Salem, MA Military History

“Salem has a rich military history that stretches all the way back to the Seventeenth Century, and continues on today. Salem’s designation in 2013 as the birthplace of the National Guard, and Salem’s privateer connections get most of the military heritage attention, but there is much more to this story.

Salem Common was “Ye Olde Training Field” when Captain John Endicott organized the first training day to drill settlers in 1630. In 1637 the first militia muster was organized by the Massachusetts Bay Colony Court.

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Cadet Band, ca: 1910, led by Jean Missud.

Today we know Winter Island for its beach, boat ramp, and beautiful lighthouse. Originally named for King William, the original fort dates back to 1643-1667. It was renamed for Salem’s Colonel Timothy Pickering in 1799, and became a Coast Guard Air Station in 1935.

Six weeks prior to the “shot heard around the world on Lexington Green,” British Colonel Alexander Leslie retreated from a gathering of angry citizens on Salem’s North Bridge. Leslie and the 64th regiment had been sent by the British governor general of Massachusetts, Thomas Gage, to seize Colonial cannons and gunpowder in Salem. Leslie’s Retreat is considered by many to have been the first armed resistance of the American Revolution.

Salem Privateers made a name for themselves during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Privateers were privately owned vessels that had government permission to capture enemy vessels during wartime, and during the Revolutionary War alone Salem sent out 158 privateers that captured 444 prizes (enemy ships), more than half the number taken by all the Colonies during the war. Today you can sail aboard a replica Salem Privateer, Schooner FAME, out of Pickering Wharf.

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Salem Coast Guard matchbook (front).

Include the Pickering House on Broad Street in your visit to       Salem, and you will be exploring the birthplace of Colonel Timothy Pickering, who was an officer in the Continental Army and   Quartermaster during the Revolutionary War. Pickering’s career went on to include Adjutant General of the Army, Secretary of State, and   Secretary of War. Pickering, who was known for his unwavering integrity, lack of prejudice, devotion to justice, and commitment to   service, is buried in the Broad Street Cemetery.

Glover’s Regiment claims Marblehead as its home, but Colonel John Glover was born on St. Peter’s Street in Salem. A good friend of General George Washington’s, Glover’s Regiment ferried Washington across the Delaware River, and Glover’s Schooner HANNAH was the first commissioned ship in the US Navy.

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Salem Coast Guard matchbook (back).

Salem mathematician and navigator Nathaniel Bowditch wrote “The New American Practical Navigator.” Known as “The Bowditch,” a copy of this book was been onboard Naval and Coast Guard vessels since the War of 1812.

Residents and visitors still remember when two US Naval Submarines were docked at Derby Wharf, used as training vessels during World War II.

Salem’s military connections continue today, most notably in newly-elected Congressman Seth Moulton, who served in the Marine Corps in the Iraq War.

Armory Park, adjacent to the Salem Regional Visitor Center, pays tribute to more than 365 years of military heritage in Essex County, and includes a timeline tracing the history of the citizen soldier and the Second Corps of Cadets.

Material for this feature was provided by Bonnie Hurd Smith, Nelson Dionne, Schooner FAME, and SethMoulton.com.

Photo Contest Picks for September and October

We have two Photo Contest “Pick of the Month” winners to share today!

Congratulations to Carrie Dichter  for winning our “Pick of the Month” for September!

Pickering Light by Carrie Dichter

Pickering Light by Carrie Dichter

Congratulations to Stephanie Williams for winning our “Pick of the Month” for October!

Retire Beckett House Salem MA

“Path to the Red Door” by Stephanie Williams

Do you have an excellent picture of Salem? Submit it to our Photo Contest, and you could win a great prize!

 

Downrig or Die!

Celebrate the “last dying gasp of the sailing season,” with Downrig or Die!, an annual program presented by the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in partnership with Schooner Fame and Essex Heritage.

salemma_schooner-fameOn November 5, 2016, take to the water on a discounted sail aboard a traditional schooner. Both the Schooner Fame and the Schooner Ardelle are offering discounted public sails as part of the Downrig or Die! Each sail departs from Pickering Wharf or Central Wharf and lasts for 90 minutes. The Schooner Fame will be setting sail at 1:00 pm, and the Schooner Ardelle at 2:00 pm. Discounted rates for the sails are $15 for adults, and $10 for seniors, military, and children ages between the ages of 2 and 12. Visit Schooner Fame’s website to purchase tickets in advance, and say farewell to the season from an authentic replica schooner!

