Monday, October 25, 2021

Travel: Ten things to do in Salem, Massachusetts.

One of my favorite places in the US is Salem, MA.  While you probably know this town from the infamous Salem Witch Trials that happened in the 1600s, it's so much more than that!  It is a historic, seaside town, with lots of character and AMAZING seafood.

Since I've been telling my husband for years that I want to retire here, I was real excited to show him my favorite spots.  With only a day to explore, I wanted to make sure that we got to see some of my favorite places without overdoing the whole "witch" thing.  So, what happened?  He fell in love with this town, too.  While he didn't talk about retirement, he did start fantasizing out loud about a Summer home in Salem.

Hopefully I can help you fall in love with Salem, Massachusetts, too!  Obviously, I'll do that with a list...  Here are ten things to do while on a day trip in Salem, MA.

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Ten things to do while visiting Salem, MA.

1.  Get breakfast at The Ugly Mug Diner (link).
Start your very busy day by fueling up at this fun and DELICIOUS breakfast spot.  It has amazing food, quirky menu options, and fabulous drinks.  My hubby opted for a fancy flavored mocha latte while I decided to try a Baymosa which is a fun twist on the traditional mimosa.  Both were easily the best drinks that we had on our entire trip to Boston.

2.  Hop on board the Salem Trolley Tour (link).
Get acquainted with Salem with a (1) hour tour and all day shuttle service.  I love starting the day with this because it knocks off so many touristy "bucket list" items in such a short period of time.  It's also a great way to update your itinerary if you go in with an open mind.  Salem is way more than the Witch Trials and this tour may give you some inspiration to step outside of the witchy scene.

Note:  If you don't do the Salem Trolley Tour, you'll totally want to walk along Chestnut Street yourself.  Each home has a little plaque on it with names and dates of historical significance.  It really was a tour of it's own and one of my favorite moments in Salem!  Word is the Salem historical society does periodic tours where you can go inside of the homes.  Bucket list item for me!

3.  Snap a picture in front of the Bewitched statue (link).
This famous statue depicts Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens from the famous show Bewitched.  The statue was erected by TV Land.  As it turns out, the show has some significance to Salem more than, ya know, witches.  The "Salem Saga" episodes were actually filmed in Salem, MA.

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4.  Visit and tour the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.
This park is absolutely breathtaking and FULL of history.  Here you'll find the Friendship of Salem (link) boat pictured above which is a fully functioning replica of the 1797, Salem-built vessel named Friendship.  You'll also find the Pedrick Store House (link) pictured above, also known as the Sail Loft.  This historic building dates back to 1770 and played a role in the revolutionary war.  Finally, don't forget to check out the Waite & Peirce Park Store (link) which is an experience in itself!

5.  Pay your respects to the victims of the Salem Witch Trials.
Visit the somber Charter Street Cemetery (link) with historical graves that are related to the Salem Witch Trials and the Revolutionary War.  Be sure to take a peek at the map on display that notes the graves of historical significance.  Due to the age of the tombstones, many are impossible to read.  Afterwards, stop next door to see the Salem Witch Trials Memorial (link).  In addition to the benches dedicated to the victims, you will find tributes left from visitors.  I was shook to see a letter written to a great grandmother left on a bench.  It was written to Martha Corey, a victim who was hung to death.

This museum was unfortunately closed during our recent visit, but I have been before, and it's spectacular.  While exhibits frequently change, this is where I have previously learned about modern day witches and what it really means to practice Wicca.  When talking with locals, I did learn of a new exhibit they have where you can visit an ancient Asian tea house!  I don't remember details, but I do recall thinking it would be really interesting to see.

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7.  Experience the Witch Dungeon Museum (link).
There are many different witchy themed things to do in Salem as you probably imagined.  That being said, it's impossible to do them all.  I specifically chose this experience over the others for several reasons.  First off, the experience was less than an hour long.  Second, it was interesting and interactive so I hoped the kids would like it.  They did.  Third, the real dungeons that held the witches has been demolished, but this place is the next best thing.  Historians came and recreated this replica dungeon as accurately as possible.  Ladies and gentleman, you must see the place and listen to the tour guide to fully understand.  The real horror that isn't spoken about enough is the conditions these victims were forced to live in for extended periods of time.  What's worse than that?  The victims and their families had to PAY for this special form of torture.  As a quadruple bonus, they house a historical beam from the real life witch dungeons for your viewing pleasure!

Note:  I have been to the Salem Witch Museum.  I've been twice, actually.  It's educational, but by no means captivating.  It also lacks any sort of demonstration of the reality of the times.  Now that I think about it, why would I ever go here twice?

This place is amazing.  I don't even know how to describe it.  But, it's totally Salem and totally captivating.  It sells dried herbs, quirky figurines, a variety of crystals and stones, and beautiful Pagan items.  Even if you don't buy anything but you'll be REAL tempted, it's worth the experience.  I invested in a few items, but was truly mesmerized with a plaque of what they called The Green Man.  I'll have to share a picture of him once I hang it, but it legit spoke to me!
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9.  Take a scenic stroll to the Derby Wharf Light Station (link).
After eating at one of the many dining options along Pickering Wharf, burn off some of the calories while taking in more Salem sites!  Take the brief walk to the long, thin strip of land known as Derby Wharf.  Stroll along the almost 1/2 mile strip of land while enjoying the unique view of Salem harbor.  At the end you'll find the historical Derby Wharf Light Station and lots of people fishing.

10.  Get your fangirl on and see Hocus Pocus sites!
This is actually the first thing we did because people live in some of these places and I hoped they were at work.  See Max and Dani's house in the quaint, waterfront area on Ocean Ave.  Tour The Ropes Mansion which is not only historically significant to Salem, but played the role of Allison's house in Hocus Pocus.  Walk through the Salem Commons where Max constantly rides his bike, which is a pretty park but looks much smaller in real life.  You could also visit Old Burial Hill, Forest River Park, and other sites.  Unfortunately, we ran out of time, so you'll have to circle back to let us know how they are!


  1. No, I’ve never been to the New England area. It does sound like there are neat things to see, even for someone like me who has zero interest in witch stuff! I would like the cemetery though, as old ones are so interesting. What was the Asian tea house about?

    1. It's an authentic, antique Asian tea house that she shipped in a bazillion pieces over here. Once it got here, they put it back together and then charged extra on your ticket to go see it. lol We heard about it through word of mouth, but didn't get to see it. As much as I made fun of the extra admission, I would totally pay it just to experience it.

  2. LOL at your photo in gallows!
    I did not know Salem was seaside, I would've thought witches wouldn't like water.

    1. It is surrounded by water. I live on an island, and I was shook at how much Salem was surrounded by water. Certain parts looked like flooding hazards!

      I have a gallows picture of us from when Antonio was less than a year old. I have to find it. We stuck him and his stroller in the bird cage. The tour guide looked a solid mixture of concerned and amused. LOL

  3. I've never been to Salem, but you've made it sound quite inviting.


  4. Oooh, I loved Salem. So much history there. I really like the old houses too. We had fun walking the streets just admiring the old homes. I don't know if I'd ever retire there, but I'd sure like to go back and explore more. We did a lot of what was on your list, but didn't really stop for eats while there (other than ice cream). The Samantha statue was first on my list when we hit the town. My mom was a huge fan of the show when we were growing up, so I had to get my pic there!


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