Salem on a Budget

This itinerary is part of our Tuesday series of suggested ways to explore Salem. These itineraries are not available as a package, and are only suggested ways to explore Salem. Please contact listed sites for hours, rates, and schedules.  Previous itineraries include: Two-Night Itinerary for a Family, Food, Fish, and History, a Salem Daytrip from Boston, An All-American Trip to Salem, and the Land of Witches and Pirates.

We are in the height of summer, which means we are at our busiest season for family travel. Not every family is looking to spend a king’s ransom on their vacation, and it is certainly possible to see Salem on a budget.  Start out by checking out our list of Ten Free Things to Do, and then consider these attractions, restaurants, and accommodations options. Bring comfortable shoes and get ready to have fun exploring Salem!

DO

Salem Maritime National Historic Site
160 Derby Street, Salem
(978) 741-1650 | nps.gov/sama
Tours of the wharves, buildings, and tall ship Friendship are free at your National Park! You can opt for a self-guided experience, or make a reservation for a timed, guided tour. Stop at the Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty Street to see the free film, Where Past is Present, and learn about the history of Salem and the region.

Salem Museum
Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square
(978) 744-0007 | TheSalemMuseum.org
Learn the hidden stories about the amazing lives that have contributed to the establishment and growth of Salem, Massachusetts.  From Roger Conant’s arrival in 1626 through the Witch Trials, the Maritime Era, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the Great Salem Fire, Parker Brothers, and more. You are sure to be surprised by the history here in Salem.

Salem Witch Trials Memorial
Liberty Street between Derby and Charter Streets
SalemAward.org
Symbolically located behind the Old Burying Point, the Salem Witch Trials Memorial serves as a somber place of remembrance for visitors and descendants of those condemned in 1692.

DINE

Boston Hot Dog
60 Washington Street
(978) 744-4168 | BostonHotDog.co
This locally owned gourmet hot dog stand has new ownership in 2014. We like the California Dog and the Slaw Dog, and the kids can’t go wrong with the Kid’s Dog Meal, which includes a small drink and chips.

Essex NY Pizza & Deli
One Museum Place Mall
(978) 741-1383 | EssexNYPizza.com
Serving New York style hand-tossed pizza, Essex’s also has salads, sandwiches, and dinners.

STAY

Winter Island Maritime Park
50 Winter Island Road
(978) 745-9430 | Salem.com
RV and tent camping May 20-November 1. Walking paths of Winter Island, camp and gift store, public beach, historic fort, and Pickedring Lighthouse.

Clipper Ship Inn
40 Bridge Street
(978) 745-8022 | ClipperShipInn.com
Rooms and suites at budget-friendly rates, ample parking, located just outside the historic downtown district.

Be social! Share your Salem with us by tagging #SalemMA or #DestSalem on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We may share your favorite shots!

Elephant on Board

The ElephantI suppose every town has unique and quirky history, but Salem sure seems to have more than its fair share.  Salemites have been involved in so many aspects of American history, including legal process, navigation, trade, literature, education, and abolition.  And then there are the quirky stories that catch our attention – streakers, souvenir spoons, lead pencils, American flags, and elephants.

It is said that the first elephant in America came through Salem in 1796.  She was purchased in Calcutta by Captain Jacob Crowninshield, who was a member of the hugely successful Crowninshield & Sons of Salem shipping company.

The elephant came to America aboard the ship, America.  She was 2 years old and they called her Old Bet. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s father, Nathaniel Hathorne, was apparently an officer on board, and he is credited with writing, “Elephant on Board” in the ship log.

As the story goes, the crew of the America realized quickly after setting sail with this elephant that she was drinking all of the water on board. They quickly switched her diet to beer, and when she arrived stateside she was, well, drunk.  That did not diminish Old Bet’s popularity, though. She was eventually sold to Bailey (of Barnum & Bailey) and taken on tour with the circus. She was exhibited in Salem, Beverly, Marblehead, Boston, and New York.

The promotional poster from Boston has a few gems in its copy: “He eats 130 weight a day, and drinks all kinds of spiritous liquors; some days he has drank 30 bottles of porter, drawing the corks with his trunk,” and “The elephant having destroyed many papers of consequence, it is recommended to visitors not to come near him with such papers.”

