Alas the + has returned. I’d planned to spend at least one full day in Boston, but plans change, especially when your host is a lovely woman who encourages the baking of monkey bread and gives you decent sightseeing advice.
Massachusetts marked the beginning of the road trip segment of my travels, both in the sense that the travelling was done by car, and in that I was joined by (that’s right) other people. I’m honestly smiling just thinking about it.
Cheating the System
We visited both the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and, thanks to my knack for finding the cheapest possible way to do literally anything, the three of us saved $99 on admission fees. That’s a lot of cups of coffee.
So how did we do it? Student admission to MFA costs $23 unless you go after 4pm on a Wednesday, in which case it’s voluntary contribution, which we all know is just a fancy way of saying free. Unless you’re rich and can easily afford to fork up $23, in which case you should most definitely always choose to support art.
Likewise, student admission to ICA costs $10 unless you go after 5pm on Thursdays. The institute doesn’t even bother calling it a voluntary contribution night, it’s genuinely just called Thursday Free Nights. I like to think it’s because it’s a contemporary arts museum. You have to be hella woke to work in that kind of field.
Delayed Childhood Experiences
I was fortunate enough to experience a reasonable amount of snow as a child, so I forget that sledding, building snowmen, and making snow angels aren’t universal childhood experiences. Zana and I both grew up in places where snow was a thing, but Anna (from Louisiana, hence Louisianna*) didn’t and from the moment she booked her flight to the northeast, I crossed my fingers the sky would give her some.
Thankfully my wish came true, and our second night in Lowell, we spent a solid hour or two trying to fit in as many cliché snow experiences as humanly possible. We even tried, and failed, to go sledding. It was inefficient but incredibly entertaining.
*Dear Anna, I just realised how dumb it would be if your parents had called you Anna-Louise, which isn’t even an unlikely name combination.
Comically Underwhelming Discoveries
“There’s a druid stone circle near us. We should go see it!” – Zana 29/12/17.
We’re all a bunch of mcfreakin nerds who were more than keen on visiting said druid stone circle, so I jumped into the driver’s seat and attempted, in vain, to heat up the car before the others joined me, and off we went.
We arrived at what can only be described as a subpar-at-best playground, where we parked the car and proceeded to walk around for what felt like two hours but was probably only about 10 minutes, in search of the stone circle.
Alas we came full circle and (due to the circular nature of circles) ended up back where we’d come from. I looked around once again and realised the stones we’d seen when we initially stepped out of the car were arranged in something akin to a circle. I might have shouted it, but I pointed out that the stone circle was, in fact, right in front of our eyes in an incredibly refined, mature, and patient adult manner.
Just kidding. I cursed.
Given the title of this blog post, it should come as no surprise that we went to Salem. I remember learning (the bare minimum) about the town’s history when I was younger and getting to see it for myself was surreal in a different way than seeing places like New York. It was an amazing experience. I recommend a visit.
The town is set up with a history trail so you can easily find everything related to the witch trials and the history of the town generally. We didn’t even have a plan going in, we just kind of wandered around, following the lines on the ground.
I’d never thought of Salem as being a place where people live in the present day (even though there’s no reason for the town to be uninhabited) so the amount of people just going about their day kind of caught me off guard. There are lots of cute coffee shops around town, but a lot of the “tourist attractions” were closed because nobody in their right mind tours the northeast during the winter.
I’m not sure I understand Ylvis and Calle Hellevang-Larsen consider Massachusetts their favourite place on Earth, but I did thoroughly enjoy Salem, Lowell, and the bit of Boston I managed to see when I wasn’t screaming internally at the lack of defined driving lanes or the need to parallel park.
The best part? I wasn’t alone.