A Day in Salem for $50 or Less

A day-trip to Salem doesn’t have to break the bank. From free events and tours to reasonably priced attractions and restaurants, there is so much to see and do even with a tight budget in mind. Continue reading to learn tips for planning your next low-budget visit to Salem, Massachusetts:

Getting here

Parking costs in Salem ranges from $.25 to $1.00/hour at garages and metered spots. We recommend parking at the Museum Place Garage at 1 New Liberty Street, which is conveniently located across the street from the Salem Regional Visitor Center.

Public transportation to Salem is accessible through the MBTA commuter rail’s Newburyport/Rockport line which extends from cities north of Salem to Boston’s North Station. Ticket prices range from $3.25 – $7.50 (one way) depending on where you depart from. (Note: The Newburyport/Rockport line will not run on weekends through September 30 due to required maintenance and repairs. During this time shuttle service is offered to/from Salem for $10 roundtrip).

Museums & Attractions

The Visitor Center is home to two films that can give some context for Salem’s history before you head out to explore. Where Past is Present is a free 27-minute film that gives an overview of Salem’s history. Salem Witch Hunt presented by Essex Heritage is a 38-minute film that focuses specifically on the Salem Witch Trials and costs only $5.00 for adults and $3.00 for seniors and kids.

 

The National Park Service Rangers and volunteers at the Visitor Center can also help the kids complete Junior Ranger Programs, and brochures for various self-guided walking tours of Salem are available all free of charge. Salem’s Heritage Trail offers a free self-guided walk to many local historic sites, and the National Park Service also offers free guided and self-guided tours of the Custom House and Narbonne House on Derby Wharf.

Learn about the Salem Witch Trials by taking a tour of the Witch House. The home of Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin, the Witch House is the only building in Salem today with direct ties to the Witch Trials. Admission ranges from $8.25 for adults and $6.25 for kids for the guided tour and $6.25 for adults and $4.25 for kids for the self-guided tour.

Adjacent to the Witch House is the Ropes Mansion. Currently owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, the Ropes Mansion is open on Saturdays and Sundays for free self-guided tours. The Ropes Mansion (c. 1727) is a beautiful Georgian Colonial that was home to four generations of the Ropes Family. The Mansion contains original furnishing a variety of 18th and 19th-century artifacts including ceramics, glass, textiles, and more.

Moving on to the 20th century, guided tours of Historic New England’s Phillips House are available for just $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors and $4.00 for students. Built in 1821, the Phillips House houses the collection of five generations, while presenting information on the lives of both the Phillips family and their domestic staff during the turn of the century.

 

Visit the Salem Wax Museum to learn more about the Salem Witch Trials and Salem’s maritime history. View exhibits with London-made wax figures from Salem’s and visit the museum’s interactive area to learn nautical knot-tying and gravestone rubbing. Admission to the Salem Wax Museum is $9.00 for adults and $7.00 for kids, and combination tickets with neighboring attractions are available for select dates.

From the Wax Museum, cross the street to Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery. This monster movie museum is home to life-size figures and props all designed by Hollywood special effects artists. Admission to Count Orlok’s is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for kids.

Events

Salem celebrates with a different festival each month of the year, many of which are free or inexpensive to attend. Coming up next is the Salem Jazz & Soul Festival which happens at Salem Willows August 19-20. This free event features live performances by local Jazz, Blues, and Soul artists from around the North Shore, local craft and artisan vendors, music education workshops, and more. (While the festival is free, donations or purchases of festival merchandise help support music education causes and additional free concerts on the North Shore).

The Antique & Classic Boat Festival takes place August 26-27 at the Brewer Hawthorne Cove Marina. For a $5 entry fee (kids 12 and under are free), you’ll be able to spend the day meeting with skippers and crew from rare vintage motor yachts and sailboats. Enjoy boat rides, craft markets, and music, and close out the event with the Blessing of the Fleet.

Flying Saucer Pizza Company

Fall festivals include Trails & Sails in September and Salem Haunted Happenings in October. A full list of annual festivals is available here, and all events may be viewed on our online calendar.

Dining

Grab and go lunches in Salem can help save you time and money. To pick up lunch on the run, grab a sandwich or salad from Milk & Honey, or stop for pizza at Essex’s NY Pizza and Deli or Flying Saucer Pizza Company.

Low-budget lunch does not always have to mean eating on the run. KOTO Asian Grill offers sushi lunch specials, bento boxes, and noodle dishes for about $12.00/person or less. Red’s Sandwich Shop serves up all-day breakfast, sandwiches, pasta, salad, and classic entrees like meatloaf and macaroni and cheese many for under $10.00/person. Another great downtown lunch spot is Thai Place, where specials start at $6.95 for adults and $2.95.

You can visit every attraction listed here (and enjoy a $10 lunch) for $50. For more budget-friendly fun, check out our picks for the Top 10 Free Things to Do in Salem or create your own adventure.

