Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: the wonderful world of John Adams and his sequel, John Quincy Adams. We saw their family burial crypt and the church it’s beneath. Lest we appear fixated on Presidential death, today we see where the Adamses lived.
To a certain extent, anyway. The Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, MA, offers guided tours of the family’s original homesteads, but allows no photos inside any of them. From a travelog perspective, I can’t help being disappointed. I’m not one for rendering artists’ sketches, and what objets d^art we saw aren’t as meaningful if I just list them by name. Hence all the exterior shots.
Adams didn’t think his places were such a big deal, of course. History mostly thinks otherwise, even if he spent much of his life as either a runner-up or a dark horse.
Your visit begins at the John Adams National Historical Park Visitors Center, whose parking garage is next to impossible to find with online mapping alone because the entrance is on an imperceptible side street with no signage. Our moments before we entered the Visitors Center were consequently a little tenser than I would’ve preferred.
From there a trolley carts you through Quincy to the properties’ actual location. I’m not sure why the Visitors Center couldn’t be right there out front, but I’m sure the geographic division works for someone’s benefit. First stop: the cabin in which Adams the Elder was born.
Next door is the home in which Mr. and Mrs. Adams would see li’l John Quincy enter the world. The old-timey interiors of all locations were well preserved, though the guides were candid with any tourists who could tell that certain parts had been updated out of structural necessity. Regardless, the importance endowed by the mere fact of Real Presidents Lived Here elevates this above your average historical-recreation attraction like Historic Jamestown or Conner Prairie.
The star attraction of the tour is “the Old House”, the less quaint, more upscale home where multiple generations of Adams lived through 1927. Those interested in seeing the family’s fancier possessions will be pleased by its contents. Which, again, we couldn’t photograph for posterity, with or without flashes.
Y’know those gargantuan personal libraries you see in so many films, where a rich or educated character walks into a room filled with books wall-to-wall, ceiling to floor, all of whom the hero has surely read, because real heroes have a lot more reading time on their hands than you do?
Adams had one of those — 14,000 volumes strong. The Stone Library is in back of the Old House. It’s a sight to behold for bibliophiles, but you can take neither pictures nor free samples.
Near the Old House and the Stone Library: the family garden.
Please accept these tiny purple John Adams garden flowers as a token of apology for the light verbal content in this chapter. Everyone loves flower photos, right? Yay flower photos! Too bad I’m utterly terrible at knowing flower names. I assume these have some appropriate label such as “violets” or “purpledendrons” or “John Adams roses” or something. Little help, anyone?
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]