Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Harvest Fest in Salem

Hello friends!

Long time, no blog. Sorry about that. Will & I have been easing into our routines up here with school and work. We've been keeping busy with cooking experiments (like apple cider pancakes and cheddar buttermilk biscuits and Will's original recipe for potato bacon chowder!), head colds, exploring new restaurants, and diving into church activities.

I have been particularly neglectful of blogging because I've been absorbed in Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. My mother-in-law gave it to me a while ago, and I finally sat down to read it a few weeks ago. I was pulled in immediately! I'm usually not a fan of non-fiction coming-of-age stories... they feel inauthentic and characters are usually polarizing... but I really liked this book! If you're at all familiar with medicine, you'll appreciate a lot of the details and circumstances in the storyline. It's about twin sons born in a  missionary hospital in Ethiopia, both of whom become doctors, although in different capacities. It paints a beautiful picture of cultural differences, family relations, and the results of harboring resentment/bitterness. The story is captivating and the writing is easy to read. I just finished it last night, so now I'm in that "now what do I read??" mourning phase.

I digress.

After work on Saturday, Will and I joined a few friends going to the Harvest Fest in Salem. It was advertised as primarily being a beer tasting, with a few other local artisans involved. Since we enjoyed the Portland Brewfest so much, we had high expectations for this one.

Not the best angle for a picture... but I was a little hurried to get inside!

Truthfully, it was underwhelming. It's not even fair to compare it to the beer tasting in Portland... but I'm going to compare it anyway, because that's my only real reference for beer tastings.

Portland: Inside a large, open building, during the day, lots of air and space to wander.
Salem: Inside a small gathering hall, in the evening with the doors closed and no windows, crowded from start to finish.

Portland: Primarily breweries from surrounding states with a few meaderies and cider houses mixed in.
Salem: Almost an equal mix of meaderies, cider houses, vineyards, and breweries represented.

Portland: The people at each table were enthusiastic about their product and happily spoke to people about recipes and strategies (well, to those kinds of people who care... like my husband.)
Salem: The music was too loud for any real dialogue to take place, and the representatives and servers didn't really seem that invested in their product.

On the plus side, it was fun to taste a few more meads and a couple of wines (although nothing compares to the vineyards surrounding Charlottesville), so if someone wasn't a huge beer fan, they could still have a good time.

But overall, it wasn't our favorite experience.

What was a good experience was walking from our little home in Beverly over the bridge into Salem. We all debated driving (too much traffic and parking would be a headache), taking a taxi (not a bad idea...), or walking. It was a beautiful fall day, 60* and sunny, and we were in no hurry. We planned to walk down to Salem and take a taxi home later that night.

The view over the bridge to Salem.

It's about a 2 mile walk one way. I was debating going to the festival at all. I had worked that day, and would work again the next day. The idea of walking after a full day of work was unappealing, but there is a perpetual voice in my mind that says, "Do things outside now before you are snowed in until April," so I conceded.

We ended up leaving the festival early enough to walk back home, too. We stopped at Bill & Bob's Roast Beef on the way home for dinner. Sidenote: Roast Beef places are to the North Shore what Fried Chicken places are to the South... plentiful and each with a slightly different flavor.

We sat and ate, talking about culture shock and the biggest differences we notice in comparing home to here. Will's friends were from Iowa and New York, so we had some interesting viewpoints on a lot of areas.

And here are a few pics of us, just because I'm a slacker and didn't take pictures of the beer tasting.

Not my best look, but Will's face made this picture post-worthy. 

The Killmers enjoying Roast Beef.


  1. Hi, Jenn! Sounds like you guys are having a blast! Want to recommend some books: Joel Rosenberg's series starting with The Last Jihad, The Tehran Initiative, The Ezekial Option and finally The Copper Scroll. The last 2 are especially good. I am not reading them in the correct order however. I'm reading the first one last...not the best way. Very exciting world, politics, christian, CIA all wrapped into one. Another book: The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn is one of the most provacative and interesting books Jack and I have read recently. In fact, I may reread it!
    Love to you both, Linda