The History Buff’s Guide to Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts is a history lover’s paradise. With colonial and maritime history, and the history of the Salem Witch Trials, along with spectacular architecture dating from the 17th to early 20th centuries, Salem offers a host of historical museums, attractions, and even restaurants and shops. Make history during your visit to Salem by checking out all there is to do, eat, and shop, or by following our suggestions below.

Upon arriving in Salem, visit the Salem Regional Visitor Center to get your bearings and catch a short introductory film. The Visitor Center offers two films that provide background information for your visit to Salem: Where Past is Present a 27-minute film covering the general history of Salem, and Salem Witch Hunt, a 35-minute film presented by Essex Heritage that focuses exclusively on the Salem Witch Trials.

 

 

Before leaving the Visitor Center, pick up a brochure or two for a free self-guided walking tour on a topic like Architecture in Salem or African American Heritage Sites in Salem. For another way to make your way to Salem’s historical sites on foot, catch the red line on the sidewalk and follow the Salem Heritage Trail. If you do not have time to complete an entire self-guided tour, pull out the guide when you happen to be near relevant sites to learn more on the go or break up the tour across multiple days.

From the Visitor Center, walk down Essex Street towards Washington Street. Pass the statue of Samantha from Bewitched and continue to the next intersection until you come to the Witch House. The building was home to Witch Trials Judge Jonathan Corwin, making it the only remaining structure in Salem today with direct ties to the events in 1692. Take a tour of the house (guided or self-guided) to learn about Judge Corwin and his role in the Witch Trials as well as 17th-century architecture and home life.

 

 

 

Around the corner from the Witch House you will find the Ropes Mansion, which was built in 1727 and renovated in 1894. The architectural style of the building is detailed in the Architecture in Salem guide you may have picked up from the Visitor Center. The mansion is currently owned by the Peabody Essex Museum, which offers free self-guided tours of the interior on Saturdays and Sundays through the fall.

Walk back towards the Witch House to turn right onto Summer Street and take another right onto Chestnut Street going until you find #34, Historic New England’s Phillips House. Built in 1821, by Captain Nathaniel West, the home was later inhabited by the Phillips family, whose collection is on display for guests to view today. Tours of the Phillips House, which begin every half hour, offer insight into what day-to-day life was like in the early 20th-century for both the Phillips family and their staff. The building is designed in the Colonial Revival architectural style and is one another of the stops in the Architecture in Salem guide.

 

 

When you’re ready for lunch, continue back down Essex Street crossing the street by the beginning of the Pedestrian Mall and take a left. Continue down Washington Street until you come to Church Street on the right, and visit Turner’s Seafood for lunch. Turner’s location within the Lyceum brings allows guests to dine in the building where in 1877 Alexander Graham Bell completed the first long distance telephone call while enjoying a menu of fresh, locally sourced seafood dishes.

After lunch, return to the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall to visit Bewitched in Salem and pick up the Bewitched Historical Tour. This informative two-hour walking tour brings you to various sites where you will learn about Salem’s colonial history along with the history of the Salem Witch Trials, maritime lore, present-day Salem and more.

 

 

Following your walking tour, visit the House of the Seven Gables to learn not only about Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel but also about the site’s architecture and local maritime history. Take a guided tour through the home, and visit the seaside gardens and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace. To take some of Salem’s history home with you, visit the House of the Seven Gables Gift Shop. The shop features literary-themed goods as well as historical treasures to remember your visit to Salem from home.

Do some more shopping for yourself or the history buffs you have waiting at home on your way back to the downtown area by stopping at Waite and Peirce on Derby Street. Waite and Peirce is home to authentic and recreated goods from Salem’s past and the shop is also a great place to pick up some additional information about the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

Want to make your “History Buff” day trip into an overnight stay? Book a room at one of Salem’s local historic inns, or at the Hawthorne Hotel, which is a Historic Hotel of America constructed in 1925.

For even more to see and do during your next visit to Salem, create your own adventure using the icons on our homepage.

Summertime in Salem Day-Trip for Families

To make the most of your summertime day-trip to Salem, plan to arrive early to park and make your way to your first destination. Information on parking and directions to Salem is available here.

Upon arrival in Salem, visit Waite and Peirce at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site to learn how to become a Junior Ranger. The National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program allows kids to learn about their National Parks while completing fun activities.

Once the kids are officially Junior Rangers, walk down Derby Street until you reach the House of the Seven Gables on your right. Most known for its connections to Nathaniel Hawthorne and his novel named after the mansion, the House of the Seven Gables also has an expansive maritime history. The whole family can learn about the Gables’ fascinating stories by participating in the Family Navigation Game and by visiting Kids’ Cove at the Counting House.

