Saturday, November 5, 2011

Two Days in Massachusetts

And now for the rest of our trip. Settle in, folks, this is going to be a long one.

We picked up our rental car. The driving wasn't as bad as we thought, though still a little stressful. Driving in any big city you are unfamiliar with is scary, right? We were surprised how fast we were away from the city. Our first stop was Sleepy Hollow. While we didn't see any headless horsemen, we did see the grave of Washington Irving.

I have always loved cemeteries. They are beautiful, peaceful, and have a introspective air about them. Plus, it is so interesting to read the gravestones. I knew the cemeteries back east would be awesome compared to what we have in Idaho and I was right.

Now this was an interesting grave. Look closely. Obviously Lolita Coffin Van Rensselarr discovered a space-time continuum. It's the only explanation for her birth date being AFTER her death date. 

We drove up through Connecticut and stopped in lunch in Kent, Connecticut - the number 1 rated place for fall trips. 

I thought Utah and Idaho had a lot of churches. I think New England has more! :) They are so picturesque though. 

I found my dream house. 

We spent the night in the Amerscot House Inn in Stowe, Massachusetts, just outside of Concord. It was delightful. It was the first time we have ever stayed at a B&B. I think we will do it again. It was on several acres of wooded area. The inn owner said the fall colors were very disappointing this year but we really enjoyed them. 

The home was built in 1734. It had a lot of modern updates and conveniences but we were completely taken by the old fireplaces, antique door latches, cupboards, thick, wavy glass, ceiling beams, interior shutters, wooden floors, steep stairs, and more. 

 We left our little inn to explore Concord. There are so many things about this town that are close to my heart - Little Women, the transcendentalists, the American literature renaissance, the American Revolution. We got to see a bunch of awesome things.

Louisa May Alcott's house

Cute Halloween decorations at a random home

Ralph Waldo Emerson's home

Emerson's parlor - transplanted to the museum. It stirs my soul to think of all the ideas born in this room, all the brilliant minds that sat around this table and changed our world forever. 

One of the lanterns lit in Old North Church to warn Paul Revere that the British were coming. 

A page of script written by Henry David Thoreau

Old North Bridge where the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired and the American Revolution began in 1775. 

There was a random photo shoot going on - but hey, we got to see a minutemen on Old North Bridge

Off to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Not the Sleepy Hollow with the headless horseman (that was in New York state, remember?) Just a cemetery that shares the name.

Here is Henry David Thoreau's grave. He emphasized the beauty of a simple life. And his gravestone continues to exemplify that message. It's a message I need to take to heart - forsake all the materialism and hoopla that I get caught up in and transcend the worldliness for greater peace. 

Another proponent of simplicity - Louisa May Alcott

Ralph Waldo Emerson's grave

Justin surprised me with a deliriously delicious box of pumpkin truffles. 
We enjoyed them on the breezy banks of Walden Pond. 

So serene - and much bigger than I expected. I am not sure "pond" is the best word to describe it. It had waves.

A replica of Thoreau's squatter house has been rebuilt near the pond to commemorate his message of simplicity. Here I am showing his statue how an iPhone with internet can really simplify life. :)

Writing at Thoreau's desk. Dream. Come. True. 

Then we drove to Salem, Massachusetts for our last night on the east coast. Out of all the places I have been in the world (and I have been to quite a few) Salem had the worst drivers ever. Good job, guys. Anywho...we stayed at this bizarre bed and breakfast called the Stephen Daniel's House. It was built in 1667. It is the oldest 3-story building standing in the USA. We thought our other inn was so neat with its little old details. This house didn't have old "details" because it was all old - hardly anything had been updated. It was truly like stepping back in time. 

It is rumored to be haunted by a ghost cat. During the night, I woke up and felt a weight on my legs. I rolled over and kicked my legs but it wouldn't go away. I straightened the blankets thinking it was a lump in the covers or a pillow or something. It never went away. I gave up and went back to sleep. In the morning, the weight was gone. I think the ghost cat may have spent the night with me. I am a cat lover, after all. 

Our bed - smaller than a modern day double bed. It was a tight squeeze for two adults and a ghost cat. 

Fireplace in our bedroom

Fireplace and cradle in our bathroom. The shower curtain didn't close around the tub all the way and I stared at this creepy cradle the whole time I was in there. It was unnerving. And I tripped on it and bruised my ankle - that is made of some seriously sturdy wood. 

In our bedroom

Antique games in our bedroom. I played the number game for about an hour until I got so frustrated that I cheated. 

Dining room

Justin admiring the hand hewn beams of the original kitchen. 

All the old fireplaces still work. They even cook food in the old kettles and spits. 

Another fireplace. Practically every room had one. You could even see daylight coming through the chimneys.

