A Road Trip to Salem Massachusetts
For those who love Halloween, there is a wonderful road trip that extends this most bewitching holiday, and it is only a few hours away.
Salem, Massachusetts will forever be known for the witch trials that took place in early colonial America. But what you might not know is that this lovely city has a very active population of witches and warlocks. It also hosts year-round scary houses, a wax museum, live re-enactments of the trials and many more unusual “haunts”.
My first visit to Salem was over twenty years ago. I had never spent any time on the north shore of Massachusetts, and it was love at first site. You can imagine the lively port it must have been, and see the houses built by successful sea captains and merchants. The Peabody Essex is a premier museum that includes many artifacts from the period when shipping was the primary means of trade in New England.
There are so many attractions in Salem that it is well worth visiting the Salem Visitors Center run by the National Park Service. This is always my first stop when visiting, to see what new exhibits are available and get tips on places to eat or learn of tours that may be happening.
Salem is a family-friendly city. There are attractions for all ages, with guided bus tours for those who prefer to orient themselves, and give their tired children a treat. Speaking of treats, the oldest candy shop in America is still active, and has a host of confections for all ages. The candy shop is located down a lovely side street very close to another favorite attraction, the House of the Seven Gables. Several years ago a friend and I read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s lesser known tale, based on regular visits to this house, which was owned by his cousin. We visited in December and were treated to a tour with actors reciting favorite holiday tales, from Dickens, to Little Women and a Child’s Christmas in Wales. We even learned about Hanukkah based on an actress portraying Anne Frank. It was a magical way to begin our holiday season, and the whole city was decorated and festive.
There are plenty of fun shops to visit too, including a witchery. And if you are a fan of Bewitched, you can find a statue of Elizabeth Montgomery, commemorating the episodes that were filmed in Salem.
I’ve listed a whole lot of treats in Salem, now here is the trick. Find some time to visit. You can go for a day and see one or two attractions, but if you have time, I recommend an overnight or even several days. My last visit there, I brought family from California for two days and we rented a home in a lovely neighborhood. It gave me a different feel for the city as we sat on the porch and watched children play and couples walk their dogs. So crank up “Witchy Woman” and drive south a few hours, I dare you!