Continue walking down Derby Street in the same direction, until you see Blaney Street on your right. Follow the sidewalk to the Salem Ferry landing, and take a tour aboard Sea Shuttle’s catamaran Endeavor. Sea Shuttle features a water tour and an onboard touch-tank, allowing you to interact with live sea creatures during your trip around the harbor.

 

 

Following your cruise, pick up the Salem Trolley, and take it back up to the Salem Regional Visitor Center. (The Salem Trolley features a one-hour tour, and you can hop on and off throughout the day). From the Visitor Center, walk down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall on your way to lunch. Cross Washington Street and walk past the statue of Samantha from Bewitched (or stop to take a selfie with Samantha!). Stop for lunch at Flying Saucer Pizza Company, which features fresh and locally grown ingredients and offers a variety of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, as well as craft beers for the grown-ups in the family.

 

 

After lunch, cross the street returning to the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall in time for a performance of Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop. This live performance begins on Essex Street with the arrest of Bridget Bishop, followed by a reenactment of her trial, where the audience is able to interact with the actors and determine their own outcome for the case. Once you’ve played your part in history, continue back down Essex Street towards the Visitor Center to pick up the trolley.

Hop off the trolley at the Salem Willows, and enjoy spending time in the arcade, kiddie land rides and carousel, or on one of the two beaches. (Be sure to keep track of the time, as the last trolley pickup will be at 4:25 pm).

Return to the Salem Regional Visitor Center via the trolley and do some last minute shopping along Essex Street. Pick up hats, t-shirts, and other souvenirs for the whole family (and maybe the pets you have waiting at home), at Witch Tee’s, Trolley Depot, or Coon’s Card & Gift Shop/Penelope’s Pet Boutique. No summer day-trip is complete without ice cream, so grab a cup or a cone from Maria’s Sweet Somethings before heading back to the car.

Shop for “Christmas in July” in Salem

Partridge in a Bear Tree

Feeling festive knowing that Christmas is just five months away? The summer months are a wonderful time to take advantage of Salem’s maritime attractions and enjoy the outdoors with the warmer weather. Salem has also become a shopper’s paradise featuring a host of shops with everything from accessories and clothing, to witch shops, pet supplies, and even Christmas ornaments and gifts (many sold year-round!)

Located on Pickering Wharf, Partridge in a Bear Tree is celebrating their third year in Salem! The shop carries Christmas ornaments and figures like Jim Shore pieces, Snow Babies, Byers’ Choice Carolers, and other Christmas collectibles year-round. The shop is the perfect place to find themed ornaments for friends and family at home too, as they carry ornaments based on sports, hobbies, military, career, wedding/anniversary, and baby’s first Christmas. Seasonal decorations (that are also sold year-round) include nautical designs for the summer, and Halloween ornaments decoration and the Halloween village sets for the fall.

Trolley Depot

Other summery Christmas shopping opportunities can be found on the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall at either Coon’s Card and Gift Shop/Penelope’s Pet Boutique or the Trolley Depot. A trip to Coon’s will lead you to a collection of Salem-themed pewter ornaments, the perfect souvenirs for remembering your trip to the Witch City. Additional pewter ornaments may be found just down the street at Trolley Depot, which also stocks Halloween-themed ornaments as well as glass ornaments crafted by Old World Christmas Company.

The House of the Seven Gables

 

If you’re looking for a souvenir to remember some of your favorite Salem attractions, be sure to visit the gift shops at the Salem Witch Museum and the House of the Seven Gables. Shop the Salem Witch Museum for detailed gold and ceramic witch-themed ornaments, as well as pieces with the museum logo, or shop the House of the Seven Gables for ceramic and silver ornaments depicting the site’s historic buildings. Forgot to purchase these ornaments during your trip? Both the Salem Witch Museum and the House of the Seven Gables have online shops.

For the artists and art lovers in your life, visit the shop at the Peabody Essex Museum. The shop features an array of enameled butterfly and hummingbird ornaments year-round both in the museum and online.

 

Peabody Essex Museum

Salem Witch Museum

For even more ornaments, visit Waite and Peirce, where all purchases (including ornaments!) will help to support the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. And don’t leave Salem without an ornament to remember your stay at the Salem Waterfront Hotel (or the hotel’s Regatta Pub), as the hotel’s ornaments are available for purchase year-round.

Planning a trip to Salem for the holidays? Salem Holiday Happenings begin November 25 and run through January 1. Check the calendar for holiday events during your next visit, like Christmas in Salem and the Launch! New Year’s Eve events.

 

See Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” at the North Shore Music Theatre

The North Shore Music Theatre is currently presenting its production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, with matinee and evening performances through July 30. With music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, the story of Beauty and the Beast has captivated audiences around the world through both the film and live theatre productions.

