Sunday, July 31, 2011

Friendship to sail on August 7th

Image courtesy Essex National Heritage Commission.
We love the tall ship Friendship.  We especially love her when she's in port and people can climb aboard and explore her decks, learning about Salem's maritime history and imagining the life of a sailor, a sea captain, a navigator.  One of the reasons we love Friendship so much is that she can sail.  She is a US Coast Guard certified vessel and she was built to sail, so - on occasion - sail, she must. 

On August 7th, Friendship will depart Salem for a port visit in New York City.  Her trip is part of a youth program called Friendship Sails! A Youth Journey on the High Seas.  The vessel will spend 2-3 days at sea, and once in New York the youth aboard will attend a Youth Summit with their peers from New York City and Baltimore.  She will be berthed at the Dennis Connor's North Cover Marina on the Hudson River on August 10th. Friendship will return to Salem on August 16.

The National Park Service and Essex National Heritage Commission are hosting a "Bon Voyage" event on Derby Wharf on Sunday, August 7 at 4:30 PM.  People are invited to bring handkerchiefs to wave at Friendship as she leaves port, the traditional send-off that was practiced in Salem in the 18th century.

It is fantastic to watch Friendship leave from Derby Wharf, especially when there is a crowd waving hankies, and it is equally fantastic to see her come out of the harbor from Winter Island Maritime Park.  You won't need a handkerchief at Winter Island, but I recommend a camera. 

Visit for Friendship's 2011 sailing schedule.  

Image courtesy Essex National Heritage Commission.
About the Friendship 
The Friendship of Salem is a full-size replica of the original ship constructed by the renowned shipbuilder Enos Briggs in Salem in 1797.  She is a 171-foot three-masted “East Indiaman” - the type of merchant ship that made Salem a leader in the opening of international trade with the Far East, Europe and Russia in the years immediately following the American Revolution.  The Friendship is the largest wooden, Coast Guard certified, sailing vessel to be built in New England in more than a century.  The original Friendship made 15 voyages around the world before being captured by the British during the war of 1812.  The new Friendship is part of the National Park Service's Salem Maritime National Historic Site which includes the last remaining intact complex of colonial era wharves, the 1819 Custom House where author Nathaniel Hawthorne worked and several related maritime structures and Federal Era houses. Friendship is a fully operational sailing vessel.  She is permanently berthed at Derby Wharf in Salem but, on special occasions, she sails to ports along the New England coast.  This trip to New York City will be her furthest sail to date, but plans are being made to sail to Baltimore, MD to commemorate the War of 1812 next year.  Friendship’s keel was laid in 1996 and she was certified by the US Coast Guard as a passenger carrying vessel in 2010.   

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Concours d'Elegance Car Show in Beverly

If you're into cars, and are looking for something to do on Sunday, check out the North Shore Concours d'Elegance at Misselwood at Endicott College.  

The North Shore Concours D’ Elegance will feature some of the finer automobiles on the sloping lawns and ocean backdrops in this historic setting! Funds raised from this event will go directly towards Endicott scholarships. 

The event runs from 11am - 4pm, and admission costs $10, $6 for Beverly residents, and children under 12 are free.

Misselwood is less than 20 minutes from Salem.  Click here for a map.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Painting the American Vision

The Catskills and Lake George, by Thomas Cole (American, 1801-1848)

I wasn't sure how the Peabody Essex Museum would follow the exceptional Treasures from the Forbidden City exhibition, and they amazed me with Golden: Dutch & Flemish Masterworks.  As I walked through Golden during its last weekend, awed by the crowds that were 5, 6, 10-deep waiting to look at the incredible paintings, I wondered how they would top that.  I mean really, how high can the barre be set?!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to get a preview of the new exhibit, Painting the American Vision,
and I, once again, stood in awe of the exhibit, the curatorial vision, and the exhibit designers who transform these galleries time and time again to take us to another time and place entirely.

The PEM is not exaggerating when they describe this exhibit as a collection of "Glorious American landscape paintings."  They are glorious, and their scale is something that cannot be conveyed through blog or print.  To stand before these paintings, relax your eyes, and be drawn into the the mountains, forests, sunsets, and vistas is to take a small vacation for one to a time and place in this country that is for the most part gone, built up, plowed over.

This exceptional collection of paintings is from the collection of the New York Historical Society.  It is the first time a collection of this size has been loaned out by the New York Historical Society, and it provides a unique opportunity to see the works in New England.  