Following the sails, visit the Salem Maritime National Historic Site to learn about Salem’s maritime history and maritime archaeology. During Shipwrecks and Salem Maritime! Maritime Archaeologist, Calvin Mires, and Park Ranger, Tom Landers will share their knowledge of Salem’s maritime history along with marine archaeology through a family-friendly program. Shipwrecks and Salem Maritime! will be taking place from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Derby Wharf.

Salem, MA, Salem Maritime National Historic SiteFrom 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, visit St. Joseph’s Hall for a series of educational talks about the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. During these sessions, receive updates on the FriendShip from Captain Jeremy Bumagin and First Mate/Rigger John Newman of the National Park Service. Additionally, Annie Harris, Executive Director of Essex Heritage will present information on the Bakers Island Light Station. After the Shipwrecks and Salem Maritime! program, Calvin Hires will be on hand to conclude the speaker series with a discussion of maritime archaeology.

In the evening, visit Victoria Station for a sail away party of sorts featuring raffles, local rum, appetizers, live music and more! The party lasts from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and is sure to be filled with good times and “schooner wisdom,” as the 2016 sailing season comes to a close.

Salem Haunted Happenings for Teens & Tweens

Derby Street Carnival
The Derby Street Carnival features a variety of midway rides and games, from thrilling attractions to rides the whole family can enjoy together. In addition, the carnival hosts a number of classic snack vendors, and games of chance where guests have the opportunity to win some big prizes! Admission to the carnival is free, but tickets must be purchased for the rides. Single tickets are $1.50, and 20 tickets may be purchased for $25. Rides generally take between 3 and 5 tickets. The full schedule of dates for the Derby Street Carnival may be viewed on our event calendar.
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On the Water
Mahi Mahi’s Haunted Happenings Harbor Cruise allows guests to take in the seasonal views of Salem, Beverly, Marblehead, and the Misery Island, while relaxing on an open air deck or heated cabin with Halloween party music. The cruise also features Mahi’s grill with clam chowder, hot cocoa, and soft drinks, along with complimentary tarot card readings. Tickets for the Haunted Happenings Harbor Cruise are $25 for adults and $15 for kids ages 4-12, and may be purchased in advance on Mahi Mahi’s website.

Salem Common
Saturday October 29, at 6:00 pm, Magic 106.7 hosts an outdoor movie night on Salem Common featuring Hocus Pocus. What better place to watch this classic Halloween movie than from the Common where some of the scenes were actually filmed? Be sure to grab some hot chocolate or cider, and dress for the weather to make the most out of this event!

Haunted Houses
For the thrill seekers in your family, be sure to check out Salem’s haunted house attractions, Frankenstein’s Castle, and the Haunted Witch Village. At Frankenstein’s Castle, become fully immersed in the classic horror story as you walk through dark hallways where a mad scientist has created a terrifying monster. The Salem Witch Village, is Salem’s longest running haunted attraction, and features all kinds of Halloween ghouls, goblins, and monsters, waiting to frighten those who dare to enter. Both attractions are $9 individually, but may be purchased as part of a combination ticket with other attractions in the Witch Village. See the Salem Wax Museum website for complete information.

Chambers of Terror is another frightful haunted house attraction, awaiting daring visitors during this Haunted Happenings season. Chambers of Terror features a variety of demons, ghouls, and other dark, Halloween creatures, who provide one of the most thrilling experiences in town. This site offers two experiences: The Terror Tour, a traditional walk through haunted house, and the Halloween Horror show, a live performance filled with intense scares. Tickets are $12, and may be purchased through ChambersofTerror.net.

 

Theatrical Performances
The Salem Haunted Magic Show’s 2016 production, “Hysteria Asylum,” combines thrilling Halloween scares with mind reading, dark comedy, illusions, audience participation, and more. While not too scary for the whole family, the show does offer enough scares to keep the audience guessing, along with unbelievable stunts that will have you wondering, “How did they do that?!” Tickets cost $20-40 based on seating and package options and may be purchased in advance at TheSalemMagicShow.com.Salem MA Spirits of the Gables

Select evenings in October, the House of the Seven Gables hosts two nighttime performances, the Legacy of the Hanging Judge and the Spirits of the Gables. Fans of Nathaniel Hawthorne will be intrigued as his characters haunt the historic home in Spirits of the Gables, and as Hawthorne’s great-great grandfather recalls his role in the Salem Witch Trials. Tickets are $15 for a single performance, or $28 for both, and may be purchased at 7Gables.org

