October 16, 2014

Witch City

We're headed to Salem, Massachusetts next weekend! We haven't been there in a few years, so we decided that it was time for a return visit. Of course you know all about the famed Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but did you know that this waterfront town thrived on farming and fishing in the seventeenth century?

In the eighteenth century, Salem developed into a major fishing, shipbuilding and maritime trade center thanks to its burgeoning codfish trade with the West Indies and Europe. International trade with Europe, the West Indies, China, Africa and Russia produced great wealth and prosperity. Salem architect and wood carver Samuel McIntire (1757-1811) was employed by many of the sea captains and is responsible for stunning Federal-style architecture and ornamental carving throughout the city. Salem has one of the grandest collections of Federal style architecture in the world. This alone is worth the trip.

Salem is also home to American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne who worked in the Custom House where he wrote his novel The Scarlet Letter. And of course, The House of Seven Gables made his cousin's home known to all. The settlement, including The House of Seven Gables and his birthplace, are open to the public.

Witch City is also the place to be in October. Not only will you be treated to costumed visitors, stores filled with everything Halloween, but also a host of historical landmarks that help to tell the story of some of America's richest history.

My friend Karen, who is now lives in Salem, gave me an insider's perspective.

You must explore...

Visit the Salem Witch Museum. This was one of my favorites. (And check out the Peabody Essex Museum, too.) Tour the House of the Seven Gables it's located right next to the ferry dock. Hawthorne's spirit is alive and well. The Custom House is also a must see. Take a ferry ride into Boston. The coastline is just beautiful and you'll be able to really see those gorgeous Captain's homes. And don't forget to take a trolley tour to really see it all.

You must eat and drink...

Have a Lobstertini at The Lobster Shanty then go eat at at the Jean-Louis Pasta Shop. My friend tells me this is the best pasta she's ever eaten. Red's Sandwich Shop is a great breakfast and lunch spot. Or indulge in my weakness, a juicy burger from A&B Burgers located in the old jail on St. Peter Street. Pick up some Christmas gifts (like their ribbon candy) or just satisfy your sweet tooth at the Ye Olde Pepper Candy Company.

You must get in the spirit...

Catch the History of Halloween at Cinema Salem. And don't forget to visit the Haunted Happenings website for a complete calendar of events.

Photo: Flickr.com