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New England Trip. Boston and the North Shore. September 2009.

I have been away for several days, kinda neglected to post on recent developments in animal welfare. My wife and I spent a great three-day weekend up in Boston and the coastal towns north of the city. We had a great time exploring the area along Route 1 and Route 1a. It has been thirty years since I was at Newburyport, and the only thing that I can recall from that visit was the maritime museum on Water Street. Well, it's still there and mostly just the way I remembered it. But this time, I walked around it and found this yard where my Fidelma could play and sit in the sun. Newburyport is very dog-friendly. The wharf is full of dogwalkers, and the stores don't object to bringing your dog in. It was just wonderful to sit on the pier and watch the sailboats go by on a bright and sunny day with no clouds in the sky. Fidelma quickly became the star of the wharf where many people complimented her for being " so cute. " She, typically, responded by showing her teeth and snapping at their fingers.

Further down the road is Rowley where a weekend flea market begins at 8am and closes around 2pm. It's called Todd's Farm Flea Market, and they tout themselves as a New England tradition. There must have been 200 vendors there, and they sold mostly antiques unlike some flea markets where stationary and hardware junk make up most of the merchandize. Best of all, dogs are welcome! This is a pleasant change from the flea markets we frequent, namely Stormville in New York, Elephant Trunk in Connecticut and Golden Nugget in Lambertville NJ, where dogs are not allowed. Yep, a lot of dogs were present at Todd's Farm but no poop on the grounds. It tells us that some organizers are just being mean to people and their pets.

Salem was a nice stop as well. Again, it has been three decades since my last visit. The famed custom house is still there and undergoing some restoration work. This is where Nathaniel Hawthorne worked for a while, and where he conceived his idea for what was to become the much celebrated novel, The Scarlet Letter. Out on the wharf, we came upon a lady with two greyhounds. While talking to her, a man came strolling by with two Italian greyhounds in tow. What are the chances of that happening? Anyway, Fidelma tried to intimidate all four and succeeded.

These coastal, sea-going, historic towns and others like them are all within an hour's drive north of Boston. We checked into a hotel in Boston's theatre district for two nights, and managed to sneak in the little girl unnoticed.

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