Harvard & houses. Boston.

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Boston is one of my favorite cities in the United States, it is also one of the oldest. In Massachusetts was the place where many of the classic American writers created their works. I told you about Nathaniel Hawthorne in my post about Salem. Louisa May Alcott wrote “Little Women” in Concorde, a house I wish to visit one day. Those of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain or Edith Wharton are also on my list.

The city also enjoyed the presence of Isabella Stewart Gardner, who along with her husband were great art collectors. When her husband died in 1898, she decided to build a house to shelter all that art. On the way to it we pass by the Mary Baker Eddy Library, a beautiful library with a surprise inside that we are not able to see because it is Sunday and it’s closed, a plan for another day.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner house museum is in downtown Boston near Back Bay Fens Park in the Longwood area, the building is impressive, on one side it has glass walls that give access to the museum. The fee is 20 dollars.

Jesus is my travel companion today, when we enter the place we are left speecheless. We feel transported to a medieval castle or a Venetian palazzo,  we did not expect anything like this at all. We later learn that Palazzo Barbaro was the source of inspiration.

The distribution of the works is very eclectic, to facilitate the passage to people some pieces are grouped, it seems that the house remains the same as our hostess left it. What happened here on March 18, 1990 was the largest theft of property in history. Thirteen pieces of art were never recovered.


That will not be the only house in this story. After paying a visit to beautiful Boston library, one summer day Erin and I take the train to Harvard to visit the famous university and its campus. The students are on summer vacation, if they were here they would surely give us a more interesting tour. 

Who does not know the Harvard Law School? Obama or Frank D. Rooselvelt came from this pool of young lawyers. 

Touching the foot of founder John Harvard surely gave luck to Natalie Portman (psychology) or Tommy Lee Jones (English literature), Theodore Roosevelt (history and government), J.F. Kennedy (government) who among many well-known names obtained cum laude. 

The surroundings are beautiful, we find a statue in honor of the Irish who emigrated because of the great famine and of course, an old cemetery.

Quick bite in a Mexican restaurant and we continue through one of its lovely streets to reach the house of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) who obtained a PhD. from Harvard and was also a Spanish and French professor.

As I told you in some other post, many of these houses of illustrious characters belong to the National Park Services and are cared for by the rangers, so the entrance is free. During the tour the ranger shows us much of the house and tells us about the life and work of the poet. It has a lovely garden at the rear and a mini outside library. 

Many years before, during the War of Independence, General George Washington used it as his headquarters. 

We find the house of Dexter Pratt, the village blacksmith whom Longfellow immortalized in one of his works, and part of the buildings of Lesley University.

We take the train back and get off at South Station, as the day is long I suggest Erin to take the historical Freedom Trail I already told you about in another post.

The red line leads us along the river where the museum ship is, where the “Boston Tea Party” began on December 16, 1773 in protest of the high taxes that the English crown subjected the colonies. It was the trigger for the War of Independence. The visit is also free, you just have to join a tour.

Across the river is the Fire Museum, there we see some old firefighting equipment and trucks, old uniforms and a couple of retired firefighters tell us many funny and great stories.

Of course I won’t miss the chance to enter the historic Omni Parker House Hotel. 

As I write this post and think about the book I would like to share. I decide that the best option is one that I finished two days ago by the playwright and screenwriter Arthur Miller, who in addition to Marilyn’s ex is one of the classic American authors of the last century. I had only read “Death of a Salesman” until I devoured the play “The Crucible”, story well known to all as it talks about the witches of Salem, just an hour from Boston.

The work of the evil? Witches? That’s what they thought was happening in this small town when in 1692 they found some girls playing in the forest and showing signs of being possessed. A whole grand court from Boston got involved and the accusations by the girls did not cease, the result of this collective hysteria resulted in more than a hundred people arrested, some died in prison and others were hanged. 

Written in 1950 the author was making an allegory to the so-called “McCarthyism”. Senator John McCarthy unleashed a mountain of accusations of communism and treason, many of them baseless and where the human rights of the accused were not considered. What we call a “witch hunt”.

2 Responses

  1. Another great article! The Isabella Stewart Gardner house museum and Harvard Law school would be top of my list should I ever get the chance to fly to Boston. Thank you for this beautiful insight into Boston.

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Mis viajes alrededor del mundo siempre acompañados de un buen libro. My travels around the world always accompanied by a good book.