As the sun began to set while at the Topsfield Fair, I began to wonder to myself whether or not I should make a stop to the town of Salem, home of the Salem Witch Trials, on the way back to the Boston area. I had a feeling that I would miss most of the museums there because of the time I would get there, but decided to not let the discourage me from going, and I am really glad that I did as there was an unexpected surprise.
Before getting to that though, upon parking in one of the central garages in town, I took a stroll over to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial only a few blocks away. As a teenager, I remember studying a little bit in my middle school social studies class about this event, but to come and see this memorial helped to put some perspective on it. The memorial was comprised of a wall on three sides surrounding a patch of grass, and in the wall were stones that protruded out. On those stones were the names, date of death and form of execution utilized upon their conviction. The most common method used was hanging, but some of the other methods listed seemed to come from some really twisted imaginations.
As I took a stroll through Salem, I realized I may have had a bit of a misconception of the town. What I had envisioned was that for the most part the main activities and things to do in this town were in the day time, such as the museums and historic locations tied to the witch trials. If anything, maybe there were a couple of ghost tours or haunted tours at night. As I walked around though, I found that I was sorely mistaken, especially with it being close to Halloween. This town really gets into the Halloween spirit with the decorations, and there are also a wide variety of ghost tours along with haunted house style attractions you could visit if you felt daring enough. There are also an assortment of shops that fit the theme of witchcraft and Halloween as well.
A really cool surprise to stumble into as well was that they were holding a beginning of Halloween season parade in the heart of town as well! With a variety of floats and decorated cars, along with participants in a variety of costumes, including popular scary movie characters, witches, pirates and more. To see this in the beginning of October led me to understand that this town doesn’t mess around in celebrating the Halloween.
And with the parade, there were also several places along the route in which you could enjoy some food and great treats, including an apple cinnamon bun. It was much like a cinnamon roll, but with apple in it, and it was absolutely delightful!
As I returned to my car, I recalled that the Disney movie Hocus Pocus was based in Salem, so I decided to look up where some of the filming locations could be found, and I discovered a neat website called Road Trippers that gave a route to follow for these locations! Unfortunately, I did not get to the city hall location shown on the page since it in the heart of the parade route, but I did mange to see the other three which included the Ropes Mansion (the home of the girl Allison in the movie), a house off of Ocean Ave. (the home of Max, one of the film’s main characters) and Old Burial Hill Cemetery (where a few different scenes were filmed. The Ropes Mansion was close to the heart of town, and the Ocean Ave. House isn’t far. Old Burial Hill was a little bit more of a drive, and since it was dark there wasn’t much to see of the cemetery itself, but I would imagine that in the daytime it would be easier to find some of the spots shown in the movie.
And that brings an end to a really busy first day in New England. It was a great way to start the trip to mix some history, culture and coasters. I certainly would like to come back and spend more time in Salem, especially during the Halloween season.
Up next, we head to the Southside of Boston to visit a museum dedicated to one of the Presidents of the United States