Sunday, November 10, 2013

Boston to Salem, Sail'em to Boston

Five of our very close friends came to our wedding from across the world.  Three from California and two of them from Australia.  They were part of the group of friends who all got us the very same kitty card for the wedding.  We had a good laugh when we got to the fourth kitty card and started to catch on that this wasn't just some weird coincidence...

A couple weeks after the wedding our friends from Australia started asking us some questions.  What are our plans for the next month?  Do we have this weekend open or how about that one?  We start to wonder if they are coming to visit us in Boston!  But they just moved to Australia and were just out here recently for the that would be weird.  Wonder what they are planning?.... Then we realize it... Our Australian friends are planning to elope and they want us to come for a surprise wedding!!!  We get super excited!

These sly Aussies...

Then our California friends email us about this weekend coming up and tell us that they are all planning on sending us somewhere (not to an Australian wedding) but as a present to us for our own wedding!  Disappointed in the lack of more weddings but now excited for a new adventure, we now have to wait to find out where we are going.... and wait....and wait.

Originally we try to schedule an all inclusive video chat for the big reveal.  A couple weeks go by as we attempt to coordinate seven people's schedules spanning 10+ time zones.  Needless to say, after several failed meetings, we resort to the good ol' e-mail reveal. 

While we were out at dinner with our new French friends Trevor opens the "big reveal" e-mail and we find out we are going to the spooky, yet enchanting, and enticingly close by Salem, Massachusetts!  We tell our French friend our announcement as we high five our upcoming trip.  Our French friend is a little bewildered because Trevor had been telling him about how our friends are sending us on a surprise honeymoon vacation and the French friend had been thinking we would be going to a more typical, more tropical "honeymoon" destination.  He was all the more flabbergasted because our French friend had just come back from Salem, which is a pretty popular place around Halloween time (shocker), and he did not have a very good trip there.  His main dissatisfaction was the train ride and the copious amounts of vomit and staggering degree of severely drunk people.  Oh boy, we were in for a real treat!

My first disappointment was that no one was projectile vomiting on the train...

Where's the puke?

Luckily that was our only disappointment.  We arrive at our Morning Glory Bed and Breakfast and our keys are taped to the door.  We are staying in the Bridget Bishop room.  All the rooms are lovingly named after the accused witches of the 1692 Salem Witch Trial massacre.  Bridget was the first "witch" to be executed during the hysteria....romantic... We check into our very cute vintage room:

I think this doll was made of real human skin.
Artwork in our room.  Very appropriate.
We are younger than all our friends...except Serena, but she's still awesome.

We check in to find a lovely little room with a six pack of Coors Light tall boys sent from our friends:
Beer in our room!  Even more appropriate.

What's more romantic than some cheap American beer in an old witch town?

Yes.  A beer store called "Bunghole Liquors."  Someone has a sense of humor...
Our friends booked the bed and breakfast and gave us a whole itinerary of restaurants to eat, shops to shop, and tours to follow.  I pull out the itinerary and mark off every single stop on my new Salem map to make sure we can do as much as possible in the most efficient manner.  We have a Coors Light in the room and then we head out for dinner.  The first place on the itinerary was "The Old Spot".   Ok, so maybe there was one more disappointment....
The bar is closed.

So we go off the itinerary and come across a local brewery called the Salem Beer Works.  That works.

The next morning we have a lovely breakfast courtesy of our B&B host, Bob, who does a great job of introducing all the guests to each other.  Both mornings Bob greeted us with "good morning Julie and Trevor" as we walked into the kitchen, but once we got into the dining room with everyone else he would introduce us to the crowd as "Charlie and Carly."  We just went along with it...on both days... There are a few other young couples staying there and we shared stories of our plans and showed them the wonderful itinerary that our friends put together.
Ol' Morning Glory B&B

Day 1 we set out with our map and itinerary and hit every stop along the way:

1. Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables
This is not the House of 7 Gables.  This is the old witch house. But they sort of look similar.
2. The nation's oldest candy shop, Ye Old Pepper Candy Company.  (We went in to check it out along with every school-aged child and their mother)

3. The Old Burying Ground cemetery located in the dead center of town ;)
This is when we passed by Friday night

4. The Old Town Hall  we learned was used in the filming of the 90's Disney classic, Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and the funny nun from Sister Act.

