B and I traveled up to Marblehead, Mass. to visit her brother and family this past weekend. They were singing in a Christmas concert with a community choral group, and on Saturday night we attended the performance in a beautiful old Congregational church.
We spent the rest of the weekend taking in the sights of this historic town, located on a rocky peninsula on the North Shore about 20 miles from Boston. Marblehead was founded in 1629 -- remember, the Pilgrims only landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 -- and boasts many twisting, narrow streets and old historic buildings.
We strolled through the King Hooper Mansion, home of the Marblehead Arts Association. Greenfield Hooper, a candlemaker, built the house in 1728. His son became a shipping merchant who was dubbed "King" Hooper by the local population for his wealth and benevolence (back when being a "king" was a good thing.)
I took photos of the Hooper Mansion and some of the artwork inside, as well as a few other colonial buildings hugging the harbor. Unfortunately, those photos are not available.
We also walked over to the Jeremiah Lee Mansion where we admired the many gingerbread houses cooked up for the Gingerbread Festival. There were ribbons in the children's and adult categories, as well as amateur and professional categories. I took several pictures, including one of the Best in Show which was an elaborate gingerbread-and-candy version of a Christmas village. Again, I'm sorry, I can't show you the photos.
Jeremiah Lee was another wealthy merchant and shipowner who built his Georgian-style mansion in 1768. My sister-in-law was telling me it was the China trade that made Marblehead an important coastal town, and briefly turned nearby Salem into the largest city in the United States (where 20 people were executed for witchcraft in 1692). She maintained that the Marblehead merchants made their money importing goods from China. And maybe that's true. But I'm guessing a number of them were profiting from the slave trade.
We also went to a craft fair at Abbott Hall, the historic town hall (sorry, no photos), and we took in a children's Christmas concert at Old Town Hall, built in 1727. The kids were cute as anything, all dressed up in their Christmas garb. But again, no pictures.
So where are the photos?
Well . . . on the way home on Sunday we stopped at a farm in Connecticut where you can cut your own Christmas tree. I brought my camera along to capture the scenery. We cut our tree, brought it down to the parking lot, and stopped for a cup of hot cider. And that was when I stuck my hand in my pocket and found it was empty. I searched all through my pockets. Nothing. I had lost my camera.
I hate that. Don't you?
Yes, we retraced our route and looked all around. I left my name and phone number in case someone finds it. But I don't hold out much hope.
So here's a rather unexciting picture of the Christmas tree we cut and brought home, taken with my phone. We'll decorate it sometime later in the week. Meanwhile, now I know what to put on my Christmas list!