So, it’s been over a month since my last post. Oops. I was on vacation for 2ish weeks, so at least a good chunk of that is accounted for, but still. My bad.
Our vacation was completely wonderful. Especially the New England part of it. The weather was AMAZING. Like, mid 70’s to low 80’s. Such a nice break from the 106 degree days we’d been having in Virginia. And it’s just so damned pretty up north. Our first (real) day of vacation (our first actual day was spent in the car) started with breakfast in Rhode Island, and then on to Quincy, MA. Quincy was actually one of the places I was most excited to visit. Last time we were in New England was during the government shutdown in 2013, and since Adams National Historic Park is part of the National Park Service, they were closed.
The tours were timed, so we bought our tickets, and then explored the nearby church (where both President Adams’ and their wives are buried) until it was time. John Adams is my favorite founding father (although if I were picking a founding father for the same purpose that Emily Gilmore and her DAR friends did, it would absolutely be Thomas Jefferson…) so I absolutely LOVED being in Quincy. I’ve read DavidMcCullough’s very comprehensive John Adams biography, so I knew most of what I learned about him, but I enjoyed it anyways. I especially enjoyed learning about John Quincy Adams & his wife Louisa. Once we left the church, we boarded the trolley that would take us to the three Adams’ homes that make make up Adams National Park. I’m going to be completely honest here: the first two were a total waste of time. Birthplace of John AdamsBirthplace of John Quincy Adams
Once upon a time, these homes were on hundreds of acres of farmland. Now they both sit on a tiny little plot of land, in the middle of a city. You got to see 2-3 rooms of each home (the rooms downstairs), and they had very little furnishings, and nothing that actually belonged to the family. Also, the tour guide wasn’t informed, and spent more time asking the kids in the group pointless questions then actually telling use about the family and the home. So, I was a little discouraged… and then we got to Peacefield. This home was everything I had hoped it would be. The house was gorgeous, and the gardens were so, so beautiful. And Jesus Christ… the artifacts… I was dying. Apparently in 1946, the Adams family just gave the house, and all of its contents, to the United States. Well… almost all of the contents. At the beginning of their relationship. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had busts made of one another. I asked about the Jefferson bust, and this tour guide (VERY informative and so passionate about the house and the family), told us that the bust was the one artifact that the family kept in their possession.
Peacefield also included the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen, Stone Library. It houses 14,000 volumes that mostly belonged to John Quincy and his son & grandson (some volumes belonged to John Adams, but he gifted most of his library to the United States). The library is made of stone to make it fireproof, and includes John Adams copy of George Washington’s farewell address and the Mendi Bible that was gifted to John Quincy after the Armistad trial. After Peacefield, we boarded the trolley to head back to the visitors center, and went to see the first creepy cemetery of our trip. This cemetery originally contained John & Abigail’s remains, until John Quincy had his parents moved to the church. The cemetery also houses the remains of John Adams ancestors, including the first Adams to come here. His grandfather’s tomb made me smile, since it mentioned that he was the grandfather of the lawyer John Adams. After Quincy, we headed to Boston, first stopping for lunch at Waterclub. The food was good. Overpriced, but to be expected. Graham had a buffalo chicken wrap, and I had a lobster BLT. Both were excellent, and portion sizes were insane. After lunch, we headed to our hotel. We were staying in Peabody. We weren’t wanting to head into Boston that day, so we explored some of the nearby areas. Graham found a castle that we wanted to explore, but they had closed for the day. So we headed to Rockport instead.
And with that, day one of our trip was complete 🙂 I’ll be back later in the week with day 2!