Today I headed south to Amherst, Massachusetts to visit the Emily Dickinson Museum. I've lived in Western Mass for forty years and this was my first visit.
I parked on Main Street and walked down to the Dickinson compound. On my way, I stopped at a park with beautiful flowering trees, flowers and benches.
Across the street from the park is The First Congregational Church (below). It's a gorgeous stone church which Emily's brother, Austin helped to found. Emily dickinson, I learned later, was never to step foot inside it. Calvanism wasn't her thing. She had a difficult time accepting the idea of original sin. Her religion was the natural world and the ecstacy of living.
Some keep the Sabbath going to church; I keep it staying at home,And an orchard for a dome.
~ Emily Dickinson
When I first arrived, I went inside to get my ticket for the 2:00 p.m. tour and then went around to the back of the main house and out to the garden to eat my lunch. I bought a small baguette, an orange and a bottle of water at the deli up the street.
I learned later from our tour guide that Emily Dickinson, though a recluse later in her life, was not a stranger to her family. She was very close to her father, though from her letters it is theorized that Emily's relationship with her mother was chilly and strained. She adored her brother Austin and sister Lavinia and forged a strong friendship with Austin's wife Susan.
This beautiful old tree is to the left of the house as you come up the path from the garden. Though a recluse, Emily didn't stay in the house all day and write poetry. She kept quite busy in the garden, tending the animals and baking. She was known to adore her brother Austin's three children and spent a great deal of time with them.
The main house. We toured Austin Dickinson's house next door as well but I can't manage to upload another photo, as blogger is not working again for me today.
Tulips in the garden.
The experience was two hours well spent. Of course, I'm a bit of a geek about these kinds of things so I had a great time.
If you visit the area and you're into Emily Dickinson, histori places or other components of geeky tourism, I recommend you visit.
Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough. ~ Emily Dickinson