Salem


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Susan, Peter & I took a daytrip by commuter rail to Salem a week ago Sunday.  It was a fun adventure, especially for our three-year old train fanatic who looked out the window and narrated our journey all the from North Station to Salem.

Our first stop was lunch at Reds Sandwich Shop where the friendly waitresses (and customers) doted on Peter and the plates were full of tasty food.   Next stop was the Peabody Essex Museum.    After getting admonished by a guard for standing too close to the maritime art we went to the family-friendly, hands-on Art & Nature gallery.  Here there was the art of optical illusions, toys, puzzles, books, and a build your own bird station among other treats.  I was able to explore some of the other galleries and was impressed by the mix of American and Asian fine arts and decorative pieces, deliberately overlapping to show the cross-pollination of cultures in Salem’s history.  Particularly impressive was the FreePort [No. 001] exhibit in the East India Marine Hall where a staid gallery of ship’s models and figureheads is transformed by animations projected on all surfaces.  The video below should give the essence of the experience but one really needs to walk into the room for the full effect.

The PEM is an impressive museum and there was a lot more to see – including a special exhibit of Dutch art – but we were all pretty tired by then.  As a special treat for good behavior in the museum I took Peter to Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company, reputedly America’s oldest candy story.  Peter picked out a package of gummy fish and we ate them on the wharf overlooking historic houses and ships.  Salem is a charming town and has a quite to bit to offer especially if you can avoid the cheezy witchcraft exploitation industry.

We had a light supper and then caught a double-decker commuter train back to Boston which made it double exciting.

Earlier journeys in-and-around Boston:

Photopost: Providence


Today I took my toddler son Peter on a day trip to Providence, RI.  The main appeal of the outing was for Peter to finally get a chance to ride the double-decker commuter rail trains but I’ve been wanting to explore Providence for some time.  Despite living a combined 27-years in the neighboring states of Connecticut and Massachusetts I’ve not given much attention to Rhode Island.  I’ve driven through Providence past the giant termite, I went to a basketball camp at Providence College 20 years ago when I was in high school, I’ve been to a couple of Providence Bruins games, and … and that’s about it.

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The Providence railroad station is centrally located right next to the Rhode Island State House.  For the smallest state, Rhode Island really has an enormous capitol complete with gleaming white marble, neoclassical facades, and a looming hilltop presence.  I didn’t have any destination in mind, just wanted to get out and  explore. Peter & I strolled through Waterplace Park an attractive urban development of recent vintage which apparently replaced railroad tracks that once covered the river.  Then we visited City Hall Park where Peter chased after many, many pigeons.

While I would be content to study the attractive architecture of Providence, Peter wanted a playground and not being able to find one, we made our way to the Providence Children’s Museum.  The museum is located in the Jewelery District which actually looked like a district of unoccupied industrial buildings which was a little creepy.  The area around the museum was friendly and the museum itself was great – smaller but also less intimidating than the Boston Children’s Museum.   On our way back to the railroad station we walked through another part of downtown.  It feels someone how more urban than Boston and very different architecturally.  I will have to return to explore more when my attention is not so focused on a toddler.