June 22, 2009
This popular four-day annual trip from September 24 to 27 highlights many of the homes and communities in which Mrs. Eddy lived. Some participants are even repeat attenders!
On an autumn morning a few years ago, two university professors touring the Longyear-owned house at North Groton stood atop the bridge on Hall's Brook Road and contemplated the little five-room clapboard where Mrs. Patterson (the future Mrs. Eddy) lived with her husband from 1855 to 1860.
"You know, you can read about this house in biographies," said one professor, "but when you see it in person and realize Mrs. Eddy spent five years here in this isolation, you begin to realize something of what it cost her to discover Christian Science."
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a room-by-room tour of a house Mrs. Eddy called home must be worth (at least) a thousand pictures.
And to gain that deeper level of the historic context of Mrs. Eddy's life in these houses is what's bringing Bonnie Butler all the way from her Columbus, Ohio, home this September to attend her fourth fall tour.
"I went in 2004, 2006, and 2007," said Butler. "The research of the Longyear staff is so thorough, so careful, so professional, that you just want to be involved and hear and appreciate the process. The staff are continually adding new material to the tours."
Miss Butler also spoke of the way Longyear's curatorial programs connected with the tour and convey a house's history or an area of Mrs. Eddy's life. A highlight for many participants is a program on Retrospection and Introspection that is given at 62 North State Street in Concord, New Hampshire.
"To hear the talk on Retrospection & Introspection in the very parlor of the house Mrs. Eddy was renting at the time she was writing it, you can't get any better than that!" Butler said.
This year's tour gets under way just as the New England air is turning crisp and cool and the leaves are beginning their change to gold, yellow and red. The four-day itinerary will include a visit to each of Longyear's eight Mary Baker Eddy Historic Houses, including the newest Longyear additions of Lynn and Chestnut Hill. There will also be a visit to Mrs. Eddy's birthplace in Bow, New Hampshire, and the nearby site of her home at Pleasant View, in Concord (the latter two homes are no longer standing).
Visitors will have a guided tour of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Concord, New Hampshire which was completed in 1904 after Mrs. Eddy contributed $100,000 to its construction.
The itinerary will also include a visit to the Northfield-Tilton Congregational Church, in Tilton, New Hampshire, the first church Mrs. Eddy joined. Massachusetts destinations will include Red Rock in Lynn; a driving tour of Boston's South End, where Mrs. Eddy lived, lectured, and taught in the 1880s; and a Sunday morning service at The Mother Church in Boston.
For a detailed itinerary, please call Laura Distel at 800.277.8943, ext. 275, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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