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Trip to Salem

Friday 4/19/24

The other day I went to Salem. It's very easy for me to get there. I don't have a car and won't until I get my house in Rockport back. When I go places outside of Boston, I take the commuter rail and then I walk, sometimes great distances--as in twenty miles--out in the country along the edges of roads where one is not supposed to walk. There are no sidewalks, but I am careful. This I do in Milton when I go the Blue Hills, in Concord, in Manchester-by-the-Sea, in Ipswich, and in my beloved Rockport. I've walked the entire outer edge of Cape Ann in a day, hugging to that craggy coastline.

My most ambitious and beautiful excursion involves taking the train to Manchester and walking all the way to Ipswich (where Russell Orchards--which I love--and Crane Beach and the Crane estate are). There are so many amazing stops along that route. At one point, along the edge of the salt marsh, you go up this rise, and at the top on the right is a graveyard with headstones from the early 1700s nestled in shade, and across the street is a church of similar vintage with a bell in its steeple cast by Paul Revere. There is likely no one in either spot but you. I don't know how you beat that.

But Salem is a simple destination to get to. One walks to North Station--about a mile away--and gets on the train and a half hour later, you pull up in this second place I go to--Concord being the other--where Mr. Hawthorne did his thing.

It's the architecture of Salem that attracts me as much as anything there. The witch stuff is overplayed, and if one knows the actual history, none of that is as light and fanciful as the tourism industry and the tourists make it out to be. I find it hard to be...frivolous...about those events. But that's knowledge for you.

I go to the Peabody Essex Museum and this time there were two new exhibits I wanted to see. One was on bats in culture and art--complete with a couple of actual live bats--and the other featured Ethiopian art. The former was smaller than I expected it to be, the latter rather large. There were a lot of pieces to get to.

Then I wandered around as I do studying the architecture, and it was back to the train, nice and easy.


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