What could make an interactive crime mystery show during Haunted Happenings even better? What about dining with an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet while working to solve the mystery? The Haunted Dinner Theater’s presentation of “Ghostbusted!” is an entertaining theatrical performance focusing on solving a crime using pieces of Salem’s history. The event’s location alternations between Finz Seafood and Grill, and the Hawthorne Hotel, and it is highly recommended that tickets be purchased in advance ($59.95 for adults, $39.95 for kids) through the Haunted Dinner Theater’s website.

lost-museum-poster-darkerThe Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre offers experiences for every member of the family. Teens in particular will enjoy the Lost Museum, an interactive walk-through attraction through a recently discovered series of rooms below the museum that were thought to be to time. With spirits from Salem’s past and other supernatural forces hidden beneath the building, guests must work together in an attempt to escape from the museum! Tickets for the Lost Museum are $15.

While at the Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre, be sure to pick up tickets for the Witchcraft and Ghost Experience. This live performance combines audience participation, with scares, special effects, and bits of Salem history. Tickets for just the Witchcraft and Ghost experience are $11, and may be purchased as part of a combination ticket with the Lost Museum or other events at the Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre. See the museum’s website for complete ticket information.

 

Live Music
For live music without the age restriction and cover fees that come with the bar scene, the Salem Halloween Fountain Stage on Essex Street is the place to be. The stage will be home to numerous kinds of live music during October weekends, and the event even features a silent disco during Halloween weekend. Music is free to enjoy, however the silent disco events are $10, and tickets should be purchased ahead of time from the Halloween Fountain Stage website to ensure enough headphones are available.

 

Witch Trials History
What trip to Salem would be complete without learning something new about the Salem Witch Trials? For information on the history of the Salem Witch Trials, consider visiting the following sites:

The Salem Witch Museum, features two very different exhibits on the history of the Witch Trials. The first is a presentation on the trials themselves that was compiled using historical documents to tell an accurate story using life-size sets. The second exhibit focuses on how perceptions of witchcraft have changed over time, offering information on the stereotypes witches face, why witch hunts have happened in various parts of history, and where the images of witches that we commonly see today were invented. Tickets for the Salem Witch Museum may be purchased on site for $11.

dungeon-2For a different side of the story, visit the Witch Dungeon Museum, which showcases the conditions that those accused of witchcraft were forced to deal with while imprisoned and awaiting their trials. In addition to a guided tour of the dungeon, this experience includes a live reenactment of one of the trials. Tickets for the Witch Dungeon Museum are $9, and may be purchased on site and/or as a combination ticket with the Witch History Museum and the New England Pirate Museum.

Cry Innocent is the most interactive way to learn about the Salem Witch Trials. For the full experience, arrive early and watch as Bridget Bishop is arrested on the streets of Salem, before taking a seat and witnessing the trial first hand. In this experience, audience members are able to become fully involved in the trial, as they examine the evidence and vote for an outcome. Tickets for Cry Innocent are $14.50, and may be purchased in advance on CryInnocentSalem.com or as part of a combination ticket with the Spirit of Salem film.

Salem Haunted Happenings for Kids

Finding kid-friendly activities during Haunted Happenings doesn’t need to be a nightmare—with carnivals, harbor cruises, story-times, and of course trick or treating, there are plenty of fun things to do with kids this October!

 

Carnivals
For classic midway rides and games, bring the whole family down to the Derby Street Carnival! With family rides, kiddie rides, and thrill rides, and midway games of skill and luck, the carnival has something for everyone. This carnival takes place throughout the month of October, see our event calendar for the full listing of dates. There is no admission fee to visit the carnival, however tickets must be purchased for rides. Single tickets are $1.50 each, and 20 tickets may be purchased for $25. Rides generally take between 3 and 5 tickets.

The SCNA Kids Carnival, which takes place select days in October on the Common, is a special carnival just for kids and families! Sponsored by the Salem Common Neighborhood Association, this event features family and kiddie rides, along with photo ops, Halloween treats, special children’s activities and more! For the full listing of carnival dates, see our event calendar.

 

Witches & Wizards
salem-ma_professor-wundersSundays in October, the Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre is visited by Professor Wunder, a friendly wizard who brings his school of magic to children and families visiting Salem. Professor Wunder’s School of Magic is a live, interactive stage show that allows kids to experience the magic of Salem without the scares. Tickets for the show are $10 for guests ages 5 and up, and free for children under 5, and the museum suggests purchasing them in advance on the Gallows Hill website.

Weekends in October, Artemisia Botanicals and the Witches Education League host Ask a Witch & Make a Wand. For a $1 donation to charity, guests of all ages can craft their own wands and ask questions to practicing witches to learn more about modern witchcraft in Salem.

