Birmingham, Alabama + Salem, Massachusetts
Happy Halloween, friends! To celebrate we decided to do a themed episode, where both of the places we visit have a spooky or sinister past. We're trying scary accents, and holding flashlights under our chins. Oh, and here’s your reminder to tune into John Fugelsang's Tell Me Everything on SiriusXM on November 6th.
Alison is obsessed with her new luggage! Her mom sent her a Samsonite carry-on and a 24” hardside suitcase as an early Christmas present. Perfect timing, as she leaves for a trip to NYC just a couple of days from now and suitcases are, well, a travel essential. Apparently we are already looking forward to Christmas, because Lulu is obsessed with Hallmark Christmas movies, and they are already airing them. ALREADY. She should get this sweatshirt to declare her new obsession.
Alison is wishing for a Roomba. Wait, didn't Alison tell the story of her buying the super-fancy (and super-expensive) KIRBY vacuum? She was afraid we'd bring that up. You see, as spectacular as it is, she just wants something to give her her time back. Two pets and two daughters means a lot of sweeping and vacuuming, multiple times a day. And we all know how Alison loves to have someone (or in this case, something) do things for her. Here's hoping this wish comes true. Lulu is wishing for the new iPad pro that was released yesterday! Her current one works but has a crack in the screen. Yes, fixing the screen would be cheaper than the new iPad, but what can she say, she wants what she wants.
It may not seem an obvious Halloween choice to you when you first hear her destination, but there is some spooky stuff to be found there. Lulu stays at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook, because it has two bathrooms and a fireplace. She's going to want a luxurious (and safe!) space to retreat to after the day she has. She grabs a non-scary meal at Big Bad Breakfast, then goes on a free tour of Golden Flake, you know with the chips! Lulu loves factory tours, and chips. If you like to feel afraid of apparitions, Birmingham has some eerie excursions for you. To face her fears Lulu blasts the Ghosbusters Theme Song on repeat as she prepares for the tour by shopping for paranormal equipment based on her google search - "what you need to hunt for ghosts". Lulu’s shopping haul includes:
this night vision camera
Lulu is eager, well anxious really (remember, she's a bit of a scaredy-cat) to take a paranormal activity investigation tour with Southern Ghost Girls, but I’d say with all that gear she is more than ready to take on any specter, good or evil. Next on her list is the Fright Furnace Tour at Sloss. You wander through abandoned passageways, secret doors, and boiler rooms, all filled with serial killers, creepy clowns, and chainsaw wielding seasonal actors to nab and grab you. This is literally the last thing we can imagine Lulu doing, and she doesn't want to do it. So she hires someone to do it for her and then tell her about it after she goes to dinner.
Lulu’s dinner is at Highlands Bar & Grill, which was named America's Most Outstanding Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Dolester Miles, their self-taught pastry chef was also named America's Best. She meets her new friend who is going to recount their experience from the Furnace Tour at Paramount Arcade. She listens to the ghoulish stories while drinking the Pac Man’s ghost cocktail made with Jim Beam bourbon, Lillet Rouge, lemon juice, and grenadine. She buys a round of this for the entire bar. Continuing in her generosity, or her attempt to garner good karma, Lulu decides to make swag bags for all of her fellow patrons. Included is banana pudding from Miss Myra’s Pit BBQ, a ticket to Little Shop of Horrors at Red Mountain Theater and a Blu-Ray of the movie Ghost. She has some money left, so Lulu decides that she could use a gift for herself that would help her recover from her day of scary things. So fears and insomnia, be gone, thanks to the California King Wave mattress by Casper (the company, not the friendly ghost). That big purchase gets her to nearly 10k.
Alison is all about the idea of a Halloween theme. She heads to what is still known as "Witch City, USA", where there are the biggest Halloween celebrations in the country, and where the ghosts of 19 people lynched for being witches during the Salem witch trials still roam. She is going for broke with committing to the theme, so she buys this gothic black maxi dress, so she can arrive already dressed the part. Alison stays at The Salem Inn in room W 17, known as the haunted room "for those who like to sleep with one eye open". The very first thing she does is head to Hex Old Witch Witchery where she does a 30 Minute In-Person Psychic Reading. This is not your throw-away-applies-to-everyone reading. The psychic uses a myriad of techniques including Tarot cards, palmistry, clairvoyant vision, and more. Intrigued by this experience, Alison continues to their store that specializes in, well, everything. They have crystals, dolls, oils, roots, spell kits, potions…and Witch Wear! Alison buys Beelzebub buttons, a Beelzebub Belt Buckle and two hats to customize and really amp up her witchy look. Also loving their Payback's A Witch t-shirt that she grabs on the way to check out. Lulu is worried all this Beelzebub gear with send her to hell. Alison says they look more like scarabs anyways, plus she’s not going to be cursed for looking up pictures of the items on her computer. Yeah, she’s fine.
Hungry after all that shopping, Alison grabs a bite at Gulu-Gulu Cafe. Next she buys out a cruise around Salem Sound on a replica of an 1812 traditional schooner, and invites Kenneth of Sinister Salem Stories to tell her scary stories while she cruises. Alison takes the Spellbound Tour of Joshua Ward House, known as one of the most haunted houses in America. It was the home of George Corwin, the man who served as Sheriff during the Salem witch trials. It is believed that he is buried beneath the foundation of his old home, and haunts it to this day. Now for a non-scary stop, she fills up on baked oysters and champagne at Finz. Finz offers guests lively waterfront vies of the Salem Sound in a comfortable open concept interior. Nice to have a moment of comfort on a day like this. Not sure if she would actually do this in real life, but while in Salem, you know? She buys out a seance with Omen Salem so there are no other spirits trying to come through except ones for her. She wants to be the only one there, so that the medium has no fall back person in case they are a little bit (or a lot) off in their connections. This is how a skeptic approaches a seance, it would seem. She's trying to believe, she just wants to take away any variables that cause her skepticism.
It's Halloween night, so she wants to pass out candy to children. Alison's research told her that there are 3,921 children between the ages of 1 and 17 who live in Salem. Babies don’t eat candy, teenagers don't care, she won’t come across all of them. So she buys enough candy from Ye Old Pepper Candy Company for 300 trick-or-treaters. Not wanting to contribute to rotten teeth, and also not one to miss out on a marketing opportunity, she buys 300 monogrammed toothbrushes that read “10K Dollar Day”. Lulu tells her she should have monogrammed them with a modification of our outro so that they read - "with friends like us, who needs CAVITIES?". Clever, Lulu.
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