Got a day to spend somewhere cool? Try Salem, Massachusetts
Having heard about Salem my entire life and been fascinated by the horrific stories of the religious fanatics who executed 19 innocent women for being witches, I was quite excited to finally visit here. But my interest in the story was a bit less so than discovering the town where it all took place and what life must have been like back in the 17th century for these people in Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The town is relatively small though it does have some suburban outlays but quickly you pass grand houses and enter by the town common where we found it relatively easy to park – actually right in the same block as the Salem Witch Museum. We didn’t go in but it probably is worth a visit. Instead, we walked around to get a feel for the town including the incredible Essex Peabody Museum which had a Rodin exhibition during our visit.
The pedestrian precinct in the town center was quite lively with people dressed as witches and all sorts of T-shirts for sale as well as lots of fun tacky tourist memorabilia related to the witches. I found it quite fun to actually look at the stuff sold and even bought a T-shirt and some witch mints along with a tacky magnet. But it was so fun!
We walked to the waterfront and on the way found the visitors center run by the National Park Service where a small museum exists, clean restrooms and staff to answer questions about the town. They pointed us to the waterfront and we meandered along the red line painted in the street and sidewalk to follow which makes it easy for visitors to do a circuit. We popped into the old custom house and then the Narbonne house
which was rather interesting as it was a well-preserved middle-class house that at one time had a penny shop in it.
We stopped for food at Brodie’s Seaport which had a very good lobster roll. It is just a few blocks from the House of the Seven Gables which is one of the most famous places in Salem. We also meandered through the manufactured harbor district which you can avoid if you don’t have time for anything not really authentic. There are some shops and restaurants there and it is a nice little area – just has no historic value in a town that is packed with history.
If you do spend a bit of time in Salem you will soon realize that you need to spend even more time there to truly appreciate this great destination. It has loads of history, loads of kitsch, loads of incredible art, great architecture, fun street walking, wonderful waterfront, and so much more. It really is a place you need to spend some time in and we would love to go back – perhaps overnight parking for RVs like Savannah offers would be enough to entice us back!