Salem, Massachusetts: History, Halloween & Hauntings! - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |  


Salem, Massachusetts: History, Halloween & Hauntings!

Photo illustrating General Travel - Traveling
by Sue Kulick, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 11/19/2009
  



PassPorter.com > Articles > General Travel > Traveling  

Probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about Salem, Massachusetts is witches. Scary witches in pointy black caps that get around on brooms while petting black cats! Well, you might be surprised to learn that Salem in a lot more than that. In fact, it is a great spot to get away for a long weekend.


The City of Salem was founded in 1629 in the sea-battered Cape Ann area. Roger Conant and a small group of settlers wanted a permanent home, and the fertile area on the mouth of the Naumkeag River was chosen. The name was an interpretation of "Shalom," which means peace in Hebrew.

The little village thrived and grew, increasing in population and prosperity. However, this prosperity was not without its own problems, and soon religious beliefs, rivalry among towns, and a group of young ladies in need of attention spawned the famous witch trials of 1692.

When the dust settled from that, Salem went back to being a growing harbor town. With its prime location, it became the sixth largest American city of the 18th century. In the early 1800s, novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, and by the mid 19th century, Salem was thriving as a manufacturing center. In 1914, a devastating fire swept through the town, destroying 400 buildings and leaving thousands homeless.

Salem floundered for a number of years, but in the mid 1970s a revitalization of the town began, and is still ongoing. Today's Salem is a working harbor, a tourist destination and a funky place to live and work.

So what does Salem have to offer? Let's begin with the history. The 1692 witch trials were a huge part of America's history, reflecting the times and the tribulations that the early settlers lived in. It wasn't magic, but it was mayhem. You can visit sites like the Salem Witch Museum, which gives you the background of the witch trials with a little fun thrown in. For a real taste of 17th century witch hunts, don't miss Cry Innocent!, a theater production put on by the theater students of Gordon College. It's 1692, and Bridget Bishop, a local tavern owner, has been accused of witchcraft. YOU are the jury! Don't miss this unique theater opportunity. The Witch Dungeon Museum will give you a recreated tour of the dungeons and of Gallows Hill. One thing you will take away from this tour is the deplorable conditions these imprisoned accused witches had to endure. This is a re-creation, but it is very true to life. The real dungeons were discovered in the 1960s when the telephone company was excavating for its new building. They were buried beneath the ground, and despite an attempt to save this huge piece of history, construction went on and the dungeons were destroyed.

If it's Salem history you are interested in, there is plenty that doesn't include alleged witches. Spend some time at Pioneer Village, also enacted by the students of Gordon College. You will be transported back to 17th New England, complete with period costumed actors and all the comforts of village life. Don't miss the Peabody Essex Museum, a highlight of our trip. Full of the art and history of New England, it also has local artwork and an ever changing array of exhibits. When we visited, some of the original witch trial documents were on display, and you never know what treasures you might find.

Another not-to-be-missed attraction is The House of Seven Gables. The house was built in 1668 and inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne to write his famous novel. You can tour the house and the grounds, as well as visit the home where Hawthorne was born. The house is a museum, and holds plenty of artifacts and literary works.

Of course, Salem is also known for its maritime history and attractions. The National Park Service operates the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, with a museum, tours and the Derby Lighthouse. The Schooner Fame operates out of Pickering Wharf Marina, and tours the harbor three times a day in season. There is also The Salem Ferry, operating between Salem and Boston. It's a nice, scenic, 45 minute cruise across one of America's prettiest harbors. For a relaxing afternoon, climb onboard any of the Essex River Cruises for a few hours of natural beauty.

OK, so it's really the witch in the pointy hat that you are interested in, right? In that case, you must be here for Salem's Haunted Happenings. Every October, Salem takes Halloween to a new level. In addition to all the regular events, there are psychic fairs, Halloween parties, ghost tours, and night time revelry. Tickets sell out in advance, so it's best to plan early. The atmosphere is fun and frivolous, a good time to let yourself have the kind of Halloween fun that you haven't had since you were a kid. Haunted Happenings is family-friendly during the day and early evening, and adult-friendly at night. It's a great getaway for all ages!

One of the best resources on Salem is The Official Visitors Guide. Packed with information, prices, schedules, accommodations, and dining options, you can plan your whole vacation here.

Salem is a quaint New England town steeped in history and haunting. As the locals say "Stop by for a spell." You'll be glad you did!




TING!
You've discovered a PassPorter's Club Concierge Tip!
Ting the bell to read your tip and save it in your Concierge Desk!
About the Author:
Sue Kulick is a resident of the Pocono Mountains and an avid Disney fan. She and her husband, Steve, live in a log home with their Golden Retrievers, Cody and Belle and their cat Tigger.


Recent General Travel Articles:
10 Terrific Travel Tips - Tricks for Awesome Vacations last updated 11/15/2010
12 Tips to Hotel Bliss - How to Make the Most of an Unfamiliar Hotel last updated 10-07-2010
Valentine's Day at Walt Disney World - Romance and Relaxation last updated 3/22/2007
The Villas at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge - Size Matters last updated 1/13/2009

More Related Links:
 
Traveling Carry-On to Walt Disney World - Avoid Those Baggage Fees last updated 3/2/2011
New York City - Something Old, Something New last updated 01/02/2009
On the Road to Walt Disney World - Doing "The Drive" last updated 01/20/2009
Airline Security - 10 Important Tips and Reminders last updated 1/21/2009
Sick at Sea - (But Not Sea Sick!) last updated 5/14/2009




Reader Comments:


View all comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 11/19/2009 - Article #377 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2015
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 


RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com


Vegas Baby-packing light?
by Kelly66
4 Jul 2015 at 8:31pm
My husband and I get to go to Vegas! We are almost 50 years old. What kind of things can we do for free? We want to walk along the stip. Are there...
(click title above to view replies)

Orange County Convention Center Orlando Hotel Choice?
by KathyL
3 Jul 2015 at 8:25am
I am attending a conference at the Orange County Convention Center in November. The conference is taking place in the West Building. At this point,...
(click title above to view replies)

First trip to Hawaii...Aulani or other?
by thinkpink
26 Jun 2015 at 8:28pm
We need some advice on a trip to Hawaii. We have never been. Should we book a package deal? Try Aulani? Other advice? Thanks in advance!!
(click title above to view replies)

Dallas Texas - advice
by thinkpink
26 Jun 2015 at 8:27pm
I will be attending a conference in Dallas this July. I may take my dd12 with me and make the trip a fun girls trip. I need recommendations on what...
(click title above to view replies)

American Express Travelers Checks?
by Goofy'sGal
23 Jun 2015 at 5:59pm
We are traveling to Canada in early August (Montreal and Toronto area). It's been a while since I've been anywhere outside the US (although I love...
(click title above to view replies)

Amtrok IL to CO--first time
by MickeyRules
15 Jun 2015 at 11:31am
My son and I are headed out to CO and found it to be much cheaper taking the train. This will be my first long-distance train trip--and it's...
(click title above to view replies)

New Bus Service in Washington DC
by emtpej
12 Jun 2015 at 1:12pm
The DC Circulator is expanding service beginning 06/14/2015 to include a low-cost loop around the National Mall -- but it does not include Arlington...
(click title above to view replies)

Just got back from Aulani
by Tigger71
9 Jun 2015 at 6:30pm
I have just returned from our trip to Aulani where I stayed with my DM. It was truly a beautiful resort and we had a delightful time just the two of...
(click title above to view replies)



Total Visits: 5608


PassPorter ~ 1998-2015 ~ 17 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.