The Fourth of July at Salem Willows

We are back from our road trip just in time for the 4th of July in Salem! We got up early this morning and headed down to the Willows neighborhood for their annual Horribles parade and party. There’s no place else like the Willows on the fourth of July. The whole neighborhood has a party and many of us who live in other parts of the city go down to enjoy it too.

Here’s our friend, Jane Dionne!

Of course there was music..

and some social/political commentary.

The Secret Service were there

like you’ve never seen them before 

The “mayor” marched too, as she does every year…

The game theme was fun and creative.

There were red drinking cups… I think I kind of  missed the message here, leave a comment if you can help me with that. They were having a great time!

The decorations are amazing!

beautiful

patriotic

and fun!

It’s a party like no other!

Happy Fourth! Tomorrow there may be fireworks, let’s hope that my camera works..

I’m so happy to be home and blogging again!!

Michele

Sepia, and the Mystery Lady’s Photo

Changing photos to sepia is fun (and easy with I-Photo)

Here’s a photo I took at the Common last week:

Same photo, changed to Sepia.  Isn’t this timeless? It looks like it could have been taken a hundred years ago.

Here’s another one, the cars kind of give it away. I should crop them out.

This was our Christmas Picture a few years ago. My kids have grown up so much since then. I wish we could slow that down a little bit.

and this one really is old… Isn’t she beautiful? I have her hanging over my fireplace.  It’s a photo that we found in my Dad’s things. My sister and I think it could be our grandmother. Unfortunately we don’t have any known photos of her. If anyone  recognizes this lady please let me know! I call her Rose.

We’ve been wondering for a few years now…

Anyway, Happy Monday! I’m off to prepare for our big family road trip later this week.

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

Salem 101: A Walk around Salem Common

Yesterday I spent some time walking around Salem Common, a nine acre public park right in the middle of the city. It’s been public land for hundreds of years and was originally used as a pasture  in the 1600s, with ponds and a stream running though it. It was designated as a military training ground in the 1600’s and still hosts a military muster once a year. You can read more about the Common’s history here  at http://www.salemweb.com/guide/common/

As a former resident of the neighborhood it’s always fun to take a walk and take in the sights.

 People meet here to exercise, walk, ride bikes and play.

There’s a beautiful new playground..

When our kids were small and we lived a few doors away I spent many, many hours under that tree!

 There was a different play structure but the very same view. Such happy memories!

The walking path is covered by trees so it’s shady and comfortable.

here’s the view coming around the northwest corner

The common is lined with beautiful historic mansions.

Many of them were designed by renowned architect Samuel McIntire.

He created the original version of this  wooden archway as well.

It’s said to have been made for a visit by George Washington.

The Gazebo is the true focal point…lots of fun happens here!

Everything from the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth of July

to prom and wedding photos being taken!

The Salem Witch Museum is located on one corner (the two young people above both happen to work there)

The Witch Museum is a great place to gain a clear understanding of what happened during the Witchcraft Hysteria that Salem is so well known for.

The Common is quintessential New England, full of history and fun… a beautiful place to relax and unwind!

Hope you’ll visit soon! Hint, hint to all of my family and friends who are still planning their summer vacations  🙂

Have a great day! Enjoy Everything!

Michele

What a Rainy Monday!

We are in the middle of a Nor’easter here this morning. For those who don’t live in New England, A Nor’easter is a storm that comes in off of the ocean from the northeast. Nor’easters often bring damage to homes, roads and of course, gardens. Salem is under a flood warning today as the tide is expected to be unusually high. Many of our roads here flood when this happens because water going out to the ocean through the storm drains backs up and has no place to go. There can also be damage to homes on the water when the ocean gets higher and closer than we’d like it to. Let’s hope and pray that everyone is okay and the beautiful homes on the coast and in town don’t sustain too much damage.

I’m a little bit of a  planner so here’s an overview of what  may happen this week at the The Salem Garden if all goes well. Of course we  know that in a household with this many people anything could happen but we’ll hope for the best!

