Friday, August 01, 2008

Days 7 and 8?

I'm sort of losing track of days. I guess that's what happens when you are lucky enough to get away for two weeks!

Anyway, we are now in Salem, Mass. We got in late last night after a long-ish train ride from DC to Boston. I thought everything was arranged with the car rental from the train station, but, alas, no car rental office was open when we arrived at 7:30pm. So, we improvised, and got to our hotel here in Salem last night around 9:00ish by cab. (I am still irritated with Hertz which seemed to give misleading info on their website about a car rental site being available at the train station, but I think we have things figured out to pick up a car tomorrow. I would forego having a car altogether, but I don't think we'll really be able to get to or around Cape Cod without it.)

This morning, we headed out early-ish to see the sights of Salem (is that spelled "sites" or "sights"? I'm confused.). There are a TON of witch-y type shops, museums, etc. We got a lot of good pictures for later use. My goal was to get to the House of the Seven Gables and to see the harbor, both of which we did.

The House of the Seven Gables was thoroughly enjoyable. I totally recommend seeing this very, very old house (old by American standards). This house inspired Hawthorne to write his book about Hepzibah and the Pyncheon clan. Hawthorne's birthplace was moved to the grounds of the House too, so we got to walk through that as well.

We're staying at the Salem Inn, which is another old house (built in 1834). A journal in the sitting room of the West House (where we're staying) says that some visitors have heard ghosts (such as a baby crying in the next room--when it's empty--or a woman sniffling). People come here, it seems to me, because they want to have some sort of paranormal experience.

We walked through the Burying Ground, the oldest cemetery in Salem. The oldest gravestone we found read 1681. There is a memorial adjacent to the cemetery with the names of the 20 who were hung or died after the Salem Witch Trials. The cemetery itself is beautiful--picturesque and tucked in a quiet corner in the town. A gnarled old oak shades one corner of the graveyard.

Tomorrow it's back to Boston for a couple of days, and then we'll head to Cape Cod, where we hope to crash on the beach for 3 days straight.

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