Fabulous Freelancer Foray: Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts

David McCullough’s book, John Adams, and the subsequent HBO miniseries of the same name, have brought the second president of the United States back into the public’s attention, and rightfully so; John Adams and his wife Abigail were the ultimate patriots. At Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts, visitors can get a firsthand look at the birthplace and homestead of not only John Adams, but also his son, John Quincy Adams, who was the sixth president of the United States.

The recommended starting point for park tours is, of course, the Visitor Center. This is where tickets, passes, and souvenirs can be purchased, as well as where visitors can view additional exhibits and a site orientation. Although each place within the Adams National Historical Park can be reached directly by car or walking, the most relaxing way to see the park is via the trolley that transports visitors from the Visitor Center to each location on a timed schedule.

While waiting for the trolley, visitors might want check out the United First Parish Church. Only a short distance away from the visitor center, this church is the final resting place of John and Abigail Adams, as well as John Quincy Adams and his wife, Louisa Catherine Adams.

United First Parish Church

There are four main locations that are featured in the guided tours. They begin at the front of the John Adams Birthplace, built in the “salt box” style, where, per its name, John Adams was born in 1735. The tour continues at a house just 75 feet away; it was here that John and Abigail began their married life, and where John began his law career (visitors can see the room where he kept his office). John Quincy Adams was born in this house in 1767, so the house is officially known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace. This house is also notable because it was here, in 1780, where John Adams, James Bowdoin, and Samuel Adams wrote the Massachusetts Constitution.

The guided park tour continues onward to The Old House at Peace Field, which was the residence of four generations of the Adams family from 1788 to 1927. In warmer weather, visitors can sit on the front porch and admire the surrounding flora and fauna while waiting for the house tour. There are many original items in this house’s collection, including the red sofa that 88-year-old John Adams sat on for an iconic portrait of him by Jane Stuart in 1824.

The Old House at Peace Field
To the back of the Old House is the medieval-style Stone Library, which was built in 1870 to house the many books and papers that the Adams family had accumulated over their lifetimes. Represented within the collection are works from more than 12 different languages, and topics such as theater and world history.

Stone Library

At the culmination of the tour, visitors can explore the gardens surrounding The Old House at Peace Field and the Stone Library. Of particular note at the York roses from England that Abigail had transported here in 1788.

The Old House at Peace Field Garden

Whether it’s for a love of politics, history, patriotism, literature, gardening, or architecture, Adams National Historical Park is a wonderful, important place to visit.

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