Our summer has been super busy, and so I decided to head north to visit my best childhood friend, Emily, who lives just north of Boston. On average, the temperature has been 20 degrees cooler here than it is in Austin, and today even felt like Autumn! (As I write this, the temperature here is 56, while it is still a balmy 84 back home in Austin.)
Our first evening here, we went out to dinner at the Legal Seafood Test Kitchen in downtown Boston. The food was amazing! I spent the next day resting and playing around on my computer, catching up on email and tinkering with this blog. You can’t really tell, because I ended up going right back to what I started with, but it wasn’t a total waste. I have some great ideas now. 🙂
Yesterday, Emily took me to Newbury Port. I was absolutely delighted with the charming and quaint buildings, the board walk, and all the friendly people! What a delightful little town! I kept thinking how much Gaylon would love it, and how much he would enjoy going out on one of the beautiful sailboats that were in the water there. I think it would also be a blast to go “whale watching”!
But, speaking of the water here. When I was packing to come up here, I threw in a bathing suit, thinking it would be great to spend a day at the beach. When I expressed this to Emily, she said I could go swimming if I wanted to, but she would not be getting in the water herself. Well, she is the one who has always loved the water, so I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t want to go swimming with me. She enlightened me by explaining that the water here is cold. Like, 66 degrees. And this is August!
I have to admit that I was stunned by this. I mean, I’m a southern girl, and I’ve never encountered water that was that freaking cold in August! Not even when I spent a
summer in Southampton on Long Island back when I was a kid. This was a strange, mind-boggling thing, and I had a bit of difficulty wrapping my mind around it. Nonetheless, when we got to the beach at Plum Island, we walked down to the water, and I let it lap up around my feet, just to, as they say, ‘test the waters’. I actually let out a yelp when it hit me! It was freezing!!
Today, we went down to Salem. I have been fascinated with Salem since I was a little girl, and Emily had a board game that we used to play about the history of the Salem Witch Trials. (Her dad was from this area, and on a trip out here, he had bought this game for her.)
I find it ironic, and more than a little disturbing that the one thing the Puritans were so very terrified of, the thing they tried so famously to eradicate from their midst, is the thing that is most prevalent there today. There are references to witchcraft everywhere. There are all sorts of t-shirts and cutesy souvenirs, but there are also some very serious shops that sell the necessary ritual items for anything one could imagine (and probably some things I cannot imagine!), as well as all sorts of witchcraft training schools, museums, and the like.
The Salem Witch Museum is particularly ironic, in a very sad sort of way. It is housed in what used to be a church. I cannot begin to imagine how horrified those Puritans would be to see their little village now. It is still very quaint. After all, it’s in New England! But Salem will forever be branded with witchcraft, only now they embrace it! (I know there are plenty of folks there who are not into witchcraft, as evidenced by the many Christian churches I saw, like the First Baptist and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, but those are just not what stand out about the place.)
We didn’t have enough time to tour the House of Seven Gables, but we did get to do something that I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember: we got to see the Fabergé Egg exhibit! It just happened to be at the Essex County Museum until sometime next month!! It was definitely the highlight of my day! Of course, there were so many other exquisite items on display besides eggs! But I loved seeing the eggs! There is something so hauntingly lovely about the Romanov family, and seeing those intricate and gorgeous pieces, created just for them, made it all seem so real. And they were such a beautiful family. Wow. God rest their souls.
My favorite was the Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg of 1912. According to information
on the Peabody Essex Museum’s site:
The Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg of 1912, on view at PEM, was a gift to Empress Alexandra from her husband, Emperor Nicholas II. The egg commemorates their son Alexei who nearly died the previous year of hemophilia. For the shell, craftsmen joined six wedges of highly-prized lapis lazuli and hid the seams with an elaborate gold filigree encasement. Inside the egg, a diamond encrusted Romanov family crest frames a two-sided portrait of the young child.
We finished up our day with a Ghost Tour of Salem. It was not the most interesting tour, but I did get some pretty interesting pictures with my iPhone.
Tomorrow morning we are starting our day out at the Cathedral in Boston with the Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form!) and then are going to take a Trolley Tour of Boston, which will include Paul Revere’s House, Beacon Hill, The Old North Church, Boston Commons, and most importantly, Cheers! (Just kidding about that last one being most important, but I am looking forward to seeing it, and it is on the tour!)