For anyone who has lived in New England (or has ever studied American history for that matter) they have probably heard of Salem, Massachusetts. For those of you who haven't (or just never did your class reading of The Crucible) it is the quintessential New England city on the North Shore historically known for its witch trials in 1692.
The historic trials made Salem a popular tourist destination around Halloween, with over 250,000 people visiting around the holiday. The town offers a wide variety of attractions from its street fairs, festivals, food, historical sites and more.
A day trip to Salem has become one of my favorite fall activities while back at school and I've learned that planning is key. Here are a few #Spoontips and ideas to make your trip go seamlessly.
Traveling to Salem
The cheapest and fastest way to get to Salem from Boston is the Commuter Rail. It costs less than $10 and takes about 30 minutes from North Station. Driving gets you to Salem in under and hour but you'll have to worry about finding parking. The Ferry to Salem is the most scenic trip and still gets you there in under and hour. But with the scenery comes a $45 ticket.
What to do once you're there
While there are so many things you can do in Salem, here are five stops to definitely check out for your first time.
The Witch House: This museum is "the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Witchcraft Trials." The house is small enough that a museum visit isn't too long to be boring, but still rich in history for the nerds (aka, me).
The Burying Point: This is the oldest burying ground in Salem dating back to the 1600s. Supposedly it has some notable tombstones from the era but I'm always too creeped out to stay long enough.
Bewitched statue: This landmark pays tribute to the television series 'Bewitched.'
Haunted houses: Since I'm the biggest scaredy pants, I don't personally know what they're like inside. But, judging from the horrified looks on people's faces exiting I think they're up to standards.
Street fairs: Make sure to take a leisurely stroll down Essex street to check out all the vendors. You can buy a witch hat, take a photo with a zombie, or even get your face painted.
Where to eat
Now to the real good stuff, the food. With all the walking and sightseeing, someone in the group is bound to get hangry. Like any typical festival, there are plenty of food stands and trucks for a quick bite.
Since there's always room for dessert, stop at Melt Ice Cream for some artisanal homemade ice cream. I got pumpkin and it was as basic as it was heavenly and memorable.
For anyone who loves Halloween, Salem is a great day getaway from the city. Who knows, it might even inspire you to actually read The Crucible (don't act like you didn't just see the movie for homework).