Admission to see the elephant cost one quarter of a dollar (children, nine pence).

You can purchase a copy of the Boston Poster at the House of the Seven Gables.  It is a great piece of the whimsical side of Salem history.

An All-American Trip to Salem

This is the fourth in a series of suggested ways to explore Salem. Destination Salem will feature a new itinerary each Tuesday (#traveltuesday!). These itineraries are not available as a package, and are only suggested ways to explore Salem. Please contact listed sites for hours, rates, and schedules.

Previous itineraries include: Two-Night Itinerary for a Family, Food, Fish, and History, and a Salem Daytrip from Boston

American Trip to Salem

In honor of Independence Day on July 4th, this week we are featuring an all-American itinerary to inspire your exploration of Salem. Native son Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on the Fourth of July, and to celebrate his birth, we recommend a visit to The House of the Seven Gables and a stop at the National Park in Salem, where you can see where Hawthorne worked as a port surveyor in the Custom House.

You may want to start your visit to the Salem Maritime National Historic Site at the visitor center, where you can see the free film; Where Past is Present.  The film presents the history of Salem and all of Essex County, which is designated the Essex National Heritage Area.  The film is shown at 9:45 AM, 10:15 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, and 4:00 PM.

Sold around the world, Harbor Sweets chocolates call Salem home. Celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, we think a tour of the Harbor Sweets factory is an all-American experience. Nothing here is out-sourced, in fact, the chocolate is still made with wooden paddles in a non-automated factory in a brick building on Leavitt Street.

Make an overnight of your stay at the Hawthorne Hotel, a Historic Hotel of America, on Salem Common.  Dine in Nathaniel’s in the hotel – named for our favorite author – and grab breakfast or lunch at Red’s Sandwich Shop, in the location of the London Coffee House, where Revolutionaries met in the 18th century.

American Trip to Salem

DO

The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem
(978) 745-0991 | 7Gables.org
Discover the secrets of the House of the Seven Gables, which inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel. Admission also includes access to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, spectacular seaside gardens, and a unique Museum Store.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site, 160 Derby Street, Salem
(978) 740-1650 | nps.gov/sama
Wander this National Park which preserves one of America’s most influential ports and discover the history behind the buildings, wharves, and the reconstructed vessel Friendship, all of which played a large role in establishing trade between the young American nation and the Far East.

Salem Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, Salem
(978) 740-1650 | nps.gov/sama
This National Park preserves one of America’s most influential ports. Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a National Park in an urban setting, and its historic buildings, wharves, and the vessel Friendship describe the traders and sailors who brought the riches of the Far East to America.  While the visitor center is located on Liberty Street, most of the park is on the Salem Waterfront at Derby Street.

Harbor Sweets Factory Tour, 85 Leavitt Street, Salem
(978) 745-7648 | HarborSweets.com
Harbor Sweets has been making handmade, distinctive New England gift chocolates since 1973. The shop offers a glorious array of gifts and treats, including their signature “Sweet Sloops.”  Tours are given most Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 AM. Please call ahead to confirm availability.

STAY

Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square West, Salem
(978) 744-4080 | HawthorneHotel.com
The Hawthorne has been an icon on the North Shore since 1925. The historic and elegant Hotel is located in the heart of Salem and has hosted well-known personalities such as President George Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush, Walter Cronkite, and Bette Davis. It boasts 93 rooms including a four-room antique house as well as two dining areas: the cozy, fireplaced Tavern and award-winning Nathaniel’s.

DINE

Red’s Sandwich Shop, 15 Central Street, Salem
(978) 745-3257 | RedsSandwichShop.com
If you’re looking for the real Salem, try Red’s Sandwich Shop for breakfast or lunch. John and Lisa and the friendly staff of Red’s welcome you to Salem’s most popular landmark for over 50 years. The hearty food has won many awards over the years-most notably for the North Shore’s best breakfast, best luncheon, best coffee and best bagels. Red’s also won the Heritage Days’ Chowderfest and has been praised on the Boston Globe’s “Cheap Eats” and on the Phantom Gourmet’s “Hidden Jewel”.

