When you’re in New England in October, you must go to Salem. It was everything kitschy and stereotypical I expected it would be and a total must. It kinda reminds me of going to the renaissance festival, and it’s a great destination for a day trip.
It’s very accessible, and you can get there by car, train, or ferry. The drive is about an hour or less depending on traffic. If you drive though, parking can be a sticky situation. Tip # 1: A lot of parking lots will try to charge you $20 for the day, but if you just drive around the town you can find regular street parking. Make sure you read the street signs so you don’t get towed though.
We arrived in Salem around noon, and Ellen and I ate lunch at Tavern in the Square, a new-ish restaurant in Salem from the same owners of Joshua Tree and Cityside Bar and Grill in Boston. It’s just ok. The clam chowder is acceptable but by no means order the crabcake sandwich. The crabcakes are over breaded and you can’t even taste any crab. I would suggest that you find another restaurant. After lunch we set out to see what Salem had to offer. Witches and Pirates and Hawthorne, oh my!
And, as excited as we were… we found that we couldn’t do anything because all tours and admissions were sold out until 6:30 pm or 7 pm, and we had to return to Boston before then. Sad! So Tip #2: Book in advance or get there early and stand in line for tickets to the attractions you want to visit. So we ended up shopping, sightseeing and making friends with locals.
Salem is full of great attractions, but watch out because for every great museum there are 15 tourist traps. That is why I will give you a list of some recommendations from the great people at Remember Salem Gifts to avoid those dreaded tourist traps.
Tip #3: Things to do in Salem
- Witch Dungeon Museum
- New England Pirate Museum
- Witch History Museum
You can find info about all three of these here.
- Salem Witch House
- House of Seven Gables (I’m a huge Hawthorne fan and was so disappointed I couldn’t check this out)
- Peabody Essex Museum – This is not witch or pirate themed but the director of marketing spoke in one of my classes and this museum looks gorgeous.
Salem is tiny and great to travel by foot so forget the trolley tour. It’s totally walkable. There are also tons of haunted houses and nightly ghost tours that look really fun as well.
And, if you really want to get into the spirit you can even dress up.
Here’s to hoping you have a spooky good time! (and better luck than Ellen and I did)