Painting the American Vision is on view July 30 through November 6, 2011.  I highly recommend it.  Getting lost in a scene of the Shandaken Range, in a sunset over Lake George, or with the sloops and schooners on the Shrewsbury River is a perfect way to spend a day.   Perhaps you will leave thinking, as I did, "They've done it again." 

Shandaken Range, Kingston, New York, 1854, Asher Brown Durand

And now, a quick post-script about visiting and interacting with PEM.  They love to Tweet with visitors in the gallery, so if you are visiting the PEM, and have a question or a comment about the exhibits, send up a Tweet to @peabodyessex

Image credits:

The Catskills and Lake George
Thomas Cole (American, 1801-1848)
Catskill Creek, N.Y., 1845
Oil on canvas
26 1/2 x 36 in. (67.3 x 91.4 cm)
The Robert L. Stuart Collection, S-157
New-York Historical Society

Shandaken Range, Kingston, New York, 1854
Asher Brown Durand
Oil on canvas
21 1/2 x 17 in. (54.6 x 43.2 cm)
Courtesy The New-York Historical Society

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Heritage Days kicks off next week

Salem Maritime Festival
If you haven't made plans for Heritage Days in August, you should.  August may feel like it's ages from now, but I've got news for you - and me - August is next week.  (How does that happen?!)

Heritage Days' official kick-off is on Friday, August 5th with the Coyote Run concert at Salem Maritime, the National Park in Salem.  There's a lot of great buzz about Coyote Run - they are a Celtic rock band that is said to have incredible energy.  Bring a picnic to this free concert on Derby Wharf and enjoy the harbor breeze, great music, and good company.

Courtesy Historic New England's Phillips House
The annual Salem Maritime Festival gets into full swing on Saturday, August 6th, with reenactments, crafts, demonstrations, food, free sails and harbor cruises (tickets awarded via lottery), and live music.  This perennial favorite has no shortage of alliteration as it celebrates Salem's maritime history with free family fun as well as ships, sawdust, sailors and song. 

Heritage Days events are all about food and fitness, with the Mayor's Night Out visiting several downtown restaurants, the annual Pizza Contest, an Ice Cream Bowl, Witch's Cup Bike Race, a Junior Triathlon and a 5K for the runners out there.  Kids' Night on the Common is August 12, and the

annual Essex Street Fair is August 13-14.  I am looking forward to Salem Theatre Company's annual Improv on the Bricks on the 13th and 14th.  Oh, and the Phillips House Car Meet on August 14. There are more than forty
Essex Street Fair
events planned for Heritage Days - certainly something for everyone!

Shop, eat, dance, drink (run, swim, bike) and celebrate Salem's heritage with friends, family, visitors and neighbors August 5-14. 

We have featured the public events on and you can find all events, including those for residents-only and Salem seniors, at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Walk Salem

Salem is a very walkable city.  In fact, we delight in our walkability.  Many people choose to live here because so many fantastic neighborhoods are within walking distance of the downtown shopping, dining, cultural sites, Farmers' Market, Salem Ferry to Boston, and MBTA Commuter Rail.

Salem is so walkable, walkBoston - a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving walking conditions in cities and towns across Massachusetts - created a Salem Walking Routes map.  The map highlights Salem Downtown, The Point Neighborhood, and Historic District / Derby Waterfront.  They provide a basic history of Salem, focusing on the maritime story, and recommend looking for slate roofs, pineapples, two-story wooden buildings, brick buildings, date stones, stucco, and the wonderful scenic vistas of Salem harbor (I don't want to give away the store here, so you're going to have to look at their map to find out why they highlight these things!)

Click here for the printable PDF of walkBoston's Salem walking routes.  

There are several other walking tours in Salem, including the Red Line, or Heritage Trail, which is painted on city sidewalks to connect historic sites and points of interest.  The Red Line route is on the Visitor Guide map, and you can read about traveling on the Heritage Trail in past blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2). 

Visit the Salem Maritime National Historic Site online for the McIntire Architecture Walking Trail, Bowditch's Salem: A Walking Tour of the Great Age of Sail, Architecture in Salem walking tour, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's Salem: A Walking Tour of Literary Salem.  These are each great tools to inform your independent exploration of this very walkable, very historic city.

