Posted in North America, Travels, United States

Impromptu Trip to Salem, MA

If I can give anyone one piece of advice to anyone who has even thought of visiting Salem, it’s to plan the trip out.

I was walking outside of The New England Aquarium in the late afternoon when I happened to see a sign for a ferry to Salem. I wandered around Boston a little bit longer, but as I ran out of things I wanted to do that day, my thoughts returned to Salem, so bought a pass for the Salem ferry (which were not cheap), and hopped on board.

I ended up taking one of the last afternoon ferries, which provided me with a beautiful view on my way to Salem. PRO TIP: The ferry from Boston to Salem is an hour-ish. If you happen to jump on the late afternoon ferry as I did, bring layers as it is COLD. You can sit inside the ferry, but I’ve always loved sitting in the open air section in the back of ferries. You smell like salt, your hair is a mess, and its freezing, but I feel like the view isn’t matched inside.

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Salem port views

I arrived in Salem just a tad before 17:00, so most of the businesses in Salem were closed. I followed the streets into what I would think as the “downtown” area of Salem, and happened upon the entrance to the famous Salem Witch Village.

Bad news — I just missed the last tour.

I was disappointed because the village was the only thing I knew of in Salem, and the downtown area, while cute, didn’t provide many activities. This is exactly why I say plan your trip to Salem. I’m usually pretty OCD about planning out my travels, but I attempted to “live in the moment” as many people have encouraged me to do before. I think I like my way of doing things better.

Thankfully, I ran into someone familiar with the area and he pointed me in the direction of a graveyard. I’m not keen on graveyards (because they creep me out), but I didn’t want to leave Salem without seeing something, so I went.

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I can’t remember whose grave marker this is. Many of the markers are like this — hard to read

The Burying Point is the oldest cemetery in Salem, MA. It was established in 1637, way before Wi-Fi and Google. It amazed me that so many influential people are buried here. There is even a Mayflower passenger buried here (Captain Richard Moore). Justice John Hawthorne is also buried here. Sound familiar? Maybe not. He was a justice of the famous witchcraft court. Many of the markers are worn and faded (probably since most people here, if not everyone, has been buried for hundreds of years). I found it hard to read names on most of the markers. I did notice one marker for the grave of a Mrs. — (something or other I couldn’t read), who I’m assuming was someone’s wife. I just thought it was interesting that the first name wasn’t put on the marker.

The Burying Point is open from dawn to dusk, and close to dusk it starts feeling über-creepy. I left the cemetery and intended to wander around the downtown area until it was time to walk back to my ferry.

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Dedication outside the memorial

Not far from the Burying Point is The Salem Witch Trials Memorial. It’s one of the simplest memorials I’ve ever visited. Not that it’s a bad thing. It’s a small section of grass surrounded by a stone wall with inscriptions. As with all memorials, it’s best to keep your voice down in respect to those who lost their lives during the time of the trials, and this memorial recognizes the wrongs that were done. Do not walk on the grass, but feel free to stay a while to remember the victims or leave flowers as remembrance.

Side note: Has anyone read the theory that a wheat fungus may have caused the paranoia that resulted in the Salem Witch Trials? I thought it was interesting.

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Salem Custom House

The photo above isn’t from my walk around the downtown area — those pictures are way to blurry and I feel ashamed to post them. Plus I still haven’t figured out how to take those beautiful nighttime shots I see on Instagram all the time.

There are beautiful brick buildings in Salem. I really loved imagining what these old buildings used to be years ago. What can I say, I got bored once it got dark. I wasn’t going to loiter around the graveyard or closed witch village in the dark. I stopped at a couple of gift shops on the way back to the ferry and got some ice cream. I hopped on the ferry back to Boston and sat all by my lonesome outside on the back of the ferry and watched the city lights appear an hour later as we pulled into Boston.

Overall, I have determined that I need to make a second trip to Salem. In the daytime. And plan it. It’s a cute town, but their claim to fame is definitely centered around the witch village. The Sibling lived in Boston for a while and went to Salem during Halloween, and told me that the Salem is apparently the place to be for Halloween. Also on the list of things to do.

Who has tips for me for my next visit to Salem? Does anyone know of anything non-witchy to experience too?

 

Oh, and here’s my view coming back into Boston on the ferry . . .

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