A night out for the whole family, Beauty and the Beast offers musical numbers you know and love including Beauty and the Beast, Gaston, and Human Again, along with the fan-favorite song and dance routine of Be Our Guest. You’re sure to find yourself singing along as Lumiere serves the “grey stuff” while an entire dining room of twirling napkins, silverware kick-lines, and champagne dancers make their way around the stage. Gaston and LeFou, and the Silly Girls will have you laughing throughout the entire performance, while Mrs. Potts sets the scene for Belle and the Beast’s dance in the ballroom, featuring exquisite costuming details as Belle’s dress glitters around the stage. Perfect for a family outing or a date night, Beauty and the Beast will continue to thrill audiences through July 30.

Rose Hemingway (Belle) with Tyler Roberts (Fork) and Justin Ronald Mock (Spoon) in North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST running thru July 30. Photos © Paul Lyden

In celebration of Beauty and the Beast the theatre concessions offer the Enchanted Rose specialty cocktail made with Ilauri Spumante Brut Rose Wine, Monin Rose Syrup, and club soda, available prior to each performance and during intermission. For family-friendly themed dining, visit the theatre on select days to enjoy a meal at the Backstage Bistro with characters from the story like Belle, and the Beast or Gaston. Reservations are required for character dining, and may be made by calling 978-232-7200.

The North Shore Music Theatre’s production is directed by Michael Heitzman (Shrek and Disney’s The Little Mermaid) and features a standout cast of characters including: Belle, played by Rose Hemingway (Sophie, Mamma Mia and Lauren, Kinky Boots), the Beast, played by Stephen Cerf (Jersey Boys, Motown the Musical, Spamalot), Gaston, played by Taylor Crousore (Captain Hook, Peter Pan, and Harold Hill, The Music Man), Lumiere, played by Benjamin Howes (Shrek the Musical and Disney’s Mary Poppins), Cogsworth, played by Phillip Taratula (Tink! and Two Gentlemen of Verona), and Mrs. Potts, played by Christiane Noll (Elf, Chaplin, and Ragtime). Complete casting information is available at NSMT.org.

Taylor Crousore (Gaston) and the cast of North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST running thru July 30. Photos © Paul Lyden

Future Productions

For a later trip to Salem, be sure to check out the coming productions at the North Shore Music Theatre. Later this summer the theatre hosts a production of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, which will run August 15 – 27. For a fall visit, catch a performance of Evita, from September 26 – October 8, and follow your Halloween celebrations with a night out at 42nd Street, October 31 – November 12.

If you’re planning a winter visit to Salem, don’t miss the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of A Christmas Carol featuring David Coffee (Maurice in Beauty and the Beast) as he continues his tradition of taking on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. The theatre also offers concerts and special children’s programming through the rest of the 2017 season, with a full list of performances available at NSMT.org.

Stephen Cerf as Beast in North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST running thru July 30. Photos © Paul Lyden

About the North Shore Music Theatre

Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Massachusetts is located just five miles north of Salem. The theatre has held a distinction as one of the most attended theatres in New England since its opening production of Kiss Me, Kate in 1955. Since then, the theatre has been the recipient of numerous awards and multiple Independent Reviewers of New England and Best of the North Shore awards, and it continues this legacy today with annual performances of musicals, concerts, children’s productions, and A Christmas Carol.

Directions from Salem

The theatre is located at 62 Dunham Road in Beverly, MA and is best accessed from Salem by car or taxi. Coming from Route 128 North, take Exit 19 for Sohier Road/Brimbal Ave, and follow the signs for Beverly. At the first traffic circle, take the second exit toward Sohier Road. Continue to the second traffic circle, and take the second exit toward Brimbal Ave, then turn right onto Dunham Road and follow the signs for the theatre. Preferred parking ($10) and complimentary parking are available.

Summertime Day-Trip Itinerary to Salem from Boston

Looking for day-trip ideas from Boston? Salem is located just 16 miles north of the city, making it a convenient and memorable day-trip to take while visiting Boston.

During the season (May 20 – October 31) the Salem Ferry can travel from Boston’s Long Wharf to Blaney Street in Salem in just under one hour. To make the most of a day-trip to Salem, plan on taking the 9:30 am ferry, and arriving in Salem just before 10:30 am. Tickets may be purchased online in advance of your trip, and rates and schedules are available at SalemFerry.com.

 

 

Purchase your ferry tickets online, and you will also have the option of selecting a combination ticket for the Salem Ferry and the Salem Trolley. With your trolley ticket, you will be able to pick up the trolley from the stop located by the Salem Ferry landing and take in an overview of Salem’s history in a one-hour trolley tour (with the option to hop on and off as you like).

Ride through a couple of stops on the trolley, and hop off at the Peabody Essex Museum. One of the fastest-growing art museums in the country, the Peabody Essex Museum offers a large collection of Asian and maritime art along with historical house tours, including the 200 year old Yin Yu Tang house which was moved to the museum from China. Admission rates for the museum and a calendar of events may be viewed prior to your visit at PEM.org.

