Tuesday, September 7, 2021

A Month-Long Vacation: The Well-Deserved Break

Monkeying around at Fort Sewell, Marblehead

Ah, September ... what a marvelous month! Halloween goodies are starting to make their way into stores and pumpkin spice everything is on the menu at Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. The temperatures are much more comfortable here in Salem, ranging from the upper 70s during the day and mid-50s at night. My garden is just about done. The tomatoes and cucumbers have already been cut down and there's a ton of basil and Thai basil that needs to be picked and processed: dried, frozen, or made into pesto. We're heading out tonight to get some mums for the deck and to do a little grocery shopping. Maybe we'll also score an early pumpkin or two! 

The 159 Derby Street History Project

I decided to take August for myself. After all, it started off with an unexpected, but pleasant, research project for the Salem Arts Association. I was asked to be part of the ongoing research of the building where the SAA is located and the folks who occupied the building and property. Most of what I did was interpret records the Association already had, researched online sources, wrote the historical summaries, and selected the various maps. This research is ongoing and will piggyback on my new research project: 18th and 19th century Salem artists and art collections. I had to take a break from St. Nicholas Magazine because I'm just too burnt out from my PhD and dissertation. I'll return to it ... when? I don't know. Anyway, the photo above shows the exhibition currently located at the SAA. This exhibition will change as more information is found.

Salty kids driving home from Fort Beach, Marblehead.

Besides research and writing, Ed and I filled our August with outdoor adventures, Halloween hunting, and afternoons relaxing on the couch with Bijou. We had some really hot weather here in Salem! 90 degree temperatures call for frequent swims at Fort Beach. Like most apartments and houses in the area, ours doesn't have central air. When the temperatures climb into the upper 80s and 90s it gets unbearable in our apartment ... yes, even with the window ACs going. There's nothing better than swimming in the ocean or sitting by the water to cool you off. Needless to say, we did our fair share of swimming this Summer!

On the hunt at HomeGoods.

Our Halloween Hunting has been slow this year, mostly because the chain stores have been really slow to get their Halloween merchandise on the shelves. Associates in various stores told us that the delay is caused by a combination of shipping issues and the lack of staff because of COVID-19. One manager told me that Christmas is going to be worse and to do whatever Holiday shopping now. Eesh. With that said, Ed and I managed to buy a few cute things like the goblin that he's holding in the photo above. I also bought a Polish Stoneware pumpkin from HomeGoods and some mats for the kitchen, my office, and the front door. Photos to come later.

Roll your sanity check, Ed!!!

Ed celebrated his 50th birthday this August! Like last year, we stayed local and had our celebration at home and outside away from crowds. We spent time wandering around Marblehead and Ipswich, picnicking, and celebrating with lots of presents and a classic cake from Coffee Time Bake Shop. Coffee Time is special to us. Not only do they have awesome baked goods, they made our wedding cake!  I told you we have a deep and meaningful connection to Salem!

On our way to Maine.

The weekend of Ed's birthday we packed our bags, bought a bunch of Bismarks from Coffee Time, made my potato salad and coleslaw, and headed up to our friends' cabin in Maine. We're all vaccinated and testing constantly, so we felt very safe to spend a few days with them. Besides, we haven't seen them in real life since we moved to Salem! We spent a wonderful few days paddling around the lake, swimming, and chatting. I would normally have photos of a trip like this, but our friends are private people. You'll just have to imagine an amazingly beautiful few days on a lake in Maine. 

The first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season.

The first pumpkin beer of the season.

Of course, we had our first Pumpkin Spiced Latte and pumpkin beer of the season! It's an August tradition!

Geez, I'm so damned tan!

It's been an absolutely wonderful summer! Although we weren't able to camp or travel much because of COVID-19, we had a relaxing and fabulous time here in Salem. I dare say, it was probably one of the best summers I've had in a long, long time. We spent our time walking ... a lot, swimming, exploring our new home and surrounding areas, and just living -- things we didn't get to do last year because we were trapped in a two bedroom apartment in Staten Island. 

Masks, lots and lots of masks.

Oh don't get me wrong, we're still being very cautious and vigilant because of COVID-19. We're still wearing masks indoors and in crowds even though we've been vaccinated. We will eat outside at a restaurant when it's not crowded, but we refuse to eat indoors and we're not going to indoor events like movies, shows, or clubs. We're shopping during hours when it's not crowded, visiting museums in the mornings during the week, and avoiding Downtown during the weekends when the tourists flock to Salem. With October and Haunted Happenings quickly approaching, we need to reevaluate how we will navigate Salem and if we'll even spend time Downtown during the month of October. 

As for me, I'm commuting to Boston for school. I was able to buy some N95s during the Summer when the supply caught up with the demand. I'll be wearing those during my commute and will be double masking (surgical and cloth masks) while in class. I'm grateful that Simmons requires students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated and to test every week. I feel safe there and that's HUGE. Commuting ... meh. Like I said, I have N95s to wear on my commute and my glasses act like a barrier for my eyes. 

At least I have this adorable fluff to come home to ...

One relaxed kitty!


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful, relaxing August! And Happy Big Five Oh to Ed! I'm being cautious too even though I'm double-vaxxed as well. Still not going to cinemas, plays or anything that involves a crowd. Our masking mandate has been re-instated here, which is fine by me.

  2. Hurray for a good summer and the beginning of PUMPKIN TIME!

  3. Happy birthday to Ed! Sounds like an absolutely wonderful month and a well-deserved break!
    Ahhh, cannot wait for the first pumpkin ale of the season. My other half brewed his own last year, I'm definitely hoping we can do that again. Hope you find some wonderful things to do this season whilst remaining safe and comfortable.

  4. Your August was radically different and more positive than ours. It warms my heart something fierce to know that this summer has been such an enjoyable, fun, meaningful, and memorable one for you both. May those positives continue and magnify all the more for you, my sweet friend, as we head into our beloved autumn.

    Autumn Zenith �� Witchcrafted Life

  5. It is great you are able to get out and have adventures again!