Monday, October 17, 2011

Bewitched – 6 October 2011

Today was a beautiful day for a drive around the coast. Our campsite was at Salisbury, a fairly uninspiring coastal development (this made it all the more surprising that it had such an excellent restaurant!), but across a bridge is the township of Newburyport. This has many large impressive 18th century houses, once the homes of wealthy shipowners.

We continued following the coastal road around the peninsular to Rockport.. This proved to be our favourite place of the whole trip. Once a fishing port, it is now predominantly an artists colony. The small town was delightful to walk around, many picturesque old buildings, including former fisherman's cottages, are now selling gifts, artworks and pottery. The harbour with it's boats and old fishing-shack, provides seating to relax and watch the sun playing on the water.

South from here we were planning to stop at Gloucester, but it is so much bigger, and less appealing, we carried on. The coast had many lovely settlements, with fine old houses, which took us all the way to Salem.

As we have all heard of Salem, but were not too clear on the actual details, it was interesting to visit. The museums all sounded a little OTT, but in fact we enjoyed our visit to the Witch Dungeon Museum. Details of the history surrounding the Salem witch episode is narrated and acted out, using excerpts from the original court transcripts.

There is a curious irony that Salem is only a tourist stop these days because of false stories about witchcraft and yet the modern town is making its money off ghosts, ghouls tarot, psychic readings and so forth and thus is still trading on false stories about witchcraft.

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