A Trip to Lizzie Borden's

summer is slipping away, and we haven’t done enough outings and summer-type things. So i suggested a day trip yesterday, and our daughter MilliCal chose – Lizzie Borden’s.

Of course. My lovely, ghost-loving daughter.
So we drove down to Fall River, Massachusetts and sought out the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast:

It’s a pretty tiny and hidden house, and the directions they gave were a little outdated. Fortunately, we were able to get baclk on track with our map and a little luck.

“Do you see it? IIt ought to be here somewhere.”
“It ought to have something to make it stand out,” I said. “Like an animated hand holding an axe.”

Pepper mill hit me.

Just then she saw it – a sandwich board out front invited us to park in back and buy tickets. Otherwise we’d have missed it. The official historical sign out front even had a different name – the house is named after the original builder.

Driving around the back we passed an outbuilding with huge windows decorated with little stained glass hangings of pears and hatchets, as MilliCal gleefully pointed out. Pears, even more than hatchets, are a running motif at the LBH – they had a pear tree out back, and Lizzie claimed that she was eating pears while the crimes were being committed.

We bought our tickets and had a half hour before the tour, so the guide put in a recording of Alfrec Hitchcocvk Presents that featured the Lizzie Borden story. This house had an impressive collection of Bordeniana – books based on the case, and videotapes of various TV interpretations. They sold little evil-eyed Lizzie Borden bobbleheads, and cookie cutters in the shapes of hatchets and pears. They had little museum displays of detritus cleaned from the outbuildings and garbage pits, including a wistful little porcelain doll.

Finally, we went on the tour. All of the Bordens’ furniture had been stored after the murders and subsequently destroyed by a hurricane, so it was all replacement (except for Lizzie’s sewing machine), but it perfectly matched photos of the crime scene. They had duplicates of the parents’ skulls in a case in the dining room. (“Should I give the High Tour or the Low Tour?” asked the guide, eyeing 10-year-old MilliCal. “She watches CSI” replied Pepper Mill", so she got the full-bore treatment. Which suited her fine.) MilliCal asked lots of questions and bought a Lizzie Borden T-shirt. Then we drove around and saw the other Borden high points (like her later home, Maplecraft, and the family plot in Oak Grove Cemetary).

a fine day out


Thank you for the nice account of your family’s adventure. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Fascinating report, thanks, Cal. Quick question - how long did this excursion into Lizzie-land take? Was it a hour or two, or was it a full morning/afternoon?

(While I’m intrigued by the Lizze Borden case, it’s not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about things to do in Fall River, and I wonder if it might be combined with other sightseeing.)

Fall River’s other notorious claim to, uh, infamy was the case of Cheryl Araujo. :frowning: Wonder if that place is still in business.

:eek: No… that’s not what I was thinking of…
I have an irrational attraction to ships. Especially warships, so when I think Fall River, the first thing that comes to mind is Battleship Cove.

well, we wanted to see Battleship Cove, too, but there was a big festiva;l going on, and all the parking was tied up. PepperMill su8ggested hitting some outlets, but that went over like a lead balloon.

We spent a couple of hours altogether, between waiting for the tour, taking it, and seeing the off-site sites. And getting some lunch.

Hey! You were just 20 minutes away from me! I would have given you a tour of my house for half the price.

I just checked. That’s New Bedford.

Anybody been killed there? any ghosts? MilliCal wanted to see ghosts. You’d at least have to throw a white sheet over your head.

Would a flowered one have worked?

We did have a cat die once. Oh, and a guinea pig. That’s spooky, right?

Did you sing this song? http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=8852636#post8852636

You should have axed for directions.

We actually have a recording of that song (performed by a group called Clam Chowder) that we used to play all the time. We didn’t have it yesterday. But I noticed that they had the sheet music for it on the piano in the Lizzie Borden House parlor. They’re sick puppies.
Actually, the performance we have is based on the 1961 version, which adds some extra asides.