I have wanted to visit the Adams National Historical Park ever since the HBO miniseries on John Adams aired. It’s only about 30 minutes from our home and last Saturday Dale and I finally went. We were not disappointed – it was a wonderful day.
The attraction has gotten quite popular since David McCullough’s book. In fact, the tour guide told us that in the year prior to the book’s release the park had about 40,000 visitors total. Since the book has been published that number has increased to over 200,000 visitors per year.
Of course, this rise in numbers means that you have to wait a bit to be included in a tour. Our wait actually turned out to be a great thing because it meant we had time to tour the United First Parish Church. This is the church where John and Abigail Adams were married. It’s also where John Adams and John Quincy Adams and their wives Abigail Adams and Louisa Catherine Adams are buried. This statue of Abigail Adams and young John Quincy Adams is right outside the church.
Our guide in the church told us that the building is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival Architecture in New England.
And then she took us downstairs. Looking through this gate you can see the tombs of the presidents and first ladies.
We thought that was all we would see but then the tour guide opened the gate and we all stepped inside the tomb. It was quite awe inspiring to be in this space with the remains of two of our country’s presidents and their wives – one of whom I consider to be perhaps our first feminist.
The tombs of the presidents are each covered in a flag and the tombs of the first ladies are each adorned with a wreath from the Abigail Adams Historical Society.
I have to tell you, I never expected to see this and I will never forget it.
The rest of the day included tours of the original home of John Adams, seen in this photo. We also toured the home of John Quincy Adams, and the estate of John and Abigail, known as Peacefield. Photography isn’t allowed inside these buildings but I did take some pictures of the gardens at Peacefield. They are ablaze with zinnias and cosmos right now and I just love how colorful it all is.
I’m so glad that John Adams and John Quincy Adams have not been forgotten. Their contributions to and sacrifices for our country should be honored by every generation.