Postcard from New England | Part 2

You guys, what a week. I am dazzled. I don't know if this is the honeymoon phase or if the northeastern pocket of the US has a terrible secret that I just haven't stumbled on yet, but right now, this place is it. I can totally see myself adopting the semi-preppy, yet tastefully outdoorsy lifestyle, dropping my Rs and casually eating lobster sandwiches like it's no big deal. 

In other news, I've been indulging in some anxious tendencies, basically just talking Ryan's ear off about what's next for us. The real talk answer right now is I don't know and classically, I vroom up and down an emotional rollercoaster because not knowing makes me anxious. I drift from feeling like I need to get a plan in place STAT, back down to "it'll all work out." I think the latter is true, because it always is, right? 

Anyway, I know we're going to be home for the holidays, but that's the only concrete plan I've made so far. And mostly because I don't have a good answer for "do we got a chimney for Santa in da camper, mom?"

In the meantime, I'm down for some distractions, and New England, damn can she provide. 


Freeport, Maine

Giant Bean Boot at the Flagship Store in Freeport, Maine |

AKA Mecca for folks who are preppy and outdoorsy. LL Bean's flagship store is in Freeport, and there's about five billion other LL Beans right there in case you're interested in a more specialized treat. You've got the Home Store and the Fishing & Hunting store and the Outlet and the Flagship store and probably a handful of others. And also a giant Bean Boot and the Boot Mobile. Am I missing anything? 

Here's something I didn't know. LL Bean's real name was Leon Leonwood Bean, so I mean, no wonder he just shortened that right up. 

Freeport, Maine |

Freeport also has this great hidden McDonalds. It's built into a 150-year old mansion and because city ordinances are weird, they can just barely advertise. It looks like a regular, albeit fancy, house with a Big Mac in the window. 

Freeport, Maine McDonalds in an 150-Year Old Mansion |


Gloucester, Massachusetts

Gloucester, Maine Fishing Memorial |

Gloucester is pretty well known as a fishing town and there's this really beautiful memorial right on the water for all the folks who have lost their lives on the sea. To yank us out of our reverie on the day we were here, this reality show - Wicked Tuna - was filming and man, what a treat! We could hear fake arguments from the "contestants" and watched them blitz out and come back with their catch before the deadline (!!!) twenty minutes later. It was like watching the Bachelor and seeing the girls practicing their hair-pulling while a helicopter flew circles around them. I was into it. 

Gloucester is also home to Hammond Castle which is knock-your-socks-off cool. It's this old medieval castle built by an inventor (which obviously means he was an eccentric, right?) and it's just as unique as you'd imagine. Please check out the pictures here, because I did not sum it up with one picture. 

Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA |


Salem, Massachusetts

Home Decorated for Fall in Salem, Massachusetts |

What a cool place to visit in October. I mean, there's all kinds of spooky vibes - some of them manufactured, of course - thanks to the Salem Witch Trials, but truly one of the cooler stops on this trip. The town was incorporated 400+ years ago and there's just so much history. We parked in the equivalent to Old Town and all of the houses had these neat plaques on them, telling you when they were built, for whom, and what their occupation was. 

We found a house built for some Hodges sisters and I think Ryan was ready to order one of those 23&Me DNA kits on the spot. Later, we did some googling and found his family name has some roots in Salem history. Are we WITCHES? I think the answer to that is obvious. 

Salem is definitely a walkable town, so we meandered around for the afternoon just wow-wow-wowing at things like the Salem Witch Trial Memorial and the House of the Seven Gables. 

Salem Common in Salem, MA |
Beautiful Door in Salem, Massachusetts |


Weare, New Hampshire

Playing Hoops in Weare, NH |

Ryan has family that lives in Weare -- but summers on Crystal Lake, here in Michigan -- so we stopped by for a night. Duke was really into their basketball hoop and I swear on my actual life, the first two times he tossed the ball, it went through the hoop. I yelled to Ryan that thank God, he's going to college on a scholarship! and totally jinxed the whole business. Duke didn't care though, he just kept going at it until his new pal, Salena, pulled out her 3,000 piece bouncy ball collection. This is not a drill. They're all in her trunk and if you want to know what 3,000 bouncy balls in a trunk looks like, just imagine a lot


Scranton, PA

Scranton Mural in Pennsylvania |

We stopped in Scranton for yet, another Dunkin' Donuts coffee - because it's the Starbucks of the Northeast and they're everywhere -- and to visit the Steamtown National Historic Site. Really quick: it's an old railyard that was boomin' circa the early 1900s. Business fluctuated and such, but the yard is still there and still functional, although now as a museum. There's huge trains parked all over the place, and we saw a couple coming and going, so it was a real dream come true for Duke B. And Ryan. 

Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA |


Other Good Stuff

Tall Building in Scranton, PA |

The cities and towns on the east coast are old, you guys. It's really neat to see old buildings and walk by, wondering what it was like to be in the exact same spot 200 years ago. Am I a witch? Who knows!

Fall in Salem, MA |

We came for the fall folliage, and boy did we get it. 

Fall Foliage on the East Coast|

Old Barn in Fall |

Classic New England Fall  |

New England Farm in the Fall |

Smiling Rottweiler |

We're all just happy to be here, see? 


We're homeward bound for the holidays and honestly, ready to just pick up where we left off. Project number one: 10 million loads of laundry. 

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