You may have noticed, as I did, that the Salem Witch Trials are absent from these walking trails and routes, which focus on the maritime and architectural history of Salem.  If you want to explore the Witch Trials via a self-guided walk around Salem, a blog post I did for the Carrier Family Reunion and author (The Heretic's Daughter, The Wolves of Andover) Kathleen Kent's visit to Salem last year connects some of the sites that are significant to the Witch Trial history.  

Walking tours are a great way to explore Salem. Lace up your sneakers and get out there! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gables offers Two for One Admission for Residents of Essex and Suffolk Counties

The House of the Seven Gables is inviting residents of Essex and Suffolk Counties to include the Gables in their summer itineraries for half price.  A special "two-for-one" ticket is being offered to all residents of the 38 cities and towns in the two counties, including Boston, Salem, Newburyport, Gloucester, Ipswich, Beverly and Marblehead.  Proper ID must be shown to receive the discounted ticket.

Built in 1668 by Captain John Turner, the House of the Seven Gables is a National Historic Landmark, and the last great colonial mansion house in New England.  The house inspired Salem native Nathaniel Hawthorne to write his famous novel The House of the Seven Gables in 1851. Guided tours of the Gables include the famous “secret staircase” and restored 18th century interiors reflecting the opulence of Salem’s Golden Age of Sail. The historic site features Nathaniel Hawthorne’s boyhood home built in 1750 and moved to The Gables in 1958. Located on Salem Harbor, the mansion features Colonial Revival gardens with sweeping views of the water and Marblehead.

The Gables was restored and opened as a historic house museum in 1910 to generate revenue to support Settlement House work with the newly arriving immigrant community surrounding The Gables. The Gables continues this legacy of community service through partnerships to serve immigrant youth and under-privileged children from Salem. In addition, The Gables has partnered with North Shore Elder services to host the Over the Rainbow supper club one evening each month. This innovative award winning program for seniors of the LGBT community provides an opportunity to get together for good food and camaraderie. Participants come from the North Shore and Boston area. 

Bring a friend, bring a picnic, and spend the day at The House of the Seven Gables! The Gables is located at 115 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts. Open seven days a week from 10:00am to 7:00pm. For more information please contact us at 978-744-0991 x116 or 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Go on Safari in Salem

I love Essex Heritage Photo Safaris.  When else will you have the opportunity to experiment with awesome cameras and lenses, learn from professional photographers, and interact with some of the region's most exquisite natural, cultural and historic landscapes?

The last photo safari I attended in Salem was when Canon was at Salem Maritime, the National Park in Salem. We spent the morning focusing our lenses on the tall ship Friendship, historic houses along Derby Street, and Derby Wharf.  It was five years ago, and I'm still talking about it.

Canon is returning to Salem on July 30th for another Essex Heritage Photo Safari at the Phillips House on Chestnut Street.  Presented in conjunction with Hunt's Photo & Video (as all of the Photo Safaris are), this unique visit to the McIntire District will feature photographer Barbara Ellison, the Federal style architecture of Chestnut Street, and the latest camera equipment from Canon.  

Essex Heritage Photo Safari featuring Canon 
Presented by the Essex National Heritage Commission and Hunt’s Photo and Video
Historic New England’s Phillip’s House, 34 Chestnut Street, Salem, MA 01970
Saturday, July 30, 2011, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Reservations are required. Essex Heritage members $30/Nonmembers $45. 
For more information and to register visit or call 978-740-0444.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Land Ho! Set your course for the 2011 Salem Maritime Festival

A Celebration of Four Centuries of Salem’s Maritime Heritage in “Ships, Sawdust, Sailors & Song” on Friday, August 5 and Saturday, August 6.


Friday, August 5th, 6:30-9 pm

Sunset Concert on Historic Derby Wharf featuring the exciting, contemporary Celtic rock band, Coyote Run 

Saturday, August 6th, 10am-5pm - Free Family Fun All Day!
Free Harbor Cruises!
Friendship of Salem Tours & Demonstrations
USS Constitution Master Gun Drill Team
USCG 47’ Motor Life Boat Tours
NE Aquarium Tide Pool Exhibit
Free Canoe, Kayak, Jolly Boat Rides, Hands-on! Sea Adventures
Horse-drawn Hayrides around Historic Salem (1:00 – 4:00pm)
Roving Storytellers, Craft Demonstrations
Boat building, Face Painting, Kite-flying and a Muck Walk!

