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USATourist News Magazine by Elizabeth Blair
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USATourist News Magazine

December 2011 - Salem, Massachusetts

In this issue:

Welcome to the December issue of USATourist the News Magazine. It's time to start planning your 2012 travels and what better place than to start than with the pretty eastern seaside town of Salem, Massachusetts.

Crow Haven Corner

A visit to Crow Haven Corner can include an encounter with a local witch!
© Beth Blair / USATourist.com

If you don't already know, people familiar with the Salem area often associate it with a story that stems back several hundred years and sounds like something from a novel - witches. During the winter of 1692 a group of young girls began behaving irrationally and acting out without any explanation. The village was confused and ended up coming to the conclusion that it was the work of Satan and that witches had invaded their town. The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 lasted thirteen months and became one of the most famous trials in US history. Within months, 180 people had been accused and imprisoned.

Today, the town of Salem has turned its interesting background into a brilliant marketing plan complete with spooky attractions and historic tours. There's no doubt the town caters to its tourists with its naturally charming ambiance complete with brick-paved streets, original buildings and Victorian-style buildings.

Festivities last all year long, but the autumn months, especially in October over the weeks before Halloween, the town is particularly decorated in honor of the town's eerie past. However, anytime is a good time to visit the town. Salem's charm and mystique is captured year-round.

A Dose of Salem History

If you're interested in learning more about the events that made this town famous, the Salem Witch Museum is the place to go for an overview and history lesson of the Witch Trials of 1692. The newest exhibit "Witches: Evolving Perceptions" examines the stereotypical witch, aspects of witchcraft in the 17th century, modern witchcraft and the phenomenon of witch hunts.

For a first-hand perspective, visitors may sign up for town tours featuring sites still standing today from the witchcraft hysteria. See original houses or foundations, gravesites and other historic locations.

Salem's First Witch Shop

Crow Haven Corner is known as Salem's First Witch Shop. Here you'll find magical supplies, crystals, incense, jewelry, and other witch-themed items. Guests can also have readings done by Lorelei, the Famous Love Clairvoyant, and the Witches of Crow Haven Corner. Other services include psychic guidance, spell castings, magical circles and palmistry.

Statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne

The author Nathaniel Hawthorne is immortalized by a statue located in a small park on Hawthorne Boulevard.
© Beth Blair / USATourist.com

Peabody Essex Museum

Not everything in Salem is about witches. Peabody Essex Museum (PEM), located on Essex Street, was founded in 1799 as the Salem East India Society. Members of the Society were required by the society's charter to collect "natural and artificial curiosities" from beyond the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. Today the museum is a combination of the Peabody Museum of Salem and the Essex Institute which merged in 1992.

The Most Famous Salem Author

Salem was also home to one of America's most celebrated authors, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose ancestors were involved in the Salem Witch Trials. Hawthorne's novel, The House of the Seven Gables was written and published in 1851 and was inspired by a house in Salem which still stands today and is open for tours. It's no surprise that the attraction is called The House of the Seven Gables - but it's also known as the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion. Built in 1668, it is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England.

The Burying Point

Situated in the middle of town is The Burying Point (1637), the oldest cemetery in Salem. Wandering the grounds and reading the headstones is fascinating, as the graves are hundreds of years old. Signs at the entrance list notable graves.

A New England Classic

Don't Miss.the clam chowder at Victorian Station restaurant. Clam chowder is a popular soup in this region and this is one dining option that has good chowder on a reasonably priced menu. Victorian Station overlooks Salem's Waterfront dining on Salem's Pickering Wharf and has a lovely patio if you're visiting on a nice day. Sitting alongside other restaurants and shops, this little corner of Salem is the perfect place to rest your feet while admiring the pretty views.

Tip: Dunkin' Donuts is a popular donut and coffee shop in the United States, however, in the eastern region they seem to be on every corner. Dunkin' Donuts is a good place take a break from your sightseeing activities.

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts shops are plentiful in Massachusetts. These donut and coffee shops are a great place to stop for a treat and pick your next sightseeing destination.
© Beth Blair / USATourist.com

Where to stay

There are plenty of bed and breakfasts as well as chain hotels in the area. The Hawthorn Hotel, named for the author, is a Federal-style hotel and sits in the heart of Salem. Its location is within walking distance of Salem's most popular highlights as well as Boston via the commuter rail, MBTA bus, and Salem Ferry. Guest rooms are individually furnished and appointed with 18th-century style reproduction furnishings. Perks include complimentary morning coffee service in the lobby. Onsite is Nathaniel's Restaurant and Tavern on the Green which offers dining and drinking.

How to get to Salem

Salem, Massachusetts is only 16 miles north of Boston, which makes for an easy day trip, but there are a number of ways to reach this waterside town.

By Car: Salem is accessible via Route 1A, Route 114, and Route 107. The closest highway is Route 128, which connects to I-95. If you're visiting directly from the airport, Boston's Logan International Airport is a 30 to 45 minute drive and Manchester Airport in Manchester, NH, is approximately 70 minutes away by car.

Train: MBTA Commuter Rail connects Salem and Boston's North Station to the south, Newburyport to the north, and Rockport to the northeast. Salem is a 20-30 minute train ride from Boston depending upon your starting point.

Water: The Salem Ferry provides seasonal, high-speed ferry service between Long Wharf North in Boston and Blaney Street in Salem. The 55-minute trip runs daily (weather permitting) from the end of May through the end of October.

Taxi: Taxis are always available from Boston's Logan Airport to Salem. The cost is about $50.00 one way.

Contest Winner

Congratulations to Alfred Dorfinger, winner of our most recent Mail List contest. Alfred has won two certificates for a Flavors of Philly tour from City Food Tours of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thank you to everyone who entered our contest. If you are going to Philadelphia and would like to take a fabulous food tour, visit City Food Tours for more information. http://www.cityfoodtours.com/philadelphia/philly-food-tours-general-info.html

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Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair


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