5. The Witch City Consignment thrift shop

6. A cute little gift shop called "Roost"

Then we stop for butternut squash raviolis at Red's Sandwich Shop which is formally known as the Old London Coffeehouse, a popular meeting place for the Patriots of the Revolutionary War.

After lunch, I realize I have somehow lost my map and itinerary.  Trevor back tracks to the last few places we visited to see where I might of left it, while I continue on my shopping spree.  He returns empty-handed.  Alas we are map-less, but luckily we already hit most of the stops before all was lost.  Now we are on our own.

We go down to the harbor and take a guided tour of "The Friendship" courtesy of the National Park Service.
The Friendship is the big boat

There she is.

Fitting the stereotype for government workers, our tour guide was a miserable crank of an old man.  Speaking over people, correcting children, making snotty remarks, about to blow his head off when someone side tracked his memorized spiel.  This all led to a very entertaining and educational hour.  We learned that Salem played a big part in international trade, that merchant sailors were very wealthy, and that Nathanial Hawthorne worked at the custom house across the street where he came to conceive the plot for his book, The Scarlet Letter.

View from the ship
After the boat, which was a functioning replica of a 1797 East India merchant ship, we toured The Custom House where Hawthorne worked.

Hawthorne's old desk

The eagle that used to be atop the Custom House.

Then we headed to our next commitment:  The Hocus Pocus tour.

This was our souvenir
The Hocus Pocus Tour was led by a very nice couple originally from Bergen County New Jersey.  They led us all over town on a 110 minute walking tour telling tales of murder, ghosts, witch accusations, torture, hangings, and they also showed us where some of the scenes were filmed from the TV show Bewitched and the movie Hocus Pocus.

Enjoying the tour

The haunted Hawthorne hotel!

This place looks super haunted

We finish the tour and we are tired.  Luckily there is only one more thing on our itinerary today and that is dinner...except our reservation isn't for another 30 minutes.  So we head to a bar for an appetizing drink.   Since it was closed yesterday, we check in at the Old Spot for a pint.

Afterwards we head over for a fancy Italian meal at the cozy yet classy Bella Verona restaurant.  Dinner is compliments of our good friend Jojo.  We order a little caprese salad appetizer and a carafe of wine to start, followed by a nice salad, complimentary garlic bread with olive tapenade, and some pasta with rabbit meat as an entree.  We pass on the dessert only to receive a complimentary slice of tiramisu with a birthday candle in it, followed by the check which read:

It is not our anniversary and they spelled his name wrong, but the thought was nice...

Since we didn't see the bill and our friends told us dinner was on them, we didn't think twice about leaving a tip before leaving.  As soon as we exit the restaurant we are chased down by the head waiter who tells us that we forgot to leave a tip. So we head back in and give him our credit card only to have it returned by the owner with the assurance that Jojo is taking care of it.  Thanks Jojo!

After dinner, we are officially done with our planned itinerary for the day.  We decide to head back to The Old Spot because we liked it so much and continue to have a few more $2 tall cans of Rolling Rock.  We plant ourselves in the 2 out of 5 stools at the bar and have a good chat.  Trevor and I have been living together for 8+ years.  We now both work from home in a new city where we don't know too many people yet.  We talk to each other a lot...  While we like each other just fine, it's always good to branch out a little.

Trevor starts chatting with a bearded guy on his right, but he is pretty weird.  I start a conversation with a bearded guy and his lady friend on my left and they are pretty cool.  Not long after Trevor ditches weird beard and joins my conversation with cool beard and equally cool lady friend.   We learn that they used to live in Cambridge and are now planning a wedding for this January.  We have lots to talk about with them.  We go back and forth sharing wedding planning nightmare stories and move on to topics like "fun things to do in Cambridge" and "dogs." Yay new best friends!  But unfortunately they have to leave the bar to go home and walk said dog.  Good bye new best friends!!

