We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

L R
Level Contributor
298 posts
123 reviews
Save Topic
Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

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!

North Shore, MA
Destination Expert
for Salem
Level Contributor
5,705 posts
181 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

I've been waiting to hear how you liked Salem--so glad you had a good visit! I'm also happy to read that you were able to find plenty of witch trials history to fill your day. Did the movie at the Visitors Center still have harsh audio transitions? I saw it when it first came out a couple of Octobers ago and hoped that some editing would be done after the busy season, but I saw it more recently and the bad transitions were still there. It's too bad because otherwise it's quite well done. Did you recognize the Corwin House?

Winchester...
Level Contributor
6,213 posts
80 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

The weird thing about Salem is that so many tourists go there - enough to support an entire tourist industry. It's a phenomenon that I was unaware of if not For the Internet. How this came about, why people go to Salem and how the phenomenon originated would make an interesting research project. Did tourists flock to Salem 50 years ago? When did this start?

Edited: 8:06 am, June 26, 2013
L R
Level Contributor
298 posts
123 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

Agreed that the editing was not the best and there were still some rough spots--but like you said it think it gave a nice overall picture of the times and atmosphere that set the stage. We laughed when we were in the corwin house because we were looking at the fireplace and saying--where did we see this before?

I think salem has become a destination for those a bit interested in witchcraft and the occult etc--my impression with seeing all the town has to offer with its maritime history and art museum is that they are trying to keep the witch part on the incidental attraction list and not play to the "witch" crowd so to speak.

Winchester...
Level Contributor
6,213 posts
80 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

not playing to the "witch" crowd? that is hardly my impression, but you know Salem better than I do. :-)

Haverhill...
Level Contributor
1,173 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

They definitely play to the Witch crowd....it's what put it on the tourist map. I don't see the tourist crowd flocking out to the Peabody-Essex or maratime history, which has become more of a side attraction.

North Shore, MA
Destination Expert
for Salem
Level Contributor
5,705 posts
181 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

L R, thanks for the feedback on the film. I sure wish they'd get some funds to do some editing--it would make it so much better. Good story about the Corwin House fireplace!

Of note, the Salem Maritime National Historic Site celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. It was the first historic park to enter the National Park Service. I highly recommend a visit.

MA
Level Contributor
168 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

I would say the promotion of the "witch" tourism industry started around 30 yrs ago. When I grew up in a neighboring community, the attractions in Salem were the PEM (not sure if that was the name then), the House of Seven Gables, the Custom House, the Witch House (Judge Corwins home), Pioneer Village, the architecture of Chestnut St., Salem Willows and a submarine where the Friendship is now. While I attended Salem State College, approx 30yrs ago, the idea of a tourist industry was percolating. One conception was the building of an artisans center, Pickering Wharf.. The intention was to have artisans demonstrate making & selling their creations although it didn't quite turn out that way. Tourism really has just continued to grow into what it is today.

8. Re: Trip Report 6/18--half day in Salem

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:17 am, July 09, 2014