An October Sunday in Salem is exceedingly different than a September Sunday in Salem.
A friend invited us over for pancakes and even though she lives all the way across town we opted to walk. I knew that driving would be a nightmare. Even on a Sunday morning. Never mind finding parking. We grabbed hoodies, being optimistic about the weather, and the stroller and left.
There were people everywhere. The pedestrians and vehicles vied for the same piece of road. There was a line in front of the Witch Museum that circled the block. Cameras everywhere were taking pictures of the buildings, statues and each other. There were many languages, most of which I could not make out.
We ate our breakfast and ventured out again. Today we could not play on the fountain. There were so many people that we could not even get near it. There were vendors selling everything from devil's horns and mittens to jewelry and soap. There were boy scouts selling popcorn and firefighters selling t-shirts. The smell of sausages were everywhere. I plopped down a fiver for a root beer float that was completely worth it.
As the day wore on, the sun got hotter and more costumes came out. I was glad we opted for hoodies and not jackets. We saw Elmo, a lion, a jailbird, faeries, a mad hatter, and, of course, lots of witches. Lots of dogs were dressed to match their owners. There was a person holding snakes and another with ferrets.
The smell of sausages was too alluring. We grabbed a couple along with some chicken tenders for Ryder and found a nice sunny relatively quiet spot in the cemetery to have lunch. We rested a bit until we saw a walking tour and decided to listen. The guide was talking about the white oak tree in the cemetery and how it was the younger cousin of the tree that was used to hang the accused out on Gallow Hill. We questioned how he knew the tree's lineage and continued on our way.
We walked and walked and walked never seeing the same people twice. There were lines to get into museums, haunted houses, stores. I felt like telling everyone to come back in two weeks and they would not have to wait a minute. But of course I didn't, and even if I had they would have thought I was crazy.
Ryder played in the hay bale maze with all of the other little children. He had so much fun running amongst those bales of hay. It is amazing how such a simple thing can be so amazing to children. They don't need fancy costumes or wax museums. They don't need their palms read or their auras photographed. They don't need the bouncy houses or the Ferris wheel.
We grabbed some candy at Ye Olde Pepper Company and some coffee at Jaho and made our way back for nap time. We bid adieu to our friends and walked home. I sit here exhausted with aching feet bathed in the blue lights from the Ferris wheel and I am satisfied. It was a beautiful fall day in a city like no other.