Halloween is around the corner so we decided to take a trip to Salem, MA. Here's a list of things to do in Salem, MA. We've also included a few tips as well to make your trip easier. #Salem #NewEngland #Fall
Things to Do in Salem, MA
The Witch House is the only remaining building from the time of the witch trials. It belonged to Jonathan Corwin who served as a judge during the Salem witch trials. Besides the role that Corwin played in the trials, the house does not have any other connections to the witch trials, but it's an excellent example of the architecture of that time.
The Witch Museum chronicles the timeline of the Salem witch trials and also has an exhibit on the history of witchcraft. If you go to the museum, be prepared for lots of wax mannequins.
House of Seven Gables
This legendary house inspired famous author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, to write the novel The House of Seven Gables. The house dates back to the 1600's and has endured several additions and renovations throughout the years.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's Birthplace
The house that author Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in is conveniently located across from the House of Seven Gables. Nathaniel Hawthorne's ancestor was the infamous Judge Hathorne from the Salem witch trials which inspired his novel, The Scarlet Letter. In an attempt to distance himself from his ancestor, Nathaniel Hawthorne added a "w" to his last name.
Witch Trials Memorial
If you want to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the hysteria of the Salem witch trials, you can visit the Witch Trial Memorial. There is a stone for each victim including their name and date of death. 20 people total were found guilty and executed during the trials. 19 were hanged and 1 was pressed to death. This does not include the 5 who were accused and died in prison.
Hocus Pocus Filming Locations
Disney's famous movie, Hocus Pocus, was filmed in Salem and you can see many of the film locations while visiting. Pictured above is the Ropes Mansion, which was Allison's house in the movie. Other filming locations include Town Hall, which was the site of the Halloween party where the Sanderson Sisters sang their rendition of "Put a Spell on You" and Salem Commons where Allison runs into Max after school. Another popular film location is Max's house which is located at 4 Ocean Ave. Most of these locations are easy to walk to with the exception of Max's house.
Cry Innocent is a reenactment from the trial of Bridget Bishop in 1692 where audience members serve as the Puritan jury. The reenactment takes place in the upstairs space of the Salem Town Hall and is only available during select dates. If you are coming to see witch trial attractions, this is one of the best ones to see.
The Bewitched Statue was a gift to the town of Salem from TV Land and is fun to stop and take a picture with.
The Burying Point
New England has tons of old cemeteries and burying grounds. In Salem, the oldest cemetery is The Burying Point. Many notable people are laid to rest here including Judge Hathorne from the witch trials. It is definitely worth walking by and is located next to the Witch Trial Memorial.
Salem is the perfect place to do a ghost tour. We did a tour with Salem Ghosts, but there are tons of tour companies that do ghost tours. You can probably take your pick of any of them and have a good time.
When to Go
Salem's peak tourist season is in October and is especially crowded around Halloween. We decided to go the week before Halloween to check it out. Salem is especially crowded on the weekends so we decided to go in the middle of the week and were able to see everything without extensive crowds.
Traveling to Salem
When visiting Salem during peak season, I recommend avoiding driving. Parking is very limited and Salem is very walk-able. It is very easy to travel to Salem from Boston without a car. You can either take the ferry or take the commuter rail.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of neat and historic hotels to stay. However, if you are visiting during peak season you need to book your hotel in advance (preferably in the Spring) because prices go up and hotels fill up in the Fall. We stayed with a local in an old historic house through Airbnb. I highly recommend staying with a local if you can. Our airbnb host gave us wonderful restaurant recommendations.
Have you been to Salem? What's your favorite thing to do there? Let me know down in the comments.