On October 29th, Magic 106.7 hosts a movie night at 6:00 pm on the Common featuring “Hocus Pocus.” To make the most out of this family-friendly classic movie experience, be sure to arrive early as other entertainment will be available on the Common starting at 2:00 pm.

Life Alive is hosting a spooky story-time with a Witch theme on October 25, at 4:00 pm. Costumes are encouraged and hot chocolate will be available in addition to Live Alive’s full menu during this event.

 

On the Water
salem-ma_mahi-haunted-happenings-cruiseIf you’re looking to take to the water with the kids, be sure to check out Mahi Mahi’s Haunted Happenings Harbor Cruise. This cruise is filled to the brim with family-friendly fun including story-telling, Halloween party music, complimentary tarot card readings, photo ops, and a full bar for the adults and face-painting for the kids. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids ages 3-12. Tickets may be purchased in advance on Mahi Mahi’s website.

Sea Shuttle also offers a seasonal water tour on select days this October. This experience includes a tour of the Salem Sound coastal areas aboard the 45′ catamaran Endeavor. Snacks and beverages may be purchased aboard, and tickets ($25 for adults, and $18 for kids) may be purchased in advanced through Sea Shuttle’s website.

A more historical maritime experience can be had aboard the Schooner Fame, a replica of an 1812 privateering ship. Sailing right out of Pickering Wharf, the Schooner Fame experience allows guests to see islands, forts, and lighthouse, aboard the historically accurate replica. Tickets ($35 for adults and $15 for kids) may be purchased at SchoonerFame.com.

 

For the Whole Family
salem-ma_ghostbustedLooking for the ultimate Halloween dinner experience? Check out Haunted Dinner Theater’s latest production, “Ghostbusted!” This interactive crime solving dinner show features audience participation, family-friendly entertainment, and a glimpse into Salem’s history. An all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet covers the dinner portion of the show, which takes place at alternating locations (Finz Seafood and Grill, and the Hawthorne Hotel). For the complete schedule of dates and to purchase tickets ($59.95 for adults, and $39.95 for kids ages 8-12) visit the Haunted Dinner Theater’s website.

Another way to get the family together during this year’s Haunted Happenings is to head to Salem Common for a vintage baseball game, which is free to attend. Following 1864 rules, the Providence Grays will be taking on the Brooklyn Atlantics on October 22, at 11:00 am.

 

Trick or Treating
Spooky Treats, hosted by the Salem Waterfront Hotel, is a grab and go trick or treating event for the whole family. Put on a costume and stop by the hotel on October 22 between 4:00 pm and 9:00 pm, and October 23 between 11:30 am and 5:00 pm for some early trick or treating!

The shops on Pickering Wharf will host “Trick or Treat on the Wharf” on October 23 between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. This annual event allows kids and families to get some trick or treating in during their visit to Salem while visiting the merchants on the waterfront.

On Halloween the Phillips House Museum will host Tricks, Treats, and Treasures! This event not only includes trick or treating and other interactive activities, but kids can pirates and take part in sea shanties! This free event takes place from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

21+ Salem Haunted Happenings

With live music, Halloween balls, and a local cidery, distillery, and brewery in town, Salem has a lot to offer the 21+ crowd this October. Read on to discover some of this year’s Haunted Happenings 21+ events, or start planning now for next year!

Live Performances
Looking to kick back with some live music this October? A number of restaurants and bars around Salem offer live music on most weekend evenings. Gulu-Gulu Café, located at 247 Essex Street, hosts local musical acts and supports Salem artists while serving up a wide selection of hard to find craft beer. At Gulu-Gulu the entertainment isn’t limited to weekends either as Wednesdays are open mic nights!

Just around thesalemma_far-from-the-tree-9 corner from Gulu-Gulu on Washington Street are Opus Underground and Koto Japanese Sushi and Grill. Opus Underground, at 87 Washington Street, features karaoke on Tuesdays, live music on Thursdays, Friday night dance parties, and cover bands on Saturdays. Across the street at 90 Washington Street, Koto will be kicking off Halloween night with live music by dark wave synth pop band, Esoterik and rockabilly band, Whiskey Hill.

For a more relaxed live music scene, check out the acoustic music series at Far From the Tree Cider at 108 Jackson Street. Fall Saturday nights are well spent sipping on locally made cider with acoustic sounds from bands like Big Buildings, Rule of 3, and more. Can’t make it on a Saturday? Far From the Tree has other special events planned for other days of the week including cider talks, new cider releases, trivia nights, and family-friendly cornhole tournaments!

