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Destination Salem Blog

Salem Ferry FAQ

The new season for the Salem Ferry to Boston gets underway today and runs until the end of October. The Ferry, operated by Boston Harbor Cruises, travels between Long Wharf in Boston and Salem Wharf on Blaney Street in Salem. The trip lasts just under an hour.

New in 2015, Salem residents and North Shore residents alike will enjoy reduced rates with proof of residency. Commuter rates are also available. Click here for rate and schedule information.

The Salem Ferry, the Nathaniel Bowditch, 2015 season runs May 21-October 31, traveling between Long Wharf in Boston and Blaney Street wharf in Salem.

Boston Harbor Cruises' Salem Ferry FAQ

1) Do you recommend advance reservations?
While reservations are not required, we strongly recommend you purchase your fast ferry tickets in advance if you know the specific day and time you want to travel. If you know your departure and return dates, remember to secure tickets for both legs of your journey so you’re assured of keeping to your schedule. If you like playing it loose, we also offer one-way fares with the ability to purchase your return leg later.

2) What kind of ferry is it?
The Salem Ferry, Nathaniel Bowditch, is a high-speed catamaran that holds 149 passengers in comfort as her twin diesel engines whisk you away at speeds of up to 33 knots, getting you to Salem in just under an hour.

3) Can you recommend things to do in Salem?
Salem is known the world over for the famous (some would say infamous) witch trials that took place there in 1692. But, in actuality, Salem has been making history for nearly four centuries. For a comprehensive list of attractions, restaurants, shopping and places to stay, including special local offers, visit

4) Is there food on board?
Boston Harbor Cruises offers a full line of food and drink aboard our vessels. Our galleys feature a variety of lunch and breakfast sandwiches, hot dogs, hot pretzels, cereal, nutritional bars, fruit, nuts, candy, chips and popcorn to name a few. BHC vessels are also equipped with water, fruit juices, iced tea, sports drinks, soda, coffee and tea, as well as a full bar serving beer, wine and top shelf cocktails.

5) Can I make a ticket reservation online?
Yes! Boston Harbor Cruises offers online ticketing for all Fast Ferry departures. Visit to buy your tickets now. If you buy your tickets online, you will receive an e-ticket that can be presented at the boarding gate with no additional check in or confirmations required. Tickets may also be purchased in advance by telephone. For our Boston trips, tickets may also be purchased in person at the Salem Ferry Center located at 10 Blaney Street in Salem.

6) What happens if I've reserved tickets but can't make it for the cruise?
Unfortunately, advance-order tickets for the Fast Ferry are non-refundable. But they may be transferred to another day and time depending on availability. Transfers cannot be handled online or over the phone – only in person at the BHC ticket center or Salem Ferry Center in Salem, MA.

7) Do you offer discounts for large groups?
We do have discounted group rates for parties of 25 or more. Please see our Group Tours page at for more information. Also, ask about our multi-ride passes for individuals.

8) Do you sell gift cards for your cruises?
We do. BHC gift cards are available online or you can call or e-mail using the information on our Contact page with your specific request, and we'll get right back to you!

For more information visit

Posted by Kate on 05/21 at 12:48 PM Permalink

Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty comes to PEM

Patrick Dougherty: Stickwork at the PEM Salem MA

This spring the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) commissions its first major outdoor  installation, a Stickwork by internationally acclaimed artist Patrick Dougherty. This temporary site-specific installation will be made entirely of saplings and constructed on the lawn of PEM’s historic Crowninshield-Bentley House, at the corner of Hawthorne Boulevard and Essex Street in downtown Salem. Dougherty will marshal a volunteer corps of some 50 people to construct his artwork on site during the first three weeks of May. Visitors are invited to follow the improvisational construction through to its completion on May 23. It will then  open for exploration -- from 8 am to 6 pm daily -- for approximately a year.
Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty is part of PEM’s Present Tense initiative, which seeks to expand the museum’s engagement with the most vibrant creators and critical minds of our time. Responsive, reflexive and relevant, the initiative brings together visual artists, performers and cross-disciplinary thought leaders to create experiences that reach far beyond the confines of the gallery walls.
Blurring the line between architecture, landscape design and sculpture, Dougherty’s installation -- situated one block from the museum’s main entrance -- will provide a dramatic counterpoint to the highly finished wood-frame Crowninshield-Bentley House that dates to the early 18th century. The saplings (which include varieties of linden, Norwegian maple and beech) will be responsibly harvested from areas on the North Shore with the guidance of a local arborist. Owing to the organic material and outdoor setting, Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty is a  temporary installation.  
“Patrick Dougherty’s creative process is both highly social and remarkably intuitive,” said Trevor Smith, PEM’s Curator of the Present Tense. “He improvises his Stickworks in response to the location and choreographs his teams of volunteers to help create his fantastic structures. Using the tapering forms of the saplings like a drawn line, Dougherty creates tension, direction and weight across the surface of the finished work.”
The Present Tense initiative is an extension of PEM’s contemporary art program. Under the guidance of curator Trevor Smith, the initiative celebrates the central role that creative expression plays in shaping our world today. The Present Tense initiative engages leading creative agents and thinkers to cultivate innovative experiences fueled by the intersection of cultures, disciplines and technologies. By encouraging innovation and fostering new forms of creativity, the Present Tense initiative seeks to push the boundaries of what a museum experience can be.
Upcoming Present Tense projects include:

JUNE 2015: Immersive, in-gallery musical experience with PEM’s Composer-in-Residence Matthew Aucoin leading the Encounters Ensemble
SEPTEMBER 2015: Dynamic, cross-disciplinary celebration to launch the national tour of Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen
JANUARY 2016:  Site-specific multimedia installation by Magdalena Campos-Pons and Neil Leonard

Over the last 30 years, Patrick Dougherty has created more than 250 Stickworks for museums, colleges, cities and parks around the world. Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature, Dougherty uses primitive building techniques to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. In 1982 his first work, Maple Body Wrap, was included in the North Carolina Biennial Artists’ Exhibition, sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Art. In the following year, he had his first one-person show titled, Waitin’ It Out in Maple at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His work quickly evolved from single pieces on conventional pedestals to monumental scale environmental works, which required saplings by the truckloads. His sculpture has been seen worldwide --- from Scotland to Japan to Brussels, and all over the United States. He has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Factor Prize for Southern Art, North Carolina Artist Fellowship Award, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship, Japan-US Creative Arts Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Princeton Architectural Press published a major book about Dougherty and his work in 2009. For more information on Dougherty, visit

Posted by Kate on 05/19 at 07:30 AM Permalink