 

 

Once you have your fill of art for the day, hop back on the trolley and go one stop to the Witch Dungeon Museum. At the museum, learn about the tragic events that unfolded in 1692 through an award-winning reenactment of one of the trials followed by a guided tour of the dungeon. Thinking about spending more time in Salem? Consider purchasing a combination pass for the Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum, and New England Pirate Museum if your day trip turns into an overnight stay.

Ready for lunch? Hop back on the trolley to continue the tour, and hop off on Pickering Wharf. Walk around the corner of the Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites and enjoy lunch near the waterfront at the hotel’s Regatta Pub. The Regatta Pub offers a relaxed atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating available to enjoy lunch by the water.

 

 

After lunch, pick up the trolley on Pickering Wharf and continue the last couple of stops along the tour before hopping off once more on Blaney Street. From here, spend the afternoon aboard Sea Shuttle’s catamaran Endeavor while learning about various sea creatures in an onboard aquarium and taking in beautiful views of Salem Harbor and Misery Island.

With some time to spare before returning to Boston for the evening, take the trolley back towards the downtown area and hop off at the Salem Regional Visitor Center. A short walk up St. Peter’s Street will bring you to Bit Bar, where you can enjoy retro-gaming inspired cocktails while showing off your skills on classic arcade games from the 80s and 90s.

 

 

The last two departures for the Salem Ferry from Blaney Street are 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Keep your eye on the time while playing at Bit Bar and be sure to get back to the Ferry Landing in time to make your return trip to Boston. Looking to catch the 7:00 pm ferry but worried about getting there with the trolley tour ending at 5? Walk to the nearest Zagster bike station and take a scenic ride back down to Blaney Street to meet the ferry.

Salem Celebrates the Fourth

Festivities include children’s events, a military flyover, Pops concert, and Fireworks.

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Mayor Kimberley Driscoll is pleased to announce that Salem will hold its Independence Day celebration at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Derby Wharf on Monday, July 4th.

“There’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than in historic Salem,” said Mayor Driscoll. “Start off bright and early at Salem Common for the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence, spend the day visiting the City’s numerous historic sites and attractions, dine at one of dozens of remarkable restaurants, and end your day at historic Derby Wharf for all of the festivities.”

“This year we are very excited to have a flyover by the 104th Fighter Wing from Barnes Air National Guard Unit,” Mayor Driscoll added. The 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard is located in Westfield, Massachusetts and proudly claims the honor of being one of the oldest flying units within the Commonwealth. “As the birthplace of the National Guard, it is especially meaningful for Salem to have a flyover by the 104th.” Salem Common was the site of the first muster in 1637 and continues to host the annual National Guard muster to this day.

“Salem is fortunate to have such a generous business community that continues to support this celebration,” Mayor Driscoll commented. “I’d like to express a special thank you to our Skyrocket Sponsors: Footprint Power – Salem Harbor Station, Salem Five, Tropical Products, and Walmart, along with our Star Spangled Sponsors: Aggregate Industries, Tache Real Estate, Market Basket, Eastern Bank, and KV Associates.”

Free children’s activities begin at 5:00 p.m. with the opening of the Kids’ Space, where young ones can play games, win prizes and get their faces painted, all thanks to the generosity of the Meeting House Church in Salem and Walmart. Also, look for the MAGIC 106.7 street team along with the MGH Pediatrics tent on-site with lots of cool give-a-ways.

Food tents on site also open at 5:00 p.m. with hot dogs, french fries, fried dough, kettle corn, and other fair favorites.

Live entertainment on the Main Stage also begins at 5:00 p.m. Annie Brobst, the 2016 & 2017 New England Country Music Award’s Female Artist of the Year, will be performing with her band on main stage.

Opening Ceremonies begin at 7:15 p.m. when Mayor Driscoll and other local dignitaries will lead a parade down the wharf accompanied by the Salem Veterans Honor Guard and Salem Boy Scout troops. The National Anthem will be sung by Nadine Adisho, Leah Morgenstern, Danielle Gautier and Tyler Leger of Salem High School’s a cappella group Witch Pitch?.
Immediately following opening ceremonies Maestro Dirk Hillyer and his orchestra has another great program in store for us, including classic American folk songs and family-friendly musical numbers from Disney and the Wizard of Oz.

At 9:15 p.m., Salem ends its Independence Day celebration with a fireworks extravaganza, accompanied live by the Hillyer Festival Orchestra playing the 1812 Overture and other patriotic live music throughout the entire fireworks display.24-July_4_062

Part of the allure of this celebration is its setting. The first National Historic Site in the National Park System, Salem Maritime National Historic Site consists of nine acres of waterfront land and houses a dozen historic structures. These include the Custom House, where famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne worked, and Derby Wharf, which was used by America’s first millionaire, Salem merchant Elias Hasket Derby. Independence Day in Salem is filled with the history that helped make American the free nation it is today.

