Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters

#8 in Best Things To Do in Cambridge, MA
Longfellow House Washington's Headquarters picture
Nick Normal/Flickr

Key Info

105 Brattle St.

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, Tours, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.6scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

This house has witnessed a lot of history. Not only did it serve as General George Washington's headquarters during the Siege of Boston (considered the beginning stages of the Revolutionary War), it was also the home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. One of a number of original Tory Row homes on Brattle Street, the house was built in 1759 by John Vassall, Jr. Longfellow lived here in 1837 as a boarder and later received the house as a gift from his father-in-law upon his marriage to Frances Appleton. For 45 years, Longfellow wrote and hosted luminaries, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Charles Sumner, an abolitionist senator. Today, the house is owned and operated by the National Park Service and features well-preserved, original Longfellow family furniture.

Previous visitors said that for anyone who loves American history, this is a "must-see." They also praised the knowledgeable tour guides and the incredible preservation of the site.

The house, which is free to visit, is generally open from late May through late October, Wednesday through Sunday. The visitor center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fifty-minute tours of the historic house are offered on an hourly basis, the first starting at 10 a.m. and the last at 4 p.m. The grounds are open year-round from dawn to dusk. The house is about a 10-minute walk from the Harvard Square subway stop. Additional information is provided on the NPS website.

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#1 Harvard Square

Iconic Harvard Square, a bustling epicenter of Cambridge, is packed with quirky boutiques, bookstores, restaurants, cafes, bars, buskers and, of course, students from Harvard University, which borders one side of the square. No matter the time of day or night, there is always a lively atmosphere. Simply wandering around people-watching can be entertaining by itself.

Visitors say Harvard Square "feels like a European square" with a "fun and energetic vibe." Additionally, many add that it offers a great place to hang out in the evenings.

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