During this year’s Haunted Happenings festivities, Salem State University’s theatre department is showcasing a production of “Master and Margarita, or The Devil Comes to Moscow,” which is intended for mature audiences only. The ninety-minute performance focuses on Mikhail Bulgakov’s surrealistic satire of Stalinist oppression using elements like puppetry, magic, live music, and a masquerade ball. Tickets are $10-15 and may be purchased through Salem State’s website.

 

On the Watersalem-ma_mahi-boos-cruise
Mahi Mahi’s Boo’s Cruise sets sail out of the Pickering Wharf Marine select weekend nights during Haunted Happenings! Grab a costume and hop aboard for a party on the water featuring a full bar, DJ, and fresh eats from the grill, along with hot beverages including Mahi’s famous Grandma’s Spiked Cider. Tickets for the cruise are $20, and we recommend purchasing them in advance through MahiCruises.com.

 

By Trolley
The newest addition to Salem’s 21+ scene is the Salem Spirits Trolley, which includes information on Salem’s spice trade history along with stops at a local distillery, cidery, and brewery. This experience lasts for about three hours, allowing plenty of time to learn about the spices that are used to make these beverages, and of course for tastings. Tour partners include Deacon Giles Distillery, Far From the Tree Cider, and Notch Brewery. Tickets for the trolley are $40, and may be purchased in advance on SalemSpiritsTrolley.com.

 

Samples & Tastings
For another way to try new and unique drinks this October, head to Sea Level Oyster Bar on Pickering Wharf. This waterfront restaurant and bar is offering a Seven Deadly Sins tasting menu, with food and drinks inspired by pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth.

For a weeknight excursion into Pickering Wharf, stop by the Regatta Pub at the Salem Waterfront Hotel. Each week, the pub hosts Wicked Wine Down Wednesdays, where a new selection of “wickedly spooky” wines will be available in the pub.

For samples in a more theatrical setting, plan on attending Tales and Ales at the Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre. This presentation includes chilling stories of ghosts and madness recounted by Arthur Hennessey in a dark and eerie theatre. Arrive early for samples of 3 different local ales prior to the performance! Tickets are $24 and may be purchased in advance through GallowsHillSalem.com.

 

Festivals & Beer Gar2015-10-31-19-34-28dens
For the largest festival on the North Shore celebrating wine, mead, craft beer, and cider, head over to Salem’s 10th Annual Harvest Fest! Event takes place Saturday, October 22 at the Knights of Columbus just off the Common (94 Washington Street) and features product samples, complimentary snacks, live music, and a souvenir Harvest Fest glass for each ticket holder. Tickets to Harvest Fest are $30 when purchased in advance through SalemHarvestFest.com or $35 at the door.

On Halloween night, Radio 92.9 sponsors a beer garden and music at the intersection of Federal Street and Washington Street. Stop by between 2:00 pm and 10:00 pm to surround yourself with the action of Halloween in Salem while enjoying a festive beer garden.

 

Halloween Balls, Proms, and Parties!
For the ultimate 21+ Halloween event, start planning early and purchase advance tickets to one of the many balls hosted in Salem during Haunted Happenings. Rockafellas, located 231 Essex Street, is having 3 different themed balls during the month of October: a Voodoo Ball on October 22, a Super Hero Ball on October 28, and a Heaven and Hell Ball on October 29. Advanced tickets may be purchased through RockafellasofSalem.com and are selling out quick!

A different kind of Halloween party is taking place on October 22 at Victoria Station in Pickering Wharf. If you’d prefer to show off your best zombie formalwear don’t miss the 8th Annual Zombie Prom! Like any respectable prom, this event includes photos upon arrival, giveaways and prizes, live music by DANDREW, and the crowning of Prom King and Queen!

Festival of the Dead hosts the annual Official Witches Ball, with this year’s theme being Over the Rainbow: the Magical World of Oz! The event includes a magical evening complete with a laser light show, DJ, hors d’oeuvres, cash bar complimentary psychic readings, photo room, live performances by Dragon Ritual Drummers and Hadiya, prizes for best costumes, and more! Tickets are $150, and may be purchased in advance at FestivaloftheDead.com.

Hawthorne Hotel Halloween Party, photo credit: Patrick CornelissenThe Hawthorne Hotel, located right on the Common hosts their very popular annual Halloween Party, this year themed towards the Seven Deadly Sins. This 26th annual celebration may be sold out for this year, but it’s never too early to start planning your next trip to Salem during Haunted Happenings! Each year this party takes over three floors of the hotel with live music, DJs, dancing, psychics, food stations, and a costume contest with cash prizes. Packages for stays at the hotel and tickets to next year’s party go on sale in November at HawthorneHotel.com/Halloween.

No Car, No Problem: Getting Around Salem, MA

No car, no problem, we’ve got you covered! Coming from North Station in Boston, the MBTA Commuter Rail will take you right in the heart of Downtown Salem. Take the train to also visit other great North of Boston destinations like Rockport on the line. Enjoy a ride on the water from Boston’s Long Wharf to Salem with the Salem Ferry. Salem is a walkable city, but for those who enjoy bike riding, Salem Spins offers a hub downtown by the Hawthorne Hotel where you can rent a bike for free!

Salem Ferry, Salem, MA, Kate Fox

MBTA Commuter Rail
Coming from Boston, Salem is a short ride away from North Station via the Commuter Rail. Additionally, the Commuter Rail connects Salem to excellent cities north of Boston, like Rockport and Gloucester. Fares and schedules vary according to the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority), and the most up to date schedules may be found on the MBTA website, MBTA.com/Schedules. Once in Salem, the Commuter Rail Station is located right downtown, within walking distance to many shops, restaurants, accommodations, and attractions.

Salem Ferry
Another way to reach Salem from Boston is to hop aboard the Salem Ferry. In just under an hour, the ferry can take passengers between Salem and Boston, while offering scenic views of both cities. The ferry, Nathaniel Bowditch is equipped with enclosed and open air seating, tables, and restrooms, making the trip a quick and comfortable one. The ferry departs from Long Wharf in Boston, and docks in Salem at Blaney Street, both of which are within walking distance to many local attractions. The ferry runs seasonally and rates very so be sure to check out the Salem Ferry website, BostonHarborCruises.com/SalemFerry before planning a trip.

Walking Distances
Once in Salem, you’ll be pleased to find that most everything you’d want to do is within walking distance. Many Salem attractions are located within about a 20 minute walking distance from each other at the farthest points. A map of downtown Salem may be viewed at Salem.org/Plan/Map and may also be found in the Salem Visitor Guide.

Salem, MA Essex Street

Salem Spins
Another great way to see Salem is with Salem Spins, a free bike-sharing program provided by the City of Salem in partnership with Salem State University. To access a bike rental, visit the front desk of the Hawthorne Hotel or the Salem State Campus Police Station.

Driving to Salem?
If you are planning on driving into Salem, we recommend leaving the car parked for most of your visit. As such a walkable city, it will be easier to leave the car parked and walk or take the Salem Trolley to your destinations throughout your trip. For more information on parking and directions into Salem by car, please visit: Salem.org/Plan/Parking.

Lighthouses in Salem, MA

With Haunted Happenings right around the corner, it might be difficult to think of Salem for anything besides our favorite Halloween celebration. Even with the summer months behind us, Salem can be a great place to see lighthouses, which have served the town since the 17th century in helping ships safely access the harbor. The weather might be cooling down, but there is still time to see some of these amazing sites:

Derby Light, Salem, MA, Brittany DiCologero

Derby Wharf Light Station
The Derby Wharf Light Station, located at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, is rather unique with its square shape and short stature. This lighthouse measures only 12 x 12 feet, and the top of the cupola reaches about 20 feet off the ground. This station was built in 1871 to assist merchant ships entering Salem Harbor. Where most lighthouses traditionally have live-in caretakers, the Derby Wharf Light Station’s caretakers were able to live wherever they pleased in Salem due to its close proximity and easy access from the town. Astonishingly, there have only been six caretakers throughout the entire history of the station!

The National Park Service gained ownership of the lighthouse in 1977, and began a restoration project on the site that would not be completed until 1989. During the refurbishment, the lighthouse was painted white (a change from its original red coloring) and a solar powered light which flashes every 6 seconds was installed. While the interior of the station is not open to the public, the exterior is fully accessible and is a beautiful walk on a nice day right down Derby Wharf.

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Bakers Island Light
The Bakers Island Station, which is Massachusetts’ largest residential island north of Boston, dates back to Salem’s early days. Bakers Island itself became a part of Salem in 1660, and about 10 years later the entire island became home to tenant John Turner who you may be familiar with as the builder of The House of the Seven Gables. The island is also said to have been named for a man who was struck and killed by a falling tree, who also went by the name of “Baker.” If that bit of history isn’t gruesome enough, there was also a series of shipwrecks that took place nearby during the late 18th century, which suggests that the lighthouse was not as effective at the time as residents would have hoped.

