I’ve always wanted to visit Salem after reading The Map of True Places. It’s a novel set in Salem; one of the main characters is an ailing Nathaniel Hawthorne scholar living next door to the House of Seven Gables. And I wanted to get super touristy at the scene of the infamous witch trials.
So when we planned our road trip to Boston two weekends ago, I excitedly added Salem to our itinerary. No thanks to Hurricane Sandy, we had to rush back home and missed out on visiting the birthplace of The Scarlet Letter and taking cheesy photos.
But the rest of our time in Boston was perfect.
We drove in on Friday and went shopping right away in Back Bay just before all the shops closed for the night. First at Bobby’s From Boston.
Then at Bodega. The outside of this shop looks like a regular convenience store. You have to walk up to the soda machine in the back for it to open up to the secret retail space inside.
We stayed in Jamaica Plain at an apartment we rented through Air BNB. We loved the neighborhood. There were tons of cute restaurants and bars in walking distance, and most importantly, a JP Licks nearby that we visited every night for ice cream.
On Friday night we had dinner at a neighborhood Scottish gastropub called The Haven. I ordered the Haggis & Neeps and a Vegetable Bridies mostly because I’d never heard of them before and I was feeling adventurous.
On Saturday we took a quick subway ride downtown and started our day on the Freedom Trail. Our tour guide was fantastic.
Our original plan was to eat lunch at Neptune Oyster but there was over an hour wait so we walked around until we found The Daily Catch. The place looked tiny and packed but other people in line promised the wait would be worth it. They were right, the homemade black pasta with ground squid was delicious.
To work off our lunch we headed towards Cambridge and walked around the Harvard campus.
We had early dinner reservations so we went back downtown to the best (and most expensive!) sushi dinner I’ve ever had at O Ya.
By Sunday, reports of Hurricane Sandy were becoming more serious so we scrapped plans for Salem and started driving back towards New York. As a consolation, we decided to stop by Providence, Rhode Island and Brown University. We never intended to spend so much time on college campuses, but it provided for great reminiscing since the three of us all met in college 10 years ago.
When we got into Manhattan by late afternoon, subways were shutting down, the grocery stores were scenes of chaos, and the sky was looking ominous. So I’m glad we got home safely.
But if we had made it to Salem, I would’ve visited these cool places that also sell copies of The Map of True Places: