Witch Way Should We Go?
Trip Start Oct 10, 2007
11Trip End Oct 16, 2007
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Heading out of town we stopped in quickly for a world famous "Coffee Pot". Now, for two people who had just spent hours at a coffee drive thru one might venture the question what the hell did we want with a place called the Coffee Pot. Well, to be honest, we didn't know either. What we did know was that there was a line of people flooding out the little cafe's front door and traffic everywhere negotiating for parking spots all around. We quickly scooted into a spot across the street and ran in to find out what the buzz was all about. The Coffee Pot Cafe sells - well- coffee pot sandwiches. I have searched the and searched but have no idea why these famous sandwiches are called coffee pots, but they are definitely worth stopping for. Perhaps a stroke of genius, these sandwiches are not exactly assembled as much as layered. The long hoagie roll in fact is not cut or sliced to hold the meat and cheese combination of your choice (The Italian is the most famous) rather the meat, cheese, onions, and pickles are just placed over the roll, creating a somewhat difficult-to-eat concoction. Regardless, the stop was a perfect, spontaneous find, that we were lucky to have come upon.
Driving out of Bangor that afternoon we knew a few hours of hard driving ahead of us before reaching our destination of Providence. Schedules and time frames actually gave us a few hours to play around with so we decided to go in perfect Joe and Frannie fashion. Joe proposed a stop I never thought I would actually every get an opportunity to go to but jumped on when the opportunity presented itself. Salem, Massachusetts it was and I couldn't have been more excited. On my personal list of places I've always wanted to see, we decided to stop into town for a small while. Being so close, it only seemed like the right thing to do so onward we traveled headed for Witch Country. Along the way, still plugging through Maine, Joe asked, is there anything in your "Thousand Places to See Before You Die" book that we can see in Freeport? Coming upon the exit, we wanted to make sure we saw anything and everything that was remotely close. Of course, anyone who knows New England know that Freeport is home to the flagship LL Bean store. We called for quick directions and headed to see the monstrosity of outdoor shopping. After seeing Cabellas and Outdoor World, we didn't expect to really see anything special about LL Bean but we didn't realize is that when you go to LL Bean you're really going to a compound, not a store. Each department had its own building and in order to see them all, a full day of walking, a map of the compound, and a GPS would all be required. We only visited the main clothing store where the famous LL Bean water boot is located but were overwhelmed by the fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, camping, and anything else you can imagine buildings surrounding the main house. After a quick walk through we got back on the highway and forged onward to Salem.
Arriving in Salem, we really had no idea where to go or what to do but after a few quick turns and some intuitive navigational skills thanks to Joe, we arrived in downtown right at dusk. The visitors center and witch museum were all closed and the town became quickly sleepy after we arrived. Despite the add hour we arrived and the very short time we had to spend there, I experienced enough of Salem to know that I probably need to never go back. The history of Salem has always interested me and I think "The Crucible" was one of the best books I ever read in high school but what Salem was and what Salem is are worlds separated by fact and fantasy. The factual history of Salem is what I imagine people come to this town for. In love with the wicked stories of bratty teenage girls who fashioned stories of witchcraft is what Salem is (or is supposed to be about right?) Well the 21st century has moved in to Salem and now instead of history of witches and tales from the past, most visitors are now just inundated with palm readers, wickens, ghost tours, and haunted excursions. While I imagine that Halloween in Salem is like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the crap the town is marketing really takes away from the true history and draw that Salem offers. With little left to after our stroll around town, we found a photo gallery where we were dressed up as a witch and warlock by some Russians ready to take our money who snapped a few digital pictures of us with funky props and backdrops. Despite the fact that most everything was closed, we still managed to have an amazing time in Salem for the few hours we were able to spend there After a quick beer in a historic watering hole, we got back on the road, Providence bound for Fire and Ice, our dinner location where we would meet my sister Tara.
Mongolian BBQs have been around for a long time. The idea of them is that you choose food ingredients (raw) and the sauce you want them cooked in. Then your chef cooks it up on a hot stone where you can watch it being prepared. Much healthier than Chinese, Mongolian BBQs are an inexpensive alternative to the standard General Taos Chicken.
The Fire and Ice restaurant is a sort of a Mongolian BBQ, jazzed up and overpriced for 20 somethings who think they have just found the new coming of restaurant experiences. For 16.95 you can enjoy the 'all you can eat' style buffet so long as you didn't mind waiting for it.
Tara met us at the restaurant on college night (for half priced dinners in the whole place for every one put us) where all the co-eds of Rhode Island convened and despite being the oldest ones in the place, we really did respect the guys who came up with the concept. With high ceilings, colorful primary color splashes of an attempted modernistic feel with loud music and simple signs, one could almost forget about standing around for a 1/2 hour for some kid who probably works at the campus cafeteria by day to whip up a dinner Bennihana style and slap onto a plate. Our visit was nice and we were glad to have been able to visit with Tara in her new home now that she is away at college. After filling our bellies with chicken, steak, and pasta, we said goodnight and retired to the Motel 8 south of Providence where we would enjoy our final nights sleep on this amazing road trip.
Where I stayed