Four Ways to Set Sail in Salem Sound

Being on the water has its advantages: Cool summer breezes, beautiful sunrises, and harbor tours to name a few.  Here are four ways to find your sea legs in Salem this summer.
Schooner FAME & Hannah Salem
1.  Schooner FAME of  Salem.  Climb aboard this wooden boat, a replica of the 1812 privateer FAME , which sails out of Pickering Wharf daily May-October. Check their schedule for sunset cruises, summer camp (fun!), and their Rum & Revolution series.  SchoonerFAME.com

2.  Mahi Mahi Harbor Cruises will take you out on their repurposed lobster boat, the Finback, or the larger Hannah Glover. Offering Cocktail, Sunset, and Narrated Sightseeing Cruises all summer long, you may need to plan a longer visit to Salem.  MahiCruises.com

endeavor_and_bowditch (1)

3.  Sea Shuttle offers harbor tours aboard the 45′ catamaran, Endeavor. Leaving from Salem Willows, Sea  Shuttle offering daily harbor cruises, trips to Misery Island, and special Fireworks Cruises.  Kids will love the touch tank, which always has a different array of sea creatures that came up in local lobster traps.  Sea-Shuttle.com

4. Salem Ferry is the best way to travel between Salem and Boston. Leaving from Salem Wharf at Blaney Street, the high-speed catamaran will have you at Long Wharf in Boston (adjacent to the New England Aquarium) in 55 minutes.  SalemFerry.com

Bridget Bishop, Hanged, June 10, 1692

bridget_bishop_stone_salemHysteria, wrongly accused for a crime you didn’t commit, tried, and hanged; try and picture what life was like in Salem Village, 1692.  The people of Salem Village had to face an immeasurable number of elements that constantly worked against them: unpredictable weather with no protection against the bitter New England cold, performed back-breaking daily chores their farmland needed, and maintained the mindset of the Puritan religion: the fear that the devil exists and might very well walk among us.

The courts during that time functioned completely different than the ones we know today, and allowed the inclusion of spectral evidence.  Spectral evidence was when the witness would testify that the accused person’s spirit or spectral shape appeared to her/him in a dream at the time that their physical body was at another location.  It was because of this “evidence” that 19 people were hanged and one man was pressed to death during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

The first person to be tried, found guilty, and hanged on June 10, was the innocent Bridget Bishop.  Bridget was known throughout the Salem area for her un-Puritan like behavior of flamboyant dress, tavern frequenting, and multiple marriages.  In an effort to avoid being hanged, Bridget admitted guilt and denounced her good name in the community.  She was found guilty by the testimonials of numerous townspeople (more than any other defendant) and was therefore executed on June 10, 1692.

– Margaret Kazan, Destination Salem

Spotlight on the Salem Witch Trials

The Trial of George JacobsWe commemorated the anniversary of the hanging of Bridget Bishop, the first victim of the Salem Witch Trials, on June 10.  The Witch House hosted an excellent lecture by historian Margo Burns as well as a brief ceremony at the Witch Trials Memorial.  Bridget Bishop was the first of twenty to be condemned and executed during the Salem witchcraft hysteria of 1692.

The Salem Witch Trials are a fascinating time in American history, and the stories of the victims and their accusers have withstood the test of time, holding the fascination of people from around the world.  Any great story changes and evolves as it is told and retold, and from time to time it is good to check back in with the facts.  There are many misconceptions of the Trials and the hysteria, as well as frequently asked questions, and the Salem Witchcraft Trials has inspired retellings in literature and film for centuries.

Here is our “top-ten” list of misconceptions, frequently asked questions, and favorite retellings.

It all happened in Danvers, not Salem.  The Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692 happened throughout the region, with accused and accusers coming from Salem, Ipswich, Gloucester, Andover, Methuen, and other communities.  Salem Village is now the town of Danvers, and some of the sites associated with the trials and hysteria are in Danvers.  Salem Town, modern day Salem, is where the trials actually took place, as well as the hangings and the pressing of Giles Corey.  The Salem Award Foundation has produced a Visitor’s Guide to 1692, which is available through Destination Salem, the Salem Regional Visitor Center, and several participating sites.

