Snow, Ice & Swans

Well, it wasn’t the most beautiful day in Salem yesterday but there were lots of interesting things to see while walking around town. Slushy snow fell from the grey sky onto the wet streets, but there was contrast in the form of ice sculptures from the annual Salems So Sweet midwinter festival, the architecture and shop windows, and a tranquil pair of swans at Pickering Wharf. As much as I love my native New England, this time of year can be rough; for me the urban environment provides a bit of relief from the starkness.

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Salem Apothecaries window

Derby Wharf and The Friendship yesterday, the Custom House, and the windows of  the Modern Millie vintage clothing store on Central Street and Witch City Consignment on Essex Street.

The Salem’s So Sweet festival, focusing on chocolate and ice, is an initiative of Salem Main Streets and the Salem Chamber of Commerce; there is a very popular wine and chocolate tasting event followed by a weekend installation of ice sculptures sponsored by local businesses and institutions. Everything has been delayed a week this year because of last weekend’s blizzard, but yesterday morning all the sculptures were on the streets of Salem. There was a beautiful sculpture of the Friendship at Pickering Wharf, which my camera somehow did not capture, and the Peabody Essex Museum’s Taj Mahal (which the sculptors were still working on) and a snowy owl sponsored by a consortium of Salem businesses (Pamplemousse, Modern Millie, Mighty Aphrodite, the Salem Trolley and Trolley Depot) and were my other favorites.

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The Peabody Essex Museum has enhanced the rather bleak landscape of Essex Street (all the shuttered tacky witchcraft-related shops are depressing even on a bright sunny day, much less a grey one, and the perpetually misspelled Witch Tee’s sign never fails to annoy me) not only with its Taj Mahal sculpture (to complement its current exhibition, Midnight to the Boom:  Painting in India after Independence) but also with colorful placards on the construction fence surrounding its latest phase of expansion.  Images of the coming year’s exhibitions work as street art for me.

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Snow and Ice Placard

And then there were these amazing swans at Pickering Wharf, gliding around (with their big webbed feet) in the company of rather less majestic ducks, very close to the dock. They were a pair, of course.

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