If a city could be depicted as a human—if you could shake a city’s hand or sit down and have a conversation with a city—Boston would be a handsome, clean-cut, athletic, breath of fresh air character with an inviting personality. I had no idea I would love Boston so much, but when I got there, it felt like a place that had been made for me. Reminiscent of Ireland and oozing of Red Sox paraphernalia, Boston’s individuality as a city was stimulating, serene, and completely stunning. I sat in the grass at Boston Common, watched a little league baseball game, then walked all around the edges of the park, and I felt like I belonged in this city. We visited Boston University, and I checked out Emerson College, and the vibe of those universities felt alive, creative, and rich with potential. We walked along the water, where we saw people kayaking and canoeing. I could imagine walking the edge of that water every week and sitting down in the green grass to have a picnic with the wind of the Atlantic.
If you were to sit down and have coffee with the city of Salem, you’d be sitting across from a dark-haired, mysterious person, kind, welcoming, smart, and abounding with knowledge of history and witchcraft. The day we spent in Salem was cold and gloomy—the best kind of weather for a town like this. Honestly, I expected Salem to be dark, depressing, scary, and dirty, but I was surprised to see that it was probably the cutest city I’d ever seen in the United States. If you didn’t know about the Salem Witch Trials and just happened upon the town, you’d think it was simply a charming colonial-style, brick-street New England town. But take a short step into the history of the city and you’d see a past full of cruelty and agony—women accused of witchcraft, tortured in the sheriff’s basement, hanged in a front yard, drowned, strangled, suffocated.
We took a ghost tour at night through Salem, and we learned more about the history of the city and the current paranormal activity. On the skirts of the town we found a little village set up like the pioneer days—we took a tour through the rural community, feeling like Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I thought back to when I’d lay in bed reading about the days dirt floors and scarlet fever, and as I walked through these little New England treasures of Salem and the pioneer village, I was so thankful for this road trip. It continued the lessons and stories that I began learning fourteen years ago when I first opened books and listened to history teachers.