This house really got into the Halloween spirit with an elaborate, macabre display.

Spine-tingling guillotine with running "blood" coming from the neck.

We toured the house that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables. When the museum heard we were staying at the Daniel's inn he was jealous - our inn was older than this home by 2 years and, of course, we were allowed to take pictures in our inn, which we weren't allowed to do here. It was an interesting home. I banged my head on some bricks in the secret passage staircase - so I left a little bit of myself there. :)

We took a night time Ghost Tour. It was a lot of fun. We learned so much about the town - so much more history than just the Salem witch trials. This character is our guide. He was very entertaining.

An extremely brutal murder took place in this house, which is rumored to be haunted. This murder went up through the Supreme Court and changed laws - making accessory to murder a crime. It also inspired Parker Brothers to make the game Clue. People often report seeing a figure in the windows. 

A figure like this, perhaps? Maybe it's a painting inside, but I don't exactly see a frame. 

We also learned a lot about this Anglican church (the night time pictures didn't turn out so this is from the next day). A wealthy Anglican named Philip English was accused of witch craft during the trials. The Puritans stole his land and buried their dead there. When the Anglican returned, he was pretty upset. He exhumed the dead mayor who had arrested him in the first place and paraded the rotting body around town, taking naps with it, and basically living the script of Weekend at Bernie's until the Puritans gave him his land back - and there he built an Anglican church just to tick everyone off. 

The next morning we wandered through a rainy Salem where we visited the Witch Trial Museum and the old burying grounds. I was looking for some ancestors of mine, Isaac and Elizabeth Hart, but did not find them. There are other cemeteries we did not make it too. It was very interesting to be in one of the oldest cemeteries in the country, nonetheless. 

Here is the memorial for the 19 people executed for accusations of witchcraft during the trials of 1692. Benches carved with every individual's name.

The memorial for John Proctor. 

And then we had a crazy drive through Salem and into Boston and flew home. Again, their drivers are NUTS! Justin never really felt better. From the Broadway play on he struggled with severe stomach pains. We even looked into going to an ER once. We figured it might be gall problems or kidney stones - and Justin suffered through it all. He still even gets pains, but not nearly as bad. Eating out every meal of every day, I know we had a lot of rich, unhealthy food, which possibly triggered it all. 

Concord was our favorite part of the trip. I think it took us by surprise how much we loved it. Salem was way bigger than we expected. Crowded, big town, lots of traffic. Also, it was very kitschy. Every other store was a tarot-reading psychic shop. Yet the seemed to hate tourists. 

We had some great food. Amazing shepherd's pie. Bagels with scallions. The pizza. I am still craving the pizza. 

A few things of interest we noted in New York. Justin pointed out that the Latino population looks different. In Idaho we have a lot of Mexicans while New York has more Dominicanos and Puerto Ricans. In New York, I could see the power of the trend. Practically every woman was wearing tall boots over skinny jeans or leggings. For the first time in my life life, I felt so "last season." I thought New York would have enough diversity that trends would be somewhat watered down. Not that one! And the accents - we talked to a few police men. They all had the expected accent. Other than that...everyone had a different accent. Also, I left mine and Joci's I Heart NY t-shirts in the Hilton when we checked out for Massachusetts. They were never seen again. :( 

It was an amazing trip and we saw so many iconic things. I never saw the Friends building or Rockefeller Center but we watched some episodes of Friends and 30 Rock in the hotel. That felt very fitting. Now when I see a TV show based in NYC with scenes from the city, I recognize things and get all excited.

We were very excited to get home and see our little Joci. Sorry for the picture overload - but trust me when I say I was very reserved in what I posted. :) 


Debra said...

Your trip looks like it was amazing! I am actually kind of jealous that you went to Boston!

Natalie said...

Oh my gosh, that trip was awesome! WOW!!! You should have posted more pictures! Hahah! That's so cool about the ghost cat! I love went to some seriously AWESOME places! So jealous!

kelley said...

Great pictures! I love New England but I've never been to all those cool places. Walden Pond?! So rad.

Frederick Family said...

What a fun trip. I love traveling and seeing new things. Boston is still one of my top favorites. We noticed my three kids have the same birth date of Washington Irving.

Rachel said...

Your trip sounds so lovely!

Kim said...

Wow, what an amazing trip! I'm glad you had a great time and were able to see so many historic places. It was so fun to read about your experiences and see all the pictures. I'm jealous and hope I can go someday!

Frederick Family said...

that is great i wish i could go, by the way for halloween the jelly bean test i got a dollar in class bucks. i guessed popcorn and it was right. i thought i was going to be sick and throw up but i was ok i also had dog food jelly bean which was pretty good. i thought i was sick. my breath smelled so much like dog food nobody liked me talking to them because my breath smelled bad.


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