Boston, MA – November 26, 2019 – The Trustees announces several of its historic and cultural sites served as locations for the filming of Sony Pictures’ upcoming Little Women, releasing to the public on Christmas Day. Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the novel that has inspired generations of readers all over the world was filmed at five Trustees sites in the fall of 2018, including Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate and Crane Beach in Ipswich, and the Old Manse in Concord, with several sites’ interiors, grounds, and gardens serving as historic sets and picturesque backgrounds in the movie.
“We are thrilled to have so many of our historic and natural sites featured as sets in Greta Gerwig’s newest version of this literary and film classic,” says Barbara Erickson. “We are honored to have hosted the cast and crew of Little Women during the filming and can’t wait for moviegoers to see our properties come alive in a new way in this film.”
Throughout the fall and early winter, The Trustees has been hosting programs and events at Fruitlands Museum that explore the beloved novel, as well as some of the childhood experiences that inspired Louisa May Alcott. The author lived with her family in the Fruitlands farmhouse in 1843 at the age of ten. While there, she spent a great deal of time in the Farmhouse attic which is said to have inspired the attic in her novel where she and her sisters played, learned, wrote, and explored.
This December, Fruitlands is hosting two upcoming Little Women Holiday Stroll evenings on December 14 and 15 where visitors can join the March family for a candlelight walk and enjoy hot cocoa, carols, and live performances depicting a 19th-century holiday celebration. On December 28, visitors can take part in a Little Women Story Time in the Wayside Gallery and sink into some favorite excerpts as museum staff read aloud from Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel. Additional programs will be offered in the new year including Little Women themed tours, storytimes, book clubs, author talks and more.
Background on Trustees Sites Featured in the Film
Fruitlands Museum, Harvard, MA
In 1843, Amos Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane turned a swath of Harvard farmland into a Transcendentalist experiment in subsistence farming and Emersonian self-reliance, named “Fruitlands,” which ultimately disbanded after only seven months. In 1914, Clara Endicott Sears opened the grounds to the public, establishing a museum in the property’s 1820s farmhouse. Today, the 210-acre landscape encompasses five collections first established by Sears: the original Fruitlands Farmhouse; the Shaker Museum, the first such museum in the country; the Native American Gallery, celebrating the history of indigenous peoples; the Art Gallery, with a variety of rotating exhibits, contemporary art, and showcasing a combined collection of more than 100 Hudson River School landscape paintings and 19th-century vernacular portraits; and the Wayside Gallery, a classroom, education, and exhibition space.
Little Women was filmed in The Shaker Gallery, with the interior and exterior serving as the home of Meg and her husband, John Brooke. The Fruitlands Farmhouse (where Louisa May Alcott lived with her family) and grounds were also featured as a backdrop in a few of the movie’s outdoor scenes. Scenes that are in the final cut of the movie include: Meg (played by Emma Watson) and John (played by James Norton) sharing a kiss outside their new house after their wedding; Meg and John discussing their finances on night at their kitchen table; and Meg and John’s kids Daisy and Demi running and playing outside while Meg watches from the doorway of her home
Fruitlands’ grounds, Art Gallery, Wayside Gallery, and Museum Store are open during the winter season from November 4, 2019 – March 22, 2020, on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-5PM. All other museum buildings and the Café are closed and will re-open during the main season. Fruitlands Museum will be closed from March 23, 2020, until Main Season opening on April 18, 2020.
The Eleanor Bradley Cabot Estate in Canton, MA
The colonial farmstead-turned-country–estate designed by architect and landscape designer, Charles Platt in 1902 for the Cabot family features a mix of formal gardens, fields, and woodlands with 3 miles of trails. Set on 90 bucolic acres, the house, gardens, and trails are illuminated this holiday season during The Trustees’ Winterlights series which features three of the statewide conservation nonprofit’s most beautiful public garden properties including Stevens Coolidge Place in N. Andover and Naumkeag in Stockbridge.
Visitors to the Bradley Estate during the series can see the interior and exterior of the home which were both featured in the movie scenes, including Jo (Saoirse Ronan) reading to Aunt March (Meryl Streep) while working as her companion; the two also discussing the importance of marriage for women (featured in trailer), and Amy (Florence Pugh) staying with Aunt March while Beth battles scarlet fever. In addition, the Estate is featured at the end of the film when Jo inherits the house and turns it into a school. The closing scene includes the students in the house and the March family celebrating Marmee March’s birthday in the back gardens. Some of the wallpaper used in the film still remains in the house.