Friday, August 5th 6:30 – 9:00pm

Sunset Concert on the Salem Waterfront featuring Coyote Run, with picnicking by the waterside and dancing under the stars. Coyote Run, a very contemporary Celtic rock band blends a marvelously eclectic Celt set list with their ancient earthy vibe for a lavish musical feast of harmony and rhythm. 

Saturday, August 6th 11:00am – 5:00pm
11:00 am: Ben Rudnick & Friends
12:30 pm: Three Sheets to the Wind
1:30 pm: Whose Muddy Shoes 
2:30 pm: New Bedford Harbor Sea Chantey Chorus
3:30 pm: The Love Dog

Presented by the Salem Maritime, the National Park in Salem, the 23nd annual Salem Maritime Festival will host an exciting array of free family fun festivities, including live music, traditional craft demonstrations and seaport trade exhibits, story-telling, and much more!  The centerpiece of this year’s celebration will be the Friendship of Salem, a replica of 1797 merchant vessel that will host the NPS Junior Ranger Program for children. Visiting ships include a U.S. Coast Guard 47’ Motor Life Boat, Schooner Fame of Salem, which is a full-scale replica of a once famous Chebacco fishing schooner, the Vessel Finback offering the HOBBES onboard marine ecology program, Lewis H. Story, the flagship of the Essex Shipbuilding Museum with a fleet of kayaks, canoes, jolly boat, duck boats and radio-controlled model boats on display. Free 90-minute harbor cruises will be offered starting at 9am on the Schooner Fame of Salem and Vessel Finback (see website for Ticket Drawing information). Free kayak, canoe and jolly boat rides will be offered 10am – 4pm. Come celebrate four centuries of Salem maritime history at:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Hearth & Field Day at the Witch House

The sixth annual Hearth & Field Day at the Witch House, featuring Colonel Bailey's 2nd Massachusetts Regiment reenactment group, is scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, July 23rd.  

This is an great opportunity to interact with 18th century reenactors who will be demonstrating weaving, cooking, sewing and other household tasks from the 1700s.  There will be a mess tent set up on the front yard where the women (presumably!) will be preparing a meal, and the men (again, I'm presuming a gender-based division of tasks!) will discuss the militia and weaponry of the time.

Each year the group brings different reenactors, providing a new focus and different experience for visitors, and new insight into the life of 18th-century colonial life.  

At 12:45 PM the Regiment will march from the Witch House to Derby Wharf, via Essex Street and Hawthorne Boulevard, for a musket firing demonstration at 1:00 PM. 

Hearth & Field Day is free to the public. 
Saturday, July 23, 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

Guided tours of the 17th-century Witch House are available for $10.25 ($8.25 for seniors, $6.25 for children 7-14). Self-guided tours are $8.25. The Witch House is the only structure in Salem with direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials open to the public today.  It was the home of Judge Jonathon Corwin, a magistrate during the trials.  Self-guided tours cost $8.25

For more information call The Witch House at 978-744-8815.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

$5.00 Harbor Cruises to Beat the Heat on Friday!

It's hot out there.  And it's going to get hotter.  Here's a very cool way to beat the heat at its own game...

Salem Willows Park

$5 Harbor Cruise Special 
Come cool off with Mahi!

One-hour harbor cruises 
from Salem Willows Park 
12:30 PM - 5:00 PM 
are only $5 
Friday, July 22 only! 

Full bar & food available on all cruises! 
Call or visit the ticket booth by the pier

800-992-MAHI (6244) or 978-825-0001

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Sipping Fundraiser this Sunday

Historic Salem, Inc. Celebrates Summer on the Friendship
It’s back by popular demand!

Join Historic Salem, Inc. aboard the Friendship of Salem on Sunday, July 24, 2011 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. for its annual summer fundraiser.

This is a great way to support HSI's preservation efforts in Salem while having fun aboard one of Salem's most unique event venues. There will be wine and appetizers, music performed by "Jazz in the Air," and a silent auction that features fabulous prizes from local restaurants, hotels, cultural attractions and retailers.

Tickets are $50.00 for members of Historic Salem, Inc. and $65.00 for nonmembers. Tickets purchased on the day of the event are $65.00. Advance ticket purchases are suggested as space is limited and this event typically sells out. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at 978-745-0799, or by visiting the headquarters located at 9 North Street.

