Salem, Mass - Quick trip report

Old May 28th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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Salem, Mass - Quick trip report

I spent 2 nights in Salem with my mom and my aunt as part of a longer trip to see family and friends on the east coast. It was a quick stay - would have loved to stay a couple more days and am already thinking about taking a trip back there. We didn't see nearly as much as I would have liked because my mom isn't up to walking far, and it was a bit warm for her, but we had fun nonetheless.

Salem is a wonderful little town with great architecture, a great vibe, and neat people. We were there just before Memorial Day which meant that some of the attractions had shorter hours or weren't yet open for the season. Still, I am glad we went ahead of the crowds because I don't think the city would be as neat to explore with a ton of people running around.

We stayed at the Hawthorne Hotel, which I highly recommend. It is right on Salem Common, so you'd be hard pressed to find a better location. It was right in the middle of everything. And the hotel is quite comfortable and the staff is top-notch. Everybody was great. The only negative was the small bathroom in our room, but it is an historic hotel and that is often the case. The tavern in the hotel was fun - wood panelled walls, comfortable chairs, books in bookcases, great staff, good food.

For other eats we went to the Witches Brew Cafe on Derby St near the waterfront. Pretty good food and nice people, although for a place that looks like a pub inside, I was very disappointed in their beer list.

We also ate at The Old Spot - across from the hotel. That place was great. I would absolutely go back. Friendly, comfortable, and they serve a terrific burger. That was my second choice because it was late and they ran out of chowder, but it was quite good. And they have a nice selection of beer and wine with several out-of-the-everyday choices.

For activities we mostly shopped, which isn't usually my choice activity but I was with my mom and my aunt and the trip was really for them. There are lots of fun shops though and I did find plenty to buy.

We also rode the trolley around, which was very fun. Lots of good info and we were able to hit some highlights. A good intro if you've never been.

We went to the Salem Witch Museum near the Common. It was just ok. If you already know the basic history of the witchcraft hysteria in Salem, then skip it. If you aren't familiar with the story, then it might be worth it.

There is lots more to see in town that we didn't get to - another trip definitely recommend a visit to anyone interested in early American history, the paranormal, or just wandering around neat little towns.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 10:16 AM
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I accidentally taged this as Missouri as well as Mass, but not to worry, it was a slip of the mouse and not a sign of total confusion
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Old May 28th, 2011, 04:30 PM
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Well, you surely missed alot...for another trip. But the Peabody Essex Museum has a special exhibit that will soon close on Dutch & Flemish art. That museum is well known emphasizing the Salem whaling heritage. We were just in Salem once again.

Also to see of course House of the Seven Gables and Customs House and down the street a Maritime Museum I believe run by Nat'l Park (can't remember details) plus the little park memorializing those falsely condemned in the trials (someone tell us what is the name?). If I were visiting I would skip all the witches stuff and the shopping for better things to do.

Bill in Boston
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Old May 30th, 2011, 10:07 AM
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"If I were visiting I would skip all the witches stuff and the shopping for better things to do."

Yeah, then I guess it was good that you weren't on the trip Normally shopping isn't my first choice either, but they do have quite a few nice shops for those who like to poke around in them. And for this trip, I just wanted my mom and my aunt to have a good time. I get to travel a fair amount, but they don't so we did what they wanted to do.

The House of the Seven Gables and the Custom House were tops on my list of places to see, but I was out voted. I also saw that the PEM has some great exhibits. Such is life when travelling with other people though. I am already thinking about planning a trip back so that I can do it my way - maybe a combo trip with Boston, Salem, and then possibly another destination TBD depending on how long the trip is.

Bill - Sounds like you and I have some of the same interests and you are familiar with the area, so when it comes time to plan that trip, I'll seek out your advice.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 10:23 AM
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november_moon, it was very nice of you to spend time with your mom and your aunt and let them dictate what to do in SAlem! You must return and visit the places you were out-voted this time. My in-laws and DH & I were in Salem last weekend, so perhaps we ran into you? We mostly went for the Dutch masterpiece exhibit at the PEM. My in-laws also visited the Chinese House in the PEM as this was their first visit (DH & I have been several times). My in-laws could not stop raving about how fascinating it was.

If you plan another trip to this area, you can click on my screenname and look at my TR list. I've posted day trip reports on the North Shore of Boston, including Salem, Gloucester, Rockport etc.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 11:29 AM
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Thanks yk - for the kudos and for mentioning your TR list. I will definitely make use of those in the future. How funny we were both in Salem at basically the same time. We arrived on Wed and left on Fri, so we probably missed each other. But, if you saw a couple of really short 60-something women with a really short 30-something woman all walking really slowly, then that was probably us - LOL.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 04:29 PM
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november_moon...on any trip yes you indeed go along with the family/guests wishes. Our various Salem visits over the years have been luckily with those having likeminded interests, i.e., history and art stuff. Son in law did teach at Salem State for a few years but was so busy he didn't take in the sights and was glad to do so.

yk for sure has toured the area whereas I'm a new transplant still discovering new places.
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