Hello, I hope you’re well and ready to follow me to a town I’ve been dreaming of visiting. We’re talking about Salem, yes, the city of the famous witches.
How to get to Salem
When we started looking around Boston, I was thrilled to see that Salem was less than an hour from our hotel by public transportation. When the dates were set and we saw that we’d be in the area at the end of October, it became obvious that we owed it to ourselves to go to Salem on Halloween.
If you’d like to go there, check the train timetable carefully, as there’s a gap after 10:00 am. Above all, don’t plan to get there in the evening, it’s impossible (there is also the possibility of getting there by ferry from Boston). When we returned and arrived at Boston’s North Station, there were unimaginable crowds of people wanting to get to Salem, with endless lines of vampires, zombies and other monsters.
We decided to leave in the morning and enjoy the beautiful day. Afterwards, we thought we should have booked a hotel to spend the night in Salem instead of going back to Boston. The atmosphere changes as night falls, and there’s plenty of entertainment, concerts and so on.
We were really lucky because it was a beautiful day. There was a lot of sun and a beautiful blue sky… but it was freezing cold. Salem is a port north of Boston and we could definitely feel the temperature difference.
We had decided to be touristy and booked group tickets for three of the city’s attractions: the Witch Dungeon, the Witch History Museum and the New England Pirate Museum. It’s kitschy, with mannequins and costumed guides, but it was very interesting. Our daughter was fascinated. There are other kinds of activities to do (you can find a list here), some reserved for older kids, like haunted houses and so on.
A brief history: Salem is the town where the trials were held, but the collective hysteria surrounding witches spread to the surrounding villages in 1692.
It all started when a group of children began behaving strangely. The pastor’s daughter and her cousin had in fact been influenced by the voodoo tales of her slave from Barbados. The children barked like dogs, rolled around on the floor, howled, and one little girl even claimed that the devil was after her. Adults began to believe the devil story, and the children began accusing certain people of being witches. The trials lasted 30 months, 136 people were tried and 90 were hanged. Two dogs were also hanged because the children accused them of giving them the evil eye!
In the Witch Dungeon, we watched part of the trial of one of the famous witches and then moved down into the dungeons. The scene was very lively, and the actresses were excellent. The text is taken from the minutes of the trial. Elizabeth Proctor was accused of being a witch. In the end, she was not executed, as she was pregnant (as if hysteria ever had a moral…) and by the time she gave birth, people had calmed down. So she escaped punishment.
Witch History Museum
In the Witch History Museum, the same facts are related, but this time we see reconstructions of key scenes in the story. We learn that only one man was not hanged, but sentenced to be crushed to death by stones.
In the pirate museum, we learned about their lives and customs.
A great atmosphere
In between visits, we wandered around the city, admiring the costumes, decorations and architecture.
Elegant and colorful figureheads were displayed at several locations around the city.
Of course, people were all dressed up in more or less elaborate costumes. We saw lots of lovely costumes, including this witch who even did a few dance steps.
The person dressed as a Frankenstein monster would stand up when people approached to have their photo taken, which made us laugh.
First prize for this costume, which I found absolutely fascinating. He was very proud to pose.
For lunch we stopped off at Rockafellas. It was very good, and once again we were guided by chance. We loved the pumpkin cheesecake.
Salem is a lovely town to visit even outside the Halloween season.
We crossed paths with Ghostbuster’s car. <3
At the end of the day we tried to see the ship Friendship of Salem, but unfortunately it wasn’t docked.
The evening light was beautiful and golden. We passed through quieter, more residential areas, far distant from the festivities. After a day spent in the crowds, we appreciated this moment of tranquillity.
The cinema is just perfect, typical of the old American cinemas. The program was topical.
We brought back a few souvenirs, including this little bat that took its place on my Christmas tree over the holidays.
We also found an amazing store (I don’t have any photos of it). Harrison’s Comics is a geek’s paradise. There were comics as far as the eye could see. We each picked out a few things. Our daughter picked up a book on how to draw My Little Pony, Mr found a Space adventure Cobra car and I… I found my Holy Grail! Or rather, a replica of the Batman I’d been hunting for and which was in a pitiful condition. This one is from 2004 and is a perfect replica. I couldn’t resist and opened the box delicately.
I also snapped up two comic books. There were so many of them at so many different prices, it was hard to choose.
We had a wonderful day and we don’t regret going to Salem. The atmosphere, the costumes and the charming town conquered us. In the end, the crowds were bearable during the day, but considering the number of people arriving as we were leaving, they must be much more compact in the evening.
Did you enjoy your visit? Are you a fan of ghosts, horror films and witchcraft too?
See you soon!