Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Back from Massachusetts

This is the reason we went to Salem/Boston/Swampcot/Lynn and all the other cities we spent time in over the weekend. It was the marriage of Caitlin and Ira Gross. Caitlin is Aleene's grand-niece. Her dad, David Kneram, was my main competition when we started dating. He was about two at the time. So, you see, there has always been a connection. How could we not be a part of such a wonderful celebration?

We left for Boston's Logan airport at midnight last Thursday...and even though we did not get off on time, JetBlue got us to Boston at 8:00 a.m. local time. I had arranged to have a limo pick us up because it was early in the morning and we did not know where we were going and renting a car for four days did not seem to be too smart. Our driver met us and took us north 20 miles to Salem where we had accommodations ready at the Hawthorne Hotel. Not to stray too far off my basic story, however, Salem plays up two aspects of their historic past: the Salem Witch Trials of 1690 and the home of novelist Nathanial Hawthorne ("House of the Seven Gables" and "The Scarlet Letter.") Everything is either Hawthorne or witches or related to either through marriage or through some weird affiliation. But I have to say, Salem is nice...well done, very accommodating and beautiful the end of July. It sits right on the Atlantic Ocean and was once the trading/fishing Mecca of the New World. It was our first visit.

Friday we spent learning the ropes, as in following the painted red line around town, and taking a trolly tour of the area. That is not to say I did not nap in the afternoon after being up most of the night before. By 9:30 when I was about to call it a day, we wisely hung out in the lobby and low and behold in walks the distinguished guests...all the people we came there to see: David, Kathy, Caitlin, Brendan (her brother who is attending CMU in Pittsburgh where he is working on his Master's degree) and his girl friend, followed by Heather and David with Heather's mom Dorothy, and Mark, Wendee and their two kids at home, Ross and Ronnie (Veronica.) Bingo, it is like we won the lottery. Everyone was there. We hung out for an hour or so then went to bed...a big day one.

Saturday, the day of the wedding, we did some serious walking in the morning (had to find a good coffee shop, and we did) followed by a two and a half hour tour of the P.E.M Museum. The P. stands for Peabody which is a big name in Salem. E and M stand for Essex (as in Essex County) Museum. The museum is a real nugget to find...great art and artifacts from the area going back to the Native Americans as well as more modern historical items. And it was well done...on a level with Chicago Art Museum. Very nice. After a nap and a shower we met the shuttle bus David had arranged for those of us staying at the Hawthorne that would take us the 15 miles to the wedding site.

The wedding was held in a stone mansion adjacent to a State Park...a beautiful site. The details were complete including the weather...sunny, warm (not hot) and a great meal. We hung out and danced throughout the evening until the first shuttle run back to the hotel at 10:30...there was a later one, but we and many others gave it up then. But the party went on. We said our good byes Saturday night as many were heading out Sunday morning. Those that had to go to work Monday had to travel Sunday. We were the lucky ones; we were leaving Monday evening.

Sunday...after talking to the concierge, we hustled to the 9:30 train for Boston. Great rail service. (We learned that Caitlin rides the train daily from the next stop south near where the couple lives and I can see why.) We got to Boston after 10:00 and found the North Station for the trains and subway connections is under the Boston Garden where the Celtics and Bruins play. Who knew? I didn't. It is located in a great place to tour the city. Again, we took a trolly (which included a 45 minute boat ride in Boston harbor) and saw the sights...hopping on and off whenever we wanted. (We did this in San Francisco in January and liked that flexibility.) After the boat ride to the Charlestown Naval Base to see the USS Constitution where we hung out for a while. During our waiting time for the next trolly a former colleague from Hart & Cooley, Holland, Harv Ariens, stopped in front of me and called me by name. It was as if I pealed off eleven layers (years) of an onion to recognize him. We had a great reunion during our ten minute wait. Then lunch outside in a pedestrian outdoor mall and a decision to head back toward North Station. We rode the train home and were back in the hotel by 5:30; a full day.

Monday we arranged for a late checkout and a ride to the airport by hired car that serves the hotel, which was much less expensive than my limo idea...and then a long wait for our 7:30 flight back to Oregon. It all clicked. I have to give JetBlue high ratings for comfort (leg room and seat comfort) as well as excellent employee service. Five and a half hours later we were looking at each other riding the Economy Red Lot bus to the car and saying..."well, we did it again; another trip behind us." We were in Newberg by midnight (Pacific time) and enjoyed our own bed for a good night's sleep. We head out Aug. 11 for Michigan and another experience. More later...

1 comment:

Caitlin said...

Great post, glad you guys had a nice time and we were so glad to have you there!!