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We arrived in Salem on Monday morning, unprepared for the Columbus Day crowds that would greet us. Wow! There were so many people! We went to Red Line Cafe for lunch. Having been there last time, we knew it would be good food! The line was out the door, and the restaurant actually had bathroom bouncers to keep non-customers from using the toilets! First time I've ever had to get a hand stamp in order to pee! Haha! In any case the crepes were amazing. I got a Nutella crepe with strawberries and bananas.

After our meal we simply wandered. There was a lot more going on than the last time we'd been through. Street performers, tons of people in costumes, ghost tours, and some sort of sidewalk sale/faire with stalls selling homemade goods. Some of the goods we like most were candles laser-cut to look like crystals and skulls, mounted "trophy heads" of narwhals, elephants and dinosaurs handmade by a local artist, and awesome t-shirt designs and art by a local church raising funds for its LGBT outreach.

In our wanderings, we stumbled upon an Escape Room Salem challenge! These things are popping up everywhere lately! The owner was running the place himself that day...he hadn't planned to be open, but I think the Columbus Day crowds might have prompted him to do some business! He was able to fit us in around 3:30 with another group of four, which turned out to be two parents and two young ladies. It was a three-generation superteam!!!

This was the first escape challenge I've done with multiple rooms, and I have to say it was pretty fun! The rooms were decorated in awesome fashion, like a lab with lots of lit-up dials and mysterious equipment. The goal was to prevent a zombie apocalypse. We were given a walkie-talkie so that the owner could provide clues when we got hung up (which we did right off the bat haha). In my opinion what made this challenge more difficult than others we've done was the fact that we had to find clues in a certain order. This meant that we often ended up with all six of us surrounding one clue, all of us trying to be involved in solving it at once. It took some serious self-control to step back and allow others to manipulate a puzzle. Everyone wants to have a hand in the victory! But we took turns and helped each other, and ended up escaping with an impressive eleven minutes to spare! WOW!

All of that clue-solving left us with an appetite. On the way in Jameson had seen a seafood place, so we decided to try it out. It was called Turner's Seafood and had a really amazing menu, complete with a raw bar and unique cocktail list. I had a hard time deciding! Jameson got clam linguini and it looked amazing, with whole clams as well as chopped mixed in with the noodles. I settled on rare yellowfin tuna (less endangered than bluefin, fun fact) with a cold noodle and veggie side salad. There's nothing like beautiful seared tuna.

We ended our visit to Salem with a show called Hysteria! Asylum by The Salem Haunted Magic Show. The website was pretty vague about what the show would be like, so we didn't know what to expect. We were ushered into a dimly lit church (creepy) and sat in a small audience of about 30-40 people, and then we were asked to write the name of someone deceased whom we'd like to contact and put it in a box on the stage (supercreepy). Jameson put his grandpa's name in the pot, while I chose Slick, mostly because I could picture him sitting next to us and enjoying this :D

The show started with the magician coming out and walking on glass...really! He had an audience member on stage to examine his feet and watch up close, plus we were in the second row and could see (and hear, ugh) clearly ourselves. Yikes! That out of the way, he went on to perform several feats of memorization/mind reading, using some patient logs from Danvers State Hospital, an insane asylum recently and unfortunately torn down. He accurately recalled the names, ages, conditions, and treatments of patients. He also performed a "psychic surgery" on an enthusiastic young victim, er, volunteer, and drove a long nail through his own hand. Yeeeeek! He ended the show by channeling some of the information we'd all put into the box, giving pieces of information until someone raised their hand to indicate it was their loved one being talked about. The final trick was having a young lady come up on stage, sharing with us the information that had been on her paper, and then having her unwind a yarn ball to reveal an amulet with the name, age, and favorite pastimes of her deceased brother. I know it's all just a trick, but it's a pretty impressive trick! We very much enjoyed the show.

Thus ended our Salem day-trip! We drove to the new train yard. It's...not terrible, but not great, and not comparable at all with the yard we had before. But it's home for a week! At least it was easy to find and access. We even saw a few police cars near one of the entrances...and they pulled us over next to the train! Apparently they were there
to keep suspicious people out. That's us all right! LOL! All was well when they saw our circus parking pass and our luggage, and then presumably watched us climb onto the train like we lived there. It's actually really nice to have some security. Thank you Framingham Police!

