At first look, Salem, Massachusetts has the feel of that stereotypical New England town. Cozy cafés and small shops give anyone a reason to stop and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. However, if you have the urge to learn more about the havoc-causing history, there are plenty of museums to satisfy you. From witchy history to pirates to dungeons, you can have loads of fun without getting stoned.
1) Home Cooked Meal
After driving for a few hours, food might be the first thing on your mind. Right on Derby Street is Scratch Kitchen. They make everything fresh and by hand. You will never get a soggy sandwich. Tuesday through Saturday they are open for lunch and dinner, and Sundays they’ll gladly serve brunch until 2:30. Your stomach will appreciate you greatly if you make this your mealtime spot.
2) Witchy History
Everyone knows the horrible history surrounding the town of Salem. That same panic that drove people to kill innocent townsfolk is the thing that reels in tourists. The Witch History Museum starts with a brief history of Salem Town and Salem Village before the tour guide brings you into the basement. You are greeted with mannequins that represent the townspeople and supposed witches of the late-1600s Salem. If the dank, dim basement and mannequins weren’t creepy enough for you, the things the accusers had done to the accused will make you want to run for the hills.
Ever wanted to know where many of those involved with the witch trials were buried? Take a walk to the Charter Street Cemetery. Many notable people were laid to rest here, including physician Bartholomew Gedney, and magistrate John Hawthorne, the great-great grandfather of American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Of everything surrounding the witch trials, you will feel the most uneasy among the dead. You’ll become cold from the inside out; no number of layers will warm you up. At least, not until you step foot out of the graveyard.
4) It’s a Pirate’s Life
Had enough of witches but still want to know more about the history? Have no worries; the New England Pirate Museum will take you on a tour of the little-known history of the pirates of New England. Unlike the witches, these pirates truly once roamed the seas. From Blackbeard to Captain Kidd, you’ll find out just how brutal things could get offshore. Be wary, though; children under thirteen may not appreciate the scary, real-life rascals.
5) Winding Down
By the end of the day, you’re probably tired and might want to get in some last-minute shopping. From 1920s-style pencil dresses to Hufflepuff socks, you will not have a hard time finding a store you love. One must-see, if you’re feeling particularly tourist-y, is Witch Tees. With clever t-shirts to Salem mugs, you can get your mom that present you totally forgot to get her. A tourist shop not your thing? Why not Wynott’s Wands? Any Harry Potter fan will be in heaven. They have hard-to-find Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw gear. Butterbeer, chocolate frogs, and Bertie Bott’s Beans are also readily available.
With so many things to do, it’s hard to stay for one day. The cobblestone roads, clean sidewalks, and local commerce will make you want to come back again and again.