Gallows Hill is a soccer field today.  Maybe, but maybe not. There is definitely a soccer field up on a hill in a neighborhood that is called, “Gallows Hill.” That much is true. That said, the location of the gallows or hanging tree (we are not sure which was used) is not on any modern map.  We recommend people go to the Witch Trials Memorial, adjacent to the Old Burying Point, to remember the victims and consider the past.  Please treat the Memorial with respect when you visit, and note that the Witch Trials Memorial is closed between dusk and dawn.

The House of the Seven Gables was part of the Salem Witch Trials. The mansion does date back to 1668, so it was here during the trials, but the house itself does not have direct ties to the Witch Trials. The Turner family lived in the house in the 17th-century, and they made their fortune at sea.  Nathaniel Hawthorne’s great-great-grandfather was Judge John Hathorne, one of the “hanging judges” during the trials, and his involvement with the Witchcraft Hysteria drove Hawthorne to add the w to his name and write The House of the Seven Gables, which is fiction.

The victims really were witches. Doubtful.  It is equally doubtful that the accusers were witches.  The Salem Witchcraft Trials were a social hysteria that spun out of control.

The accused were “swum” to determine if they were a witch.  Not in Salem. The practice of swimming a witch was widespread in Europe, and it was used in Connecticut, but not in Salem.

Victims were burned at the stake.  Not in Salem.  Burning at the stake was punishment for heresy, a crime against the church, in Europe.  Witchcraft was a felony in the colonies, a crime against the government.

The Hysteria ended in October.  The Court of Oyer and Terminer was dissolved by Governor Phips in October, and a new Superior Court was convened to try the remaining witchcraft cases. The Superior Court condemned three additional people in January 1693, but Governor Phips pardoned them and all who were still imprisoned on the charge of witchcraft.  Not everyone was freed, however, as prisoners had to pay for their imprisonment before being released.

On stageThe Crucible, by Arthur Miller, is a remarkable play that is set in Salem in 1692. Miller wrote the story as allegory for the House on Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) that was having its own social witch hunt for communism in the 1950s.  The play is fiction, inspired by actual events and actual people.  Historian Margo Burns writes more in her essay, “Picky, Picky, Picky.”

On the big screen: Hocus Pocus is definitely fiction, but it sure is fun.  A bigger hit in DVD and on network television each October than it was in theatres when it was released in 1993, the story of the Sanderson sisters, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimi is one of our favorites, and many of the locations where they filmed in Salem are still here, and were featured in the 2013 Guide to Salem Haunted Happenings.

In literature: The Heretic’s Daughter, by Kathleen Kent, is about Martha Carrier’s family. Told from the perspective of Martha’s daughter, Sarah, it is a wonderful work of fiction inspired by actual events.  Katherine Howe’s novel, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, is also an engaging work of historical fiction inspired by the events of 1692.

Resources and References:

The Salem Award Foundation gives the Salem Award for Human Rights and Social Justice annually and maintains the Witch Trials Memorial.

The Salem Witch Museum FAQ Page, Witch Trials Weekly, and Miscellany

Salem Witch Trials Documents Archive and Transcription Project, University of Virginia

17thc.us, Historian Margo Burns

Books:

Witch-Hunting in Seventeenth Century New England, David D. Hall

In the Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, Mary Beth Norton

The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-By-Day Chronicle of a Community under Siege, Marilynne K. Roach

Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, Bernard Rosenthal

Salem Arts Festival This Weekend!

Salem Arts FestivalThe 8th annual Salem Arts Festival will be held June 3-5th.  The popular free event will feature over 80 artists and performers, and includes a variety of art, music, dance, and theatre performances. The family-friendly festival also includes art-making for all ages, artisan vendors selling their creations, and a temporary public art installation.