The grounds are open year-round from sunrise to sunset. The house and grounds are open for Winterlights Fridays-Sundays from 5-8PM, November 22 – December 29.
Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA
Located in Ipswich, this National Historic Landmark is a rare surviving example of an estate from the American Country Place Era with its farm and estate buildings, designed grounds and gardens, and diverse natural areas. The 2,100-acre property, which includes Castle Hill, Crane Beach, Crane Wildlife Refuge as well as the Inn at Castle Hill, served as the gracious seaside summer retreat of the Crane family of Chicago, headed by international plumbing magnate Richard T. Crane, Jr. Today, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to tour the lavishly furnished rooms, designed landscapes and gardens, and panoramic ocean views, as well as year-round events and concerts. The Great House, gardens, and grounds were designed by some of the century’s most notable architects and landscape architects including Arthur Shurcliff and the Olmsted Brothers. The first house built atop Castle Hill, an Italian Renaissance Revival villa designed by Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, was razed and replaced in 1928 with the 59-room Stuart-style mansion designed by architect David Adler that visitors see today. Many movies have been filmed on the property, which was also recently featured some of the Downton Abbey movie cast on the cover of Town + Country.
At Castle Hill on The Crane Estate, the former Chauffeur’s Quarters was transformed to become an artist’s studio complete with sculptures, tapestries, fine carpets, and paintings. Scenes with Amy (Florence Pugh) and Laurie (Timothee Chalamet) discussing marriage and her courtship with Fred Vaughn are featured here, as well as those with the actors in Paris were also shot in the nearby Italian Garden as well as in front of the Rose Garden and around the Casino on the Grand Allée.
The grounds are open year-round from 8AM to sunset, with the exception of a few dates for private events, so please check the website before visiting. The Great House is open during the winter season from November 9, 2019 – March 1, 2020, on weekends only except during special events when ticket sales are required. House tours are being offered during the week of December 27-31.
Crane Beach in Ipswich, MA
Part of the greater Crane Estate, Crane Beach is one of the finest beaches and outdoor recreation destinations on the East Coast drawing nearly 350,000 visitors each year. With its clean, inviting water, miles of shoreline, and mesmerizing views, Crane Beach has been a favorite with the ocean-loving public for generations offering an unparalleled seaside experience. Managed for both recreation and conservation, more than five miles of trails wind through coastal dunes here, which shield inland areas from storm waves and flooding. Crane Beach is also among the world’s most important nesting sites for piping plovers, a threatened bird that was nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century for its eggs and feathers. Crane Beach has been nationally recognized for its successful shorebird protection program.
Crane Beach appears a few times in the film with Jo, Beth, family, and friends enjoying beach days together. Scenes include Jo taking Beth to the beach for healing in the salt air as well as childhood scenes featuring the four sisters and friends playing on the beach and flying kites.
The beach is open year-round from 8AM to sunset.
The Old Manse, Concord, MA
The Old Manse is a National Historic Landmark situated on the banks of the Concord River and next to the old North Bridge where the famous battle of April 19, 1775, took place. One of Concord’s most fascinating homes, The Old Manse was built in 1770 by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s grandfather, William Emerson, who was a patriot minister.
Over the course of the next century, the home became the center of Concord’s political, literary, and social revolutions, with famous former residents including Ralph Waldo Emerson (who penned Nature there), Nathanial Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau.
The movie was filmed in front of the Old Manse boathouse on the Concord river next to Old North Bridge and Minuteman National Park. While these scenes were not included in the final cut of the movie, the site is located in historic Concord where other sites like Alcott’s family home, the Orchard House, were featured in the film.
The grounds are open year-round daily from sunrise to sunset. During the winter season November 3 – December 21, the house is open for walk-in tours Saturdays-Sundays from 12-4PM. From January-March, the house is open on Saturdays from 12-4PM. Group tours by appointment are available year-round.
For more details and to stay abreast of other Little Women themed programs, please visit www.thetrustees.org/littlewomen.
For a map of Trustees and other Massachusetts filming sites featured in the film, visit this link.
More about The Trustees
Founded in the City of Boston by landscape architect and open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 125 years, been inspiring generations to embrace nature, culture, and the great outdoors. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both natural and historic value, The Trustees is the nation’s first and the Massachusetts’ largest preservation and conservation nonprofit, with 118 publicly accessible parks, gardens, farms, beaches, historic homesteads, campgrounds, inns and recreational sites that welcome millions of residents and visitors annually. www.thetrustees.org.