Saturday, July 24, 2010

SAND SCULPTURE ,TO MARBLEHEAD, TO SALEM

The Sand Sculpting Festival of 2010 was held at Revere Beach just before we arrived. I learned from Loretta that sand for these events is hauled in by the truckload. Its special sand, possibly treated with something, that makes it hold together better than plain beach sand. These sculptures, while fenced off, will stand for weeks without deteriorating.
Regardless of what kind of sand, the pieces are amazing in their detail and inventiveness.
We drove high above the beach where Jim lived when he was first married, then headed for the old swimming holes around Nahant.
This very beautiful bandstand and overhead pavilion is all that is left of the former recreational beach attractions that brought people from all over, nearby Lynn, Boston, New York and small towns around the area. It was a famous boardwalk attraction in its day along with the horse and dog racing.
This bluff at Marblehead, had one of the first East Coast light houses, built in 1835. The one above replaced earlier buildings in 1865. Marblehead Harbor is beautiful and full of sailboats, a proper breezy day.
The bluffs at Nahant where Jim and his friends liked to jump into the warm waters of the bay for a day of swimming and showing off for the girls.
Moving on to Salem, the famous city of  witch hunts, takes more time than we allotted. We stopped at the VFW and were told by the locals that the town has become a Halloween mecca, "a zoo". There is an old cemetery, a number of "witch houses" that give a history of the Witches of Salem, a pirate museum, we were basically told to avoid all the tourist traps and go to the Peabody Essex Museum for a quality experience, and visit the historic buildings in the area, of which there are many.  Salem was home to Richard More, a Mayflower pilgrim;  home to Nathaniel Hawthorne, a Declaration of Independence signer and the author of The Scarlet Letter. His House of Seven Gables stands here as a tourist attraction, though we didn't go in.
Above is the old Custom House, on the historic registry. We just missed the tour.

 
The Friendship, an old tall ship is available for viewing as part of the National Historic Markers about town.
They do have a very clever way of guiding you around to the interesting sights. Like following the yellow brick road. Instead of yellow bricks,  a red line is painted on the sidewalks, some of which are brick, and following it brings you to all of the historic and interesting attractions around town.

The first time I've ever seen a home for aged women, above. And Lady Pinkham is commemorated here in a building as well, a woman who dealt with "unmentionable" women's issues. She made a tonic for grateful women who were certainly under served by the male medical establishment. 
A book in the museum showed a picture of a memorial to the young women who were cursed as witches by male church elders and hung or otherwise mistreated during that hysterical time. But, it turns out, the trials were actually held in nearby Danvers, the memorial is there as well. Surprisingly, it took much digging to find someone who knew where to find the memorial?  Danvers was once a part of Salem. Maybe on another trip we'll get there.

So we tooled around town, did some fun, silly stuff, visited an old cemetery.
We had an excellent, very late lunch at In A Pigs Eye. Curried crab bisque, spinach and roasted garlic soup, tasty chili and decent beer. It came highly recommended by locals and didn't disappoint.

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