Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Wee Glimpse of New England

After leaving Jean Paul and Celine we drove to Houlton, Maine where we boondocked at the Walmart for the night. We needed to exchange the few Canadian dollars we had and pick up our mail that we arranged to have forwarded to us. The next day we drove to the Black Bear Campground in Salisbury, Massachusetts where we were greeted with hot (98) and humid (98%) weather that had us holed up in the AC for a couple days. It was pretty difficult to take after a summer of very comfortable weather. The temps did moderate and we did a little exploring in the area.
There are thousands of boats in the harbors in every little town we visited.
We visited the Salem Maritime National Historical Site where they trace the seafaring history of this once important port. Salem ships played an important role as privateers during the Revolutionary War and brought riches from the Far East. The importance of the port declined when bigger clipper ships, which were too deep for the harbor, came into use. The ship, Friendship, is a replica of a typical merchant ship of the time.
This is the last of thirteen Custom Houses built in Salem to collect taxes on cargoes imported into the country. The oldest dates back to colonial times. The tariffs were the largest source of income for the early US government.
The Derby House, built in 1762, is the oldest brick house in Salem. It was the home of sea merchant, Elias Hasket Derby, Americas first millionaire.
This is the home of Salem native and author Nathaniel Hawthorne. He worked at the Custom House while struggling to become an author. Through his friendship with President Franklin Pierce he obtained a more lucrative job as a Surveyor. After Pierce's party lost the election Hawthorne lost his job and eventually turned this ordeal into his first novel, The Scarlet Letter.
The House of Seven Gables was owned by his cousin when it became the setting of Hawthorne's second novel. The tour of the house is very worthwhile with its secret stairs and hallways. No interior pictures were allowed.
One reason we wanted to stop in this area was to see Gini and Bob Huntley, our neighbors at the Rose Parade HOP. We visited their lovely home then went to dinner and had an enjoyable evening sharing tales of our travels. It was the third time this summer we met up with RVing friends on the road.
The Man at the Wheel statue was originally dedicated in 1923 to celebrate Gloucester's three hundredth anniversary. It is now part of a memorial to the more than 5000 Gloucester fishermen who have lost their lives at sea. Among the more recent names are the crew of the Andrea Gail who were immortalized in Sebastian Junger's book, The Perfect Storm. It is chilling to see so many names of those lost at sea from this one small town.
An old plant in scenic Gloucester Harbor.
Another town we "tried" to visit was Rockport, MA. It is another picturesque harbor town filled with shops and restaurants. Unfortunately it was so busy we were unable to find a parking spot after driving through the town three times when we finally just gave up. Despite the heat we had a great time here and plan to return in the future during the fall season in hopes of cooler weather and smaller crowds to take in more of the many, many historical sites.

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