What is the best way to get from Boston to Salem and can you do a day trip there? How far is it?
You can do one of two things. You can take the rocport line to Salem center on the Train from North Station, or you can drive.
Driving directions frmo Boston are I-93 North to I95/Rt-128 North. you want to stay on Rt 128 toward Gloucester and exit at Rt-114 east toward salm. Follow Rt-114 all the way, follow the signs it gets confusing, and this will take you into salem center. There is a parking garage in the center, but parking is tough. Yourbetter off on the train. If you want a few drink while your there try Rosevelts or O'neils they are good fun.
If you drive, it should take you 30-45 minutes as long as you avoid rush hour. As the previous poster said, following the signs on route 114 is somewhat tricky.
As for the yet unanswered part of your question, a day trip to Salem is easily accomplished - and setting aside a full day is a good idea. Between lunatic drivers and parking hassles, relying on a car to get there is something to ponder when the commuter rail will take you right to the edge of the historic district. Salem is about eight miles northeast of downtown Boston.
Must-sees are the Peabody Essex Museum, House of Seven Gables, and Witch Museum. These are all within easy walking distance of each other in the historic area.
I agree that the train is the best way... I do it every day. It's not far from Boston (half hour by train, up to an hour drive depending on traffic), but the roads are often full of traffic and their condition is generally abysmal... and Salem is a bit off what you would call a "highway". There are usually cabs at the train station, or it's a fairly short walk to the center of town... about a mile to "7 Gables"... the furthest attraction, but most of the things you'd be interested in seeing are along that mile anyway.
Thank you all for your replies on the day trip to Salem. I really appreciate it! I'm thinking of taking an early morning train to Salem and spending just the day in Salem and then heading back to New Haven early evening.
Does this plan sound doable in a day? I'm open to any other side day tips from Boston that you might suggest, but I need to return in the evning by train to New Haven.
Rockport by train or automobile is a also a great daytrip. You would depart North Station on the Rockport line. Trains to Rockport run every other hour during the day and the last train from Rockport to North Station departs at 10:45 P. M. and from Salem at 11:24 P.M. during the weekdays. Weekend and holiday schedules are much less frequent. Remember that you must allow time to travel from North Sation to either South Station or to Back Bay Station in order to catch your train to Nw Haven, CT. As previously mentioned, check www.mbta.com. Buy all tickets (round trip) in advance at North Station in order to save money.