Destinations USA

What To Do In Salem Massachusetts

On a recent trip to Boston, Massachusetts, we stopped by in the small town of Salem. Salem is famous for the witch trials of 1692 where several people were executed for allegedly practising witchcraft.

Salem is easily accessible from Boston, being a 30-minute train drive at a cost of $15 dollars round trip. There is also a fast ferry to the town at a cost of $45 return.

Salem is a year-round destination and has a variety of shops, cafes, and restaurants. Many of the activities are related to the witch trials, however, there are also things to do in the town that isn’t related to this historic event.

Bewitched

Bewitched

Our first stop was to see the Bewitched statue of Elizabeth Montgomery. Bewitched was an American fantasy sitcom series about a witch that ran in the 1960s to 70s.

After that, we explored the town to see what was happening. As is was a few days before Halloween the town had a great atmosphere and was busy but not ridiculously so. During the month of October special activities are organised for Halloween on the Haunted Happenings website, so this is always worth checking out for special events.

Clown

A Scary Clown

After stopping by for coffee in Gulu Gulu Cafe, where we also had waffles and maple syrup, we decided to visit Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery, taking in the people dressed in costume lining the streets. Watch out for the scary clown!

Count Orlok's

Count Orlok’s

Count Orlok’s was a fascinating little museum, especially interesting if you are into horror films. With full-sized waxworks that are very lifelike of horror characters from movies, this little museum is very well done. Look out for Nosferatu the vampire, Pinhead from Hellraiser, Pennywise the scary clown and the werewolf from American Werewolf In London amongst others. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take photos inside which was a shame but don’t let that put you off visiting if you are a horror fan.

Gallows Hill

Gallows Hill

Next stop Gallows Hill Salem. This is one of the top attractions in the town so we were excited to do the Witchcraft And Ghost Experience. We were joined by a group of teenage students from a local school, which only added to the experience as they were keen to join in! The show is dark and you sit down in an auditorium. Mixing history, legend and myth this theatre show about witches and ghosts was very entertaining. It has a few scares so I would say it isn’t suitable for children under the age of 10 unless they are brave. There is fog, ghosts and creatures that appear to come out into the audience in the dark and a few surprises also. Highly entertaining!

Gallows Hill

Gallows Hill

As it was a special show for the students we had an opportunity to see behind the scenes as well and that was fascinating too.

We also decided to do the scare attraction attached – The Lost Museum. You are accompanied throughout by a guide, who tells the story of a wealthy Salem merchant, who gathered strange ‘oddities’ and mythical objects from around the world. You are guided through the museum, but watch out as strange forces are at work! This attraction was good fun and had a few jumpy moments but nothing too scary. Again though I would say children over the age of 10 are the best age to enjoy it.

We thought both attractions were excellent and scary without being too frightening for the majority of people. Exercise caution however if you have young children.

Salem Memorial

Salem witch trial memorial

Not far from here was the Salem witch trials memorial.

In 1692, 14 women and 6 men were tried, convicted, and executed for being witches. A form of mass hysteria came over the town after a group of young girls claimed to be possessed by the devil and accused several people of being witches. The memorial consists of 20 granite benches surrounding an area adjoining the Old Burying Point. The benches are inscribed with the name of the accused and the means and date of execution. A sobering sight, and who is to say that a form of mass hysteria like this couldn’t happen again where innocent people are accused of something horrendous they didn’t do.

Witch Trial

Reenactment of the witch trials

We had booked a reenactment of the witch trials with a theatre group and the show called Cry Innocent was next. The show revolves around Bridget Bishop, a real person in the 1600’s being accused of witchcraft and you, the audience has a chance to question her and the accusers. The show was an eye-opener and really worth doing if you want to get a feel for the persecution these people, mostly women, had.

Guilty of being a witch

Before we left Salem we had an opportunity to get a photo of Mr W in stocks, outside the Witch Dungeon Museum, well you have to don’t you!?

We really enjoyed our trip to Salem, and it seemed a lovely little town. There are many attractions we didn’t have time to do, including visiting the House Of The Seven Gables as well as many more scare attractions. If you have an interest in history, horror or witchcraft Salem is well worth visiting.

To find out more about Salem be sure to check out http://salem.org/

*We were given press passes by the Salem tourist board

 

Visiting Salem Massachusetts  for Haunted Happemingd

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24 Comments

  • Reply
    Agness of a Tuk Tuk
    November 9, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Having watched the TV Series Salem, I am so intrigued to find out that this place actually exists and can be visited. I would definitely go on a day trip there when in Massachusetts, Marcus and Mellissa!

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 11, 2017 at 11:19 am

      It was a really good day out, highly recommended.

  • Reply
    Donna Seger
    November 9, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Of course, far more 20 people were accused and executed for witchcraft in 1692 but you wouldn’t know that from any of the “attractions” you visited.

