A Three Day Weekend on the North Shore

Since visiting Paige in the literal dead of winter, I was dying to explore her new corner of the world in warmer weather. Earlier this summer, we spent a three-day weekend taking in all the best parts of eastern Mass, from Boston’s city lights to Rockport’s coastal charm – and a lot of places in between.

I spent most of Friday driving, arriving in the eastern part of Massachusetts just as the entire state headed toward Cape Cod. When I did arrive in Salem, Paige had an amazing dinner filled with fresh produce from the farmers’ market ready for me, which we enjoyed on her breezy second story porch.

After dinner, we caught the train into Boston for good beer, neon lights and a long walk through the city on a beautiful summer night. We met Tom, one of Paige’s friends from high school who now lives outside Boston as well, at Trillium Brewing Company’s Garden on the Greenway. I sipped on Peach Fated Farmer with Peach Juice, a sweet beer that went perfectly with the view of The Greenway and just a touch of a salty ocean breeze.

Beet at Trillium Garden on the Greenway

Taps at Trillium Garden on the Greenway

GLOW Art Exhibit on the Rose Kennedy Greenway

We wandered through the city, around the harbor and on and off the Freedom Trail before catching the train. We headed back to Paige’s apartment for a good night of sleep before a day on the North Shore.

Because it was 5° last time I visited, I was looking forward to enjoying the wind coming in off the ocean, rather than dreading it. We started the morning in Swampscott, walking along King’s Beach, Red Rock Park and Nahant Beach. The sun was shining, the water was the perfect temperature for dipping our feet in, and we worked up enough an appetite to really, really enjoy our pizza from Volo Craft Pizza.

The restaurant was small but bright, with sun streaming in through the windows and reflecting off the stainless steel tabletops. Everyone behind the counter was incredibly sweet and our food (the House Pizza and a Panino Sandwich) was ready in just a few minutes.

Red Rock Park, Swampscott, Massachusetts

Skyline View of Boston from Red Rock Park, Swampscott, Massachusetts

Red Rock Park, Swampscott, Massachusetts

Volo Craft Pizza, Swampscott, Massachusetts

north-shore-ma-long-weekend-13-min

We headed back to Salem for a few hours out of the sun before driving up to Rockport. Our first stop was for coffee at Bean & Leaf, which has an amazing view of Rockport Harbor. We popped into a dozen shops before visiting the iconic Motif #1. Among our favorites along Bearskin Neck were Queen of Sorts, Wicked Peacock and Rusty + Ingrid Creative Company.

Bean & Leaf Cafe, Rockport, Massachusetts

Bear Skin Neck, Rockport, Massachusetts

Cottages in Rockport, Massachusetts

Rockport Harbor, Rockport, Massachusetts

Motif #1, Rockport, Massachusetts

Fishing Shack in Rockport, Massachusetts

At this point, all we wanted were fish tacos, which are surprisingly hard to come by in this lobster-obsessed town, so we stopped for a quick dinner in Gloucester.

Sunday morning was gloomy, but that didn’t stop us from walking to Front Street Coffee House and peaking into Oak + Moss. We walked home through The Point to admire the gorgeous murals, all part of the mission of Punto Urban Art Museum to “break down the invisible, but undeniable socio-economic barrier between the Point Neighborhood and the rest of Salem and the North Shore… through stunning, world class art.”

Because of the rain, I left my camera at home during this outing. I’ve been kicking myself since, because this neighborhood’s art, from the full-scale murals to the small reminders that what goes down the storm drains will end up in the ocean, is stunning.

After our morning walk, I started the drive home, Volo leftovers in hand and ready to face the traffic waiting for me along the Mass Turnpike.

We managed to see a lot in just a couple of days, but I also put a big dent in a new book and got a few much needed good nights of sleep, making this the perfect weekend with my sister.

7 Reasons to Visit Salem in the Dead of Winter

Despite some wacky winter weather, Cody and I visited Paige this past weekend in her new apartment in Salem, Massachusetts. We were greeted by 2 feet of fresh snow and single-digit temperatures, but that didn’t stop from us seeing the sites. The 3 of us bundled up (we’re talking long underwear and scarves up to our eyes) to explore the best parts of Salem.

7 Reasons to Visit Salem in the Dead of Winter

For anyone else crazy enough to visit this coastal city in the dead of winter, we highly recommend these 7 stops:

1. Fish Tacos at Howling Wolf

After a very long drive on Friday, we headed straight for tacos at Howling Wolf Taqueria. The place was packed and we waited a little bit for a table. Once we were seated our server was great and I don’t think I’ve ever had tacos delivered from the kitchen as fast as these were.

2. Snow Covered Graves

Salem is synonymous with witches, and no matter your belief on the subject, you can’t deny the history of this town. The Burying Point, the oldest burying ground in the city, looked extra picturesque covered in a thick blanket of snow.

7 Reasons to Visit Salem in the Dead of Winter | The Burying Point

3. Oak + Moss’ Sunny Shop

I found Oak + Moss on Instagram while researching things to do in Salem. Their shop lived up my expectations, with gorgeous natural pieces and nautical accents. I wanted so badly to buy a lot more than I did.

7 Reasons to Visit Salem in the Dead of Winter | Oak + Moss

4. Fresh Bread at A&J King

After battling the cold and wind on Saturday morning, we were ready for lunch and a warm drink. The salad sandwich, chai tea latte and hammered copper tables at A&J King Artisan Bakers were just what we needed. The shop was busy, filled with people looking to get out of the house after days of snow and cold.

7 Reasons to Visit Salem in the Dead of Winter | A&J King

5. Frozen Harbor Views

Sure, the is harbor probably more enjoyable when it’s not frozen solid. But there’s something pretty cool about both waves and boats freezing into place.

6. Craft Beer at Gulu Gulu Cafe

We finished off Saturday with a few drinks at Gulu Gulu Cafe, which was a further walk than other Salem bars from Paige’s apartment. The huge selection of draught beers and live music made the walk completely worth it. Plus, it meant that we saw the trees that lined the streets downtown lit up at night.

7 Reasons to Visit Salem in the Dead of Winter | Gulu Gulu Cafe

7. Streets Filled Christmas Decor

Even though Christmas was a few weeks ago, both businesses and the beautiful old homes of Salem are still decked out in their holiday best. The lights, bows, wreaths throughout the town are dusted with snow, giving them an extra festive look.

Things_to_do_in_Salem_MA_Winter_3