The Festival is spread out at a variety of venues in downtown Salem, with the primary focus on Old Town Hall, Derby Square, Front Street, and Artists’ Row.  A Juried Art Show will be held in Old Town Hall throughout the festival, with an artisan street fair in the area around the building on Saturday and Sunday. Live performances this year will mostly be held outside (weather permitting) on Derby Square and Artists’ Row.  The event is rain or shine, with a rain location for performances held upstairs at Old Town Hall and on Artists’ Row.  A basic schedule is included below. Full schedule and programs will be available on site during the festival, as well as the Festival website.

The Festival kicks off with an opening reception at Salem’s Old Town Hall on Friday, June 3rd at 6 p.m.  The free event allows visitors to enjoy beautiful art work while being entertained by renowned local and regional performers North Shore Chamber Music, Gretchen and the Pickpockets, Siren of the Circle, and headliners Picante Soul. In addition this year, Friday night will also serve as the grant reception for the Salem Cultural Council’s FY16 grantees.

Move with Me - Photo Credit Creative Salem

One of the most anticipated events this year is “Move With Me”, a collaborative public art project led by artist and architect Claudia Paraschiv, featuring an installation of pinwheels over Front Street. Over the past few months, community groups and locals of all ages and abilities have decorated several hundred individual pinwheels made of reclaimed sailcloth, drawing their own interpretations of traditional textile patterns from different cultures around the world.

This year, the Salem Arts Festival also celebrates the very first “Mural Slam” on Artists’ Row, organized by the City of Salem’s Public Art Commission and Public Art Planner Deborah Greel. Murals will be painted throughout the weekend by 12 selected artists and will be completed by the end of the festival. In addition, the Festival marks the return of vendors to Artists’ Row, with both new and returning tenants for the 2016 season.

The goal of the Salem Arts Festival is to promote all the arts in Salem and to provide the entire North Shore arts community with an opportunity to showcase their talents. The Festival is run in collaboration with Salem Main Streets by a team of dedicated volunteers, including representatives from Creative Salem, Salem State University, the Peabody Essex Museum, and many more.

Volunteers interested in helping with the Festival are warmly welcomed and encouraged to contact Kylie Sullivan at kylie@salemmainstreets.org for more information.

Visitors interested in attending the Salem Arts Festival can find easy access to the downtown by public transportation or parking at one of the many downtown lots in the City. For more information, please visit SalemArtsFestival.com and follow the festival on Facebook.

The 2015 Salem Arts Festival. Photo credit Creative Salem

SALEM ARTS FESTIVAL 2016 SCHEDULE

Friday, June 3rd – Kickoff Reception

6:00 – 6:45 pm, Old Town Hall
North Shore Chamber Music

6:50 – 7:00 pm, Derby Square
Salem Cultural Council Grant Announcements

7:00 – 7:45 pm, Derby Square
Gretchen and the Pickpockets

7:50 – 8:00 pm, Derby Square
Siren of the Circle

8:00 – 9:00 pm, Derby Square
Picante Soul

Saturday, June 4th – 11:00 – 6:00

Juried Art Exhibit, Old Town Hall

Street Fair

Art-Making Activities, Front Street and Artists’ Row

11:00 – 11:45 am, Derby Square
Vermillion Strings

12:00 – 12:45 pm, Derby Square
ElectricAcidJazzCircus

12:15 – 12:45 pm, Artists’ Row
Meridian

12:45 – 1:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Strange Interlude

1:00 – 1:45 pm, Derby Square
Adrian DiMatteo

1:45 – 2:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Dave Bailin

2:00 – 2:45 pm, Derby Square
Greg Allen’s Fringe Religion

2:45 – 3:15 pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Katherine Fuller

2:45 – 3:15 pm, Artists’ Row
Julie Dougherty

3:15 – 4:00 pm, Derby Square
Sarah Messias & Hunter Burgamy

4:00 – 4:30 pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Aurora Borealis Dance Company

