This continues my trip report--first few days in Boston--we arrived to Salem at 0900 or so. It was a fairly straight forward drive in our handsome Ford Escort Rental! We were not interested at all in any of the "witchy" stuff--more in the history of the Salem Witch Trials and a bit about the town. We were only here till early afternoon, but we packed a lot in.
When we arrived, we parked in the garage across from the visitor's center but the visitor's center itself was closed so we headed down the Essex Street pedestrian Mall and checked out the Bewitched statue--loved that show when I was little!
We looped back down to Charter Street and went to the Old Burying Point Cemetery as well as the Witch Memorial. Enjoyed both of these as it was very tranquil with very few people. My husband's coworker actually is related to one of the victims of the witch trials so we were sure to get a photo of her "bench" There is inscriptions at the entrance on the ground and there were full of debris and dirt and made them hard to read which I thought was unfortunate, but overall it was very well done--simple but powerful.
We were planning to go to the house of the seven gables so we started walking that direction even though it doesn't open till 10. On the way, it gave us a chance to walk down to the wharf area and see the ship moored there as well as read a bit about the maritime history. We arrived at the House of Seven Gables when it opened and were on the first tour. The tour was interesting and the "secret staircase" was fun and a bit creepy. We were planning to make the 11am movie at the visitor's center and this tour kind of dragged on as some of participants had a hard time with the staircase. When we left the main house, we left the tour and went over and went through Nathaniel Hawthorne's boyhood home. The gardens around the home were very nice and the views of the harbor were also nice.
We walked briskly back to the visitor's center so we could see the movie--Examine the Evidence--at 11. We walked in, bought our $5 tickets and headed into the theater. There was just a handful of people there. I think the movie was about 30-35 minutes. It went through the background information and set the stage for the "witch hysteria" and "witch hunt". It is certainly not going to win any academy awards, but I found it be a pretty factual, non sensationalized version of the goings on. It also gave you pause to reflect on how easy people get caught up in this type of thing
After the movie, the next stop was over to the Corwin House to check that out. My husband was starting to say, "i know how to save you 50%...." but he went ahead and agreed to go in and check it out! He actually was glad he did. It was the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin who was the judge involved with the witch trials. There was no formal tour but each room was set up with explanatory information and documents. They allege that some of the interviews with the suspected witches may have been in this house. More interesting were displays on life in the 17th century--information on midwives was especially interesting to us as we work in health care. Also, information on women in the 17th century regarding work and education.
By now, we had covered what we planned to so we decided to eat here in Salem and went to a restaurant on the pedestrian mall called Rockafella's--it was pretty good and refueled us for the drive on to Concord! I forgot to mention that the parking garage ticket acted as a coupon for $1 off admission at the Corwin house. We also swung over to the Salem Common and checked out the statue of Roger Conant--founder of Salem--he looks a bit like a witch himself!
We obviously did not spend an enormous amount of time in Salem but we felt like we got a lot out of it and were glad that we made it part of our trip. We would have tried to go to the Peabody Museum if we had stayed the whole day but we had had enough with the witch trials! It is amazing that a one year period over 300 year ago gives such mileage with all the stores, shows, museums dedicated to it!
On to Lexington and Concord--will continue that part of the trip report on that forum!