Halloween Happenings!

It’s Wanderlust Wednesday, and we are off to..where else…Salem, Massachusetts! The Halloween Capital of the World! For 11 months of the year, Salem is just another beautiful seafaring city along the North Shore of Boston. A favorite year-round tourist destination, Salem features many unique attractions, like Pickering Wharf, filled with boutiques and restaurants

Salem Willows, a beautiful ocean-side park

with an old-fashioned arcade

and the House of Seven Gables– the home of Susanna Ingersoll, cousin to Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Hawthorne’s frequent visits to this home are credited with inspiring the setting and title of his 1851 gothic novel The House of the Seven Gables.

Ah, but come the month of October, the city comes alive with the sights and sounds of Haunted Happenings, Salem’s homage to all things Halloweeny (Click here for all the official event information)

There are costume balls

The Devils Run road race

and thousands of costumed tourists flocking to the city to join in the festivities…

but also to visit and tour the Witch House (the only structure still standing with direct ties to the witch trials of the 1600’s.)

and the Salem Witch Museum where you will learn the true story of the Witch Hysteria of 1692.Salem, of course, is home to the notorious Salem Witch Trials that took place in the 1600’s, when twenty innocent men and women were put to death under suspicion of witchcraft. 

Modern-day witches, such as Laurie Cabot, “The Official Witch of Salem

(as proclaimed by Governor Dukakis in the 1970’s), have fared much better than their ancestral counterparts.  The city itself has embraced its historic heritage and is nicknamed “Witch City”, and hosts a multitude of witch shops that feature all things witchcraft and offer Psychic Readings. Tonight, on Salem Commons, you can join in the Salem Witch’s Samhain Celebration (where you will find the true history, based in Celtic roots, of the holiday we now know as Halloween).

But if you don’t want to brave the post-Sandy weather, and the horrifically haunted crowds tonight, you can visit Invocation Creation, where you will learn more about Psychic Readings and Tarot and the practice of modern-day witchcraft. The information is spell-binding!

Ok, time to get my costume ready for work. I am going as a middle-aged blogger/health-care provider. Can’t get much scarier than that! Have a “spook”tacular (and safe) Halloween!! Susan

Antiquing Essex

Sunday was yet another glorious day here in the Bay State. Warm & sunny, not a cloud in the sky-not bad for March 18! Time to take the shrink-wrap off the porch. Huh?! Well, last fall we had our old deck enclosed and transformed into a screened-in porch. We didn’t have much time to enjoy it before the winter months were upon us, so rather than packing away all of the furniture and accessories that we had flea-marketed last fall, we decided to wrap the porch in plastic, creating a greenhouse effect while protecting the freshly painted wicker. They shrink-wrap boats, don’t they?! Turns out that since it was such a nice winter, we actually were able to use the porch for sitting and enjoying the outdoors, without actually being outdoors, all winter long.  Now that the plastic is gone it’s time to shop for some porch decor- going with the simple pretty country style- lots of red, white and blue, wicker and old wood and iron.

Our first stop was Essex, a pretty little Cape Ann town (pop. 3500) steeped in ship-building history- a go to destination for a leisurely afternoon drive. The town center is surrounded by marsh lands and the Essex River, which leads out to the Atlantic Ocean. Just 25 miles north of Boston, Essex is known for its art galleries, funky antique shops and delicious and plentiful seafood, especially lobster and fried clams. Legend has it the “Chubby” Woodman invented the fried clam back in the early 20th century. On any given summer day, you will find the long lines of hungry tourists and locals alike waiting patiently in lines that snake around the building and down the street for a taste of Woodmans fresh seafood.

Antiquing in Essex is an adventure, and the old saying “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” surely comes to mind. Most of the shops are housed in antique village homes -full of charm and character-each room stuffed to the rafters with junk/treasures. You never know what you might find as you make your way through the packed, narrow hallways and into the yards and sheds of the shops, most of which are within walking distance of one another. Because of its rich maritime history, there is an abundance of nautical art and artifacts available. Everything from buoys to boat models, lobstah traps, maps and brass are available, all prices negotiable.

We came to Essex searching for some hanging pieces to create lighting for the porch. Beyond excited to find these rusted old planters, soon to be transformed into hanging lights for the porch, that will add more of that vintage country style that we love. Pics to follow (once I figure out how to make them). Happy Spring, everyone!

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