Salisbury, MA

After roughly a month plodding around the Maine coastline, we knew we wanted to provide Dexter with a taste of the beach before we sent him packing back home to start the school year. Having stumbled into the surprise (to us) area of NH’s coastline back in July, we decided it would be a good place to enjoy a bit more beach time before the summer ended.

We snagged a campsite at Salisbury Beach State Reservation and set about insisting Dexter enjoy the beach. We’d maxed out our yearly overnight limit over at Hampton Beach State Park just up the road back in July; otherwise, we would have grabbed a site there, as it’s a campground that better suits our style. We enjoy walking into town and having quick access to safe running. Salisbury is about 1.5miles into the Salisbury center – which saw its glory days long ago. The running from Salisbury was a bit trickier. And the walk to the beach was a good 1/2 mile from our campsite – which is fine if you aren’t a 10-year-old suffering from chub rub after soaking yourself in salty-whale-pee-water all day.

Salisbury served us just fine, though.

The day after we arrived, Dex and I spent a sunny day at the beach, then gathered up Jake from his work desk and took him out for dinner at no-one-but-Dexter’s favorite dining establishment: Applebee’s. Going to Applebee’s was one of the final items of Dexter’s list of summer goals. Joy.

After Dexter was good and splotched with sunburn and chafing, his dad (my brother) arrived to spend a few days earning his own splotches of sunburn.

While I’m sure Andy was sad that he missed out on the glories of Applebee’s, we decided to treat him to lobster rolls at The Beach Plum the evening of his arrival. That rascal skirted his duty to enjoy lobster by ordering a chicken sandwich. Because my brother has terrible taste. And clearly deserves Applebee’s. I think he appreciated the Beach Plum’s ice cream, though. It is impressively portioned and turns over quickly enough that we never got a scoop with freezer burn issues. We ended the day with a rousing evening of Fast and Furious 8. In order to accomplish Dexter’s goals, we needed to catch up on the Fast and Furious franchise. The goals of 10-year-old people are excellent.

We spent our first full day of Andy time lounging at the beach. Sunburn acquired. After Dexter cooked us hotdogs and built a roaring campfire, we all decided to venture down to the beach for a night walk. It was barren of people, and crowded with tiny crabs and tiny creepy creatures doing nighttime beach things. We traipsed the beach all the way down to Salisbury, where there were people. Some of these people could have fallen into the nighttime creepy creature category. Which was fine. What was not fine, was that Salisbury features several very active arcades, but none of us brought quarters on our nighttime walk.

By the second day of Andy’s visit, Jake had acquired a nasty cold. He joined us for a morning walk before deciding it was best to play it cool and hang with Lucy. So, the three of us who were still standing – Andy Dex and me – plodded up and down the boardwalk over at Hampton Beach, grabbed a beer at Smuttynose, and hit up a few of the arcades that somehow thrive at both Hampton Beach boardwalk and the dying town of Salisbury. We did not forget quarters this time.

By ‘somehow thrive‘ I mean obviously thrive. I forgot how much fun it is to waste every quarter you can scrounge up on arcade games that shoot out tickets that you can then trade-in for a plastic bracelet and a pack of smarties.

Jake joined us for a few hours the next day, on account of Dexter having a newly added, very exciting goal to accomplish. Dexter enjoys helping me route via online maps while we drive. While routing us in the Salisbury Beach area, he noted a military surplus store outside of Boston. Note – I didn’t say he was a good router. Dexter very quickly added ‘going to the military surplus store’ to his goals. Jake wasn’t about to miss that.

Dexter was very pleased by the military surplus store, which not only offered old surplus gear, but also an entire wall of paintball and airsoft weaponry. Dexter is a 10-year-old with a large appreciation for all that is military.

After accompanying us to the military surplus, we allowed Jake to return to his bed to rest. Andy, Dex, and I returned to Salisbury. No rest for the healthy – there were more arcades to explore. Wasting quarters winning tickets is hard, hungry making work. We grabbed some weirdly delicious pizza slices in Salisbury to power us through a few more arcade games. Who knew a slab of provolone on a floppy crust would be delicious?

Monday stole Dex and Andy from us. We were left to clean and enjoy the silence of an empty feeling RV and a campground that had emptied out of weekenders.

We spent the rest of our time in Salisbury laying low. Jake recouped from his (tested – no COVID-19) crud cold. I caught up on work and the long runs that I had let slip a bit while Dex was with us.

By the next weekend, Jake was feeling well enough to venture out again. After treating ourselves to some Acai bowls from The Green Room, I dragged him down to the arcades so that he could watch me win a ton of tickets with my Flip-2-Win coin-drop talents. Being without a child in our care to pawn these tickets off upon, we found a random one and imparted the tickets on said child. The child was very happy. I also insisted Jake try the weird provolone slab pizza. He was appreciative.

We spent our final day in Salisbury checking out Newburyport. It is an adorable town that is clearly frequented by those with a bit more cashflow than the typical set that might spend time in Salisbury. (Note: Salisbury is also frequented by a guy with a pet chicken – something Newburyport likely lacks.) I partook in my first Starbucks drink of the summer after waving off the mega yacht that was docked in the marina down the street. We also found some good bagels – one of my favorite things to find in any town.

We rounded out our stay in Salisbury with a set of steamed lobsters from the local pound. I think I am finally satiated on lobster. For now.