Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Visiting Salisbury Beach, Plum Island & Newburyport, MA

A couple of weekends back, we decided it would be fun to explore some areas that are semi-close to us but that we haven't visited before. After scouring the many websites that sang each city's/landmark's praises, we happily settled on these three: Salisbury Beach, Plum Island (including a historic lighthouse), and the quaint New England harbor town of Newburyport, all in Massachusetts.

We were really looking forward to visiting each place.

Until we actually got to them.

Oh my goodness gracious. Things went downhill faster than the speed of light, and by the end of the day, we were so ready to be done and just go home.

First off we headed to Salisbury Beach in Salisbury, MA. It was like a nature preserve of sorts, and dozens of people had parked their cars along the entrance road and were gathered around one tree in particular, with zoom lenses as big as houses pointing upward, I might add. Something had to be up there, but we had no idea what. Turns out it was a beautiful white Snowy Owl. She/He flew overhead just as I was pulling my camera out of the bag, so I didn't get a picture but I was happy we got to see it.

There were lots of parking areas heading in- and we noticed the fee for general day use in the summer months: $35 WHAT?!?!? - relieved we didn't fork over thirty-five bucks for this place. At first glance, it was new and exciting, and even pretty; however, five minutes in, I changed my tune. There was litter strewn everywhere. Bottles, cigarettes, snack bags, soiled diapers (as in more than one, and that's just ridiculously gross), cans, more bottles...I wouldn't let anyone remove their shoes for fear of them stepping on a hypodermic needle. Not even kidding. Ugh.

This boy was all smiles. Oh right, he's climbing and getting dirty and risking life and limb. Guy stuff for my guy's guy. Love him.

 And beautiful Isabelle. How did I get so lucky?

 This photo just says it all. It makes me smile.

 This one, too.

 Caleb has that look, getting ready to do something...

 He's making sure I'm ready to capture his antics on film.  =)

 And then quick as a flash, he leaps off the wall. So I guess I missed part of it. Bad Mommarazzi.

 He smiles so big his eyes disappear. Always has and I adore it.

 Purple sand. I wonder if it has anything to do with Red Tide... Well, we weren't planning on eating it so I wasn't too worried at the moment.

 HA! These two, always in this position on rocks near the water! The only things to be found here were, well, dead. Crabs, birds, fish... Just gross.

 Youngest must keep up with oldest. He always helps her up when she needs it, and it melts me. I have one brother, and he has never cared for me much. She has no idea how blessed she is, but I'm sure she will know one day.

 Really, who is this young man? Where is my little boy?

Ryder may have been a teensy bit distracted by the ducks and birds. People from all over were giving us strange looks because Ryder wails and howls and pretty much makes the most bizarre noises I've ever heard when he gets nervous or excited. Weirdy.

So at this point we decided to move on to Newburyport. For about eighteen of the twenty minutes it took to get there, I fought the urge to keep telling everyone to make sure their doors were locked. Ick. We finally made it, was all slightly underwhelming. To be fair, it was an overcast day and nothing had "greened up" yet, so everything looked blah and grey. Needless to say, nothing looked as it did on the lovely websites.

From there we were beginning to feel a little panicky about trying to salvage the rest of the afternoon. Onto Plum Island, where there is another nature reserve, more beaches, and a big lighthouse.

And here's what greeted us as we arrived. Looks homey, right? Just as you'd always imagined a US Coast Guard building to look? What the heck?

Then there was this. Such a strange feeling to this place. Deserted, only not.

The Karate Kid gave us a laugh, but it wasn't enough.

More ruins (the background, not the kid), the dog escaped and ran off- and it took forever to get him back- and the wind was picking up. Time to move it along. But where oh where is the lighthouse? No way it could be that puny one we'd seen across the road when we got here...

Of course it is. Okay, so it doesn't look so puny when they're posing next to it, but hello? It's waaaaaay across the street and barely visible from the ocean, which I thought was kind of the point of a lighthouse.

I do like the details at the top. Whatever. 
So we pretty much spent three hours' worth of gas for this? We decided that we'd at least drive through the Parker River (or maybe Plus Island- who cares at this point?) Nature Reserve before ruling it out. Didn't even make it through the first parking lot. We drove as quickly as the law allowed to the nearest Dunkin Donuts Honey Dew Donuts to at least grab the kiddos a hot cocoa for being such good sports. And then Isabelle had to use the bathroom, and oh my goodness gracious.Time to go home and decontaminate. Ew ew ewwww.

So that was our perfect family fun day. Awesome, right? ha ha

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