Visit Boston and Explore the Times of the Doll Felicity
Boston is famous for its colonial history, and visitors to numerous historical sites can learn about the times when American Girl doll Felicity grew up.
Felicity Merriman, American Girl’s colonial-era doll, and her friend Elizabeth grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1774. Boston, Massachusetts, is closely associated with colonial history and the start of the Revolutionary War, and it is also the home to the American Girl Boston store. Families can visit historical sites in the Boston area and shop at the store.
Lexington and Concord
On April 19, 1775 the “shot heard round the world” was fired in Lexington, marking the start of the War for Independence. Minuteman National Historic Park is the place where that shot was fired. The park offers guided tours as well as special events such as historical reenactments, musical performances, and storytelling. Hours and activities are limited during the winter season.
From May to October visitors can go to the Hartwell Tavern, on Route 2A in nearby Lincoln, which was the home of the Hartwell family and their children. Tours will inform visitors of the lives of the family, which ran a tavern just as Felicity’s father ran a general store. The Tavern is part of the park system as is The Wayside, home to various authors since colonial times, including Louisa May Alcott, Nathanial Hawthorne, and Harriet Lothrop, who wrote Five Little Peppers under the pen name Margaret Sidney.
Also in the city of Lexington is the privately run National Heritage Museum. Admission is free, and the museum has special exhibits and special events year-round. It has a long term installation called “Sowing the Seeds of Liberty: Lexington & the American Revolution,” which was designed to appeal to adults as well as children. The exhibit includes The Loring Kitchen, which introduces visitors to family life during Felicity’s time and to understand how food preparation and cooking would have happened in colonial times. Children will experience the exhibit through the eyes of a cartoon character, Billy the Patriot Mouse.
The Concord Museum is a local historical museum that features family-friendly exhibits including a fife played by a young boy during the Revolution and treasure hunts and hands-on activities as well as many special exhibits geared for children all year-long such as craft workshops and story hours. Fans of the American Girl Book, Felicity’s Surprise: A Christmas Story might like to visit in December for its annual tradition, Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature, when the museum’s galleries are decorated with many trees decorated with different ornaments inspired by a selection of picture books.
Though unrelated to the colonial era, girls and their families might enjoy a visit to Concord to Orchard House, home of Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women.
Boston and Beyond
Children have all learned about the Boston Tea Party in school, and girls know that Felicity is fond of serving tea and has her own Tea Set. A replica of the ship is a museum in Boston Harbor, and one original tea chest is on exhibit. The ship and museum are undergoing an extensive renovation and are scheduled to reopen in Summer 2011.
One of Boston’s most popular tourist attractions is The Freedom Trail. Visitors follow a red line painted along the city’s streets which takes them from one attraction to another along the historic path that led to the creation of the United States of America.
John Adams, the second President of the United States, hailed from Quincy, Massachusetts (south of Boston), where his birthplace and home is now a National Historic Site open to the public. During Felicity’s time, John Adams was a delegate to the Continental Congress and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
About an hour north of Boston, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, is Strawbery Banke Museum. It is an American neighborhood restored to represent a community from the late 17th to mid-20th century. Special events often include topics specific to the colonial era. The museum has a popular Christmas time Candlelight Stroll.
American Girl Boston
The American Girl Boston store is located in the suburban city of Natick, in the Natick Collection Mall along Route 9.
The American Girl Bistro is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Advance reservations are highly recommended, which can be done online or by telephone.
American Girl Boston offers a variety of birthday and theme party options and has a Doll Hair Salon. The store also hosts special events throughout the years, such as craft making days and workshops.
Felicity grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia, which is now the site of the family-friendly Colonial Williamsburg living museum. However, visitors to Boston can also tour numerous colonial-era sites and learn more about Felicity’s world and can also go to American Girl Boston, the American Girl store. If taking a vacation along the East Coast, families can also visit New York City, just four hours away, and visits immigration sites related to Rebecca Rubin, the Russian-Jewish American Girl doll.