The light station was established in 1791, with the current lighthouse we see today being built in 1820. In contrast from the Derby Wharf Light Station, Bakers Island does have a resident caretaker, who is typically the only person on the island during the winter months. While not open to the public, the Essex National Heritage Area runs boat trips to the island during the summer months. Without access to the island, this lighthouse is best seen from boat, about 3 miles East of Salem Harbor.

salemma_pickering-light_winter-island_stacia-cooper

Winter Island Light (Fort Pickering Lighthouse)
Winter Island Light, or the Fort Pickering Lighthouse was established in 1871 as part of the joint effort with the Derby Wharf Light Station and Hospital Point Light Station in Beverly to safely direct ships into Salem harbor regardless of the times of day they were coming in. The lighthouse is adjacent to the Fort Pickering area, which was built as a defense fort in the mid-16th century, and had been used for this purpose until the Civil War. Now primarily used as a campsite and recreational area, guests are welcome to visit Winter Island Light, which is accessible at 50 Winter Island Road.

Hospital Point Lighthouse, Beverly
Hospital Point Lighthouse, named for a smallpox hospital once located on the site, was established in 1872 as the last lighthouse fulfilling the need for ships to have a clear sense of direction when coming into Salem Harbor. One of the most unique aspects of Hospital Point is that this lighthouse is one of only 5 total in Massachusetts that still uses its original Fresnel lens. Though the lighthouse itself is closed to the public, the best views may be seen from boat, the Salem Willows, or from Bayview Ave. in Beverly.

Marblehead Light, Marblehead
The station at Marblehead Light was first established in 1835, with the lighthouse we see today being constructed later in 1896. Marblehead Light is known for being one of only 14 pyramidal skeletal lighthouses in the United States, meaning that the structure itself is not enclosed, and is made entirely of metal. The lighthouse is located at Chandler Hovey Park, a 3.74 acre recreational area at the end of Follett Street that is open to the public. Without accessing the park, Marblehead Light is best seen by boat from the entrance to Marblehead Harbor.

Salem, MA to Host Its First Food Truck Festival

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New England Open Markets will bring a cornucopia of food trucks to Salem Common to kick off the city’s annual Halloween celebrations with the first Salem Food Truck Festival. On October 1st and 2nd, 2016 from 11 AM to 6 PM over 25 food trucks from across New England will converge on historic Salem Common just in time for the kick-off of the month long 2016 Haunted Happenings Festival.

The City of Salem has partnered with New England Open Markets to expand the offerings in downtown Salem during this busy month-long celebration. Open Markets founder Chris Masci brings his festival/market expertise to Salem for another fantastic event that adds to the already successful roster of events that include Salem Open Market and Salem Holiday Market in Salem and many in South Boston including the highly successful Ink Block Market.

From Grilled Cheese to Poutine, from whoopie pies to cookies there is something on tap for everyone at the first food truck festival. Fan favorites Bon Me food truck, The Cookie Monstah, Roxy’s Grilled Cheese and more will be bringing a food court like no other to the heart of the city. The two day festival will also include live music and local buskers.

For more information on Salem’s first food truck festival, visit New England Open Market’s website, or find the festival on Facebook.

“Hocus Pocus” Filming Locations in Salem, MA

hocus-pocusIt might be difficult to believe that Hocus Pocus, the famed cult classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy debuted 23 years ago, on July 16, 1993. You are probably familiar with the film’s story, which focuses on the Sanderson Sisters, who are executed as witches after casting a spell on young Thackery Binx, dooming him to roam the streets of Salem as an immortal black cat. 300 years later, a teenager named Max finds himself in the home of the Sanderson Sisters, where his lighting of the infamous black flame candle brings the trio back to life on Halloween night. Max, along with his sister Dani, and crush Allison, and Binx the cat of course, must then work together to put an end to the Sanderson Sisters once and for all.

Pioneer Village
310 West Ave | PioneerVillageSalem.org
The opening scenes of the film, featuring Binx as a human prior to his cursing as a cat, were filmed in Pioneer Village, a living history museum located at Salem’s Forest River Park. Pioneer Village was built in 1930, and is America’s first living history museum. Tours of the village are offered seasonally through September, and today the park is home to different events and festivals throughout the year.

Phillips Elementary School on Salem Common
The Phillips Elementary School building conveniently ended its run as a functioning school in 1992, making it the perfect location for a movie filming in Salem that required some exterior high school footage. While the building is not open to the public today the exterior can still be viewed from the Common.

The Ropes Mansion
318 Essex Street | PEM.org
One of the most memorable scenes in the film was when Max attends the Halloween party at Allison’s house, the exterior of which was actually filmed using one of the most prominent 18th century homes in Salem. The gardens located behind the mansion are free to visit and open to the public.