Please note the following information for those planning to attend the July 4th celebrations in Salem this weekend:

Be safe. To ensure a safe and fun celebration, the Salem Police Department will have enhanced security in place on July 4th. Guests are asked to carry any items in clear plastic bags and be prepared for possible bag checks.

Say something. If you see something, say something to uniformed police at the celebration. In addition to officers who will be moving throughout the area all evening, you can also always find officers at the public safety tent, which will be clearly identifiable on site. Concerns can also be called into the Salem Police at (978) 744-1212.

Derby Wharf access. Police will be monitoring access points into the Derby Wharf area throughout the afternoon and evening. Please plan for additional time to arrive at the wharf for the festivities.

Road closures. Derby Street from Herbert Street to Daniels Street, and Orange Street and Curtis Street at Essex Street, will all be closed to traffic on Saturday from 5:00 pm. until 11:00 p.m.

Avoid driving to Derby Wharf. Seek parking downtown in a lot (parkinginsalem.com), or at Museum Place Garage on New Liberty Street or the South Harbor Garage on Congress Street, which are available for parking at $5 for the day, with the proceeds helping to fund the July 4th celebration. There is overflow parking at Shetland Properties on Congress Street, or take the commuter rail or Salem Ferry (salemferry.com) to avoid anticipated traffic congestion. The last MBTA trains depart Salem station at 10:40 p.m. (southbound) and 10:51 p.m. (northbound).

Handicapped parking. There is limited handicap parking at Derby Wharf and in the Immaculate Conception parking lot on Hawthorne Boulevard, which is first-come first-serve, and there is a mobility impaired/wheelchair seating section reserved at the beginning of Derby Wharf, so attendees do not have to traverse the park’s terrain.

Don’t bring fireworks. Salem has adopted the maximum fines allowable for both the sale ($1,000 fine) and use ($200 fine) of fireworks. In addition, a dedicated police unit will be tasked with enforcing the laws prohibiting the private use of fireworks. Please help ensure a safe July 4th for all and leave the fireworks to the professionals.

Harbor access. Recreational boaters and other craft will be restricted from the area around Derby Wharf and the channel in Salem Harbor and the South River for much of the evening. Mariners can call the Harbormaster’s Office at 978-741-0098 or on VHF 16 for emergencies after hours or for more information.

For more information check salem.com or call Salem City Hall at 978-745-9595, ext. 5676.

See the Sights from Salem’s Heritage Trail

Salem Heritage Trail

Salem’s Red Line – or Heritage Trail – exists to guide visitors between historic sites and destinations. Intended to inspire self-guided exploration, there are a few stops along the way that you might not want to miss.

The National Park Service Salem Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, is a perfect place to start. Watch the free 27-minute film, Where Past is Present, which appeals to all ages and provides an overview of Salem’s and Essex County’s history. From here, cross the street…

The Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex Street, is the oldest continually operated museum in the country. The museum features exceptional collections of art and culture as from around the world including Asian art, Asian export art, Maritime art, Native American art, as well as changing exhibits and programming. Continue west on Essex Street…

East India Marine Hall faces the fountain at East India Square and contains the original display cases and some of the very first objects collected by the Salem captains who established the Peabody Essex Museum in 1799. Continue along Essex Street…

You will pass boutiques, shops, cafes, and the Witch History Museum. At the corner of Essex and Washington Streets, pause at the former Daniel Low Building to read the plaque that notes the building as the site of Salem’s first Town Hall, and the location where delegates for the first Continental Congress were chosen in 1774. Turn around and you will see…

The fountain in Town House Square marks the supposed location of Salem’s first fresh water source, which was immortalized by Nathaniel Hawthorne in his short story, A Rill from the Town Pump. The 1970s era fountain was restored in 2014, when a marble base with Hawthorne’s words was installed. Cross Washington Street to…

 

The statue of Samantha Stevens from Bewitched. The television series filmed several episodes in Salem in the early 1970s after fire damaged the studios in California. The statue was erected by TV Land in 2005, and today she is one of the most photographed landmarks. Continue along Essex Street, cross Summer Street and…

You will see the 17th-century Witch House. The only building still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, this was the family home of Judge Jonathan Corwin. Across the street you will see…

 

A monument remembering Salem Captain William Driver, who named the American flag “Old Glory.” Today, that flag, which was given to Driver by his mother as he departed on a trip, is part of the Smithsonian collection.

Adjacent to the Driver plaque is the entrance to the Samuel McIntire Architectural District. Brochures for the self-guided walking tour of this remarkable neighborhood are available at the Visitor Center and online.

Salem, MA, Ropes Mansion

Adjacent to the Witch House is the First Church in Salem, which was the parish of many of the accused during the Salem Witch Trials. This church features stunning Gothic architecture and Tiffany windows.

The Heritage Trail finds its end on Essex Street at the Ropes Mansion, which is part of the Peabody Essex Museum collection. The Ropes Gardens are open and free to the public.