Some of my  kids and I will be planting something together… look familiar? I’m excited about this project!

I hope to show you something else about Salem. It won’t be the Friendship because the ship is away for repairs.  She should be back very soon and we’ll be visiting then.

Things are growing in the garden! We’ll be sure to take a look.

I think we’ll be visiting our chickens too. Here’s one of our babies about eight weeks ago. Just like my human babies, they grow so quickly!

Sounds busy!  Let’s get going!  A little rain is nothing!

Peonies

There are lots of beautiful things blooming here in Salem this week and one of my very favorites is the peonies. Do I have any in my garden? No, I don’t. Why? Because they take time, space and patience.  I want to grow them. Every year I spend a good amount of time thinking about where I could plant some. I never seem to get it together and get them into the ground.  One of the great things about blogging is that I feel  accountable for what I say I’m going to do. So, here goes—  “I’m going to plant some peonies this year!!” If anyone has some that they’d like to share I’ll be by in no time to pick them up, now or in the fall… just let me know! Here are some of my inspiration peonies. My  dear friend Blaire has grown these in her Salem garden for years. Long before I knew her I used to lean over her fence every June to admire them. 



This is her first shot of this years’ blossoms… Wow! Perfection!!

Here’s a full view.. just beautiful!!


And one stem artfully arranged after a little damage from a hard rain… Leave it to Blaire to create something this pretty!

I would say that the patience and space needed is definitely worthwhile! Time to get to work! And many thanks to Blaire for allowing me to share these beautiful photos!

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

Salem 101: Where are We? On the Ocean!

I’m always surprised when friends and family really don’t know where Salem, Massachusetts is located. They often think that it’s in the western part of the state or in Boston or New Hampshire (there is a Salem in New Hampshire about an hour away).. We are actually about fifteen miles north of Boston, right on the coast. It’s a very convenient location. We can be in the city (we call Boston the city here) in about forty minutes, less in good traffic. The mountains of New Hampshire are two hours north, and Cape Cod is the same distance to the south. And we have the ocean and all that it offers. 

 

 

We love to  sit and watch the boats

Or relax on the rocks at Waikiki Beach, one of our favorite things to do! Here’s my little guy a few years ago

and more recently, he’s gets bigger and more adventurous all the time!

There are tide pools to explore!

We even have a polar bear plunge on New Years Day! (that’s snow on the beach in the background)

Salem is all about the ocean and the views here are beautiful, all year round!

There are several cities and towns called “Salem” in the United States, but this one is truly unique!

Enjoy your day!  Thanks for stopping by!  Michele

Remembering

I was talking with a friend at church yesterday about our Memorial Day plans. She asked what we were doing and I shared that we’ll be visiting the cemetery.  She looked a little bit confused for a second so I went on to explain that I like to use it as a teachable moment with my kids. We don’t have family buried here in Salem and I’ll admit that we don’t take the time to visit graves when we’re in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  We really should do that more.  On Memorial Day however we take a trip to a cemetery here in Salem and just relax for a few hours. Sometimes we catch guppies in the ponds, or take a walk. My younger kids ask lots of questions about death and dying which is always an important conversation. I usually bring some carnations and the kids and I place them on Veteran’s graves that look untended and lonely. I like for them to think about the sacrifices that have been made for them.  It’s often said that “freedom isn’t free” and we need to remember that. I also use this time to tell them about their grandfathers. My Dad spent twenty years in the Army and retired as a Master Sargent. He was never far from that experience and shared much of it with us. My father-in-law didn’t serve in the military but he was a true patriot and taught us all as well. I love remembering Memorial Days long ago when my family camped together or Michael and I watched the  parade in Wharton, New Jersey with my in-laws. I wonder what my kids will remember and what they’ll share with their children.  I hope that you have a few moments to connect with the people you love today and to take some time to honor and remember those who have given so much for us.