Saturday, September 26, 2015

9/26 Salem, MA

I drove into Salem last night in the midst of Friday afternoon rush hour.  Not a good time to be driving through narrow roads in towns where the houses come right down to the sidewalks and there are lots of pedestrians! 

And, to make things worse, I arrived at one of the worst "campgrounds" I have ever stayed at.  This is basically a dirty and dusty field with lines drawn to designate campsites.  The positive, and the reason I stayed, was the fact that this city park and the peninsula it is located on is only about a mile from the tourist area and museums, so it is certainly a good place to ride my bike.  I knew ahead of time that there would be absolutely NO RV parking within at least a couple of miles of this area, so otherwise I would have had to rent a car to drive in.

The nice thing about living in a motorhome, however, is that once you get hooked up to water and electric, you can go inside and be right at home.

Note that the two rental motorhomes are headed in.  They are German and obvious newcomers, so I don't think they feel comfortable with backing in to such narrow sites.

So, off I went this morning on my bike into town.  I took a slightly less busy street along part of the harbor area.

I wish the streets did not have such obvious power lines because they really ruin the view of some of these old buildings.

This is where all the tour buses head: the Salem Witch Museum.  Frankly, I was disappointed as this is not really a museum in the sense that it has artifacts.  Basically, it is a presentation where you go into a darkened room and listen to a spooky voice telling you about the witch trials while scenes around the top of the room light up in red lighting that I assume is supposed to be dramatic.  I left during the second part of the presentation as I found it hokey and boring, and more than a little silly. 

I bought a ticket for the trolley tour of the city, but then bailed out of that halfway through because it was so packed and I had no way of taking photos through dirty windows.  I got on my bike which I had parked near the visitor center and retraced part of the trolley path, but this time being able to stop and take photos. 

Frankly, I found these old homes much more interesting than the tour spiel.  Which one of these would you choose to live in??

Most of the photos of houses below were taken on this pleasant residential street, Cambridge Street.

Can you imagine washing all those windows?  Note that this one has three stories, plus an attic and a basement.  Impressive.  The tour guide on the trolley said these are all single family homes!

This one is more my size. 

By the way, other than a couple of backstreets, I rode 6 miles today mostly in city traffic--taking up my own lane and stopping at red lights and such.  It was a little scary, but I am careful when I do this to follow traffic rules.  Taking up a whole lane on a bike, especially my electric bike, is not only legal, but is safer because it prevents cars from crowding you or cutting you off.

After exploring the residential streets, I headed down to the harbor area to check out the Salem Maritime National Monument. 

This is the original harbor with a replica ship, the Friendship.

Most of the books about Salem focus heavily on the witch trials and ignore the strong commerce and shipping in this town.  200-300 years ago, this port would have been full of ships like this one.

This very dignified building is the Customs House for the port.

So, by this time, I was approaching my four-hour limit on touring.  The limit is self-imposed by my body--after four hours of touring just about anything, I am ready to go home and relax!  So, I rode the mile back to the campground, put my bike away on its rack for travel tomorrow, and crashed on my recliner!  And the best part is that I have a good satellite signal here and good internet.


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