Reversing direction, turn left on North Street and continue to Lynde Street. Turn right on Lynde and walk to the Witch Dungeon Museum, which features a plaque that remembers “The With Gaol.” The original “gaol” (jail) was located on Federal Street, two blocks from the Witch Dungeon Museum (not on the Red Line). Continue along Lynde Street and turn right onto Washington Street…

Salem City Hall at 93 Washington Street was built in 1837-38 from funds dispersed to Salem from a US Treasury Surplus. The Mayor’s office and City Council chambers have remained unchanged since 1838. Continue to Front Street, so named because this was the original Salem Waterfront. Turn left, walking past…

Old Town Hall in Derby Square. The oldest surviving municipal structure in Salem, Old Town Hall dates back to 1816-17. The second floor of the building, Great Hall, has always been used as a public hall, and contained Town offices until 1837. The first floor functioned as a public market and today is home to the Salem Museum. Follow Front Street, which will turn into Charter Street…

The Old Burying Point Cemetery is the second oldest English graveyard in Massachusetts. This Cemetery has a few remarkable residents including one Mayflower passenger, architect Samuel McIntire, and Witch Trials Judge John Hathorne (great grandfather to Nathaniel Hawthorne).

Behind the cemetery on Liberty Street is the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. Dedicated in 1992 by Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel, pause to pay respects to the 20 innocent people executed during the Witch Trials of 1692.

From the Memorial, follow the Heritage Trail down Liberty Street past the Salem Wax Museum and Witch Village, turning left onto Derby Street. You will pass shops, restaurants, and the New England Pirate Museum on your way to the waterfront, where the Red Line turns right and loops through the shops and restaurants of Pickering Wharf.

On the eastern side Pickering Wharf, there is a plaque remembering the Frigate ESSEX, which was constructed on Winter Island. She sailed from Salem in 1799 to serve in the Barbary Wars and the War of 1812. Her story was “epic in Naval history.”

Back on Derby Street, turn right toward the Salem Maritime National Historical Site, where historic buildings, wharves, and the reconstructed tall ship FRIENDSHIP* tell the stories of the sailors, Revolutionary War privateers, and merchants who brought the riches of the world to America.

 

 

Continue down Derby Street to Ye Olde Pepper Companie, a candy store noted for its Gibralters and Blackjacks, two of the first commercially produced candies in America. Across Derby Street you will find…

New England’s oldest wooden mansion, the House of the Seven Gables, which was made famous by the novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne it inspired. Today it is part of its own National Historic District, comprised of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, Hooper-Hathaway House, Hawthorne’s birthplace, and the seaside gardens.

From here the Heritage Trail continues two blocks to Blaney Street and Salem Wharf, where the Salem Ferry to Boston docks. Reverse direction, and return from the waterfront via the path that cuts through the National Park between the brick Derby House and the yellow Hawkes House, passing the 17th-century Narbonne House onto Essex Street.

Turn left on Essex Street and walk to Hawthorne Boulevard, turning right at the corner by the Hawthorne HotelRecognized as a Historic Hotel of America, the Hawthorne was built by public subscription in 1925.

Adjacent to the Hawthorne Hotel is Salem Common, which was established as a public grazing land in the 17th-century. In the 18th-century it was used as a training ground for the militia, and was the location of the first muster of the American National Guard.

Across from the northwest corner of Salem Common is the statue of Roger Conant. Conant founded Salem in 1626 for the Dorchester Company from England. Behind the Conant statue in an 1845 stone building that was once the Second Church Unitarian, is the Salem Witch Museum.

Turning back toward Essex Street, the Red Line turns right and returns to the tour’s beginning at the Salem Regional Visitor Center. This last block is significant however, as it includes Crow Haven Corner, which is thought to be the first witch shop in America, on the left, and several significant buildings on the Peabody Essex Museum campus on the right.

However you choose to follow Salem’s Heritage Trail, the three loops of Red Line have four centuries of stories to tell and dozens of sites to visit along the way.

*The FRIENDSHIP is currently undergoing a refurbishment in drydock in Gloucester, Massachusetts. She will return to Salem later this year.

7 Tall Ships to See in Salem Before Sail Boston 2017

Seven sailing ships will be in port in Salem before joining the 44 additional tall ships taking part in Sail Boston 2017. From June 13 to 16, visitors exploring Central Wharf and Derby Wharf will be able to view the fleet from land. The ships viewable from Salem include two from Germany (sloop Peter Von Danzig, and schooner Regina Germania), one from the United Kingdom (ketch Rona II), one from Latvia (sloop Spaniel), and one from Finland (ketch Vahine), along with the Pride of Baltimore and Jolie Prise.

The Regina Germania was launched in 1984. She was constructed in 1980 in Hamburg, and received an extensive renovation in 2009 where she was sandblasted and repainted with the white and blue color scheme. Her first tall ship race took place in 2002, and owners Bodo and Uwe Herrmann plan on continuing entering regattas with the Regina Germania.

