I was very much looking forward to Salem. It wasn’t a bucket list destination of mine, but it was somewhere that I had hoped I would visit one day and as it was en-route to Boston, it seemed like the perfect excuse to go!
Salem wasn’t quite what I had expected, but it was still a fun place to visit with lots of things to see and do. I’d envisioned a small town, somewhere that had partly escaped the influx of city life, but it seemed to sit in between both of those.
The majority of attractions are within walking distance of each other, but the Salem Trolley Tour would be a great option for getting around, especially if you are travelling with kids. We spent most of our time on foot, which was nice – exercise and sightseeing. Perfect!
Our first stop was the Witch History Museum on Essex Street, which is definitely worth a visit (it’s also down the street from the famous Bewitched statue). The Witch History Museum reveals Salem’s mysteries of 1692 by way of a live presentation and short tour (downstairs) which tells the story of Tituba and more.
The Witch Hysteria not only enveloped Salem, but all 34 towns and villages of Essex County. Hundreds of accused witches filled the jails awaiting trial. Some died in captivity, 19 were hanged and one old man was crushed to death. A Salem minister, accused by teenage girls of being the devil, was captured in Maine, hanged here, and had his head removed by another minister. Salem’s leading merchant and his wife escaped the hangman, but returned a year later to plot revenge on the accusers and the lawman who tormented the witch victims. These and many other stories of Witch Times are revealed at the Witch History museum.
Next, we made our way towards the Witch House, also known as the Jonathan Corwin House, which is one of the most impressive buildings in all of Salem, and so full of history! It’s actually the only remaining property in Salem that has direct ties to the Witch Trials of 1692 and it is well worth a visit! It’s quite small, it looks much bigger on the outside than it is on the inside, but it is full of history and interesting stories and artefacts. It’s also been investigated by several paranormal investigation groups.
Our final stop in Salem was The House of Seven Gables and this was another impressive sight to see. The house and gardens are absolutely beautiful, and it is in an ideal location – right by the water’s edge.
The House of the Seven Gables was built by a Salem sea captain and merchant named John Turner in 1668 and occupied by three generations of the Turner family before being sold to Captain Samuel Ingersoll in 1782. An active captain during the Great Age of Sail, Ingersoll died at sea leaving the property to his daughter Susanna, a cousin of famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne’s visits to his cousin’s home are credited with inspiring the setting and title of his 1851 novel, The House of the Seven Gables.
If you are ever in Salem, then you HAVE to visit here. My favourite aspect of the house was the hidden staircase, which is awesome! And yes, you get to climb it! It’s quite a narrow staircase, but it really is something out of a storybook. I also really enjoyed the gardens, they were in full bloom and smelled wonderful. If you’re interested in knowing more about the house, then read the history section on the website by clicking here.
We had wanted to do so much more during our time in Salem, but time really wasn’t on our side. Still, I learned a fair bit about the Witch Trials and I can now say that I have been to Salem! I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to visit again one day in the future.
Boston was our next stop and what a city it is! I have to say that TravelShopGirl is so lucky to live there. I really, really enjoyed our stop there. On our first night, we walked around the Fenway Park area and had dinner at Yard House. It was such a huge bar/restaurant and the food was fantastic. I had been craving fried chicken, mash and corn since we were in Lancaster and when I spotted it on the menu, I knew I had to have it! Once we were re-fuelled, we walked back to TravelShopGirl’s apartment, taking in sections of the Boston Marathon route as we went, including the finish line. It is such a great city to explore at night, lots of things to see and do, and lots of happy people simply enjoying life. Everything there had a good vibe.
The next day, we made our way towards the aquarium where we would get our tickets for the Boston Trolley Tours. It was a quick and easy way to get around the city and the trolleys were incredibly frequent. If one bus was full and the driver told you there would be another bus in 10 minutes, that’s exactly what he meant – but usually two came instead of one. Bonus!
We drove by the original Cheers bar during the trolley tour, but we stopped for a drink and quick snack at the replica bar located at Quincy Market – of course, we had a walk through the market, too. That was fun! Food and more food!
As we continued with the trolley tour we drove by/stopped at Boston Common, the Omni Parker House, Boston Public Library, Old North Church, Old State House and many more. It really is great value.
All of that exploring was hungry work, so we stopped for dinner at the Union Oyster House, located on the Freedom Trail, near Faneuil Hall. It’s noted as America’s oldest restaurant and started serving food way back in 1826. It was quite busy, but we managed to get a booth right away and decided to order from the lunch menu. I ordered the pan seared shrimp and scallops which were served over a sundried tomato sauce and rice – it was delicious!! I had been craving some good seafood and the Union Oyster House fulfilled my needs. I did intend on having lobster during my time in Boston, but I just didn’t have the taste for it when we actually got to the restaurant.
That evening, we simply enjoyed the warm night air (and beautiful sunset) from the top of TravelShopGirl’s apartment building. We had quite a long drive to New York the following morning, so it was nice to just relax and not have anywhere to be.