John Atkinson and I were in a Manhattan loft apartment that could have stood in for every sophisticated NYC loft you've ever seen in films. We were surrounded by fabulous contemporary art. Asian and South American antiquities were discreetly displayed. The furniture was sparse but choice. And, over in one corner, facing a conversation grouping of paintings, two sleek metal tower loudspeakers were making extremely convincing music. We managed to delay examination of this urban paradise long enough to drink adult beverages and inhale some music.
In July, I received an invitation from Bentley to participate in a "driving event" involving the 2009 model Continental Flying Spur and Continental Flying Spur Speed. How come? Because the 2009 Bentleys have the Naim For Bentley music system and, in addition to debuting it for the automotive press, Bentley wanted some hi-fi writers along for the, umm, ride.
Adjusting the EQ for every 1km change in speed, the Dynamic EQ has over 300 settings. Other fun tricks include various EQ "modes," allowing the system to be voiced for the driver's position or for the rear right passenger's seat. ("Home James, and give me the sweet spot!")
While the Naim for Bentley system has a six-disc changer, I found its glove-box mounted iPod cradle awfully useful. It has the MFI (made for iPod) authentication chip, so all of your iPod's playlists, titles, and other metadata are displayed on the GPS touchscreen in the center of the console. All iPod functions can be controlled through the touchscreen, including scrolling though all selections or leaving a playlist for shuffle.
The Continental Flying Spur was demonstrated in two varieties: The "regular" Flying Spur, which has 19" tires and a 48-valve, 552bhp W12 engine, and the "Speed," which put the Flying Spur on 20" rims, and a 600bhp version of that W12and outfits it with Bentley's carbon/silicon carbide brakes.
Naturally, this NY resident, who doesn't own a car, was given a Speed for a starter car. No problemas it turns out people get out of the way when they see eight Bentleys coming at them. As a result, I managed not to hit any pedestrians or guardrailsonly the road.
The pack o'Bentleys drove out of Boston and east to the Maine coast, following the twisty shore roads up to Port Neddick and the Nubble Lighthouse, purported to have been featured on more post cards than any other lighthouse. I didn't know where that was, so I followed along in the middle of the pack, playing my uncompressed ALC files through the Naim system.
After the Nubble, we switched cars and I got to ride in the rear right seat of a Continental Flying Spur with a "Comfort" package. That means better leather, a rear-seat entertainment package (including DVD player and noise suppressing headphones with a Bentley logo) and a lumbar-massaging seat, which really made being driven an even better experience.
Of course, any city with a maritime history has pirate history, too. In recent years, Salem has skewed more towards witches than pirates, but some traditions remain, including Beavis and Butthead tavernor in this case, liquor storenames.
Salem is full of New Age and Wyccan shoppes and it has an overabundance of "museums" that are more wax museum than serious repositories of historyheck, the place even has a statue of Elizabeth Montgomery in her role as Samantha on Bewitched. But it also has the Salem Witchcraft Trials Tercentenary Memorial.