Day 2 of the holiday began with waffles and chocolate chips which we ate from polystyrene plates whilst watching the news. Breakfast news in the US is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before as every report is a crisis. Local man’s sheep runs away, crisis! Rain predicted for the afternoon, crisis! Taylor Swift releasing a new album, crisis! It made for exhausting viewing because not even the adverts could give you a moment to calm down from how high you’d been hyped up during the show. I expected the news to be odd but I was totally unprepared for American commercials. Unbeknown to me, adverts including; an underarm for men with low testosterone levels, ‘ask your doctor about Xanax’ and an asbestos-related injury claim line are apparently all to be expected over breakfast.
Once we’d eaten we drove up to Salem, a place which leaves no question in your mind as to what time of year it is. Every single porch was decorated with pumpkins, lights and holiday ornaments and behind every window was a scary mask and cobwebs. Salem has an excuse to go to town on Halloween and it was absolutely incredible! After parking up, we wandered through the town which was filled with market stalls and people in fancy dress. This was my favourite thing about Salem and believe me if I’d known beforehand that it’s acceptable for adults to dress up then I would have totally joined in. It wasn’t just parents that were dressed up; groups of adults with no accompanying children were donning a wig and some face paint for their day out at the market.
After we’d made it out of the market street, we headed towards the harbour for a peak at Friendship of Salem. Our walk was interrupted however when we encountered the greatest Halloween house in all of Salem. We’d seen pumpkins and lights, we’d even seen masks in the window but this house was in a league of its own. It had a pop-up cemetery in the garden, the shed doors were open revealing a witch’s den complete with cauldron and a shrub was covered in cobwebs providing a home for a gigantic fake spider. On the side of the house was another spider, this one bigger and more convincing so much so that posing in front of it was quite tricky. As ever though, I can conquer all fears when a fabulous photograph is at stake. If there’s ever been something to make me jealous of the American Halloween culture then this house is it.
Dragging ourselves away from such a marvellous creation, we wandered down to the harbour and climbed aboard Friendship of Salem, a stationary replica of a 1797 East Indiaman (the boats used by East India companies to carry both goods and passengers). Exploring the boat was interesting because not only was it so beautifully crafted but surprisingly tiny and compact. After such excitement we were in need of a snack and headed back to the market for some chips. By 12 o’clock we’d exhausted Salem so caught a train into Boston.
40 minutes later we had arrived and were able to marvel at its beauty up close. Every building was unique and unbelievably charming, without any obnoxious grandeur. As we walked away from the station we could hear cheering and music so trundled over to where the chanting was coming from. We could see a crowd so I assumed that it must be a rap battle (obvious thought) and spent the next 5 minutes passing on the rap battle knowledge that 8 Mile gave me onto my family. Anyway, turns out that it wasn’t a rap battle but instead a street act. The group put on a really good show which ended with a man jumping over 5 members of the crowd but for me the highlight was the whole-crowd cheer that I got from putting $5 (of dad’s money, I’m far too tight) into the bucket. It went something like this, “give her a cheer she’s from England and just gave $5!” which was followed by applause from me (mainly) and also the crowd who probably only joined in because they felt sorry that I was clapping for myself.
We meandered through the city towards Boston Common, a massive, open park downtown. Instantly we were transported to the countryside with only the occasional building poking out from the tree tops to remind us that we were still very much in a city. I cannot overstate how beautiful Boston is because honestly it’s the most impressive place that I’ve ever seen. I don’t think there’s a place on earth more bright and you could find something of every single colour without searching at all. Boston is unbelievably vibrant but the number of colours was nothing compared to the number of squirrels. I think I saw more squirrels during my hour on Boston Common than I’ve seen before in my whole life which is saying something because I’ve visited literally every Centre Parcs (no joke).
As the day was drawing to a close we drifted back to the station to catch the train back to the car. Myself and my sister spent the journey playing Fruit Ninja and attempting to chew on some dreadful American chewing gum (that despite tasting like the dentist was definitely doing no good for our teeth) whilst trying not to fall asleep. Day 2 had been immense but my feet were burning and I was definitely ready for bed.