We took the kids on the road up to Salem yesterday afternoon, about a 45-minute drive north. I had my tote packed with The Lace Reader and a map and guide to “Towner Whitney’s Salem, Massachusetts” that I downloaded from the Salem tourist board.
We got to Salem around 3, driving through the center of town, then out to Salem Willows Park. The map describes it as a “mini-amusement park next to Rafferty’s Victorian home frequented by tourists and bikers. Rafferty comes for the chop suey sandwiches.”
The park was crowded, despite the drizzly afternoon. There were a lot of large family groups, perhaps reunions, cooking out and enjoying the park. I took these photos of the harbor; the colors would have been brighter on a sunny day, but you can still see how beautiful it is.
The Red Trolley runs to various tourist spots in town; tickets/stickers allow passengers to board and debark at different spots, then get back on for a ride to another attraction.
Our kids loved the arcade! We quickly ran through $20 in quarters, and they each got a little tchotchke or two to take home. We had 427 points to redeem, but the small selection they could choose from reminded me of that line from the movie The Jerk where Steve Martin plays a carnie, “step right up and win some crap!”
From The Willows we drove back to town and walked through Pickering Wharf which has shops and restaurants. I enjoy reading the names of the boats, some are very clever!
We saw The Friendship at Derby Wharf, but were too late in the day to board it. Our map says this is an “accurate replica of 200-year -old spice trading vessel used by Salem’s sea captains to circle the globe.”
Across from The Friendship is The Custom House, where “Hawthorne worked … as a clerk.”
We had dinner back at Pickering Wharf, and I bought some picture postcards of Salem … be one of the first ten readers to leave a comment saying you’d like one, then use the Contact tab at the top of the page to send me your mailing address in a private message. The postcards feature The House of Seven Gables.
The rain really started coming down after dinner, so we hurried up Lafayette Street to Cornerstone Books. This is a nice independent bookstore, and is open daily, until 7 on Sundays (which was very nice, as we were finding many shops closing at this hour.) The Lace Reader was featured prominently at the front of the store, along with a non-fiction book about Ipswich lace.
We continued up Lafayette to Central Street, so I could snap a picture of Red’s Sandwich Shop. They close at 1 on Sunday afternoons, so we couldn’t have eaten dinner there; I’ll have to try lunch another day. Red’s is billed as “classic American food in a building that dates back to the American Revolution. A favorite of Rafferty and Towner.”
Along the way back to the car we passed the Peabody Essex Museum, a “world class museum that was interested in buying Eva’s chinoiserie.” We didn’t visit the museum this time, but have been there in the past. It really is a great museum, and is a favorite field trip for schools in the area. Last year my son’s fourth-grade class visited during a unit on China.
The rain was pelting now, but I snapped this photo of the Hawthorne Hotel, a “famous hotel near to Eva’s house and just off the Salem Commons”, as well as the sign in front of First Church, “Eva’s Unitarian Church and the original church for two of the alleged witches killed during the Witch Trials.”
In our family, no outing is complete without ice cream! We drove to the Dairy Witch, which looks remarkably like a Dairy Queen. According to our Lace Reader map, the Dairy Witch is “Towner’s favorite ice cream place in Salem.”
All in all, a very nice afternoon and evening, despite the weather! So, I’ve read and enjoyed the novel and visited sites mentioned in the book. I hope to see Brunonia Barry at a book signing this Friday night. If I get that checked off my “to do” list I can move on to stalking admiring another author