Nathaniel’s in the Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square, Salem
(978) 825-4311 | HawthorneHotel.com
Located in the iconic Hawthorne Hotel, Nathaniel’s menu offers dishes ranging from historic items of a bygone era to contemporary, eclectic fare. Nathaniel’s also offers demi-portions of its most popular items including their signature dish, Scallops Sophia.

A Salem Daytrip from Boston

This is the third in a series of suggested ways to explore Salem. Destination Salem will feature a new itinerary each Tuesday (#traveltuesday!). These itineraries are not available as a package, and are only suggested ways to explore Salem. Please contact listed sites for hours, rates, and schedules.

Previous itineraries include: Two-Night Itinerary for a Family, and Food, Fish, and History.   

ARRIVE

Salem Ferry
High-speed ferry service between Long Wharf, Boston and Blaney Street, Salem
(877) SEE WHALE | BostonHarborCruises.com
Hop aboard the Salem Ferry and in less and one hour you will be sightseeing, museum hopping, sampling the specialties of local chefs, and shopping in Salem’s many quaint boutiques and quirky shops!

tourismdaytrolleySEE

Salem Trolley
8 Central Street, Salem
(978) 744-5469 | SalemTrolley.com
Hop aboard the shuttle from the Salem Ferry landing to the Visitor Center and then take the one-hour narrated tour of Salem.  The tour spans nearly 400 years of history, passes through Salem’s historic neighborhoods, stops at all major area attractions, and serves as a shuttle service between sites. (Note: the shuttle is based on availability and ticket-holding customers have priority, so you may want to purchase your ticket online in advance from SalemTrolley.com, or consider the Ferry-Trolley combo ticket fromBostonHarborCruises.com.)  

Salem Witch Museum
19 ½ Washington Square, Salem
(978) 744-1692 | SalemWitchMuseum.com
The Salem Witch Museum will immerse you in the story of the Witch Trials of 1692 in their first exhibit, and then you will learn about the evolving roll of witches through history in the second exhibit, Witches: Evolving Perceptions. This evocative second exhibit will answer the questions, “What is a witch?” and “What is a witch hunt?” 

Peabody Essex Museum
(978) 745-1876 | pem.org
Journey through a world of art and culture at the Peabody Essex Museum, where the wealth and power of historic Salem are showcased in an unrivaled collection of art and culture from New England and around the globe. Explore the city’s international connections through extraordinary works of art from China, India, Japan and beyond, including a 200-year-old Chinese house. Don’t miss Turner & the Sea, the only North American stop for the first In the first full-scale examination of Joseph Mallord William Turner’s lifelong preoccupation with the sea, and California Design, the first major study of California mid-century modern design, which closes July 6.

Cry Innocent
Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, Salem
(978) 867-4767 | CryInnocentSalem.com
This dramatic presentation of the examination of Bridget Bishop during the Salem Witch Trials will plunge you and your fellow audience members into the history of the Salem Witch Trials. You are the jury. Cross-examine the witnesses and the accused, and determine if she was guilty, or if she was innocent.  

Omen Psychic Parlor and Witchcraft Emporium
184 Essex Street, Salem
(978) 666-0763 | OmenSalem.com
With dozens of locations to have your fortune told in Salem, a visit to the Bewitching Seaport is hardly complete without a glimpse into the future. Stop by Omen, an old-style psychic parlor and Witch shop for a reading with one of Omen’s psychics, who specialize in Tarot, mediumship, palmistry and more.   

cry_innocent_facebook_coverDINE

Opus
87 Washington Street, Salem
(978) 744-9600 | SalemOpus.com
Dine on unrepressed cuisine, including brunch every day, vegetarian-friendly specialties, innovative sushi, and sharing plates.  They smoke their own meats, making the Opus pulled pork and bacon dishes savory treats.

Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall
43 Church Street, Salem
(978) 745-7665 | Turners-Seafood.com
The new stewards of historic Lyceum Hall, the Turner family is serving authentic New England seafood from the fresh catch of the day.  Oyster bar, seafood market, and some of the freshest seafood around.

The Landing at the Salem Ferry
10 Blaney Street, Salem
(877) 733-9425 | BostonHarborCruises.com
If time allows, before you get back on the Ferry to return to Boston, grab a seat at the Landing at Salem Ferry for a quick refreshment with the best view in town.  Open 11am – 11pm, 7 days a week, the Landing serves sandwiches, snacks, and cold beverages, including their famous “fishbowl drinks,” which are perfect for sharing!  tourismdayfood

Food, Fish, and History: An Itinerary.