Tuesday was a dark day. I woke early, borrowed Jameson's car and drove out to Osmun Music to get the Williams trombone cleaned and have some of the corrodible parts replaced. The trombone had been sitting in storage for a while before I bought it, and although it's in very good condition I always like to give my trombones a "setup" to make sure they're in top playing condition before I ruin them :) I got to meet Jim the main trombone repair tech, and talk a little shop before leaving the Williams in his care. I planned to pick it up on Monday. The rest of the day was pretty boring, I got groceries and then prepared to go to the gym with Jameson but he was feeling under the weather so we skipped it. Fine with me! I cleaned my room, ate, wrote, and relaxed.

On Wednesday we went to the gym, then to the mall to get Jameson a new phone. I was surprised to get a call from Jim that my trombone was ready! So after Jameson was all set I borrowed his car and went to fetch the trombone. Jim was curious to see what I thought of the slide, so I checked it out right there in the store. Oh my goodness! SO good. I mean it had been good when I got it, but Jim made it exceptional. It's no wonder this shop has a reputation for being one of the best in the area. Thank you Osmun Music!

Thursday, opening day. We've got about an hour commute to the arena on the bus, through downtown Boston. Yikes! But we had a great crowd! I met a facebook friend named Mo, and his wife. They both play trombone and were excited to check out the Williams and the Minicks! I really enjoyed hearing Mo play, he's a great trombonist. And he enjoyed the Williams very much. I love geeking out with fellow trombonists, always a good time!

On Friday we only had one show in the evening. That morning Brett and I had some special plans: a Boston Symphony concert! How exciting!!!

The only piece we knew on the program was Mussorgsky's "Night On Bald Mountain", which has some really juicy low brass parts. But we ended up enjoying the other three pieces as well! We especially like the first piece, Smetana's "Sarka", which featured a unison trombone soli near the end. A really great way to showcase the BSO's incredible brass section. There were definitely three trombones playing and they sounded like one. Our awe overpowered our jealousy :) The final piece was "Taras Bulba" by Janáček, another very enjoyable piece featuring two harps and an organ along with the full orchestra. That's one I'd like to find a recording of actually. Overall it was a fantastic concert and we enjoyed it very much! The musicians were exceptional!

After the concert we made our way back to the arena, stopping at Faneuil Hall for a bread bowl of chowda. So tasty!

The evening show went well, contrary to last week we've had nice big enthusiastic crowds here in Boston.

Saturday, the usual. For the morning show I got to visit with my friend Walt and his son, Walt is a local trombonist and we met two years ago when he came out to see a show. We got caught up and Walt took a crack at the Williams. It was great to see these two again!

(I know I have bad hair you don't need to tell me :P)

Ben DeCastro also came out to say hello, and brought us some awesome treats! Thank you Ben!!

Between shows I took a few photos of the camels, just because they're very close to the dressing rooms this week. Here are two camels enjoying a nice brushing :)

Here is Pete catching a nap. Camels, much like horses, can sleep lying down or standing up.

Sunday was a two show day. We were surprised to have decent crowds even though there was a football game going on not far away. Thank you Boston for a great visit :)

After the last show, Jameson and I packed up and drove to a hotel. Next we're in Bridgeport CT, only a few hours away. But next week I'll be flying to California for my sister's wedding!

Other stuff:

The floor crew ladies getting ready for the Yeshiva show! Body suits and hats! Suit up!

(photo courtesy Judah W.)

Um...don't really know how to explain this. Our trainmaster is a Swan Whisperer. He managed to convince this swan that it was OK to be picked up. In his own words: "He was friendly once he saw I wasn't gonna hurt him and respected him. He was calm and I didn't hurt or stress him. I love animals and would never do anything to hurt them."

(photo courtesy Joshua R.)

Speaking of cuddly animals, Jon Miller (reptile specialist) got stopped at the security entrance.
"Security wanted a bag check...so I showed her!"

(photo courtesy Jon M.)

Lovely photo of our train in the Framingham yard.

(photo courtesy Nikki R.)