Looking for a unique weekend getaway? Salem, Massachusetts on Halloween, will put a spell on you. This is where a bit of ghoulish history blends with lot of fun. Take along a mask or costume and you'll fit right in.
When the weather begins to chill in New England, Halloween is just around the corner. All over Massachusetts trees produce bright red and orange leaves. And if you’re lucky you may get to see some of the Fall foliage with your visit to Salem for Halloween. Color in the northwestern part of the state typically peaks before the southeastern areas like Cape Cod, New Bedford and cities south of Boston. Log onto Massvacation.com for a convenient listing of dates raging from mid September to late November, with estimated foliage conditions. The site also includes driving routes for the state’s most popular Fall foliage routes along with peak viewing dates. If you have a car, this would be a fun addition to your Salem Mass Halloween getaway.
What You’ll Find In Salem
October 31st brings out the weirdest and the best before and after dark. People in costume fill the streets and you rarely see a witch without a black cat in tow.
In many cultures black cats are harbingers of bad luck and capable of shape shifting into witches or demons. In whaling days, sailors considered a black cat to have supernatural powers that could bring good luck to their ship. Considering Salem is a fishing harbor occupied by witches, it is no wonder black cats are a common sight. In shop windows or in costume, you'll see them everywhere. You'll also see more versions of witch attire than you ever dreamed possible.
As you stroll the streets of Salem, keep your eyes open for signs that point to tarot readers and fortunetellers. And don't miss the eerie cemetery with some gravestones dating as far back as the 1600s.
The annual Halloween parade includes floats, bands, and costumed people wandering the sidewalks, all to usher in the official Halloween season. The date of the big Salem Halloween parade changes from year to year so check with the visitor’s center.
The weeks surrounding Halloween promise nippy weather especially in the evening. So button up and plan a brisk walk to take in the restaurants, shops, architecture, and antiques. Be sure to stop in a neighborhood tavern to warm up. Sample a cup of authentic steaming New England clam chowder with real chunks of clam and a cream base. No fake fillers! Sit by a window and watch the colorful Autumn leaves dance in the streets.
The Witch House
Tour the Witch House on Essex Street and learn about the events of the witch trials. It's the only structure still standing that links to the trials of 1692. Follow that with Gallows Hill Park, site of the Salem witch executions.
The Witch Museum
At the Witch Museum, you'll find the dramatic presentation that chronicles the witch-hunts and the trials of 1692. A newer exhibit also examines witch stereotypes as well as modern witchcraft.
Other Points of Interest
If ships interest you, don't miss FAME, a replica of the schooner from the 1812 war. At Salem’s Pickering Wharf Marina you can also take a cruise around the historic Salem Sound. The tour offers information about the fishing trade, pirates and traders of the North Shore.
Historic architecture is a big draw for tourists in Salem. The collection of buildings on Salem Harbor include author Nathaniel Hawthorn's House of the Seven Gables built in 1668.
Where To Stay
The month of October is a busy one in Salem so to insure accommodations, plan your visit well in advance. You'll find everything from large hotels to quaint B&Bs. The charm of another era greets you at a sea captain’s mansion with four-poster beds, or a Greek Revival house with colorful floral planter boxes on each window. Imagine sleeping in a room that dates back to 1808, or a quaint inn with period details and antiques that offers contemporary services like WIFI! It’s all part of the experience with a visit to Salem. Here’s a short list of some of the accommodations available.
Amelia Payton House B&B
Amelia Payton House - 16 Winter Street ~ A relaxed Victorian B&B with Canopy beds, floral walls, and white rocking chairs on the "porch".
Hawthorne Hotel - 18 Washington Square West ~ Elegant and Historic, it offers shuttles from Boston's Logan Airport. Both the Payton House and the Hawthorne, make an excellent base of operations for your stay in Salem because of their locations.
Northey Street House – 30 Northey Streeet ~ Located in the heart of Salem and the National Historic District two blocks from the Salem Train Depot. Dine on the sun deck.
Henry Derby House – 47 Summer Street ~ In the heart of downtown. Known as the “window box house”, it is within walking distance to the harbor and other attractions.
Morning Glory B&B – 22 hardy Street ~ Located across from Nathaniel Hawathorne’s Historic House of the Seven Gables and walking distance from many points of interest. Enjoy the roof deck with views of Salem Harbor.
Stepping Stone Inn – 19 Washington Square ~ A stone’s throw from historical sites and shopping. Complimentary passes to the Salem Witch Museum with a two-night stay.
Coach House Inn – 284 Lafayette Street ~ Located in one of Salem’s historic districts. A Victorian sea captain's mansion. Rooms feature four-poster beds.
How To Get There
It doesn't matter if you arrive on Halloween or a day or two before. The entire month of October is a celebration in Salem. But check with the Salem Visitor’s Center for the dates of particular events that may vary from year to year, before planning your visit.
From Boston's Logan airport you can take a bus, ferry, train or a shuttle into Salem.
Bus from Boston – Take #450 or #455 from Haymarket Square.
Train from Boston – Take the Rockport/Ipswich Line from Boston’s North Station.
Ferry – The Salem /Boston Ferry runs from June to October.
If you rent a car, take 1A North from Logan. It's a simple 30-minute drive.
At the Visitors Center, ask about the Trolley and the Walking Tours.
Salem is a Maritime City and there's much more to visit.
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