Sunday, October 6, 2013

Boston - Day 4: Salem, New Hampshire, and Maine

Although the next few days have nothing to do with Boston, I'll include them in my account of our time in Boston since that's where we were parked.

Day one of the "government shutdown" (October 1st), so no access to anymore national parks. Instead, we decided to drive north and taste a little bit of the culture up there.

First we drove up to Salem, Massachusetts. What's the first thing that comes to your mind when I say "Salem"? The Salem Witch Trials, of course!  We expected to drive to Salem and learn some history regarding the witch trials of 1692. However, the only place in the town that could do that for us was a commercial museum, and it would have cost us an arm and a leg to get our family into it. Plus, it seemed a bit corny and not too overly focused on the historical. So we instead bypassed the museum.

We did, however, find a national park in Salem: the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. We were able to experience a little bit of the park as the park rangers were shutting down the place. Just next to the shore of the park is the House of Seven Gables, about which Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his famous novel. We were also able to see the Custom House in which Nathaniel Hawthorne was employed. If you have ever read the prologue of  The Scarlet Letter, then you've no doubt suffered through his long, verbose, and very detailed description of this Custom House. It was here in Salem, being descended from a judge of the Salem Witch Trial, that Hawthorne wrestled with his guilt and hence conceived of the idea behind the novel.

So Salem was somewhat of a bust for us. We next continued to drive northward, along coastal New Hampshire. It was a beautiful day, and we stopped a few times to play along the Atlantic Ocean. We also made a stop at an abandoned fort, Fort Constitution. In 1791, this fort was built over the remains of a British fort,  Fort William and Mary. This was a great spot for the kids to run wild and explore all the nooks and crannies. They had a great time!

Lastly, we entered Maine. First of all, I have to tell you that we were all very amused at the signs along the highway which warned about moose on the road. That's not something we see - ever! - in Texas!

Maine is very beautiful! We drove to Portland to see the east coast's most famous lighthouse, the Portland Head Light. It is easy to see why it is not only the oldest but also the most photographed lighthouse on the east coast.

After we spent some time admiring the beauty of coastal Maine, we drove to a local spot for lobster. After all, when in Maine, you gotta have lobster! Steve and I had some of the local lobster, but the kids ate their usual burgers and fries. Everyone did, however, taste a sample of it!

We finally drove back home after dark. The kids feel asleep in the car after our long, adventurous day.