Yes, I know, it is almost December. I'm behind. Here's a wrap-up of some of the cool places we visited this summer and fall!
In July we took a trip to Massachusetts with one of my sisters and her husband. We stayed in Salem and took side trips to Marblehead, Gloucester, and Rockport (Cape Ann). A good time was had by all as they say. It's really a beautiful part of New England, I've been a few times and enjoy it every trip.
Something new and very cool we did on this trip, was a hiking tour of Dogtown. Dogtown was a town in the 1600's & 1700's. Nothing is left now but cellar holes and an occasional pile of rocks. This is cool, but the extra cool part is this -
during the Great Depression Roger Babson, a local industrialist, did a public works project of sorts and paid unemployed stone carvers to carve meaningful mottos into boulders all throughout Dogtown. The hike was very nice and the guides were great, info is here.
When we were in Rockport we visited Rockin' Cupcakes! (no website but contact info is here)
The cupcakes have cute names that I no longer remember, the one on the left was chocolate and cherry and the one on the right was key lime with a mountain of frosting and coconut on top. yuuum!
If you don't have a boat but want to get out on the water without spending a fortune on one of the little cruises, have lunch or dinner at the Rockmore! The Rockmore is a floating dock of a restaurant, in the middle of the harbor! This is part it, the bathroom actually ;-), but it is painted up in a fun way and has a cute seagull perched on top! The menu is very casual - hot dogs, lobster rolls, that kind of thing. I had a cheese quesadilla which was the only vegetarian thing if I remember right.
You don't just get to be on the water at the restaurant though, you have to get out there! They have a little speedboat (note: I know nothing about boats or if this thing was a speedboat. In my head, that's what it seemed like) that is a water taxi to and from the restaurant! You can be picked up from the dock on either the Salem or Marblehead side of the harbor. If you have your own boat you can tie it up the restaurant. So, food and a free (tip the boat guy!) boat ride! Pretty good deal.
Another yummy bakery! Coffee Time Bakeshop, home of the real cream bismarck! Located in Salem, right around the corner from our Bed & Breakfast (also recommended).
The drink is a frozen hot chocolate (amazing) and in the box we have a mini eclair and two bismarcks! A Bismarck is like a whipped cream filled donut, the donut part is cut up the center like a hot dog roll instead of the cream being piped in. These are lemon and raspberry. They have full size and mini. These are the mini and no matter how hungry you might be, I don't recommend the large. They are super tasty but I can't imagine any human being wanting that much cream in their stomach at once.
On our way out of town we stopped outside of Gloucester to tour a castle - Hammond Castle!
This is the back so you can't see the drawbridge, unfortunately. I took a ton of photos though. John Hays Hammond built the castle in the 1920s as a gift for his wife. (pretty nice, huh?) He was an inventor and invented all kinds of crazy important things like an important component of the modern stereo system.
Here's a stained glass window from the large cathedral like room. The whole castle has a lot of Catholic icons etc.
The castle is really beautiful and very impressive. I think it was the favorite part of the trip. Everything is medieval (real or in the style) except for the Hammond family's private quarters. Instead, that is set up in early to mid 20th century. Here are a few nifty retro finds from the kitchen!