July 21-28 - Gloucester, MA
Our intent while parked at Gloucester was to visit the historical sights of Boston, only about 30 miles away. There were only two problems - weather and the legendary fearsome reputation of Boston drivers. We had a lot of predicted rain, some of it actually happened, and there were people killed by a tornado in southern New Hampshire, within 40 miles of us. So we were reluctant to commit to a day in a strange city when the weather could turn ugly. As far as Boston drivers, the AAA tour books commented multiple times on trying to avoid peak traffic times. The folks at the RV park strongly recommended that if we went to Boston, we take the train, but not drive. So we stuck closer to home. Even so, we can attest to the aggressive nature of folks who drive around here. We almost had a road rage happening on a tour bus one day.
The whole Cape Ann peninsula is very picturesque. Gloucester claims to be the oldest seaport in the country. It's still a very active fishing port, and has several scenic spots, but largely it feels like an industrial town - the industry being fishing. The nearby town of Rockport, on the other hand, is unashamedly a tourist town, with art galleries and touristy shops and tour boats and the whole nine yards. The whole peninsula has delightful views and some very impressive homes. Seafood restaurants abound, of course.
We spent parts of two days in Salem, just 15 miles away. Salem's famous for witches, of course, but there's a lot more. We mostly avoided the witchy stuff. It is, for example, the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and we toured the actual House of the Seven Gables - a reconstructed home of one of Hawthorne's cousins, and the inspiration for the book. Salem was a major shipping port before, during and after the Revolution - customs duties from the port of Salem accounted for 7% of the entire US government revenue in 1807. Consequently, there were a lot of wealthy folks connected to the shipping industry in Salem.
The National Park Service maintains the Salem Maritime History area, where you can tour the old Customs House and a replica of the Friendship, a cargo ship built for the India trade in the late 1700's. The ship is functional, and goes to all those "tall ships" gatherings on the east coast. The day we were there, a dozen of so crew members from the USS Constitution in Boston were training on the ship - seems the Constitution is being renovated, and the new crew members need to practice putting up sails and hoisting anchors and things like that. It was a nice bonus, the ship swarming with Navy folks as it was.
Between Salem and Gloucester are the towns of Beverly and Manchester, both very prosperous places - the highway is literally lined with mansions, private academies, small colleges and the occasional private beach club. There's still some serious money thereabouts.
We had an unexpected educational experience trying to refill Al's blood pressure meds prescriptions. Our last refill had been a month ago in New York state, and with 2 refills left, we thought we'd be covered for meds until we get back to Oregon in September and get new scripts. Unfortunately, when we tried, we found there were no remaining refills. Seems that New York state law says that when an out-of-state prescription in refilled, the prescription must be transferred to the NY pharmacy, and all refills are cancelled pending a NY doctor represcribing. Of course, the NY state pharmacist never explained all of that. The folks at the CVS in downtown Gloucester managed to rescue us after several phone calls and a new prescription phoned in from Dr Law in Reedsport, who hasn't seen us in almost two years. We owe him big time. Moral of the story: Don't ever fill or refill a prescription in New York state if you're just passing thru. Their laws could kill you. We've subsequently heard from and about some other RV folks who've had similar experiences passing through New York state. We hear there may be similar challenges in Utah.
Anyway, we found the Gloucester area to be charming and friendly. It's the first place in New England we've been aware of a regional accent - the stereotypical Boston "Pahk yah cah in Hahvad yahd" type of drawl.
Next stop, the Newport RI - Mystic CT area.
There are about 70 pictures in our slideshow for our week in Gloucester, and you'll find them here.