As we headed out and booking down the Mass Pike, I felt like I was on the FJR. I was darting in and out of the cars, and moving along at 80. I had to force myself to slow down and engaged the cruise control. I just don’t think the gray hair in a Chevy Malibu is gonna get me a break with the law. It might work on the bike, but not the car.
A quick call to the Capitol Diner to find out what time they are open until, only to find out we are going to make it there with 15 minutes to spare. Another call to the Salem Diner and we find we have plenty of time, so GPS is reprogrammed for a new location.
Now I spent the better part of the morning laying out NRHP in Lynn only to find we are gonna switch gears there too and concentrate on Swampscott and Nahant. Both towns have National Landmarks and Lynn has none.
I have searched for the Salem Diner every time I was in the Salem area and just never could find it. In the phone call to the Salem Diner, I also asked for their address. All this time I have been searching at the wrong number and maybe even the wrong street.
They are only serving breakfast at the Salem Diner and we arrive about 1pm. Parking is not over abundant spacewise at the diner and as we approached the door, seating apparently is not abundant either. The folks we passed indicated there is a wait time. Sure enough there is a line. I ask if anyone is gonna sit at the counter. No one is, we head for the stools, which in my mind, is the only way to eat at a diner, at the counter.
The Salem Diner is a very good example of a Sterling Diner and is on the NRHP. Most of the diners in Mass are. Breakfast was fairly typical for dinafare, reasonably priced and the activity completes the experience.
After breakfast we were off to our first stop Swampscott Fish House. This place is oldest active fish house in the country.
One thing I realized on this trip, it is much easier to do stop and go waymarking on the bike. You can position yourself on the bike and move around to snap your pictures away, but nothing beats the exercise you get by getting out of the car and walking around the site, but it also, at least for me, kills my knees.
The fish house done, I realize that I must have made a mistake in programming the GPS for the next few stops, so I abandon the route and simply ask to be taken to the next stop. The next stop is supposed to be the Elihu Thompson house, a National Landmark, but instead I found myself at the Swampscott Post Office and the Library. Snap some pics and off to the next stop.
Grabbing these other spots, I was not about to let the Thompson house go so easy. We brought the book with all the listings for Essex County with us. We plugged in the address and found ourselves at the Swampscott Town Hall. I had spotted this building when we were at the library and I had a sneakin’ suspicion that this was the site, but MeAsWe confirmed the location by spotting the infamous plaque by the door. She must have good eyesight.
Our travels took us off to Nahant to search out Henry Cabot Lodge’s residence, another National Landmark. Crossing the causeway, we made our way to the farthest end of this island or isthmus, climbing a hill, we rounded a corner and came to a breathtaking view. I stopped the car and got out for a photo. There is a gentleman standing by the road looking out over the scene I am about to take in. I asked “Do you get to see this everyday”, implying and asking at the same time, if he lives around here. “Yes, I come to watch the waves everyday; I have lived here all my life”. With that we struck up a 10 minute or so conversation about Nahant. He points off to a spot and says “That used to be the Lodge place over there, but the government came in and leveled it in the 20’s and then just left it. There used to be a beautiful library up there, such a shame. This used to be the summer homes for the Beacon Hill folks. Right over there is what we call Forty Steps, which takes you down to the beach”. You get the jist of the conversation. I just love meeting people this way, especially when I can say we have come to visit for historical reasons.
We found what supposedly is the Lodge residence at 5 Cliff Rd, but I have my suspicions there is an error in the information we got off the internet and the NPS site.
We grabbed a couple of more places in the smallest town in Massachusetts. If it were not for our quest to visit all of the NRHP’s in New England (as a start) I doubt we would have ever visited Nahant. We shall return on the bike to make a future TAG.
It is 3:30 and we will lose the sun very soon, our daytime quest for sites will come to an end. Lynn and its sites will have to be another trip this winter. We grabbed 2 more sites and headed home, but not directly of course. Just because we are in a car, we don’t have to take the highways. We followed RT 16 all the way into Wellesley picking up NEON signs, DD’s and some night shots along the way. It was a great day and maybe winter will be another Turn Turn Turn, there is a season for snow and a time for melting, and a time for riding again.