We had such success with them that we decide to strike up a conversation with the next young couple that takes their seats.  "Oh hey, what are you guys drinking?!" I interrupt.  The guy slowly turns to me and quietly says "root beer."  End of conversation.

That couple has one drink and leaves, which is lucky for us.  The next two guys to take their seats really are our new best friends.  They sit and we immediately start to chat... and chat and chat.  Pretty soon we are telling jokes and jokes and jokes and continue drinking beers and beers and beers.  Eventually the bar closes down and we have to leave.  At this point, memories are a little fuzzy for me.  Trevor vaguely remembers having a group hug.  The only thing I can recall is that they also live in the Cambridge area and that there was some talk of them giving us a ride home the next day.... on their boat.

We wake up Sunday morning, hungover as all hell.  Trevor says to me "We got to get up cause I think we're going on that boat today... " I start to recall the conversation.  Was that real?  Do you think those guys are really going to take us home on their boat?  Do you think they'll even remember us?  How are we even going to get in touch with them?  Trevor tells me I exchanged numbers with them.  I check my phone.  Missed text from new friend Brian "will pick you up at your B&B at 10."   Crap!  We got to get moving!

We look outside and it is raining.  We check the weather: high in mid 40s.   It's freezing.  Are we really going on this boat?!  Brian comes to our B&B with rain jackets for us and a plan to meet him down by the dock in 25 minutes.  We eat breakfast with Bob and the other occupants at the B&B.  Each group is talking about their day yesterday and their check out plans for today.  Then comes our turn.  Someone asks us what train we're taking back to Boston.  "Wellll, funny you should ask.  We think our plans have changed and well, we made some friends last night and said they are going to take us home on their boat."  Our B&B friends are impressed, slightly jealous maybe... Maybe a little scared for our life.  Maybe they think we're crazy...  As we are leaving breakfast and saying our goodbyes, one girl says to us "I'll look for you on tonight's news..."

We go back to our room and lay down until it is time to head to the dock to meet Brian and figure out what kind of boat they are using to take us home.  We have no idea...  Time seems to be accelerating every time we check the clock, and in our fragile state we come up with a great new blockbuster idea for a bumper sticker: "Time flies when you are hungover as balls."  We think this is hilarious.

The time comes to go meet Brian.  We put on our rain gear and head for the pier.  We once again come upon The Friendship, the massive 18th century cargo ship we toured, and a little marina next to it filled with nice covered fishing boats and small yachts.  We hope our boat is one of those.  We see a small dingy down by the pier and start to joke that this is the boat we are going back to Boston in.  We then notice there's a man in the dingy.  Wait, he's waving at us.  Oh crap, it's Brian!   Please god don't let that be our boat!...

Brian trying to get the motor started on the dingy...
We climb aboard the dingy with all our possessions and head out to our other "friend" Joaquin's boat, which we are happy to learn is much bigger and sturdier than this little dingy.

Happy but hurting in the little dingy
We have some awkward reintroduction conversations with Brian... "so what do you do for work?"....."well I think I told you last night that I'm an engineer.".... "oh yeaaaaa"...
"where did you grow up?"....."we're from jersey"...."oh yea I remember you telling me that last night now. I'm from Jersey too"....."no way!....  I vaguely remember that!"....

Then we climb aboard the Italian-word-for-sugar-named boat and sail 20 miles in 4 hours back to Boston on their lovely sailboat.  It was a chilly and very turbulent ride, but were happy to report that no one got murdered or even physically sick.  Still no vomiting on this trip.

Trev lounging on the couch

Got my sea legs ready

Joaquin charting the course

The cold and rocky Atlantic

Joachin and Brian keeping us on track

They even let me drive!

and Trevor too.

He looked like a real sailor...
...or maybe more like a fisherman.

Big Thank You to our friends for the lovely honeymoon weekend and especially for strategically planting out new best friends at the Old Spot!  We love you guys!

P.S. They also got us this sweet credit card!


Breanna said...


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