Visiting “Little Women” Filming Sites
by Abby Balter
Despite the strong global advisory against travel due to COVID-19, one of the great things about living in a city like Boston is that there are always new things to explore that allow you to mentally escape from the current uncertain reality. Boston has been the city of filming for countless films, from the ’90s flick “Good Will Hunting” to “Little Women.” Visiting the shooting locations of some of these can serve as almost a time capsule or a glimpse into another life. This fall I visited some of the locations around Boston where Greta Gerwig’s 2019 “Little Women” was shot and lived out my cottage core fantasies.
First up was the Lyman Estate in Waltham, where Jo and Laurie (played by Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet) playfully danced on the back porch after sneaking out of the New Year’s Eve Ball. The estate embodies the charm of a New England autumn perfectly, with acres of land under a canopy of crimson trees and a greenhouse lining the back fence; the property truly feels like you are traveling back in time and living through a period film. My friend and I spent the afternoon frolicking, listening to Frank Sinatra while dancing on the porch, attempting to recreate the sweet moment between Jo and Laurie, and trying not to insert ourselves into too many of the photos from the wedding that was happening inside the mansion.
The Fairmont Copley Plaza was the backdrop of the New Year’s Ball that Amy attended in the film during her time in Paris. The elegant and visually stunning European, baroque architecture makes you feel like you are a wealthy socialite. Although it’s rather pricey, getting dolled up with your friends and having brunch at the Plaza restaurant would be the perfect way to spend the afternoon and channel your inner Amy March.
Lastly, the Gibson House Museum on Beacon Street served as the location of the school Jo attended when she moved to New York to pursue a writing career. Not only is Beacon Street one of the most beautiful streets to stroll through in Boston, but visiting the Gibson House in the context of Little Women is interesting because it gives a glimpse into what schooling was like during that time period, specifically for women. During the day, you can tour the Gibson House and see the refined and carefully cultivated interior of the home where other scenes of Jo and her writing mentors were shot.