Fireworks Prep at Salem Maritime NHS, and a Wonderful Garden, of Course

Every year The Salem Garden receives hundreds of hits in the days around the Fourth of July. I don’t really blog with traffic in mind but this is something that I should try to figure out. I usually do a post about the very popular Salem Willows parade so maybe that’s part of it. I’m sorry to say that we didn’t get down to the Willows this year but I’ll watch for other local blogs’ parade photos and share links here if I see them.

While I missed the parade, I did pop down to the Salem Maritime National Historic Site to check out preparations for tonight’s festivities, which will be absolutely grand! We have a beautiful fireworks display that’s accompanied by a live orchestra (or is the orchestra accompanied by the fireworks)? Either way it’s a great way to celebrate the fourth!


The Stage is Set!


The Friendship is ready to be the centerpiece.


The ladies’ chairs are all arranged for viewing at the Brookhouse.


The eagle on the Custom House is shiny and  accented by bunting and flags. I did look around for more information about that lower flag but I couldn’t find anything. Today is not a good day to call my husband and ask him about it. He’s a bit busy.


The Hawkes house is decorated.


And very importantly, the Derby Garden is just beautiful today. It sits quietly behind the Derby house,a few feet away from all of the action. If your down on Derby Street be sure to check out the garden. It’s really special.





Just a quick peek but you get the idea. Our beautiful July gardens are really the best part of the fourth!


This was taken today at 11am. Viewing space is going fast! Claim your territory soon!

Happy Fourth!

Love, Michele


Yesterday’s Salem Maritime Festival

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t post a few quick shots of the Maritime Festival! I always intend to get lots of photos of “everything” and beautifully chronicle the event but my focus is on my kids and everything that they enjoy. I remember the days when they were all little and I pushed, pulled and carried all five of them around the festival for the day. As I watch all of the young parents I feel weightless with just an eight and ten year old to look after. They do grow up so quickly! Okay, enough of that!  Here we are, having a great time! Click on any photo to see them enlarged as a slideshow.  Michele

A Spring Morning In The Derby Garden

I had a chance to pop into the Derby garden this morning. This garden is really precious to me. Michael and I helped with it’s installation about 23 years ago. At that time I had an appreciation for gardens but no experience or knowledge.  This is where gardening really started for me. The young couple who created it worked very hard to design it to represent a garden typical of this setting and the early 1700s time period. I should back up a bit and explain that it sits behind the home of the first American millionaire, Elias Haskett Derby, hence it’s name the Derby Garden. 

At first glance over the fence it may look a bit barren and gray, but if you slow down and look closely you’ll see that the beds are about to spring to life.IMG_0415

I believe that these are the first few leaves of hollyhock.IMG_0409There are plenty of snowdrops.IMG_0384They really are one of the first signs of spring. These will be there for a few more days before it’s time to say goodbye till next year.IMG_0385I’m pretty sure that these are small daffodils. I’ll have to try to check back in a few days to confirm.IMG_0387Something from the allium family? Time will tell us exactly what.IMG_0388CrocusIMG_0390A beautiful carpet of green, maybe grape hyacinths? IMG_0407

This apple tree bears small, tough fruit but I’ve made a pie or two from here.IMG_0406

Here’s the view looking out toward the water. We lived in the blue building to the left when we were first married. It was a perfect honeymoon loft for us. We have lots of good memories from our days on Derby Street.


I loved thinking about how we were looking at the same view that the Derbys did when they lived there.


It has changed a bit but their spirit is here.  I can feel it. Especially when I spend time in the garden and imagine what they might have grown and raised in the yard.

Enjoy Everything today!


The Grand Parade!

Last night was our Halloween parade in Salem.  The forecast was for rain, downpours actually. I’ve never seen it rain on that parade and last night was no exception. The rain held off until the very end and then it just drizzled a tiny bit. One of the great things about the Halloween parade here is that it’s a very local thing. All of the schools participate along with lots of local businesses and community groups. It always feels very wild and crazy but in a comfy, cozy way. We see lots of friends and neighbors and everyone is having fun. It’s kind of our local Halloween Celebration before the tourists show up on Saturday. 

Unfortunately my camera completely failed. It wouldn’t focus, hated the spot I was in and refused to take nighttime photos. Michael was in the parade with our younger kids (while I spent most of the night in a teenager accessible area) but he did snap a few photos as the parade left the staging area and as it came in after them at the Common. I’m going to attach a link to Salem Patch’s photo gallery at the end. Be sure to click on there, there’s lots of great photos that are sent in by their readers.

Here’s Salem Maritime National Historic Site group, ready to go..

Carlton School, one of seven public elementary schools in Salem. The theme was “world animal day”… this gave everyone lots of material to work with!The police department has recently added a canine unit. This was the city’s first time to welcome the dogs and their handlers!Our wonderful mayor, Kim Driscoll, reviewing the parade.There were lots of marchers from Salem State. They seemed to be having a great time!There were members of the Wiccan community. And of course, the Ghost Busters, always a favorite!The parade is “highly interactive”, these guys really add to the interaction!So does the lawn chair drill team, everyone loves them!
The Bate’s School Art teacher, Todd Bleckly, went to Kutztown University, in Pennsylvania, during the same years that Michael and I did.  If any of our college friends are reading, you may remember him… Michael and I don’t run into Kutztown alumni often so we love that he’s here in Salem!Ghouls on wheels..The Witchcraft Heights Elementary School Pandas… where else on earth would you find this?My very favorite middle school..and their Marching band, led by an awesome drum major who’s a close family friend!And of course, here’s our principal and vice principals, dressed as mice. There was lots of dancing!Lots of riding

and a few drops of rain at the end, but it was lots of fun!

The parade was over an hour long this year, so this is a very quick glimpse. Check out  Salem Patch for more great photos!

Happy Halloween from Salem!

Salem 101: A Walk on Derby Wharf

Here in Salem we have access to ocean air and history all year round. One of the best places to experience this is out on Derby Wharf. It’s a great place to walk and play. The wharf is located right on Derby Street and is part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Pedrick’s Store House is the only building on the wharf. Historically the wharf was lined with warehouses like this that stored goods that came in on ships from all over the world. This building is originally from Marblehead and was moved to Derby Wharf a few years ago.
Next stop on the right is the Friendship, the centerpiece of the historic site, if not the whole city! Friendship is a fully rigged ship that was built by the National Park Service with the support of the Salem Partnership. She provides lots of educational opportunities for visitors from near and far.  Everyone loves the ship!  (Does anyone know this guy on the bike?)  😉She really is a work of art. Did you know that ships are always referred to as “she’s”?  I’m going to have to research this and do a post on why that’s so. This sounds like a good winter project.I love this view of the NPS flag and the American flag together.
Going a few steps further out you’ll find these great exhibits. They teach about navigation and Salem’s maritime history and they add a huge element of fun when you walk with kids!I think my little guy was testing his running speed in nautical miles per hour here.One of the neat things about these exhibits is that their designed to blend in with the wharf. When you look out from the street, or even walk along the path, their very slim and discrete. They tell the story of all that happened on the waterfront over time. 

We’ve reached our destination, the lighthouse!

 I remember sitting on the ground on the other side with my eyes closed  (obviously many, many years ago before kids) and opening them to see a huge German Shepherd standing right over me. He scared me half to death! We were both fine but I think of that dog every time I’m out there.
There’s always lots and lots of boat traffic. It’s fun to watch everything from party boats, to lobster boats to yachts going by.And then there’s the view out to the open ocean. I love to stand here and just breathe in that air!

Turn around and there’s a great view of the houses on Derby Street.

You can’t quite see it but when we were first married Michael and I lived in a little loft apartment over the blue building on the right. The House of Seven Gables is just to the right.Here’s a closer shot. Walking in, more exhibits…

And back to Derby Street!

It’s nice to take a rest in the shade of one of these yards. Their all part of the National Historic Site, so everyone is welcome!

This is really one of my favorite walks in the world. You just can’t beat it, history, exercise and nature all in one place. If you make your way to Salem as a visitor, or if you live here, take a few minutes to take a walk on the wharf!