Longfellow's Wayside Inn
Bicentennial Birthday Dinner
On Feb. 27, the 200th anniversary of Longfellow’s birth, the Wayside Inn, the Friends of the Longfellow House in Cambridge and the Friends of the Houghton Library at Harvard hosted a birthday party for America’s most beloved poet.
The Wayside Inn was closed to the public for a private party for the first time in its recent history for the dinner which featured music, poetry, historical interpreters and tributes to Longfellow.
Layne Longfellow, whose CD of 18 of Longfellow’s poems with musical accompaniment is one of the best-selling items in the inn gift shop, read poems throughout the evening, from the poet’s humorous writings - including a discourse on wine and another on the merits of bread and butter - to "The Fire of Drift-Wood" and "The Children’s Hour."
In addition to the readings by Layne Longfellow, historical interpreters portraying Henry David Thoreau and 19th century lawyer Christopher Columbus Baldwin mingled with the guests peppering their conversation to references to Longfellow and his contemporaries. A harpist, and a fiddler based on a character in ‘Tales of a Wayside Inn,’ also entertained the guests.
Longfellow’s bicentennial marks a milestone in the inn’s history, and a renewed effort to preserve the 125 acre parcel containing eight historically significant buildings that is a national historic site.