For anyone looking for a wonderful day date, Salem, Massachusetts may fit the bill with its rich historical past. Much of it is related to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 – 1693, but there is so much more to the storied past of Salem. We just so happened to adventure through Salem around Halloween, which means that it is brimming with historical re-enactments, witch impersonators, and tons of other ghoulish fun.
Salem is nestled just north of Boston along the coast and offers the adventuring couple many options to choose from. Here’s a list of recommended witchy and historical fun for you and your boo.
1. Hocus Pocus House
You should definitely stop by the Hocus Pocus house on the way into town. This is the actual house featured in the film Hocus Pocus. It’s a little far away from the bustling downtown of Salem, so make sure to stop by on the way in or out of town.
2. Best parking in town
For centrally located parking, head to the visitors center and park in the parking structure across the street. Its $20 for all day but it will fill up completely by 11am. Parking is crazy because of all the tourists during Halloween but everything is walking distance, so it is well worth it.
3. Witch House (http://witchhouse.info/)
We recommend going to the Witch House before going to any other witch trial related events and sites. It provides the historical background of the times around the Salem Witch Trials, which will make a lot of the tours and plays make so much more sense.
4. Cry Innocent (http://cryinnocentsalem.com/)
This interactive play was one of our favorite experiences of the entire day. Imagine being part of the witch trials and deciding whether Bridget Bishop (the first claimed witch) is innocent or guilty. They offer two show times, one at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. You can buy tickets online ahead of time and pick up at will call. Show up 10 minutes early to see Bridget Bishop get accused in front of the town clock tower.
5. Best lunch spots
Make it a point to stop by Custom House Rotisserie for hot sandwiches with all the thanksgiving fixings – it’s like Thanksgiving in a bun. If you are in a different mood then try Sea Level Oyster Bar for a beer and New England fried seafood right along the bay.
6. Salem Maritime National Historic Site (https://www.nps.gov/sama/index.htm)
Head over to the Salem Maritime National Historic Site to get a glimpse of how the settlers traveled the seas in style. Apparently, Salem was the number one harbor in New England for trade from the late 18th to the early 19th century. There’s a reconstruction of a beautiful and massive historical ship that was originally built in 1797 that’s a must see for first time visitors and a favorite historical view for the locals.
7. House of the Seven Gables (http://www.7gables.org/)
If you are familiar with the book, The House of the Seven Gables written by Nathanial Hawthorne then why not visit the house the book was based on? Even if you aren’t familiar with the book, the tour leads you through a beautifully restored house built in 1668. It’s the oldest standing wooden mansion to date. Plus, it has a secret passage you can walk through. That’s right, a freaking real-life secret passage!
On the way to there, you might want to stop by Ye Olde Pepper Companie. They’re a chocolatier and are one of the first in America. Plus, it’s chocolate. Need we say more?
8. Best dinner in town
For dinner, we recommend going to Opus. It is a quirky restaurant that offers a wide range of foods with a relaxed but welcoming atmosphere for those who’ve spent the day wandering through history. They don’t take reservations but it’s one of the best food joints for dinner in town.
There you have it! Salem is a wonderful town that has many experiences just waiting to be had. We gave our recommendations but there is so much more that is waiting to be experienced. If you make it to Salem let us know how you liked the experience and what new things you discovered. If you’ve been to Salem before, feel free to comment below to share any other recommendations for fellow readers.