Salisbury. September 1, 2022

Day/Date:  THURSDAY -9/1/22
Town visited:  SALISBURY
Had we ever been to this town before? Yes, but briefly
Drive to town:  55 miles from our house but we drove from Portland, ME which was 70 miles  
Time spent in town:  4 hours
What did we do in the town/area?  
Summer’s end is approaching, and we are trying to make the most of it! 

Lucky to have scored tickets to the Brandi Carlisle concert in Portland, Maine (with the Indigo Girls opening!), we planned to spend the night up there and take our time returning home to visit the most northern coastal town of MA: Salisbury. We got the perfect day to do it!

First of all, the outdoor concert on Thompson’s Point in Maine was AMAZING for those wondering. We brought our beach chairs, settled on the lawn with dinner from some really good food trucks behind us, and enjoyed all of the vibes. Folks of all ages were brought together for an incredible night of music on a beautiful night. And there were many highlights, but Brandi’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Stardust” was one of the most rockin’ epic covers I have ever seen performed and most definitely, my highlight of the night.

After getting up in the morning and picking up some coffee from Tandem Coffee, one of Portland’s many independent coffee roasters (of course), we headed south to explore the town at the most northern tip of Massachusetts: Salisbury.

Upon arrival, we grabbed our token picture of the town hall and the usual nearby church, East Parish United. These buildings were adjacent to a neighborhood and a plaza of stores and not situated on a green like so many small towns in New England. 

As it was getting to be lunchtime, we quickly moved on to Lena’s Seafood, a classic New England seafood shack. The gigantic sign in the shape of a whale touting Lena’s Seafood “A Whale of a Meal” was hard to miss. This place is old-school: there is a picture of the founder, Lena, in a heavily shellacked frame on the wall from 1958, there are wood veneer booths and table tops, large paintings of boats, and wooden carvings of fish and lobsters hanging on the walls. They clearly serve a lot of people in the summer. They even have a drive-thru! We ordered inside but ate on one of the several available tables outside. We split a half plate of fried clams and a lobster roll and gobbled them up. Yum.

The biggest draw of Salisbury is the beach. And Salisbury Beach State Reservation is the perfect place to go, park, and find your spot on the sand. The beach reservation, run by DCR (Department of Conservation & Recreation), has several parking lots, restroom structures, a campground, and a playground. Lucky for us, we have an annual DCR parks pass, so it cost us nothing- but if you don’t have a pass, it costs $14/day. 

We found a nice spot to place our chairs and immediately walked up to the water to get our feet wet. Though not crazily busy, the beach was full of families and a posse of kids building some kind of sand tunnel for the water to go through (the tide was rising). We had a relaxing time soaking up the sun and water. We eventually walked to the Merrimac River side of the reservation and through the campground in order to see Ben Butler’s “Toothpick” (named after a civil war general), which is a pyramid-shaped navigational marker made in the late 1800s that sits at the mouth of the Merrimac River. 

We ended our town exploration with a visit to the Salisbury Beach Boardwalk. This old-fashioned strip of shops, arcades, restaurants, and public beach access has an old carousel in the center. There is a brand new ‘Welcome Center’ with public bathrooms and a big round building currently being constructed to be an eventual Carousel Pavilion.

We felt compelled to go into Joe’s Playland to play some classic Skee Ball. In a competition of best 2 out of 3 games, Jo won, but Jenny took the top spot for the highest score in a game.

Sunkissed and happy with our fireball candies that we scored with our tickets from playing skeeball, we headed home.

Indigenous/ Native land info for this region: Pentucket, Pawtucket, Wabanaki and Pennacook

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