4:00 – 4:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Francis X. Norton

4:15 – 5:00 pm, Derby Square
Jalopy

5:00 – 5:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Amy Spillert

5:15 – 6:00 pm, Derby Square
The Tree House Charlatans

Sunday, June 5, 10:45 – 6:00

Juried Art Exhibit, Old Town Hall

Street Fair

Art-Making Activities, Front Street and Artists’ Row

10:45 – 11:30 am, Old Town Hall
Community Yoga Dance with Dale Lewinski

11:30 am to 12:15 pm, Derby Square
Christopher Noran

12:15 – 12:45 pm, Artists’ Row
Joey Phoenix

12:30 -1:15 pm, Derby Square
Matt Heaton & the Outside Toys

1:15 – 1:45 pm, Artists’ Row
Ashley Dawn

1:30 – 2:00 pm, Derby Square
Flamenco Boston

2:00 – 2:50 pm, Artists’ Row
Witch City Belly Dance

2:15 – 3:00 pm, Derby Square
Soft Cactus

3:00 – 3:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Thea Hopkins

3:00 – 3:30 pm, Old Town Hall Upstairs
Molly Rose Tupper

3:15 – 4:00 pm, Derby Square
Jazz Punishers

4:00 – 4:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Striving Artists Theatre Company

4:15 – 5:00 pm, Derby Square
Deep C Divers

4:30 – 5:30 pm, Artists’ Row
Plummer Home, On Point, & Salem YMCA Ensembles

5:15 – 6:00 pm, Derby Square
Machine 475

The Work of Rodin Interpreted in Dance

101 Dancers

BoSoma Dance Company, 2016. Photo by Kathy Tarantola / Peabody Essex Museum.

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) and BoSoma Dance Company present 101 days of modern gestural performance in the museum’s headlining exhibition, Rodin: Transforming Sculpture. Dancers will respond to sculptures by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), including masterpieces such as “The Thinker,” “The Kiss” and “The Hand of God.” Performances will take place daily from 11 am to 4:30 pm for the entire run of the exhibition – May 14  through September 5, 2016.

Whether working in plaster, marble or bronze, Rodin captured the emotional and psychological complexities of the human experience in ways that few sculptors have achieved, before or since. Pairing sculptures with movement in the gallery will heighten the emotional experiences of the sculptures and allow for another entry point into considering aspects of the human form and how Rodin was inspired by the body.

BoSoma Dance Company of Peabody, Mass., will lead the daily gestural performances. Dancers will juxtapose human limbs, joints and muscular forms with sculpted body parts in performances woven into the exhibition.

ABOUT BOSOMA DANCE COMPANY

Founded in 2003, BoSoma is a modern dance company under the artistic direction and leadership of Katherine Hooper.  The company’s mission is to make dance captivating and accessible through dynamic performance and community education.

ABOUT THE PEABODY ESSEX MUSEUM

Over the last 20 years, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has distinguished itself as one of the fastest-growing art museums in North America. Founded in 1799, it is also the country’s oldest continuously operating museum. At its heart is a mission to enrich and transform people’s lives by broadening their perspectives, attitudes and knowledge of themselves and the wider world. PEM celebrates outstanding artistic and cultural creativity through exhibitions, programming and special events that emphasize cross-cultural connections, integrate past and present and underscore the vital importance of creative expression. The museum’s collection is among the finest of its kind boasting superlative works from around the globe and across time — including American art and architecture, Asian export art, photography, maritime art and history, Native American, Oceanic and African art. PEM’s campus affords a varied and unique visitor experience with hands-on creativity zones, interactive opportunities and performance spaces. Twenty-four noted historic structures grace PEM’s campus, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old Chinese house that is the only such example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States, and the Phillips Library, which holds one of the nation’s most important museum-based collections of rare books and manuscripts.

HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm, and the third Thursday of every month until 9 pm. Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

ADMISSION: Adults $18; seniors $15; students $10. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang.

INFO: Call 866‐745‐1876 or visit pem.org.

