At Kennebunk, Maine, we plugged our destination into the GPS and relaxed. In a little over an hour it guided us along the interstate through three states. We paid two tolls along the way.
Winter Island RV Park at Salem, Massachusetts, turned out to be the ideal location for any RVer looking to see Boston without having to drag their trailer through the inner city traffic. Just a mile away from our campsite is the Salem Ferry, which deposits its passengers right at the foot of everything that most people want to see in downtown Boston. The ferry ride is about an hour long and a round trip costs just under twenty dollars a person.
We toured Salem by bicycle, scoping out where to catch the ferry and picking up some wine along the way. Salem is where, during the 1700’s, there were eighteen women hanged for suspicion of being witches. One man was executed for the same reason but he was stoned to death – by placing large rocks on him until he was suffocated, or crushed, whichever came first.
Photo: Tim buying some wine from the Bung Hole in Salem – a picture that the late Dave Jenneson (Big D) would have loved to get his hands on.
Photo: An on old sailing ship at Salem – lots of things look spooky at Salem.
The next day we walked to the ferry and took the 11am crossing to Boston. The ride provides spectacular views of the city from the water, punctuated with frequent large aircraft coming and going from the airport. Starting at the wharf, we decided on hoofing the Freedom Trail which takes walkers to the most significant architectural and historical landmarks from Boston Common to Bunker Hill. The trail is about three miles each way and is marked by a red line painted on the sidewalks.
Somewhat to our surprise, we found the people of Boston very approachable, interested/ing, and even downright friendly. Boston is the home of Harvard, Cambridge, North Eastern, Boston College, MIT and a few other lesser colleges. It’s a vibrant, lively and attractive city, packed with history.
Photo: The Boston skyline from the ferry.
Photo: The Union Oyster House Bar which has been there for hundreds of years, where we had some “Chowdah”.
Photo: Inside the Union Oyster House.
Photo: One of the fountains at Boston Common.
Photo: Downtown Boston.
On the ferry ride back, due to brisk winds and an outgoing tide, the almost fearless Janice got the giggles. The more the boat rocked and bucked the more frequent and louder the giggling got. It was infectious. Soon I started getting the giggles too and another woman ahead of us started up as well. It turned out she was a lawyer, commuting with her fold-up bike to and from Salem. When I quipped something about ‘Boston Legal’ she admitted to that actually being her nickname.
By the time we walked home from the ferry we had put on ten or more miles, so we took it easy, lounging around the waterfront at our park.
Photo: A silvery moon over Salem Harbor at Winter Haven Park.
Photo: Us at Winter Haven RV Park after a long day in Boston.
Photo: Dusk at Winter Haven Park.
The following morning, the first day of fall, was sunny and crisp. We decided to see Gloucester, north of Salem, where ‘The Perfect Storm’ was filmed. Our end-of-day destination was Cape Cod but, on the way to Gloucester, ‘Susan”, our GPS, got us lost on a dead-end beach road where we found ourselves at Manchester-by-the-Sea. We stopped there and had lunch, deciding to abandon the idea of Gloucester.
We avoided driving through Boston by taking the I-95 South and ended up at Scusset Beach State Par kwhere we had a long walk along the shoreline. It’s a beautiful place but there are no trees and the wind blew so hard all night that it was hard to sleep. The next day we decided to head a little further south, from where we could easily do two separate driving loops of Cape Cod.
Photo: A fisherman casts for Striped Bass at Scusset Beach State Park.
Eventually, after Susan got us lost again, we found a campsite at Dunroamin’ RV Park at Sandwich, a very well preserved and stately little town that was the first place settled in Cape Cod. If it had still been summer this would be an ideal RV spot because it’s a huge property with a beautiful sandy beach on the lake.
After lunch we drove the loop around the southern portion of The Cape, the part that the Rand McNally Road Atlas displays its red ribbon on, signifying The Best of The Best of scenic drives. Not! Hyannis was a highlight but the rest was just OK. It’s not the first time we’ve been fooled by Rand McNally recommendations.
Back at camp, a mountain of laundry occupied several machines while we had dinner outside. It was dark but balmy – so much so that the crickets were still doing their thing as we feasted on another of Janice’s wonderful culinary delights: Thai Cucumber and Radish Salad. Its one of the freshest tastes you can get for summer, but it’ll do in any other season too.
Photo: The beach at Hyannis.
Photo: The Port at Hyannis. Not Hyannisport, for that a ferry ride is required.
We awoke to a beautiful sunny day and drove the eastern loop of Cape Cod. It’s like a fifty mile drive along Marine Drive in West Vancouver, except almost all the houses have shake exteriors. Cape Cod residents; Cape Codders, Codders, or Capers or whatever you call them, are very crafty when it comes to their beaches — they don’t have signs to them and the scenic highway doesn’t always follow the waterline so we had to be vigilant about watching for street signs that might give them away. For example, Breakwater Street in Brewster, which we found leads to, of all things, Breakwater Beach.
Janice had planned to have leftovers from last night’s meal, but with a twist. She put the leftovers in tinfoil and was going to heat them on top of the truck’s engine while we took a walk on the beach. Trouble was, the engine put out hardly any heat, so we ate them barely warm, which was good too.
Photo: The beach at Brewster, Cape Cod.
Photo: Some historical buildings that had been moved to Brewster Park.
Photo: A fall scene typical of Cape Cod.
We drove to Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod and strolled around, trying to avoid the main street which is crowded with tourists even now in the off season. Provincetown is as pretty as any other, but overrun with visitors, many of whom are young men that often appear to be of a certain sexual persuasion. We had been warned away from Provincetown by people who thought it was a dangerous place, due to the numbers of Gays that frequent the streets. Janice says, “What are they going to do – hit you with their purse?”
Photo: A view of Provincetown from a slight elevation.
We visited the monument to the Pilgrims at Provincetown, where Janice blew by the admission gate. I followed and pointed out to her that we had just sneaked in. She claimed the $7 entry fee was to climb the tower. I replied on the way out that it was a general admission. She was only slightly embarrassed as we hurriedly walked to the truck.
Photo: The busy main street of Provincetown.
Photo: The port at Provincetown.
What’s the only thing more common to New England than wild turkeys? TD Banks, that’s what. Yes, they completely dominate the marketplace in all of the New England States. As a matter of fact, it’s rare to see any other bank. I can’t imagine why these rich Yankees are letting Canadian banks have all their money. When asked, they have no idea what TD stands for. The answer: Toronto Dominion Bank.
Today is cloudy and we’ve had enough of little tourist towns for the time being so we’re going to skip the ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard and head for Rhode Island instead. The fog looked like it was going to lift as we drove towards the smallest state in the union.
Because we had been seeing so many signs advertising fried clams, Janice had been talking about trying them before we got out of Massachusetts. We stopped at Wareham at a place called The Lobster Pot. The stuff hanging on the walls gave evidence that it had won all kinds of rave reviews and awards for ‘Budget Priced Seafood’. It was kind of cafeteria-style but service was fast and the food was good, for what it was. The batter was very good, unlike anything we’ve had before but I can’t describe it, and they weren’t giving away any secrets.
Photo: Janice being bad – having fried food. I had fish and chips and we both had strong coffee. Of course the portions were American-sized so we didn’t have to have dinner until about 8:00 o‘clock.
We crossed the bridge at Wareham and entered Rhode Island.