Historic Salem, Inc. would like to offer special thanks to the National Park Service for their assistance with this event.This event will be dockside. In case of inclement weather, the Summer Sipping will be held at St. Joseph’s Hall on Derby Street. The event is handicapped accessible; though prior notice is requested to best fulfill the attendee's needs. The National Park Service requires that visitors wear soft-soled footwear.

For more information call 978-745-0799 or email

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Boys Choir to perform at Farmers' Market

The prestigious London Boys Choir from Merchant Taylors' School will perform in Salem Thursday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Old Town Hall to celebrate the school’s founding 450 years ago. It is a free concert but they will be accepting donations which they will contribute to the Salem Farmers’ Market. Mayor Kimberley Driscoll will introduce the choir and welcome them to Salem.

The Choir of 48 boys (ages 11 – 18) are on a singing tour to celebrate the school’s founding in 1651 and are pleased to be able to sing in the historic seaport town of Salem. Salem’s Old Town Hall will be the venue for a this special free concert on the evening of Thursday, July 21. 
The school is one of the oldest in the UK, founded by the Merchant Taylors’ Guild of the 1500’s. It has a long, prestigious, and proud history.  Over the centuries, Merchant Taylor choirs have frequently sung in St Paul’s, London and in many other Cathedrals and halls in the UK and Europe. The choir is lucky have had many excellent conductors over the years. Currently their conductor is Richard Hobson, a former Cathedral chorister, one of UK’s well-known organists and a former Council member of the British Institute of Organ Studies, and adviser on organs to the Diocese of London. He brings great knowledge and discipline to the choir.

In special celebration of the 450th anniversary of the founding of their school in 1651, they decided to tour in the USA. They are performing in St. John the Divine Cathedral, St Thomas Church, and at St Paul’s Chapel, Ground Zero in New York (they particularly requested Ground Zero in honor and respect of  the tenth anniversary year of the attack on the twin towers). They chose Salem due to its long history.  What better place than Salem: an historic place that was founded just a few years before their school. 

They will be performing both secular and sacred music both ancient and modern. You will be delighted by the variety of sound and selection of their performance. As they wanted to leave something of benefit to Salem, the concert is free but if you wish to make a donation at the concert the proceeds will be given to the Salem Farmers’ Market.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thursdays in Salem

Do you Mahi?  You should. 

Picture yourself sitting, relaxing, with a chilled and refreshing beverage in hand.  

Or perhaps you've gone with a group of friends and you are standing, talking, laughing.  Perhaps even dancing a bit.

Mahi Mahi's Live Blues / Local Brews Harbor Cruise feature music by The Gravel Project and brews from Cape Ann Brewing Company. 

It's a great way to unwind on a Thursday night, when you're this close to the weekend and ready to unwind.  There's no better way to unwind than on the water. 

The Thursday Blues & Brews Cruise departs Salem Willows on Thursdays at 7pm and 9pm.  Tickets are $15 per person.

Visit for information and call 800.992.6244 for reservations.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Salem Chef heads to Hell's Kitchen

Salem's very own chef Jen Normant is heading to Hell... Hell's Kitchen, that is.  A Chef de Cuisine for the Hawthorne Hotel and Peabody Essex Museum, Jen is going to put her cooking skill to the test during Season 9 of superstar chef Gordon Ramsay's hit FOX show, Hell's Kitchen

In the season premiere, Ramsay launches the competition with the signature-dish challenge.  Jen's signature dish is Special Secret Pork with Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

You can see Chef Normant and the other 17 chefs fare in Hell's Kitchen when the season premier airs on Monday, July 18th on FOX (8:00 - 9:00 PM ET/PT). 

The chef who wins season 9 will receive a head chef position at BLT Steak in New York City. 

Good luck, Chef Jen! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Harry Potter Magic in Salem

House scarves at Remember Salem
I have mixed emotions about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  I was really sad when I finished reading Book 7, and I feel somewhat the same about the conclusion of the films.  I've enjoyed watching Daniel Radcliffe and the rest of the cast grow up on screen, and I really would like to know how Harry transitions from such an adventurous adolescence into a mild-mannered adulthood. Visions of The Incredibles come to mind, but that's a bit of a cinematic mixed-metaphor, isn't it?

Fortunately, I think the second most magical place to Hogsmeade is Salem.  And some of the best shopping for magical gifts - be they fictitious or real - this side of Diagon Alley is right here.

