This quaint New England city is about 40 minutes north of Boston, but it has none of the same hustle and bustle of its Big Brother. Salem, Massachusetts was founded by the Europeans in the early 1600s at the site of a Native American trading post. You can still visit buildings from that century today. Salem is most famous, however, for the a dark period in American history filled with suspicion, fear, and murder. The year was 1692 when the Puritans killed 20 of their own—19 women and one man accused of witchcraft!
In downtown you will find a simple memorial dedicated to the nearly two dozen victims.
Interestingly enough it hasn’t been there all that long. It took three centuries to build, but with the help of holocaust survivor and author Eli Wiesel it opened in 1992. Perhaps the creepiest part is the inscriptions written at the entrance. They are some of the last words the victims said like: “Oh Lord, help me.”
Today the town embraces its history.
The wickedness of their ancestors has proven to be magical for the local economy. There are Halloween stores, psychic readers, a witch history museum, and great tours. I want to recommend Hocus Pocus. www.hocuspocustours.com/ Our guide was not only informative, but passionate and incredibly entertaining.
Author Nathaniel Hawthorne is from Salem and that’s where you can find the home that inspired his novel, “The House of the Seven Gables.”
I tried to visit Salem a few years ago during October, but it was so busy we literally couldn’t park. I hear hotels book up a year in advance, so you may want to look into airbnb. Don’t know what that is? Average people rent out their home or a room as an alternative to a hotel. Sign up here and get $25 off your first booking. I stayed in a wonderful old home less than a mile from downtown and absolutely loved our hosts Helen and Denis.
This year I was determined to see Salem in the fall, but tried for September. Even though it isn’t the month of Halloween the air was still crisp and it felt like autumn. We only had one day and a half here, but I could have happily spent three.
How to get here without a car: We took the commuter train by the T’s North Station. It cost $7 one-way and took about 30 minutes. On the way back we took the bus direct from Salem to Logon Airport. It cost $2 and some change, but took about 85 minutes. The good news is route 459 was direct.