Since our Chicago friend had been to Boston before, and also had to leave two days earlier than we did, Thursday became our trip to Salem. It’s not far and if you are a literary or history buff, worth the T ride (Charlie pass) and transfer to the train ($7). Little did we realize, our trip to Salem was on the exact date of Rebecca Nurse and Sarah Goode’s hangings, which are both profiled in Arthur Miller’s, The Crucible.
Our excitement was pretty high given being out so late, and it grew as the train pulled into Salem Station. When we saw these witches get off the train with us, we were beyond excited to see if Salem fit our expectations. We began walking from the station toward the Witch Museum. It had decent reviews, and when we entered, it was spooky. The next show was in twenty minutes, but we decided to not watch a re-enactment of something we were upset about int he first place, so we goofed around outside to lighten up the idea of women being executed, then took a walk toward the historical area of town. History turned tourism.
We checked out really interesting shops and had fun reading about the curse and remedies for different ailments. I bought a voodoo doll for Claire, so stay on her good side! Then we stumbled upon an art festival that bought local vendors to the city every Thursday. It was amazing to see that people actually live in Salem—it’s not a ghost town. It is diverse, it is vibrant, and it is pretty hip. We tried local mead, local wine, viewed beautiful artwork and crafts, then visited a top spot on my restaurant list: The Lobster Shanty.
What do you order at the Lobster Shanty, a naive visitor might ask…a Lobstertini of course. It was featured on the Food Network so you know me, had to try it. It was probably not my smartest decision ever, but it was worth the twenty-four hours of Lobster burps that accompanied this crisp, summer drink that was more like an appetizer plus beverage than cocktail. Of course, the fried haddock sandwich was a great pairing, but an absolutely huge portion for the price. I liked the choice of tater tots instead of fries, but pass on the fried pickles. They weren’t a hit. The mac and cheese (add lobster for just $9) was also a hit at our table. The Pearl wiener, which initially caught my eye, was also satisfying, but we really missed our Flint Koegel hot dogs.
After a delicious lunch, it was time to find Gile Corey’s grave…or so we thought. After passing Nathaniel Hawthorne’s home on accident, we noticed all the houses that had historical nameplates signifying who owned it, what year they lived there, and his/her occupation. It was fun reading where people created history and wondering how the current occupants feel living in such prestigious homes. Once we arrived at the cemetery, we noticed many headstones missing names. They were sold old, and had no upkeep, so many were broken or falling onto one another. Google map had Giles Corey marked in this particular cemetery, but the more we researched, the more we realized it was where he was pressed to death.
Once we figured that out, we found the cemetery where he had a memorial, along with mostly women who were burned at the stake, hung, and stoned to death. There we saw other historical markers, and visited the gravesite of a person who came to America on the Mayflower. It was nearing dusk, and the rules were forcing us out of the cemetery, but there was so much to see.
After honoring those lives we had read and studies about, we needed something lighthearted. We decided to visit the Hocus Pocus house (Max’s) before returning to Somerville. Lyft was the quickest (and most affordable) way to do this since the home was on the ocean, a few miles out of the way of our return trip. Once there we met a few other tourists and took some pictures, trying not to bother the grumpy elderly couple swinging on their porch.
Back in Somerville we had our daily nap then decided to try local restaurants and bars near our hotel. It was a good choice. We had sushi, tuna, garlic and truffle fries with July’s drink of the month, Sangria, at Earl’s Kitchen and Bar. Apparently bars in MA cannot do Happy Hour but they can do drinks of the month. Our server was born in Salem. He called himself a warlock. He wasn’t much of a server though. Next up was River Bar where we were treated to gin and tonics by a few bartenders that reminded us of our favorite Boston duo: the Boondocks Saints. We closed the bar and walked back to our hotel, full and content with another traveling memory made.
If You Go: Download the MBTA ap for the best rates and purchase as many tickets to Salem from Boston for you and your companions. Just show the conductor your phone. We took the T and then only rode the train in, but the sights were pretty cool-a few graphic artists and bodies of water we would not have seen in a car. Plus we sat in a group seat and enjoyed each other’s traveling stories and memories of Meghan. It was her third anniversary. RIP Megh.