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 11, 2017 at 11:29 am

      As you can see, our visit was not in any way a documentary or a discussion into 17th-century Puritan attitudes.
      I think we can get over the injustices in a small town 325 years ago. There are far more recent events we should be concerned about.

      Anyway, getting back to the trip. It was a really good day out and we really enjoyed visiting the town.

  • Reply
    Sophie
    November 10, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I’d love to visit looks fantastic!

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 11, 2017 at 11:20 am

      You must if you get the chance, any time of the year would be great.

  • Reply
    Louise
    November 11, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I’ve always been fascinated by Salem ever since learning about the witch trials at school – I had no idea there was so much to do there! I didn’t realise there was a Bewitched statue either – I’m a huge fan 😉 Thanks for an informative article – I hope to get there one day in the not so distant future!

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 11, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      It was a really interesting place, obviously busy on the run up to Halloween but definitely worth a visit again at a quieter time to explore this historic area.

  • Reply
    Medha
    November 11, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Witch trials memorial? Jeez, I can’t believe they executed people for being thought of as witches, that sounds so ridiculously cruel! I do love that little statue of Elizabeth Montgomery from bewitched 🙂 This is an interesting read about Salem!

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 11, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      It was a very Puritanical and religious society, lots of them had left Europe because they thought it was too liberal.
      Yes, the Bewitched series did help boost the popularity of the place.

  • Reply
    Janine Thomas
    November 11, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    I have read about the trials, so this is an interesting post. Looking at the pic of the clown I am not surprised that some people hate them. That one is pretty awful! It is a scary thought that mass hysteria causes so many innocent people to be put to death. Let’s hope that in more enlightened times it couldn’t happen.

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 11, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      It was over 300 years ago in a very religious society, probably not the most tolerant of places.
      Yes, I don’t know anyone who actually likes clowns.

  • Reply
    DebbZie Leksono
    November 12, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Never heard about Salem before and I’m so thrilled reading your post. Horror stories always intrigued me and one can tell that by looking at my horror movies collection in my house, lol. Pretty sure I will browse more about Salem shortly and put it on my bucket list. Definitely I wouldn’t miss a visit to the Lost Museum!

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 12, 2017 at 9:41 am

      The walkthrough Lost Museum was really good fun although a little scary for a young girl with her parents. She got a bit upset.

  • Reply
    Carol
    November 12, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    I went through that teenage phase believing I was a witch and was so intrigued (and quite affected) of the persecutions all over the world of people who were believed to be witches. How scary was the Lost Museum? I have two stoic, hard-to-entertain teenagers – do you think they’d be thrilled?

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 12, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      It would be great for teenagers. Count Orlok’s would also be great for them, unfortunately, we couldn’t film in a lot of places as they didn’t want to spoil the surprise

  • Reply
    Linda de Beer
    November 12, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Didn’t Salem also feature in some hit soapie of the 90s? It’s amazing that a town has built a tourism industry around witch trials from 1692! The theatre production at Gallows Hill sounds thrilling. However, the memorial is very sobering.

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 12, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      I can’t remember one from the 90’s although Salem has been mentioned in lots of horror films. Apart from just the witch trials, this area of New England is very interesting and worth a visit if you get to Boston.

  • Reply
    Silke
    November 13, 2017 at 7:29 am

    Salem is an interesting place to visit. In particular, once you realise that witch hunts were actually not a thing of the Middle Ages but of Modern Times. These poor women died for no reason at all. Interesting to read also that there are many more or less family-friendly options in the area, and that Salem does indeed offer lots of opportunities to have a good laugh. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 13, 2017 at 8:17 am

      Yes, there are things for all the family. In the day there were plenty of younger children around.

  • Reply
    Anne
    November 13, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    I visited Salem a few years back when we flew to Boston to surprise my friend for her 30th birthday. She has no idea we had been colluding with her boyfriend to get him to drive her from Michigan, nor that we were flying in from the Uk. It was very special and so I will always remember her when I see posts about Salem which is super cute and we loved visiting together

    • Reply
      Mr and Mrs W
      November 14, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Sounded a great surprise. You’re right about Salem, we loved it too,

  • Reply
    Meg Jerrard
    November 15, 2017 at 12:52 am

    I would love to visit Salem as a day trip when we head to Boston next year – I only really knew about the witch trials – Halloween would have been a cool time to visit though! Count Orlok’s sounds interesting, though I’m not too into horror films. Would love to take in the Witchcraft And Ghost Experience at Gallows Hills though. I’ve seen many renditions of the Crucible, so it would be quite an opportunity to watch a reenactment of the witch trials in Salem itself. Horrendous period of history – I can’t believe how quickly such hysteria took hold.

  • Reply
    Paige
    November 15, 2017 at 3:22 am

    I’ve always wanted to go to Salem. It looks absolutely amazing. I’ve always loved witch history, even as a little kid. I had no idea it was so easy and cheap to get here from Boston! I totally missed out when I was in the area.

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