This is the second in a series of suggested ways to explore Salem. Destination Salem will feature a new itinerary each Tuesday (#traveltuesday!). These itineraries are not available as a package, and are only suggested ways to explore Salem. Please contact listed sites for hours, rates, and schedules. Click here to read our Two-NightItinerary for a Family. 

Food Itinerary

This week, we are celebrating food, fish, and history, all three of which can be found in a Salem Food Tour.  Some of the businesses listed are tour partners of the Salem Food Tour, so we recommend flexibility if you are interested in following this itinerary.  While we originally crafted this itinerary as a day trip, everything is better when you spend the night, so we have paired the food, fish, and history with the historic Morning Glory B&B.

Historic New England’s Phillips House
34 Chestnut Street, Salem
(978) 744-0440 | HistoricNewEngland.org
Included in this itinerary for the kitchen, dining room, and pantry, Phillips House is the only home on historic Chestnut Street open to the public, and it provides a glimpse into the private world of the Phillips family and their domestic staff during the early decades of the twentieth century. The kitchen, pantry, and a domestic staff bedroom, present a rarely seen picture of how the great houses functioned as new technologies were being introduced.

Salem Food Tours
(978) 594-8811 | SalemFoodTours.com
Salem Food Tours are guided food and cultural walking tours of historic Salem. They feature tastings at some of Salem’s best food shops and restaurants, and participants will enjoy talking with chefs and fellow food lovers. Learn about early colonial dinners, local history and culture, Salem’s illustrious maritime spice trades and more.  

Fish Itinerary

SHOP

Salem Spice at the Picklepot  
978-744-6678 | SalemSpice.com
75 Wharf St., Pickering Wharf, Salem, MA  01970
Salem Spice is located on Pickering Wharf in Salem, where the spice trade in North America began.  In 1797, Captain Jonathan Carnes arrived in Salem Harbor with his ship loaded in pepper from Sumatra which provided him with a 700% profit and started the spice trade which remained centered in Salem for over 50 years. Today Salem Spice is Salem’s source for culinary spices, sauces, marinades, rubs, teas and cooking supplies. 

Joe’s Fish Prints / Fished Impressions
104 Wharf Street, Salem, MA
(978) 944-1709 | FishedImpressions.com
Fished Impressions is the parent company of Joe’s Fish Prints, and features  quality reproductions of the best fish prints Joe Higgins has made. Lucky shoppers may find making new prints from his most recent catch.

Ye Olde Pepper Companie
122 Derby Street, Salem
(978) 745-2744 | YeOldePepperCandy.com
America’s oldest candy company, Ye Olde Pepper Companie has been dishing out the best treats since 1806. Local famous favorites, Gibralters and Black Jacks, are offered alongside traditional New England sweets like saltwater taffy, delicious fudge, and turtles that were one of Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things (2009).

Dine Itinerary

DINE

Finz Seafood and Grill
76 Wharf Street, Pickering Wharf, Salem
(978) 744-0000 | FinzSeafood.com
Finz features innovative and inspired menus, a raw bar serving fresh seasonal oysters, and a carefully chosen wine list. The menu at FINZ emphasizes seasonal, fresh seafood and creative preparations.

Scratch Kitchen
245 Derby Street, Salem
(978) 741-2442 | ScratchKitchenSalem.com
Scratch Kitchen features a menu focused on regional and local farm fresh ingredients including house smoked meats and homemade bacon, breads, condiments, and pickles. Scratch Kitchen also has Sunday Brunch and a selection of craft beers and wines. Don’t miss the chowder, which is made from a recipe that dates back to the 1800s. 

STAY

Morning Glory Bed & Breakfast
22 Hardy Street, Salem
(978-741-1703 | MorningGloryBB.com
This charming Georgian Federal, circa 1808, is owned and operated by Bob Shea, a native of Salem. Graced with New England elegance, the comfortable guestrooms, each with its own private bathroom, provide a refuge for guests to unwind.