Live Entertainment at CinemaSalem gets [Expletive]

Sh*tfaced Shakespeare at CinemaSalem. Photo Credit: Creative Salem
Sh*tfaced Shakespeare at CinemaSalem. Photo Credit: Creative Salem

I laughed so hard I cried. Seriously.

That was my mantra for days after seeing “Sh*tfaced Shakespeare” at CinemaSalem last month.  Granted, my expectations were not high.  I did not realize that I was holding a ticket to an international phenomenon (okay, maybe not phenomenon, but you get where I’m going with this).  What began in London has spread it’s iambic pentameter wings over to Somerville, and now we are lucky enough to have it in Salem not once, but twice.

If you aren’t doing anything on Thursday, May 5, you should get tickets. You should go.

I smiled so hard my cheeks hurt.

Here’s the premise: A small cast sets out to perform an abridged version of a Shakespeare classic, in this case it will be A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and one of their members is drunk. Bombed. Smashed.  The theatrical experience begins with the narrator showing the audience all of the empty, or half-empty, bottles that have been consumed.  The chosen player is different for each performance, so, in theory, no two performances are the same.

It really was funny, and such a fun take on Shakespeare. Read more about it on CreativeSalem.com.

This is one performance in a new series of live entertainment on Thursday nights at CinemaSalem, so if Shakespeare under the influence isn’t for you, please check out their full calendar.  There are several musical and comedic options on the calendar, including You Have Died of Dysentery, which looks as intriguing as Shakespeare.

“Mortified” joins the Mass Poetry Festival

Mass Poetry Festival in Salem, MA Photo: Creative Salem

Would you stand up in a crowded room and read allowed, into a microphone presumably, from your adolescent journal?  That is what people will be doing during Mortified, a new addition to the 8th annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival, which returns to Salem this weekend, April 29 – May 1.

Admission is $20 and includes readings throughout the weekend, admission to the Small Press Fair, Headline Events, and the Slam on Saturday night (as well as Mortified on Friday night).  Some of the events do have a capacity limit, so check the schedule for details and be sure to sign up for events that you don’t want to miss (at least three events are already considered full as this post is being written, so please check the website).

Mass Poetry Festival in Salem MA April 29 - May 1, 2016

Headliners this year include Sandra Beasley, Charles Simic, Mark Doty, Marie Howe, and Ocean Vuong.

For complete information, and to register online, visitMassPoetry.org and follow the festival on Facebook.

April Vacation is a Perfect Time to Visit Salem!

Come for the Witch Trials of 1692, maritime trade, and The Scarlet Letter. Stay for the culture, art, restaurants, shopping, and New England experience!  Here are a few ideas for how to spend a day or an overnight in Salem this month. For more events, attractions, museums, tours, and Ten Free Things to Do, visit Salem.org.

The Gables Living History Lab

How Salem Kids Used to Live
April 16 – 24, 11am – 2pm
During the upcoming April school vacation week, young sleuths can venture back to that interesting time to see just how kids their own age lived. Living History Labs, an educational program at The House of the Seven Gables, runs April 16 through 24, from 11 am to 2 pm. All activities are scheduled at The Gables, 115 Derby St., Salem, MA. Those interested may call 978-744-0991 for more information.  Learn more 

 Intersections_ 2012  Anila Quayyum Agha  Photo by Peabody Essex Museum

Looking at Patterns
School Vacation Week at the PEM
Pattern, repetition and rhythm are important components of art. Inspired by the PEM exhibition Intersections: Anila Quayyum Agha, explore the patterns in art all around us and create some of your own!  Learn more 

Vacation Week Special

Save $4 when you buy online!
Buy your tickets to the Salem Wax Museum and Witch Village online in advance, and save $4.00 off the Adult Hysteria Pass.  The Salem Wax Museum is a self-guided exhibit about the history of Salem, including Roger Conant’s arrival in Salem in 1626, pirate history, maritime heritage, and, of course, the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  The Witch Village is an indoor, guided tour through the history of witches.  The Salem Wax Museum is also home to an interactive gift shop, where kids can make grave rubbings for free!  Learn more
The Salem Inn

Make it an overnight
Day trips are dandy but overnights are awesome
Turn your next day trip into a real excursion by staying overnight at one of Salem’s hotels, inns, or B&Bs.The Salem Inn (pictured) has just reopened the 7 rooms and suites in the Peabody House after extensive renovation. The Family Suite is perfect for a brood!  The Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites has an indoor pool and family-friendly packages.  Learn More

This blog post was also an email that you can sign up for.

