June 16th, Day 20: Today our plan is to drive the 65 miles or so from our campsite in Bourne out to the end of Cape Cod and the City of Provincetown. Baring any stops we expect that this will take us around 1-1/2 hours one-way traveling on their main road highway 6. Unfortunately, as we soon learned, the drive was pretty boring as there was little scenery of interest. It really was not until we turned off the main highway and headed for the Highland Lighthouse located not far south of Provincetown and the tip of Cape Cod, that things got really interesting.
Highland Light is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod rising 170 feet from the ground. The original lighthouse constructed on this site was built back in 1797 and as it was constructed of wood, it was eventually replaced in 1833 by this current brick structure. As you can see in the above photograph, the lighthouse rises above the 17th hole of the Highland Golf Course. Given the opportunity both Kathy and I would have loved to have played this course although I could see us losing lots of golf balls as most of the fairways that we could see consisted in large part of tall grass. The particular fairway shown in the photograph above being an exception as the hole was only a par 3.
In some ways the scenery as we neared the tip of Cape Cod reminded us of our drive along the Outer Banks in North Carolina although here the sand dunes were much larger and in many cases more scenic. This photo to the left was taken from the observation deck of the Province Lands Visitor's Center located at the most northern tip of Cape Cod that is accessible to cars.
Our trip out to the end of Cape Cod would not be complete without a visit to the small coastal town of Provincetown with a year round population of only around 3,000. According to what we read after visiting Provincetown the summer population can be as high as 30,000 which does not surprise us since while it is only mid-June now, the downtown was crowded, and the few parking lots that we did find with room to park were grossly over priced. We decided to accept the reality that our visit here would be short and we would have to be content with just a few quick photos taken either from the car or from a short distance from the car where we had parked illegally. Not the first time.
We suspect that since walking seems to be the preferred or perhaps the only means of moving about in this village, that most of the summer tourists are younger than ourselves and content while on vacation to sit on the beaches during the day and drink beer and eat lobster in the evenings in the many small bar/restaurants that we saw while driving around the village. I guess we have been there, and done that. With all of that said, and from what we saw, Provincetown was a charming little village and it was here (before the village was built of course), that the Pilgrims first stepped foot on the sandy shores of America.
The return drive back to our campground was nothing special and once there we were content to just relax, have a nice cold drink, and discuss the wonderful sights that we have seen over the past few days. Tomorrow our plan is to head up to our next campground located near Salem, Massachusetts but not before stopping off and enjoying lunch with my sister Anne and her husband John at their home in Hingham located just southeast of Boston.
June 17th, Day 21: We arrived at Anne's and John's at around 10 am after a not so bad drive of a little over one hour.We visited them several years back but we had forgotten how lovely their home was in the beautiful setting of Hingham (at least beautiful any other time but the six months of winter.) Joining us for lunch was John's and Anne's daughter Karen who lives near by with her husband and children. We said goodbye to all of them shortly after noon knowing of course that we would be seeing John and Anne up in Nova Scotia on July 5th.
The drive from Hingham to our campsite up near Salem, Massachusetts was as we expected, awful. It seems that everyone in the Boston area was headed north on the same roads that we were. In some instances the road changes occurred so rapidly that even Garmin could not keep up and in our shared confusion we at one point incorrectly drove pulling our travel trailer into the Boston International Airport. Anyway, we finally arrived at our campsite on Winter Island about 45 later than we had originally planned. We knew when we arrived that we would be setting-up our travel trailer on a huge parking lot with much the same charm as camping at a Walmart. We had chosen this particular campsite solely because of its proximity to historic Salem. What we did not expect was the spectacular scenery surrounding this parking lot which was a combination view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Salem Harbor. This photograph of Kathy looking out at the Fort Pickering Lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean does not due the view justice.
The map to the right shows a small red circle which is marking the location of the peninsula with the name of Winter Island. The City of Salem is on the left side of the map. As you might see from this map, the water view from the tip of the "island" is more than 180 degrees. The harbor is loaded with boats of all types and once we finished hooking up our trailer, Kathy, Cabo, and I spent several hours just walking around Winter Island enjoying the views.
We are not the only ones enjoying the views today since we shared the shoreline with a bride and groom and their wedding party who were obviously taking wedding photos.
This little peninsula island also has some other special features besides just the view. It is the site of an old fort by the name of Fort Pickering named after Colonel Timothy Pickering, an adjutant general of the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The original fort began way back in 1643 and was still in use as a blockade into the Salem Harbor during the Civil War. Not much of the old fort remains today but this photo to the right shows me standing in front of the entrance to the old ammunition storage shelter. This old fort which was free to visit and dogs were allowed, was about a one minute walk from our travel trailer. This evening we again relaxed sitting outside for a while watching the people come and go and the boats returning from the sea: sailboats, fishing boats, cruisers, and even a ferry boat returning from the island off the coastline near Salem. It was a good evening. "Almost heaven . . . " quoting Kathy.
June 18th, Day 22: I walked outside early this morning, much earlier outside than usual, and at exactly 4:55 am I took this photograph of the Fort Pickering Lighthouse. The view in person was much better than the view shown in the photo, but that is always the case. Today Kathy and I have two things planned, well actually Kathy has one thing planned; I have two things planned. We both want to see historic Salem. I want to visit a special place in my family's history.
My 9th great grandfather, Edward Baker, arrived in America from England sometime in the late 1630s. The history of this man is fairly well documented including by myself in my family history blog at www.Bakerfamilytree.blogspot.com. In Chapter 26 of this blog I begin the story of my Baker ancestors beginning with the story of Edward Baker. Not long after Edward's arrival in America he was granted 70 acres of land near the present day village of Saugus. His land was on the side of a small hill just west of Saugus that today still bears the name of Baker Hill. One of the streets leading up this Baker Hill is named Baker Street. You guessed it. We went to visit Baker Hill and Baker Street, ancestral home of my Baker family. Baker Hill is today crowded with homes and winding streets. Pretty boring for the most part.
Historic Salem is really a great place to walk around and despite the advancing age of all three of us and my aging right knee, we walked at least 1-1/2 miles (slowly) through this historic old city. We also took many more photographs that we could possibly include in this blog but I must admit that the photo to the left was one of my least favorites. I thought I might get a few minutes of rest in the "stocks" but it did not work. People kept walking by me yelling in anger "Witch, Witch" and pointing at me. Truth is that one of my great grandmothers was tried and found guilty as a witch in Salem but fortunately despite spending a year in prison she escaped the hanging that tragically ended the lives of most accused witches. (See Chapter 38 in Bakerfamilytree.blogspot.com).
Kathy was tempted to purchase a souvenir in this outdoor market in front of Salem's historic Court House building until she checked out some of the prices. Much of what was being sold was high priced artsy stuff and most of it all hand made. This was definitely not a souvenir store.
This photo of Kathy and Cabo was taken by a small old historic building located within what was called the "Witch Trials Memorial" alongside the Old Burying Point Cemetery. While it is true that several of my very distant cousins are buried within this cemetery including one that was hung as a witch in 1692, Rebecca Nurse, we resisted the temptation to wander through this old cemetery. My direct ancestor that I mentioned earlier was buried in a city other than Salem.
Again, there are many lovely historic old buildings within Salem although too many of them I am afraid seem to honor the awful period during Salem's history when innocent women were accused of being witches, quickly tried, and equally quickly hanged. I guess the old witch trials draw the tourists so the merchants of Salem play this up big. Anyway, we enjoyed our walk but were glad to return home by early afternoon. Tomorrow we head up into Maine. First timers, never been to Maine.