A Two-Night Salem Itinerary for a Family

This is the first in a series of suggested ways to explore Salem. Destination Salem will feature a new itinerary each Tuesday (#traveltuesday!). These itineraries are not available as a package, and are a suggested way to explore Salem. Please contact listed sites for hours, rates, and schedules.

This is a suggested itinerary for a family that is coming to Salem for the first time. The kids are 8+, and the family as a whole is somewhat aware of the Salem Witch Trials history, and does not know about Salem’s rich maritime history.  They are taking advantage of Salem’s proximity to Boston – just 14 miles north – and spending a couple of days in Salem before flying home from Logan International Airport.

DAY ONE

The  Salem Trolley, 8 Central Street, Salem (tours begin at the Visitor Center)
Venture aboard the Red Trolley! Salem’s original Trolley tour. This one-hour narrated tour spans nearly 400 years of history, stops at all major area attractions, and serves as a shuttle service between sites. (978) 744-5469 | SalemTrolley.com

The Witch House, 310 ½ Essex Street, Salem
Home of 17th century witch trial Judge Jonathan Corwin, the Witch House is the only building in Salem with direct ties to the 1692 trials. Architecture, furnishings, and information regarding the day to day life of the Corwin family provide a deeper understanding of this period in colonial history. (978) 744-8815 |WitchHouse.info

The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem
Discover the secrets of the House of the Seven Gables, which inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel. Admission also includes access to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, spectacular seaside gardens, and a unique Museum Store. (978) 745-0991 | 7Gables.org

Itinerary for SalemDAY TWO

Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex Street, Salem
Journey through a world of art and culture at the Peabody Essex Museum, where the wealth and power of historic Salem are showcased in an unrivaled collection of art and culture from New England and around the globe. Explore the city’s international connections through extraordinary works of art from China, India, Japan and beyond, including a 200-year-old Chinese house. PEM for families: At PEM, there are plenty of ways for you to discover new adventures in art with your family and friends. Pick up a family-friendly Gallery Discovery Kit and search for animals or explore life at sea.  (978) 745-1876 | pem.org

Salem Maritime National Historic Site, 160 Derby Street, Salem
Wander this National Park which preserves one of America’s most influential ports and discover the history behind the buildings, wharves, and the replica vessel Friendship, all of which played a large role in establishing trade between the young American nation and the Far East. Ranger-guided tours of the site are scheduled daily, and reservations can be made through the visitor center at 2 New Liberty Street.  (978) 740-1650 | nps.gov/sama

Schooner Fame of Salem, Pickering Wharf Marina, Salem
Fame is an authentic and active replica of a War of 1812 privateer. The schooner sails daily from Pickering Wharf and provides a unique setting for a tour of the islands, lighthouses, and forts surrounding Salem. (978) 729-7600 | SchoonerFame.com

Itinerary for Salem MADINE 

Red’s Sandwich Shop
15 Central Street, Salem
If you’re looking for the real Salem, try Red’s Sandwich Shop for breakfast or lunch. John and Lisa and the friendly staff of Red’s welcome you to Salem’s most popular landmark for over 50 years. The hearty food has won many awards over the years-most notably for the North Shore’s best breakfast, best luncheon, best coffee and best bagels. Red’s also won the Heritage Days’ Chowderfest and has been praised on the Boston Globe’s “Cheap Eats” and on the Phantom Gourmet’s “Hidden Jewel”.   (978) 745-3257 | RedsSandwichShop.com

Capt’s Waterfront Premium Steak and Seafood, Pickering Wharf, 94 Wharf Street, Salem
Serving charcoal grilled premium steak and seafood for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch with Salem’s best harbor views. Dine either downstairs in Capt’s Pub’s relaxed atmosphere or upstairs on Capt’s Topside & Deck for a more intimate dining room experience with full-sized menu portions. (978) 741-0555 | capts.com

Salem ItinerarySTAY

The Salem Inn, 7 Summer Street, Salem
The Salem Inn is comprised of three historical homes: the Captain West House, the Curwen House, and the Peabody House, blending the warmth and charm of yesterday with the comfort and convenience of today. Located in downtown Salem, the Inn is easy walking distance from historic attractions, museums, shopping and restaurants. Be sure to ask about the family suite! (978) 741-0680 | SalemInnMa.com

Salem.org