July 20, 2013

The "Maine" Event; Day 2: Salem's Lot

Sunday, July 7, 2013: To pass the mornings in the hotels during this trip, I charged up my iPod to play some of my favorite classical music. Over the days that would follow, I would listen to Hector Berlioz' "Symphonie Fantastique," Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherazade," Igor Stravinsky's "The Firebird," Gustav Mahler's "Symphony #2; The Resurrection," Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," and Béla Bartók's "Concerto for Orchestra." I consider each of these selections to be an absolute masterpiece. I spent those early hotel hours in headphones being swept up in the passions of brilliant music while I waited for the days to dawn.

I would start off Day 2 with a stroll through Salem's pedestrian mall. This is a few bricked blocks made up of shops, restaurants, museums, fountains, sculptures, etc. The area is dotted with actors dressed in 1600's attire who interact with passers-by and add to the charm of the surroundings. This walk brought me directly to what I think is one of the best bits of entertainment in the area -- the Witch Dungeon Museum. A visit here begins with a stage show in which theatre students from Salem University reenact the proceedings of a witch trial. This is very well-done and highly affecting. When the performance is complete, guests are taken to the lower level to spend a few moments in the atmosphere of a Salem dungeon. It is quite intense.

Salem has many more witch-themed attractions, however, by the time the afternoon of Day 2 rolled around, I had seen enough of that sort of thing and was looking to do something different. Enter the Peabody Essex Museum. This building features four floors of all kinds of artwork from around the globe. My favorite section was definitely the wing of Asian art. One can tour a Chinese merchant's house called Yin Yu Tang which was built during the Qing Dynasty (200 years ago) in a small village called Huang Cun. This residence was carefully taken down and relocated to the Peabody Essex Museum in 1997. It is a fascinating walk-through with each room showcasing furnishings and artifacts that one might have found in the Huizhou region. The look and feel of ancient China in Salem, Massachusetts -- highly recommended.

"Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God,
without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation,
among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice
in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain,
neither laboured in vain."

~Philippians 2:14-16