The Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters in Cambridge MA

A couple of summers ago, on our way to Scotland, we stopped to visit family on the East Coast which included a few days in Maine and 24 hours in Cambridge Massachusetts. While there we had a couple of meals and squeezed in a visit to the Longfellow House Museum which has a dual claim to fame; it was the headquarters for George Washington during the siege of Boston in the Revolutionary War and the home of the famous 19th Century poet, Henry W. Longfellow.

The Longfellow House

Originally built in 1759, the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House has a 200-year history. Visits to the house and gardens are free, but to see the inside of the house, you must tour with a guide from the National Park Service which manages the property. Basic info for visiting can be found on this page. The house is only open seasonally and is closed in the winter.

Our guide, the main staircase and one of the bedrooms.
Our guide, the main staircase/entry hall, and one of the bedrooms.

Our guide was a young, newly minted forest ranger on her first National Park Service assignment. She was charming and passionate about the history of the house and its former inhabitants and really helped to make the tour so fascinating. She really made the house come alive with stories about the people who lived there, most notably for me, Fanny Longfellow, who was well educated and kept travel journals of her Grand European Tour.

The original kitchen and dining room area of the Longfellow House.
The original kitchen and dining room area of the Longfellow House.
Writing Room at the Longfellow House
Henry Longfellow’s study.

George Washing most likely worked from the room above which was later Longfellow’s study. Washington took over the house in July of 1775 and spent 7 months there, after the original owners, the Vassalls, had fled the coming Revolution in the preceding year.

The formal dining room in the Longfellow House
The formal dining room in the Longfellow House

Henry Longfellow originally rented out two rooms in the house when he was a young professor at Harvard in the late 1830’s. After he married his wife Fanny Appleton, her father purchased the house for them as a wedding gift.

Library Room at the Longfellow House
Music Room at the Longfellow House
Garden at the Longfellow House.
Garden at the Longfellow House.

Where to Eat and Stay in Cambridge MA

We enjoyed a few good meals while in Cambridge. For lunch, we went to the Hourly Oyster House which is located very close to Harvard yard and easy walking distance from the Longfellow House.

The Hourly Oyster House in Cambridge MA
The Hourly Oyster House in Cambridge MA

We had a dozen oysters, the goat cheese and grilled vegetable sandwich and the fried chicken sandwich, all delicious.

The Hourly Oyster House in Cambridge MA
The Hourly Oyster House in Cambridge MA
The Hourly Oyster House in Cambridge MA
The Hourly Oyster House in Cambridge MA

We also went to Posto, where we had freshly made pasta and gnocchi and were able to catch up with family over dinner. Below, the gnocchi with briased beef short ribs was very satisfying.

Posto in Cambridge.

If you’re looking for a great breakfast (or lunch) sandwich, check out the Hi-Rise Bread Company on Massachusetts Avenue.

We spent one night at the Sheraton Commander, located right on the edge of the historic Cambridge Commons. This hotel is also an easy walk to the Longfellow house. We had a lovely large corner room overlooking the Commons.

Cambridge Common
Cambridge Common
Sheraton Commander Hotel in Cambridge MA
Sheraton Commander Hotel in Cambridge MA
View over Cambridge Common from the Sheraton.
View over Cambridge Common from the Sheraton.
In Cambridge Common

Have you been here? Would you like to go?
Leave me a comment at the bottom and let me know!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anita says:

    Learning a history is so important to understand current situation. It looks a great place to explore. Thanks for sharing and great tips!

    1. Totally agree!

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