Fashion and Vision in Salem on Friday Night

Salem Arts Festival Fashion Show Fundraiser

The Salem Arts Festival is going to light up Old Town Hall with a locally-sourced fashion show on Friday night.  Featuring fabulous fashion from local boutiques including Avalanche Company Store, The Boutique, Lifebridge’s Second Chance Thrift Shop, Modern Millie Vintage & Consignments, Ocean Chic Boutique & Waterbar, RJ Coins and Jewelry, Peabody Essex Museum Shop, and TBT Post, the catwalk will be magically Salem, through-and-through.  Even the make-up is local, being done by the artists at Laura Lanes Skin Care, Rouge Cosmetics, and Radiance Lifestyle Salon.  Buy your tickets online before they sell out!

This is a fabulously fashionable way to support the Salem Arts Festival, which will spin into Salem for the first weekend of June.

The Fashion Show is not the only thing happening on Friday night in Salem. Just down Derby Street near a dark house with many gables, there will be a celebration of one remarkable woman by the name of Caroline Emmerton. A special exhibition, Caroine Emmerton: An Unbound Vision, opens at 6pm with a reception.

Caroline Emmerton Exhibit

One of our favorite members of the (unofficial) “Strong Women of Salem” club, this native of Salem would become one of the city’s most productive and entrepreneurial philanthropists. Among her most important accomplishments was the rescue, restoration and repurposing of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, which we now know as The House of the Seven Gables.

What was once the residence of a prominent sea captain and later the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s cousin Susanna Ingersoll would become The House of the Seven Gables. In a smart and creative promotional move, Emmerton gave the house — Hawthorne’s inspiration for his novel, The House of the Seven Gables — a new name and a worthy purpose. Proceeds from tours of The Gables would support her Settlement House programs to help the city’s immigrant population settle and gain U.S. citizenship. The Settlement work begun in 1908 continues today, thanks to Emmerton’s prescience and persistence.

2016 marks Caroline Emmerton’s 150th Birthday and the celebration begins on April 8 when the exhibit, An Unbound Vision, opens.  For a complete schedule of celebratory events, visit 7gables.org.

The reception at the Gables begins at 6:00 PM on Friday night, and the Fashion Show at Old Town Hall is at 7:00 PM, which makes it just right to take in both events and support both worthy endeavors.  Hope to see you there!

Historic Burying Grounds

Historic Burying Grounds

Charter Street Cemetery. Photo: Jasmine Gordon

Salem has three cemeteries that are significant to the Witch Trials of 1692. The Howard Street Cemetery is said to be where Giles Corey was taken to be pressed to death, a torture chosen because he refused to stand trial. George Corwin, who served as the high sheriff of Essex County in 1692, and his brother Jonathon Corwin, the Salem merchant who lived in the “Witch House” when he served as magistrate during the trials, are both buried in the Broad Street Cemetery. A white obelisk marks their grave.

The Charter Street Cemetery is the final resting place for at least two members of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, including physician Bartholomew Gedney and magistrate John Hathorne, who was the great-great grandfather of writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also buried here is Mary Corey, the first wife of Giles Corey, who died in 1684. Giles’ third wife, Martha Corey, was hanged for Witchcraft during the trials.

These three cemeteries, and the Witch Trial Memorial, which is behind the Charter Street Cemetery, are open to the public from dawn to dusk. We ask that visitors treat the graves with respect, and appreciation for their age and solemnity.

Salem.org