Saturday, May 19, 2007

New England

Well my wife and I arrived at Logan airport, Boston MA, late Monday evening looking forward to two days to look around before picking up a car for a tour round New England. Boston turned out to be delightful. The weather was warm and sunny, the city historic and attractive, the people, polite and helpful. Tuesday we did the usual tourist thing.

Wednesday we decided it would be an idea to take the train to Salem for the day. Somehow trains around the world always seem to find their way through the most unattractive part of any city. Salem proved a mixed bag. The Salem Witch Museum, interestingly located in a former church, did a good job of narrating the history of the witch hysteria that took over the town. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the girls caught up in such a restrictive environment. One comment rang so true, the puritans had fled intolerance and then became totally intolerant themselves. After the history they also made a passable, if brief, attempt at explaining contemporary Wicca. In contrast the Witch Village was so tacky that the nearest thing I can compare it to is the ghost train at Blackpool. And to make matters worse everything they said about witchcraft was utter rubbish. Still we found a couple of interesting shops to brighten us up before getting the train back to Boston.

After picking up the car on Thursday we drove up to Wiscasset which proclaims itself to be the, The Prettiest Village in Maine. It certainly was very pretty though by Friday the temperature had plumetted to 42F and it was pouring it down with rain. Despite the rain and cold we explored Boothbay Harbor. A very pretty place with one of the strangest shops I have ever been in, Enchantments. Two floors with every nook and cranny filled with pagan and new age paraphanalia of every kind and description and a decent selection of books on witchcraft. So many things to make us smile on a wet day.

Saturday morning and the rain has stopped and the temperature rising. We set the satnav to guide us to Lincoln in the White Mountains by the shortest route which took us down lots of little roads, some unpaved, through endless woodland to the start of the Kancamagus Highway. Unutterably beautiful - lots of places to stop, each with their own very special spirit of place. We made many offerings at rivers and falls and places of total beauty. I took the photo above just as the warming day was raising a magical mist from the river. If ever there is a place beloved of the fey this has to be it.

Oh, and I brought Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" with me to read which I have now nearly finished. I love this author and the way he weaves his own special kind of story. Maybe more from New England if I get internet access again.

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Blogger Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Oh, hooray! You're visiting our side of the pond--and my neighborhood, too! Boothbay Harbor, the Kancamagus Highway, the White Mountains... home sweet home!

I hope the spirits of place continue to welcome you as warmly as I do to my beloved biome. *smile* Enjoy your visit--especially now that the rain has stopped and the hills are all greeining up beautifully at last.

Blogger Paul said...

Hi Cat,

Thanks for the warm welcome, sure is beautiful and the sun is shining again too now :)))

We are heading for Vermont. Friends have an organic farm 30 miles from Stowe so it will be real good to see them.

Back to UK on 30th May.

Blogger Luna said...

Hi, I just found your blog, and I was so pleased to read that you enjoyed New England. As a lifelong Massachusetts resident and a descendant of Puritans (one was even accused of witchcraft!), Irish-Catholics, and French Canadians, I tend to feel a swell of dorky pride when travelers say they enjoyed their stay here. I was particularly pleased to hear you call Bostonians "friendly," a moniker we rarely seem to earn from visitors from other parts of our own country.
Yeah, Salem. It's so full of drama.The witch museums are not what they could be. Salem is a business, a witch business, and it attracts all sorts. There are some great little shops, and I hope you got to go to the Peabody Essex Museum.
I haven't been to Boothbay in over 10 years, so I was happy to hear that Enchantments is still in business.
Well, thanks for letting me ramble!


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