The Peter Von Danzig is a 55-foot vessel that was constructed in 1992. She is part of Germany’s Academic Sailing Association, and following her launch she replaced a previous vessel by the same name which had sailed under the Association for 50 years.

The United Kingdom’s Rona II was built in 1991 and sails out of her home port of Hamble. At 77 feet, she is one of the larger vessels that will be in port in Salem before Sail Boston.

The Spaniel sails out of Riga, the capital of Latvia. She was constructed in 1979 in Szczecin, a city on the Oder River in Northwestern Poland. This sloop is one of the smaller vessels participating in Sail Boston at 56 feet.

The 65-foot Vahine sails out of Helsinki, Finland, and was built in 1972. The Vahine and the Rona II are two of only four total ketch rig ships participating in this year’s Sail Boston event.

 

For more information about Sail Boston, including a full list of participating ships at the event, please visit SailBoston.com.

Rainy Day Itinerary for Salem, MA

Don’t let the gray skies get you down! There is so much to see and do in Salem, Massachusetts even when the weather isn’t quite sunny and dry. Be sure to dress for the weather during a rainy visit to Salem, especially if you are arriving via the Salem Ferry or taking any harbor cruises as you’ll find that it is much colder on the water than on land.

If you forget your rain gear, or if the unpredictable New England weather decides to rain unexpectedly, you may want to purchase an umbrella or poncho. Pop into a local shop like Coon’s Card & Gift Shop to pick up a last-minute umbrella or poncho, or Avalanche Company Store for a sturdier jacket. Hoodies and sweatshirts are also available around town. Should the rain come with chills, sweatshirts are available at Salemdipity, Trolley Depot, and Witch Tees. You may also want to bring along an extra bag to store your wet umbrella, poncho, or jacket in, so if the rain lets up during your visit you’ll be able to comfortably carry your rain gear without wetting the rest of your belongings.

With any visit to Salem, starting at the Salem Regional Visitor Center will help you get your bearings, and learn a quick overview of what the community has to offer. While at the visitor center, you may opt to see a film screening of Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence, a 35-minute film on the history of the Salem Witch Trials.

The majority of Salem’s museums and attractions, including walking tours, are open for business rain or shine. If you are looking to minimize the time spent out in the rain, you’ll want to visit the Peabody Essex Museum. One of the nation’s fastest growing art museums, a visit here can easily last for a couple of hours or the entire day.

To learn about the Salem Witch Trials, the Salem Witch Museum, Witch Dungeon Museum, Witch History Museum, and Salem Wax Museum are all within walking distance, and all presentations and exhibits take place indoors. Also a short walk away from the visitor center is Witch Pix. Located in the Museum Place Mall, this costume studio allows you to take on the role of a witch or wizard for a memorable photo shoot experience.

You may feel like avoiding attractions that require a further walk in the rain, but luckily the Salem Trolley continues service, and can help you minimize your walk time while providing an overview of Salem’s history. Hope aboard the Trolley and take it down to the House of the Seven Gables, Ye Olde Pepper Companie, and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

 

The tour of the House of the Seven Gables takes place inside, though if you are up for some time outside the homes’ gardens are also a sight to see. Ye Olde Pepper Companie, and the shops on Pickering Wharf are all fully enclosed, with just short walks in between each one. Much of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site is outside however within the site’s shop, Waite and Peirce, you can learn more about site’s history while shopping for unique and authentic goods.

We may not want to believe that that the calendar is calling for soup, but warm comfort food may be on your mind for a rainy day. You may relax with a cup of clam chowder at Finz Seafood and Grill or Sea Level Oyster Bar and Kitchen, or lobster bisque from Turner’s Seafood. If you’re looking for lunch in hopes that by the time you’re finished eating the rain will have stopped, plan for a meal at Bit Bar. Before or after your meal you’ll be able to spend some time playing classic pinball and arcade games indoors. If you really want to warm up on a rainy day, the Tavern in the Hawthorne Hotel offers cozy fireside dining, or you may choose to unwind with a cup of tea at Jolie Tea Company.

However you choose to spend a rainy day in Salem, don’t let the rain ruin your plans. Even outdoor attractions like walking tours and harbor tours can usually run in the rain. By dressing for the weather and bringing along an umbrella you should be all set to enjoy a day touring downtown Salem.

9th Annual Salem Arts Festival

The Salem Arts Festival returns for its ninth year with a weekend full of family-friendly programming devoted to the arts in our community. The event kicks off at 6:00 pm on Friday June 2 with viewings of art in Old Town Hall and live music outside in Derby Square. The rest of the Festival will be located throughout Derby Square, Artists’ Row, Front Street, and within Old Town Hall and will feature live musical performances, belly dancing, public art projects, a vibrant street fair and more.

 

The festival celebrates various art forms and gives attendees of all ages creative ways to create art. