Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Salem and Marblehead, Massachusetts

Today we went to Salem and Marblehead, Massachusetts.  When we woke up this morning it was overcast and raining and stayed that way the entire day.  It reached all of 60 degrees!!  This was the first day Van wore long pants and a jacket.

We found Salem to be full of beautiful old homes, apparently built by ship owners and merchant traders.  There are many old houses presently occupied by what I would call "normal folk."  Obviously, Salem, for tourist reasons, places a lot of emphasis on witches and witchcraft.    Only 19 people were put to death during the witchcraft trials of 1692.  We didn't have any interest in the witchcraft stuff so didn't really spend a lot of time on those things.  Van did, however, see a bumper sticker that he thought Victoria (his daughter) would enjoy which said "Eve was framed."  One of the major historical points of interest was the House of Seven Gables which happens to be New England's oldest surviving wooden mansion, which is the 1668 Turner-Ingersoll Mansion which inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote "The Scarlett Letter" was born in Salem in 1804.  His birthplace is
also on the plot of land where the House of Seven Gables is located.


It is our opinion that Salem would better promote itself talking more about the shipping industry rather than the witch trials.  We were surprised to learn that Salem, in the 18th century, was the Venice of the New World.  It was the shipping mecca, and actually produced, several millionaires.  These ship owners traded all over the world, including China and Russia.  The poorest of the three major ship owners left an estate of 1.5 million at his death in 1817.  Wow! The only thing negative about Salem was the traffic conditions.  It was difficult to navigate around the town with all it's one way streets.   Apparently the stop signs and traffic signals were "suggestions" only and not intended to be complied with as in the south.

The ship in the picture is called "The Friendship" and is a full sized replica of a 1797 East Indian Merchant Ship.  Tours of the ship are available through the National Park Service.  We were also impressed to learn that the Charter Street Burying Point, a cemetery in Salem, has many prestigious residents, including Mayflower passenger, Richard More.

 We ate lunch in Marblehead which Ron tells us is a high-end town.  We always thought that Ron and Maureen were "high end" and now we have confirmed it (ha)!  If you haven't seen Marblehead, you wouldn't believe the incredible houses and the incredible views of the harbor/coves here and the surrounding towns.  We ate at a restaurant called Barnacles, which overlooks one of these coves.  They are completely full of both motor boats and sail boats.  It is difficult to see how they navigate in and out of the harbor/cove area as crowed as they are.  These pictures show the view we had from Barnacles overlooking the cove.  It was raining, so the pictures aren't real clear.

Tomorrow we plan to go to Essex, even though the weather forecast looks pretty much the same as today.  We have learned that Woodman's, a restaurant in Essex, has received many awards as the  "Best Seafood in America."  This has been reported by Forbes, Zagat Restaurant Guide, Yankee Magazine, Boston Magazine, Travelocity, The Travel Channel, New York Times and even, 1000 Places To See Before you Die.  Even though Van is convinced he has already put on 10 more pounds, he will definitely eat there tomorrow.  However, I too am excited about Essex because it is advertised as America's Antique's Capital, having more than 35 quality antique shops.  Poor Monet....she will be toted around with us like a sack of potatoes (again).  We are also thinking about going up to Ipswich and the Newburyport area but haven't researched it yet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

One correction, Ron and Maureen never lived in the "high end" side of Massachusetts, Pete and Marylou did. The North Shore is very lovely, have to agree. Essex another great fried clam place; has Van tried them?? Did he like them??