, we eagerly anticipated touring the various homes of John and Abigail Adams. My husband had listened to the audio-book John Adams by David McCullough, and we both had watched the HBO series based on the same name. By the way, the miniseries contains many historical inaccuracies (wikipedia). I recommend reading the book to get the whole truth (I confess I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to!).

The Birthplaces of John Adams and John Quincy Adams

The three Adams homes are located within the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy.  We were unsure of the homes locations and where to start, so we used google maps (133 Franklin Street). This was a mistake. The map led us to John’s birthplace home and the home where his son John Quincy was born. Though there were signs naming the two homes, they could have used an explanatory sign showing all the homes located within the park, along with a map. We weren’t sure if we were even in the Adams Historical Park because the two lonely homes are situated on a small thoroughfare. Unfortunately, both homes were closed. So we walked around and took photos of the outside of the buildings and tried peeking in the windows, but couldn’t see much.

John Adams Birth Place
John and Abigail’s First Home Together, and the Birth Place of their Son, John Quincy Adams

Adams Visitor Center

Next we decided to go to the visitor center at 1250 Hancock Street, Quincy–which would normally be the better way to start. We hoped to get a map, information, maybe some good tips and facts . . but no. The visitor center was also closed! If I remember correctly, the visitor center is attached to a hospital building, so at least we got to use a restroom.

Visitor Center Photo Courtesy of the John Adams NPS website

By the way, throughout this trip, we noticed that every privately-run tourist site stayed open, but every government-run site stayed closed–“due to Covid.” Go figure.

The Old House at Peace Field

Even though we knew it too was closed, we decided to visit the Adams family home at Peace Field (140 Adams Street), where four generations of Adams lived from 1788 to 1927. At least the grounds were open. We tried to imagine John, Abigail, and family working the land or enjoying the gardens as we walked around. For reference, we remembered scenes from the mini-series John Adams, even though it was not actually filmed at Peace Field.

The Old House was built in 1731, before the Adams moved in. To the left is the Stone Library built in 1870 by grandson Charles Francis Adams.
The Stone Library holds over 12,000 books. Hopefully it will open again in May 2022.

 

One advantage to the house being closed, the gardens were practically empty and definitely peaceful!

This Walnut Tree was planted by John Quincy Adams.

 

Only 3.6 acres remain of the original 75-acre-farm, but they are still beautiful.

Supposedly, all the homes and grounds of the Adams National Historical Park will reopen in May 2022. Meanwhile, the grounds are open and still worth seeing.

Stay tuned for the next blog – Visiting Plymouth! And if you missed my last blog about Louisa May Alcott and her Family, see it here.

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