My boyfriend’s parents are visiting Boston and were kind enough to take my boyfriend and I on a day trip to Salem. I have lived in Boston for three years and have never been to Salem. It’s absolutely outrageous. Luckily, last Monday I was able to visit for the day and was finally able to attach history and geography.
Salem is a beautiful city, it is right by the water and much like Boston, still maintains the historical charm while accommodating to the needs of modern life. A $15 roundtrip ride will get you to Salem in 31 minutes. Perfect for a day trip!
When we arrived to Salem, like good tourists we followed the signs to the Peabody Essex Museum. What we did not know is that the museum is closed on Mondays (a good thing to know if you are traveling specifically to the museum.) We weren’t too disappointed, however, since there is plenty to see and do in the city.
We decided to walk to the House of Seven Gables which is a 15 minute walk from the museum. On our walk we spotted many cool stores. Unsurprisingly, most of the stores sell souvenirs, as well as anything witch-related you can imagine. My personal highlight was the Harry Potter wand store, called Wynott’s Wands. We also got to see the Naval Maritime Museum, as well as the U.S. Custom House which is a very pretty historical landmark.
When we finally arrived to the House of Seven Gables, we took a tour. First, we went into Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birth house. It was moved from its original spot, but was still intact. It was a lovely way to see how people in the 17th century lived, the things they used and what was considered fancy at the time. I am not a personal fan of Hawthorne, but it was still extremely interesting to see the places where he use to write and keep his manuscripts.
Then, we took a tour around the House of Seven Gables. This is the original house from where Hawthrone drew inspiration for his novel. The house has a beautiful view of the water and is still incredibly intact. The rooms inside the house are decorated lavishly, showing the wealth of the family. Apparently, Hawthorne’s cousin lived in that house and was the one who told him to write about it. During the tour I also learned that Hawthorne’s great-great-grandfather (John Hathorne) was a judge in the Salem Witch Trials. He was the judge who carried the trials on and never repented of accusing people to be witches. To eliminate the bad reputation the named carried, Hawthorne added the ‘w’ to his last name. The tour of the houses was very inspiring. They were both beautiful and entering them was like traveling through time.
Once we had seen both houses, we went for a bite to eat. We decided to try Boston Hot Dogs. It was definitely a good choice, they had all sorts of crazy hot dogs and many options to choose from. They also had vegetarian and vegan options, a huge plus for me.
After the good food, we went on our night tour. We took a Historical Salem Night Tour. The guide was himself a practicing witch and had grown up in Salem. He took us around to the Memorial and to some of the other landmarks where the witch trials had occurred. The guide was very good in debunking myths about the trials and gave an informed overview of what had occurred historically. We did not see any ghosts or witches during the tour, but we did happen to walk around the second oldest cemetery in the nation. Having our good feed of Salem history, we were happy to get on the train back to Boston.
The trip was very successful. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about American history, while also engaging on a fun look at witchery stores. It is also great to go during summer, since the weather is nice and it is not nearly as crowded as it is during October.