Witch City, Salem Massachusetts - Places to See Beyond the Witches
When summer till fall comes a city north of Boston, streets fills up with historian, and Wicca lovers alike. Salem Massachusetts, is best known for its dark history of the Salem Witch trails of 1692, a time when innocent people were accused of being bewitched, and 19 were hung on Hallow Hill and one was pressed to the death.
Today's Salem is still filled with witches the real kind. Many flock to see the sites, visit witch shops, learn about the witch trials, and celebrate Halloween all month long in October. Many who visit however do not realize the historical significance of Salem beyond the witch history, here are a few place to see while visiting this historic city.
Salem Maritime National Park
Many visit the Salem waterfront, but do not realize the historic significance to the history of the United State. Salem produced the countries first millionaires, by becoming the most important shipping port in the United States between the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
History is preserved here, time stands still from building ranging for the 1600 to 1800's. Take a walk down the half mile Derby Wharf, visit the custom house and the tall ship "The Friendship" that docks on the wharf.
For more information visit the maritime website here
Peabody Essex Museum
The Peabody Essex Museum know as the PEM, was founded in 1799 by a group of merchants that started a group called East India Marine Society. In short, is was a group of merchants that brought exotic goods from the East Indies to America, they decided that they would start to gather exotic items from their travel. I have heard some refer to it as a boys club where they tried to one up each other with the most exotic good and artifacts they could find.
Now the PEM, is among the most respected museums in the United States. Its collections and exhibits attract audiences from around the world. Along with the museum there are many historic homes, and properties that are owned by the PEM, and they give selected guided tours of these buildings, see the website for more information here
Ropes Mansion Garden
The garden is tucked behind the Ropes Mansion which is part of the Peabody Essex Museum. The Ropes Mansion however is better known as Alison's house in the movie Hocus Pocus where the movie was filmed.
The garden is a little oasis, some refer to it a secret garden, that is filled from spring to fall with all kinds of plants and flowers. At every end of the garden, there is a bench that is a perfect place to stop and smell the roses, or just read a book.
House Of Seven Gables
The House of Seven Gables sits on the bank of the Salem Harbor. It is named after the Nathaniel Hawthorne book "House of Seven Gables" the large house on the property is thought to be the house that inspired Nathaniel in his book.
The museum has many building on it property. One of which is Nathaniel Hawthorne own childhood home,which was moved to the current location to be part of the museum. It also has the oldest house in Salem from 1655. Take a tour of the grounds and the buildings. The house of seven gables is a guided tour, but the other buildings are at your own pace. While on your guided tour you will be lead up a secret staircase which is actually an old chimney.
Willows Park and Winter Island
Willows park is located a mile away from downtown. The park has two beaches and grassy areas dotted with willow tree. It used to be a place where people sick small pox could go for walks in the shade.
There is an arcade, and entertainment for little kids. A visit to the willows is not complete without buying its famous popcorn. Willow Park attractions are seasonal from Spring to Fall
Winter Island is a place where one can enjoy the beach,or enjoy on site camping. It also is home to Fort Pickering which was established in 1644. Civil War bunkers still can be found around the island.
For the month of October, Salem invited millions of visitors to one of the biggest Halloween festivals in the world.
The Haunted Happening event starts on Oct 1-31.
Events range from ghost tours, to traditional Wicca ceremonies, to a kid friendly carnival. The website and brochure is updated every year in August. Anyone wishing to stay in Salem in October must book about 6 months in advance.
Halloween is the day and night to come and see the most amazing costumes,but the whole month is a fun adventure for all.