Old Town Hall
161 Essex Street | Salem.com
The other classic party scene in the film was actually filmed just a few blocks away at Old Town Hall in Derby Square. Famous in the film for Bette Midler’s rendition of “Put a Spell on You,” the building today is open to the public, and hosts the Salem Museum and performances of “Cry Innocent.”

Salem Common
Many of the outdoor scenes in the movie were filmed at Salem Common, where ironically enough the film is shown each year during Haunted Happenings. This year’s showing of Hocus Pocus on the Common will take place at 6 pm on October 29.

4 Ocean Avenue
This house on the end of Ocean Avenue was home to Max and his sister Dani in the film. While Hocus Pocus fans may view the exterior of the home from the street, please be advised that this site is PRIVATE PROPERTY and should be treated with respect.

Old Burial Hill
Orne Street, Marblehead, MA | OldBurialHill.org
The day-time cemetery scenes showing Max interacting with his new, not-so-welcoming classmates actually were not filmed in Salem at all. This footage was shot in nearby Marblehead at Old Burial Hill, one of the oldest graveyards in New England.

Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
285 Derby Street | NightmareGallery.com
While this museum was not featured in the filming for Hocus Pocus, it is home to an impressive figure of Winifred Sanderson, portrayed in the film by Bette Midler. Count Orlok’s is located at 285 Derby Street and is open as a museum and haunted house throughout October.

Do have a good time visiting some of the locations from this classic film, but please don’t “run amok!”

October at The House of the Seven Gables

Hanging judges, cursed colonels, haunted hallways:
Bring a friend and hang on!

Secret Staircase House of the Seven Gables Salem MA

The Secret Staircase

For those who like a little fact with their fright, a little history with their hi-jinx, head for The House of the Seven Gables in October where truth is always stranger than fiction. On select weekend nights, two original theatrical events are staged in The House of the Seven Gables and the Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace. Each performance lasts 35 minutes and they begin every 5 or 10 minutes between 8 and 10:30 p.m. (7 and 9 p.m. on October 31). Tickets for individual shows or combination tickets for both performances are available. During the day, tours tip gently toward the dark side as visitors brave the Secret Staircase and marvel at a way of life long since passed. Daytime hours at The Gables are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Theatrical performances

Legacy of the Hanging Judge
In 1692 the Salem Witch Trials wrought havoc on a small New England community. “Legacy of the Hanging Judge” replays the events in the words of those who lived through the harrowing times —and those who did not fare as well. The performances take place in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birth house. Prepare to be interrogated by magistrate John Hathorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s great-great grandfather, infamous for his role in the condemnation and deaths of accused witches. Encounter the tormented, the accused and their accusers in this interactive theatrical experience. Beware. You may find yourself accused of “writing in the devil’s book!”

October 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, and 29 from 8 to 10:30 p.m.
October 31 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Performances begin every ten minutes in The Nathaniel Hawthorne birth house and last approximately 35 minutes. Last performance begins at closing. Advance ticket purchase highly recommended. Visit 7gables.org for information and tickets.

Spirits of the Gables
Guilt! Greed! Revenge! Step into the world of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “House of the Seven Gables.” Watch as his troubled characters haunt the mansion’s halls, entangled in a family curse. Matthew Maule condemns Colonel Pyncheon with words that become his fate — “God will give you blood to drink!” Creep through The Gables at your own risk, for as long as there is a Pyncheon descendant inside, legend has it, only darkness and death will fill its walls.

October 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, and 29 from 8 to 10:30 p.m.
October 31 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Performances begin every five minutes in The House of the Seven Gables and last approximately 35 minutes. Last performance begins at closing. Advance ticket purchase highly recommended. Visit 7gables.org for information and tickets

Rates
Tickets for each of the plays is $15 or $28 for a combination ticket. The combination ticket is available for any two performances on the same evening. Advance ticket purchase highly recommended. Visit 7gables.org for information and tickets.

Photo Contest Pick of August

Congratulations to Logan Goodwin for winning our “Pick of the Month” for August!

Bakers Island Lighthouse. Photo credit: Logan Goodwin

Bakers Island Lighthouse. Photo credit: Logan Goodwin

Logan’s picture of Bakers Island Light makes us sad the summer season has ended.  If you are looking for an adventure, check in with Essex Heritage and add a boat ride to Bakers Island to your summer list!

Do you have a memorable shot of Salem? Submit it to our Photo Contest and you could win a wonderful prize!

Salem.org