So, go see HP7 at Cinema Salem, and then walk the streets of Salem and find everything from official, licensed Harry Potter clothing and equipment to locally made spells, wands, hats and more.

Brooms at Hex
At Remember Salem on Essex Street, you will find one of the largest selections of Harry Potter gifts anywhere.  They are one of only three Harry Potter-themed shops in America, and a must for muggles and wizards alike.  I particularly like their "Salem Muggle" t-shirts.

The Trolley Depot at 191 Essex Street, you can buy your House ties, Head Boy pins, and Quidditch goggles.

Stop by Hex at 246 Essex Street for brooms, spells, and candles to put you in a magical mood, or Crow Haven Corner at 125 Essex Street for hats, spell kits and mojo bags.

Wherever you turn, you'll find a bit of magic in Salem.  Let me know if you find a Maurauders' Map, though.  That could come in handy.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Spend a Summer Evening at the PEM

Celebrate Surrealism in the Asian Garden at the PEM in the evening of July 21st.  There will be interactive human chess and other Surrealist games, DIY art, live music by Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys, cocktails and a demo by the chef from the Blue Ox in Lynn.  And, you can check out the new Surreealist exhibition with photographs and paintings by Man Ray, Lee Miller, Picasso and friends (Click here for more on this amazing exhibit).

This is the second in a summer series of evening parties, and it's a great way to see the exhibits, hang out with friends, and enjoy the PEM after hours.

Unconventional gatherings for creative minds
Thursday, July 21, 2011 from 5:30pm - 8:30pm
In the Asian Garden. Pay at the door. Members and Salem residents, $8, nonmembers $10
No reservations required 

On August 25th, the Summer Evening Party will celebrate Ripple Effect, the Art of H2O.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Boston Harbor Islands Travelogue

 Long Wharf North
A trip to the Boston Harbor Islands is an awesome full-day excursion, whether you live locally or are looking to add an extra day to your Salem itinerary.  The Boston Harbor Islands hold unique pieces of Massachusetts, Boston, and American history.  There are 34 islands and peninsulas in this "urban archipelago."  We visited two of them: Spectacle Island and Georges Island, which were extremely different experiences.

Here's how we did it...

9:00 AM
Salem Ferry heading into Boston
Board the Salem Ferry at Salem Wharf, Blaney Street.  This was the first time we had taken the Ferry since the landside improvements have been completed.  The ferry terminal is still under construction, but the parking lot is paved and lined, and there is an path clearly marked for pedestrians.

Taking the ferry into Boston starts your excursion all that sooner.  There's no traffic, no stress, no parking issues. As soon as you walk down the gangway, your experience has begun. The ferry arrived in Boston at 9:55 AM, and we had enough time to run over to the playground next to Christopher Columbus Park for a few minutes before heading out to Spectacle Island.

The inter-island ferry
10:30 AM
Board the Harbor Island Ferry to Spectacle Island.  We were greeted on Spectacle by a park ranger who welcomed us ashore and gave us a self-guided tour brochure.  We stopped into the visitor center and restrooms before beginning our trek up the large drumlin.  Spectacle has an amazing history.  In the 18th century, it was home to a maritime quarantine station, in the 19th century it held a horse rendering plant, and in the early 20th century it was converted into a garbage processing facility.  In 1992, Spectacle's story took an unexpected turn when the Big Dig / Central Artery project used it as a landfill location, and the sediment excavated from Boston was brought out to Spectacle where it was built up into the island you can see today. 

Fife & Drum welcome
There is a sandy beach, with a lifeguard, interpretive signage, a snack bar and visitor center on Spectacle.  People we rode out with were taking beach and picnic supplies, or were planning to hike and walk around the island's trails. 

12:30 PM
We hopped on the inner-island ferry toward Georges Island. Georges is home to Fort Warren, which is a national historic landmark.  Georges Island is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War this summer, so we were met by reenactors playing Fife and Drum, which set the mood for the day.  As eager as we were to explore the fort, we were hungry, so our first stop on Georges was the Summer Shack snack bar.  After lunch, we started into the Fort to explore.
Fort Warren

There are ranger-guided tours throughout the day, but we decided to explore independently and the kids ran in and out of the bastions, observation towers, batteries and casements.  There were reenactors in costume playing music, and the kids
could try their hands at Civil War-era games. 

