National Park Getaway: Adams National Historical Park

By Emma Lopez, Student Volunteer-In-Park; Jessica Pilkington, Supervisory Park Ranger; Robert Shimp, Ph.D, Park Guide
Viewing looking out a window at a two-story wooden house
A place where the past and present coincide, Adams National Historical Park has something everyone in the family can enjoy. The park is home to three historic homes owned by four generations of the country’s first political dynasty. From the birth of second US President John Adams to the death of his great-grandson Brooks, Adams National Historical Park traces the history of the Adams family’s impressive lives. From childhood stories to well-preserved artifacts, a visitor at the park feels that John Adams has just laid down his glasses from a long read.

Lovers of presidential history will see the birthplaces of not one but two US presidents—John and John Quincy Adams—remain the oldest surviving presidential birth homes. These houses remained firm during the trying times of the American Revolution, sheltered Abigail Adams as a patriot on the home front, and witnessed John Adams write the Massachusetts Constitution. Walking through these historic houses offers an immersive glimpse into America’s formation years.
Living historian portraying Abigail Adams to a school group
Visitors can step into the past with living history programs offered throughout the year and to school groups and "meet" historical figures, such as Abigail Adams.

NPS Photo

The Old House at Peace field is the grandest of the homes at Adams National Historical Park and is where John Adams took his final breath. The Adams family acquired the house in 1787, though later generations made impressive architectural additions to the home. The hallways and unique rooms are decorated with furnishings from all over the world and reflect the family’s diplomatic service in France, Holland, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia. Paintings from famous American artists, such as William Morris Hunt, John Trumbull, Edward Savage, and Gilbert Stuart, populate the walls.

Lovers of literature will relish time in the Stone Library, which houses some 12,000 family books. Mostly belonging to President John Quincy Adams, the texts include the topics of religion, history, law, art, and the sciences. The smell of aging books and the quietness of the library leave room for the influential voices of the past to speak with us today.
Garden leading to a three-story white house
Some 5,000-6,000 annuals and perennials adorn the formal garden at Peace field three seasons of the year.

NPS Photo

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring part of Peace field is the garden. Though John and John Quincy Adams were frequently forced from their beloved Quincy, their hearts remained in the soil, flowers, and trees of Peace field. Four generations of the Adams family left their mark in this garden space, highlighting that the family loved not only what is beautiful but also wanted to preserve these lands for future generations.

Dive into history by stepping foot into these old homes, watch the film in the visitor center narrated by actor Tom Hanks, and take a stroll through the garden. Located just 10 miles south of Boston, the park is easily accessible via Route 93 and public transportation. For directions and more information, visit our website. Adams National Historical Park has something for everyone. Check out the calendar for dates of events! Today the park is a place where both children and adults come to appreciate the nation of today by better understanding the past.

Last updated: July 2, 2018