When you think October and Halloween, is there a particular place that comes to mind? Well Salem, Massachusetts is the top destination for travelers. Located in the 6th State in our Nation, known as the “Bay State” and admitted to the Union in 1788 — Salem is best known as the site of the “Salem Witch Trials” dating back to 1692 that playwright Arthur Miller featured in his famous play, The Crucible. A short 40-minute drive northeast of Boston, this seaside community is actually a worthwhile trip year-round if you enjoy history, literature, maritime fun and the outdoors, art, family travel, group travel, food, shopping, and of course an engaging dose of witchery.For our latest “Destination Spotlight” from the popular series in our nationally syndicated travel radio show, we turned our attention to Halloween and Salem — as experiencing it there is certainly unlike anything duplicated elsewhere. In fact, Halloween festivities in Salem go on the entire month of October each year!
Over the years, there’s been much back and forth debate about the tourism focus of the “Witch City”. We’ve visited several times during different months of the year and there’s a lot more to discover about this city than just the witch history. And prices are considerably less expensive with far fewer tourists if you visit outside of the month of October. With the Coronavirus pandemic going on, this is even more of a compelling reason to plan your visit offseason.In early American history, European settlers helped transform Salem into a significant seaport. Its maritime history is rich and visitors can enjoy the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and the Friendship of Salem, a replica of the 1797 merchant vessel. The Peabody Essex Museum boasts one of the area’s most diverse collections of art, including old maritime figureheads. This is quite a culturally diverse museum and well worth a stop when you visit.
From April through November, New Derby Street is home to Artists’ Row, which comes alive with painters, fabric artists, and more all working in their studios and galleries. You can admire — and if the mood strikes — purchase their handmade wares.
Salem is a great walking city and as you journey around, you’ll notice many of Salem’s oldest buildings and homes have been extremely well preserved. Two beautiful old homes to visit are the Phillips House and Pickering House, and both offer tours. The McIntire Historic District is home to a number of pre-1900 homes and provides an opportunity to literally walk American history! That’s because you’ll find placards on each historic home detailing the original founder and corresponding profession.
As we touted above, there’s plenty to see and do in Salem, Massachusetts and we encourage that the next time you think about New England or plan to be in Boston or even nearby Portland, Maine — go experience this engaging city as it provides a peaceful, seaside escape that’s sure to delight in many different ways — and the ‘hauntings’, Witch Museum and other attractions surrounding the Trials are on display year-round!
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Safe and Happy Travels!
Robert & Mary Carey, Hosts
America’s #1 Travel Radio Show
Photo credit Salem House of the Seven Gables: Jared Charney (courtesy of Robert & Mary Carey)
Photo credit: Salem Witch House (photo provided by Robert & Mary Carey)