The museum at Georges Island was very impressive, depicting the experiences of various people who were

stationed, or imprisoned, on Georges Island.  One exhibit displayed six plates of food, showing what you would eat if you were at Fort Warren, and it varied drastically between enlisted, officers, or prisoners.  

3:30 PM
Time for the Harbor Island Ferry back to Long Wharf in Boston.  By this point in the day there were sailboats
Georges Island museum
racing in the harbor, as well as all of the tour boats and pleasure cruises out on the water, making Boston Harbor a very exciting place to navigate.

We arrived back in Boston in time to head over to the North End and grab some pizza (our Salem Ferry tickets were good for a 10% discount at several restaurants through Boston's Best Cruises' Cruise & Play program), and a quick stop at Modern Pastry for Canolli to eat on the Salem Ferry trip back.

6:00 PM
We boarded the Salem Ferry to head back to Salem.We had walked for miles, ridden multiple ferries, and had a great day that took us from a modern-day engineering feat to a Civil War fort and back again.  And we would all sleep well that night.

Salem Ferry,
Adult round trip: $19
Child/Senior round trip: $17

Harbor Island Ferry,
Family 4-pack: $37

Boston Harbor Islands, 
Check out their "150 Free Things to Do," which includes everything from yoga to self-guided tours to fishing clinics.

Snack Bars on Spectacle and Georges: Summer Shack,
Many people bring picnics to enjoy on the beach.  We brought our own snacks and water, but stopped for lunch.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"The New New England" - A Play - to Debut on the lawn at the House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables,

St. Peter's Episcopal Church ~Iglesia Episcopal San Pedro
& Family Self-Sufficiency Center Inc.
To premiere the play “The new New England” July 16th
Free of Charge.

“The new New England” is an adaptation of the production “Millyard, Mass,” by Brendan Pelsue and Anna Smulowitz; the original play told the story of immigrant children and their families who worked twelve hours a day in the mills along the Merrimack River in the early 20th century. The lives of these immigrant families and their struggle for better working conditions and wages were retold in this historical drama. In this adaptation, “The new New England,” Pelsue and Latino youth from St. Peter’s Summer Theater Project interweave their experiences with those of immigrants from the past.  

Support for Salem’s immigrant families is an integral part of The House of the Seven Gables community service work. Founded by Caroline Emmerton in 1910, The Gables has supported Salem’s immigrant families for over 100 years. This partnership with St. Peter’s and Salem’s Latino youth is an example of The Gables’ work today.  The production will take place on The Gables’ seaside lawn on Saturday July 16th at 7:00 pm. 

For reservations, please call 978-744-0991 ext. 108.  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Salem Ferry from Boston to Salem

I love the new Salem Ferry spot promoting travel from Boston to Salem!  This is the best way to travel between the two cities.  I know I'll be on board this weekend!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Live, Free Music at Derby Square on Saturday

The Salem Jazz & Soul Festival continues its summer series tomorrow, Saturday, July 9th when Cameron Galpin brings his acoustic funk & soul to the stage in Derby Square at 5:00 PM.  

Born in Colorado, Cameron Galpin spent much of his early childhood traveling around the world with his family. With two British Beatles fans for parents, it isn't surprising that he naturally fell in love with the art of the song. Trapped on various trains planes and automobiles, he had plenty of time to listen.  He received his first guitar at sixteen and began taking weekly lessons. By eighteen, he had produced his first full-length album of original material.  At nineteen he was awarded a scholarship to Berklee College of Music.

Upon arriving at Berklee, Cameron found himself drawn into a network of talented musicians who loved nothing more than sharing their ideas, and supporting each other's musical visions. Carving out a style reflecting influences from John Mayer, D'Angelo and The Band, he set out to record his first EP of more of his original music. By 2010, his ten-piece band finished the EP, complete with a five-piece horn section. Over the past seven semesters, he spent his time studying and playing with great instrumentalists such as Jamie Haddad, Julian Lage and David Grisman, saturating his style with a mix of jazz, bluegrass, funk and soul. He currently lives and performs in Boston, MA while completing his degree at Berklee.
Sponsored this performance!

Saturday, July 9, 5-7 p.m.
(Acoustic - Funk - Soul) 

The next Summer Series concert will feature Jazz saxophonist Hailey Niswanger on August 13th, and the Salem Jazz & Soul Festival will take over Salem Willows on August 20-21.  It's a fantastic weekend of music (and a weekend of fantastic music).  I highly recommend marking your calendar!