In the past Terry and I always chose a town to visit in December to do some Christmas shopping, although that term was used loosely – we may or may not have bought any gifts, but the fun was in window shopping, taking in the holiday decor, stopping for lunch or coffee or dessert somewhere, and just enjoying each other’s company for one afternoon. Today felt a little like a continuation of that.
My shopping companion had chosen Marblehead, Massachusetts to visit for the 41st annual Christmas Walk. Comprised of events that span Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it is meant to bring in people to shop locally amid the beauty of this centuries-old maritime village. There was a tree lighting tonight at 7 pm (which we did not stay for) and tomorrow morning Santa arrives by lobster boat. I would give my right arm to see that!
A brief history of Marblehead: Founded in 1629, it was named by settlers who mistook its granite ledges for marble. It began as a fishing village with narrow, crooked streets, and grew inland from the harbor. In 1660, in an official report to the English king, Marblehead was acclaimed as “the greatest Towne for fishing in New England.” Just 17 miles north of Boston, it has over 200 homes and buildings that predate the Revolutionary War.
Anxious to do some serious shopping, we arrived around noon. And … we were a little disappointed. There were no crowds, no hustle and bustle, even the weather was very un-Decemberlike. We literally had the town to ourselves! It was great for shopping (no lines!) and great for photos, but the energy wasn’t there. The shopkeepers said it was Friday and people were working … they would be slammed tomorrow, though. We made a mental note that, if we decide to come again next year, to come on the weekend.
The lack of holiday chaos did not deter us though. The shops here in the Old Town are located in old buildings with crooked floors and creaky doors and are sometimes as beautiful as the objects inside. It was an opportunity to browse quietly and at our leisure, sample way too much candy and cookies that the shopkeepers offered, and find a parking place easily! It was a great day and I would do it again in a minute!
Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get to see Santa haul some traps and step ashore next year!