We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“A Fabulous Job by National Parks Guides....”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of The Wayside

The Wayside
Ranked #15 of 31 things to do in Concord
Attraction details
Columbus IN
Level Contributor
60 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“A Fabulous Job by National Parks Guides....”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 30, 2012

I took a tour here,my 2nd in 4 or 5 years...and it was conducted by Ranger David, with a warm up in the visitor center by Ranger Jane....both of these guides are well credentialled and very much into the subject.
They both love what they do, and it shows, and gets you excited about this author and his very interesting family...one of his inlawss was Horace Mann, creator of the American school system and his sister in law opebed the 1st Kindergarten in the USA...his best friend was his college room mate and frequent guest, 14th president of the USA, Franklin Pierce.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Oldwarrior
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

22 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    10
    9
    2
    0
    1
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Columbus IN
Level Contributor
60 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Hawthorne wrote all his books here ! ( standing up !)”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 27, 2011

The National Park Service operates this 300 year old house, on a seasonal basis, April to October...check the schedule on line. They do a fabulous job, and I met 2 Park Rangers, a Mr. Hannon who conducted the house tour, and who did a superlative job ( he used to be a school teacher,history,I recall); This clearly is a labor of love for him; the other guide,Jane,entertained us while we waited for our tour to begin, and she is a published historian, and she provided us with a lot of background information about the Hawthornes and their lives before we began the house tour.

We are fortunate to have such dedicated employees of the National Park Service, for them,their work is clearly something that they love.

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank Oldwarrior
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Duluth, Georgia
Level Contributor
179 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“The park ranger makes or breaks the visit -- we had a good one”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2011

We stopped at the The Wayside as part of our outing to Minute Man Park. We were not aware that it was a guided tour ($5/person) and spent a few minutes trying to get into the locked house until a ranger stopped us. Once she thwarted my life of new-found life of crime, we paid for the tour.

It’s a joy to have a tour with a guide who so clearly enjoys the subject matter. She was full of facts and anecdotes about the Alcotts and Hawthornes. The tour dealt with the various stages of construction that the house had gone through with the succeeding families and spent a fair amount of time on the architecture and landscaping that each family added. I’m not saying my teenage son was enraptured by tour, but he seemed to enjoy himself for the 45 minutes.

It’s not the kind of place that I’d return to, but I enjoyed the visit and felt it was well-worth the $5.

Visited June 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank RickN99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
48 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“A great house, but in a sad state of repair”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2011

The Wayside is another fascinating house in Concord -- not only for its history (home to both the Alcott and Hawthorne families), but also for its quirky architecture in which the phases of the life of the house are clearly visible.

The Park Service Ranger who conducted our tour was a delightful person and very knowledgeable. (Thanks George!) We visited this site and then went to Orchard House. (Emerson House was closed for the day) The tours of these houses really gave us a feel for the life led by the Alcotts and the Hawthornes, and for relationships within the literary community of Concord in the time of Emerson, Hawthorne and the Alcotts.

The house itself is in a sad state of repair, so go and see it and support its preservation in any way you can.

Visited July 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank DrivingScooter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
“Great info from guide!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 23, 2010

After you visit Orchard House and listen to the fairly glowing reports of Alcott family relations, head to the Wayside House for the real scoop! Don't let the fact that the Wayside House is in shameful condition deter you -- the guide we had made Hawthorne, the Alcotts, and, due to our professed ignorance of American history, even the Revolutionary War, come to life!

He made Bronson Alcott sound like a looney (true, our Alcott guide had earlier mentioned that he forbade the family from ever eating meat, milk, and root vegetables -- this long before refrigeration. No surprise the girls were so vulnerable to disease during the winter) -- but the Wayside guide added the tales of the "free love" commune that lasted for 6 mos., as well as other tales that would make your hair curl! No wonder that Louisa vowed never to marry (or that the character of the father in "Little Women" is a vague presence at best).

For literary fans: when I studied Hawthorne, my profs stressed the symbolism of evil that lurked in the dark forest paths versus the light of the town, as well as the theme of good and evil in Hawthorne's works. I learned on this tour that Hawthorne created his own path through the "dark" woods SIMPLY to avoid Bronson Alcott's repeated attempts at "social conversion"! How ironic that those "dark forest paths" were preferable to certain members of the human society at the time!

The guides in Concord make these tours come alive. The male ego reigned supreme in those patriarchal days (check out the print that hangs in the dining room of Emerson House for a good laugh) and all the guides manage to give bits of information that help to keep Hawthorne, Bronson Alcott (probably the inspiration for the quote: "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach'), and Emerson slightly off-balance on those literary pedestals that schools and literary fan clubs tend to put them on.

Be sure to ask lots of questions (we did), and you will open an amazing world of info. The guides in Concord know their local history!

Helpful?
3 Thank missyoka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed The Wayside also viewed

 

Been to The Wayside? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing