Friday, November 11, 2011

Boston - the "why did we spend money on this?" edition

The following day dawned bright and sunny. Clearly, we should have rushed out to do the rest of the Freedom Trail. Instead, we decided that we desperately needed to drive to Salem. We managed to not get lost on the way, which in hindsight isn't all that surprising because we had a GPS... #Iamsosmart #SMRT

Months ago, Kat and I had Googled thoroughly investigated what there was to do in Salem. For some reason, we decided to start with the Salem Witch Museum. (Probably because it was right next to where we parked the car. Shhhhhh.) WELL. If ever a place was undeserving of the name 'museum' (besides the National Museum of the American Indian), this was it. 

The entire place consisted of mannequins in period costume that were lit up in various dioramas as the story of the Salem witch trials was told. I'm pretty sure it must have been built in the late 60s or early 70s and not updated since. Luckily Sadly for you, photography was not allowed, so I can't share the bizarro-world of it with you. I actually think my favourite part was the mannequin that had been made to look like Satan. It had glowing orange eyes and a pitchfork. I wish to God I were joking. Paulie and I actually wound up in fits of (mostly silent) hysterical laughter because the whole thing was so awful. The second room featured a mannequin dressed as a stereotypical Halloween witch riding a broomstick and "talking" (via voice over) about how traditional wise women came to be seen as witches. The third room featured two mannequins dressed in crushed velvet dresses "talking" about Wicca as a religion today. 

THAT. WAS. IT. That was the entire museum. Oh, except for the gift shop. Which was all "Get your witch warts and broomsticks here! Yaaaaaaaaaaay, stereotypes!!!" despite the "museum" urging us to think that witches aren't what they're made out to be. WEIRD. Anyway. The whole thing was a total ripoff, considering it cost $9 for entry. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand having just looked at it on Trip Advisor, there are clearly a butt-ton of people who felt the same way. (And yet, it's the "most visited museum in Salem!" *head explodes*) Basically? DON'T GO THERE.

Sadly, having forked out $9 for something that disappointing, we were incredibly reluctant to pay for any of the other attractions in Salem. (And having just looked most of THOSE up on Trip Advisor, it seems like we made the right decision. #score) We wandered through the Old Burying Point Cemetery, but without any information about the people who were buried there, it was just a bunch of really old graves. And after doing the Granary Burying Ground the previous day, we were a bit over it. So we wandered through downtown for a while, where we came across this:

In case you can't read it, it says "New England Magic. A Shop & School of Witchcraft & Wizardry". (With the way the American dollar is going at the moment, it doesn't surprise me that the American version of Hogwarts has a gift shop!!) There was also a shop that sold pretty much nothing but replica Harry Potter props. I was kind of tempted to post Sara a container of Floo Powder, but at the end of the day, it was $5 and was just green sand. Plus, as Kat pointed out, it probably wouldn't have arrived anyway, as it would look rather like anthrax on any x-rays *sigh*

Eventually, we decided that lunch was in order. We wound up at a slightly dodgy little pizza place in a half dead mall, and had to hold the pizza almost vertical to drain the oil off before it was edible. Course, all the oil meant it was pretty damned tasty, so it could have been a lot worse! 

Oh, and then this happened:
Paulie: Haha, look at the logo on the police car!
Me: Holy crap, that's awesome.
Paulie: I'm totally taking a photo of that.
Me: For taking a picture of the logo on a police car?? That seems extreme.
Kat: If you're nice to us, Paul, we'll bail you out.

Picture courtesy of Paulie
And no one got arrested. HURRAH. After that, we declared ourselves over Salem. Which is unfortunate, because it seems like it's a nice little town. It's just that they know tourists will come, so they don't really bother trying... Anyway, we headed back to Cambridge, not feeling the need to see anything else. In Cambridge, we bid Lauren a sad farewell:

(Yeah, like y'all weren't expecting a David Tennant gif to happen at SOME point.) I don't blame her either - she had to drive the millionty hours back to Pennsylvania and be at work by 5am the next day. Kat, Paulie and I decided that we'd wander around town for a while and maybe go and have a wee mosey around Harvard during daylight hours. Two steps down the road, this happened:
Me: Oooooooooooooh, CUPCAKE SHOP!!!! 
Kat and Paulie: You're poorly, so we'll humour you...

I had this:

Photos courtesy of Paulie
It was pink lemonade flavoured (hence the straw) and it was delicious. Albeit slightly toxic looking... After the cupcake break, we headed over to the Harvard Co-op. I turned into a bit of a fangirl and spent a millionty dollars eighty dollars rather a lot on a Harvard t-shirt and hoodie. Kat then decided she wanted to look around the shops a bit more, so Paulie and I headed off for a wander around Harvard. It's a gorgeous campus, which immediately made me jealous. I seem to have an uncanny knack for selecting universities with buildings that took a battering from the ugly stick (aka built in the 1960s). *sigh*

There are only so many ivy covered buildings you can look at, so after a while, we headed back to the hotel to partake in our traditional trashy evening television. *cough* Keeping Up With the Kardashians *cough* 

The three of us headed back into Harvard Square for dinner, and went to a Thai place on the recommendation of the hotel staff. I think we all nearly cried with joy when our food had actual vegetables in it and didn't taste like deep fried salt. And when the portions were human sized rather than Jabba the Hutt sized. (Seriously, America. I love you, but you really need to sort your shit out when it comes to food. And adding sales tax into prices. But mostly food.) I was so excited by the idea of food that tasted like food that when I saw mango and coconut sticky rice on the dessert menu, I did this:
Source once more lost in the depths of Tumblr

Obviously, I ordered it. It wasn't *quite* as good as what we had in Thailand a couple of years ago, but it was still pretty awesome. Although I'm pretty sure we still stopped off at CVS on the way back to the hotel. It always pays to have emergency chocolate. You know, just in case you run into a Dementor.......

Next up, I make a  <sleazy voice> lady friend </sleazy voice> at Logan International Airport, I watch one of the dumbest movies of ever (although the critics seem to love it...), and the whole reason for my trip to the US!

K xx


  1. What a shame about the witch museum :/ I would've been very disappointed from your description :( The pink cupcake is pure awesomeness though! My 6 yo daughter loves it :)

    I found your blog via the Melbourne blog share FB page.

  2. I have faint recollections of the salem witch museum i went in high school where I saved our school bus from rolling out of a parking lot.

  3. booooo :(
    Planning my trip to the US I've been really looking forward to going to Salem, but that sounds kinda crappy. Maybe I'll downgrade it to a day trip instead of 3 days there!

  4. That does sound like a disappointment, I had very different images of Salem in my head...but that cupcake, now that's money well spent!

  5. I didn't *really* think Paul'd get arrested for the photo, but I was concerned that it looked sketchy as hell to be taking photos of the police car.

  6. Seems like a good trip, despite that museum being such a mannequin dumpster.

    Oh, and as far as photos go--American citizens are free to take photographs of anything they can see in public as long as they are on public property. There is no reason to fear taking photos of police officers, unless there is a specific city ordinance against it (rare, but they exist).

  7. @Jayne - It was awwwwwwwwwwful! And thanks for stopping by :)
    @Deidre - You should have let the school bus run into the museum, for the sake of the planet. Seriously...
    @Lozzz - There are apparently other attractions in Salem worth seeing. We just couldn't find any of them... And it's definitely a day trip - it was only about a 40 minute drive from Boston!
    @Vanisha - So did I. I guess maybe it's different at Halloween though?
    @Lauren - Shhhhhhhhh. Quit spoiling my story with facts ;)
    @S.F. Roney - Yeah, we kind of figured it would be okay. Now if we'd been in South or Central America.........

  8. I didn't say I didn't overreact like that cause I pretty much did.... Also, I'm mad I missed the cupcakes >:0
    Oh and you should have included the part where you didn't know Rita's was an Ice cream place... All your United Statesian readers would have enjoyed that.

  9. That cupcake looks amazing. I want it in my belly right now.

  10. @Lauren - I nearly texted you to say "COME BACK, THERE'S CUPCAKES!!", but you would have been at least 15 minutes away by then, and I figured adding an extra half hour (minimum) to your trip probably wasn't the best idea ever!
    @Sweeney - it was amazeballs. I think I might have to try and replicate it somehow! Only perhaps with ever so slightly less food colouring in it...

  11. Speaking of Boston, someone I know who was in Boston this week posted something on FB about going to the Salem Witch Museum. I posted the link to this post for him and he decided not to make the trip up to Salem :P

    1. Excellent work - it is our duty to save people from wasting their money on this crap!!! ;)


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