Saturday, May 28, 2011

A day trip to Massachusetts

Part 1:  Salem, MA

Yesterday Colin and I started off our memorial day weekend with a short drive up to Salem, MA.  Since I already posted a ton of pictures on Facebook, I'm not going to go into too much detail on here.  I do however want to mention that we learned so much about the Salem witch trials while there, but Salem is also an absolutely beautiful city!  We were shocked at how fun and unique it was.  It will definitely go down as one of the best places we've visited on this crazy Navy train.
If you ever make it to Salem, I would definitely recommend stopping by the Salem Witch Museum.  We were expecting a regular old museum were you walk through exhibits etc., but they actually have two different performances where they talk about what actually happened during the trials, and how the idea of witches and witchcraft has evolved today.  They even go into detail about the pagan events held in Salem all year long for currently practicing wiccan groups.  It was extremely informative, and they have a great military discount! 

Aside from this, I'm not sure I would actually pay to see anything in Salem (except for maybe the House of Seven Gables if you're a Nathaniel Hawthorne fan).  Since tourism is Salem's main industry, they have a giant red line on the sidewalks that goes all through the town leading you to the important destinations.  You can also pick up a free map at the visitors center that mirrors the red walking path and points out the "must stop" locations.  This made it super easy for us to make our own walking tour, and we were able to meander at our own pace and skip what we weren't interested in. 

The top five things I learned while in Salem were:

1.  Only 19 people were actually killed during the Salem Witch Trials.  18 were hung, and 1 was crushed to death.  A Possible 13 died in prison while waiting to be released.

2.  5 of the people killed were actually men who either stood against the hangings and were in turn charged with witchcraft, or attempted to stand up for accused family members.  This includes Giles Corey who was pressed to death with stones for refusing to enter a guilty or not guilty plea when accused of practicing witchcraft. 

3.  Salem is actually more focused on educating people about the pagan faith, and how religious/government fear tactics are really to blame for what happened in Salem, than they are about playing into the idea of witches. 

4.  The witch trials were actually started by an African American woman named Tituba who was a slave that cared for the children and taught them "magic tricks."  She was the only accused Salem "witch" that wasn't offered a trial, and was released once the trials ended. 

5.  There are several thousand modern day witches living in Salem, and nearly every other store front claims to offer psychic or tarot readings.  If you want to find out what's to come, this just might be the place to visit. 

Part 2: Boston, MA

On our way home from Salem we realized that Boston was about 20 minutes away, and the Bruins game was only a half an hour from starting.  Normally, I only get enthusiastic about hockey because Colin is enthusiastic about hockey, but the idea of heading to a sports bar in the heart of Boston during the final playoff game to decide whether or not the Boston Bruins would compete for the Stanley Cup, was a once in a lifetime opportunity I couldn't pass up!  So we rerouted Maggie (our GPS), and headed to The Pour House on Boylston in Boston. 
Excitement and disbelief about our perfect bar seats
Pure Bruin excitement
 It must have been meant to be, because not only did we find FREE parking on the same block as our destination bar, but as soon as we walked in two people got up from their seats right in front of the tv and quietly passed them on to us.  In a sea of yellow and black chaos, it was effortless perfection.  It wasn't long before we realized that these Boston fans sure are nuts!  Even though it was one of the most uneventful hockey games I think I've ever watched, the bars and streets were packed with people all waiting in hot anticipation to find out if their team was going to make history.  When they did end up winning, the city erupted.  Cops drove down the streets with their sirens blaring and nearly everyone was hooting and hollering. 
"Lovers Park"
We decided to take a little walk down the street to a park we had driven by while looking for parking that Colin deemed "lovers park" because it seemed that no one knew about the excitement only two streets over, and it was exclusively couples walking around.  It was beautiful and peaceful and the perfect way to let the city clear out before we drove back to New London. 
We ended up getting home entirely too late, and we were so exhausted that we decided to delay our Springfield trip until tomorrow - but it was totally worth it!  What a great day exploring the beautiful state of Massachusetts!

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