A Return Trip to the Hawthorne Hotel

On a beautifully blue day that was bitterly cold and windy, I made the drive from Norwich back up to the North Shore of Massachusetts once again with the mission of dropping my oldest daughter back off at college following the end of her Christmas break. Traffic on the Mass Pike itself wasn't too bad as we drove towards Boston and points north but when we got to the exit that I normally take for I-95, traffic was ridiculously backed up so instead I decided to detour through Boston and head north on I-93. Normally I will avoid driving through Boston like the plague but I figured that mid-afternoon on a Sunday probably wouldn't be too bad and it really wasn't. From her vantage point in the passenger seat, Amanda took this shot of the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge, one of the widest cable-stayed bridges in the world, through the dirty car windshield. It's not very good quality but that's what happens when your windshield is enduring a New England winter and boy, are we ever enduring a New England winter!


After depositing Amanda and all of her stuff at her house at the college and giving her a hug good-bye, Jamie and I then crossed the bridge over to Salem where we were going to be spending the night at my most favorite of all hotels - The Hawthorne Hotel!  Juli, the General Manager, had offered me a fantastic rate in case I didn't want to do the 5-hour round-trip drive to Montserrat and back and I was more than happy to take her up on her generous offer!  Heck, any chance to stay at the Hawthorne is fine by me!

CT FlagArriving at the Hawthorne, where by happy coincidence the State of Connecticut flag was waving in the extremely cold breeze as part of the Hawthorne's Flag of the Week Program along with the flag of Japan, I was greeted like an old friend at the Reception Desk and warmly welcomed back. I thought to myself that this must have been what it was like at Cheers when Norm would come through the door and everyone would know his name! Well ... maybe that's a bit of a stretch but I think you know what I mean! There's something to be said for going to an establishment as classy as The Hawthorne and being greeted like that; it just makes you feel good all over!

For our stay this time Jamie and I were given Room #408 which is called a "Derby Room" that has two queen-size beds and two full bathrooms with a view of Salem. To put it simply, the room is huge and if you don't have enough room in there, there's seriously something wrong!  Jamie absolutely loved having an entire bathroom all to herself and made good use of the full-size bathtub later that night.


Now what would a stay at the Hawthorne be without a pose by the door?!?


Of course no matter how cold it was outside, I just had to open the window and take a pictures of the view:

Salem at Night
Frozen Salem

Following that I then went exploring around the hotel a little bit with my camera as I knew there were a few spots I had missed during out last stay like the Library in the basement which is actually a nautical-themed meeting room:

Library 1
Library 2

... and an exercise room with what looks to be the Cadillac of all treadmills! If I had that thing at home I'd be svelte in no time! Well, not that anyone in my family would ever qualify as svelte but I'd be in a heck of a lot better shape!

The Exercise Room

Fool that I am, I even bundled up and wandered outside to take a few night shots around the hotel: 


With fingers that were probably more like icicles at that point, I finally went back inside and Jamie and I made our way down to the Tavern for a late dinner in front of the fireplace.  Knowing that I didn't have to drive anywhere but merely had to walk to the elevator and down the hall I decided to treat myself to a House of the Seven Gables martini which is made up of Pinnacle orange and raspberry vodkas shaken with pineapple, orange, and fresh lime.  It was yummy and went quite well with my grilled cheese with bacon and tomato on sourdough with a side of the best potato salad I've had in a long time!  Sorry, no pictures as I was just too hungry and forgot to take a few shots before I dug into my meal! 


Jamie opted for a grilled chicken sandwich and onion rings and followed it up with Amanda's favorite dessert from our visit in December - the Chocolate Crescendo:

Jamie and her dinner

Like every other time before, I slept like the proverbial rock so if there was any sort of ghostly activity going on anywhere at the Hawthorne I once again missed it completely! The only thing that Jamie and I noticed this trip was that there was a mysterious odor of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies wafting through our room around 11:00 at night! When I told Juli about it the next morning she thought it as strange as I did but hey - if the place is going to be haunted by the smell of freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies then I don't think that's a bad thing!  Unless you're really hungry though as then it could have bad repercussions!

Following a lovely breakfast at Nathaniel's (courtesy of the hotel!) and a chance to chat briefly with Juli, Jamie and I packed up to head back to Connecticut as I needed to be at work at 3:00.  It was colder than cold outside with a pretty stiff breeze and the temperature on my iPhone thermometer app was reading a brisk -4 but I decided there was no way that I could leave town without taking a few quick pictures.  Jamie just rolled her eyes at me and said she was staying in the car!

First stop was at Winter Island where I took a dozen or so shots of Fort Pickering Light and another of the line of sailboats awaiting the return of better weather on dry land.

Fort Pickering Light
Frozen shipmasts

From there we made our way back towards Derby Wharf so that I could get a few pictures of the frozen Friendship and the old Salem Custom House.  If you look closely at the flags on the front of the Custom House, you can see the wind was definitely blowing! 

Derby Wharf
The Salem Custom House

The drive back to Connecticut was pleasantly uneventful and we pulled into the driveway a little after 1:00 which gave me plenty of time to get ready to go to work which is then what I basically did for the rest of the week - work and watch it snow while dreaming of the day I could go back to Salem and my Happy Place - the Hawthorne Hotel!

More snow
And more snow


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