New York & New England Trip 2005                 Main

Mon 13th June - Maine to Salem & Boston, Massachusetts

Up early and across to the breakfast hut again, and we were going to tip the lady from the day before, but she wasn't working that day, so we kept the money. We ate up for the long journey ahead, and got packed up. I went to check out and was surprised to hear that the room hadn't been paid for. I consulted my booking paperwork, and recalled how that particular reservation hadn't required my credit card details. So I paid the guy, who advised me to phone the hotel direct in future for a better price, and we set off back up the road to Bangor.

We stopped at the same services we'd stopped on the way up to Maine, so that Karen could buy some souvenirs, mugs and cushions and a stuffed Moose toy, etc. The road back down through Maine was as quiet as it was on the way up, and we made good time, reaching Massachusetts by midday. We headed for Salem.

We followed the signs for Tourist Information and parking, and the road eventually led us through the busy streets to a shopping mall, where we parked on the roof and got the elevator down to street level. By this time we were all hungry, so we nipped into a bagel cafe and had some bagels for lunch. We followed the directions to the Tourist Information centre, and picked up a lot of leaflets for attractions in the area. Salem trades on its witchcraft associations, and there were a lot of themed horror museums around the town, and I came prepared by doing a lot of internet research before we'd left.

First on the list was Dracula's Castle, which had a substantial web page devoted to it, and we walked across town to Lafayette St, only to find a dilapidated shop front which had obviously been closed down for some time. We were all a bit disappointed as we walked back. So we tried the more famous Salem Witch Museum, which was thankfully open, so we went in and watched a show where a succession of still 3d tableaus were illuminated to describe the story of the Salem Witch Trials. It was all a bit lo-tech compared with the animatronics we'd seen elsewhere, but the story was interesting, even if we did have to crane our heads as the thing progressed around the room. The kids bought some souvenirs in the shop.

After the museum, we went out and sat on the common, while the kids played on the bandstand with their new toys. After a bit of a rest, we looked at the papers and decided we'd give the Museum of Myths and Monsters a try down on Wharf Street. So we walked halfway across town again, and were delighted to see that it was open. We went inside where there was a Dracula's coffin, and someone tidying up. He informed us that they close half day on a Monday and he was very sorry but we couldn't go in, so we left, disgusted. As a last try, we gave Wax Museum on the main street a go, but it too had closed at lunchtime, and wasn't opening again. Sick of the whole place, we went back to the car and drove to the Boston. Very disappointing, on the whole.

We followed the map into Boston, and came off the interstate at the right junction to get to Medford. I had printed off precise directions to the hotel from the Interstate, and they seemed to work, until we got quite close to the hotel, when we seemed to be on the wrong side of a car park. The hotel was quite visible, being a multi-storey, so we headed across the car park, and came out on a one-way street, which Karen accidentally drove down the wrong way for a bit, until the approaching traffic let her turn. A bit shocked by the experience, we parked and checked into the hotel.

It was the Amerisuites Medford, and we were on the 6th floor. The room was spacious and was a proper studio suite with somewhere to sit, and a kitchenette with fridge and microwave. We settled into the room before deciding that we should try out their indoor heated pool. We got into our swimming stuff and made our way downstairs with hotel towels to the pool, which was at the back of the building. There were a few kids and parents in, and the water was a bit cool. We splashed about in the pool for a while, until Niamh got out to jump in, and we noticed an ominous brown parcel satchelled in the back of her swimming costume. Yes, she had. Karen took her quickly back upstairs and left me and Connor to splash around a bit, staying away from the part of the water Niamh had been in! After a while, Karen brought the room key back down, and we could go upstairs to get changed. After all the excitement we were left wondering where we could eat. I'd noticed a sign on the Interstate for a Friendlys a couple of junctions up from the hotel, so we made our way there and parked up. The restaurant was absolutely full, and we had to wait for a table, but since we didn't know anywhere else, we had no choice. The food was very good, though, and we went back to the hotel, wondering what we could do with the evening, since the area was proving a bit lacking in obvious attractions. Eventually we decided to go for a drive, and found ourselves on the back roads towards Salem again, where we passed by many little New England houses and towns on the way. We turned around at Salem, and on the way back we drove down the east side of Boston along the sea front, until we got to Logan Airport and then turned around again. By this time it was getting dark, so we drove back to the hotel and to bed.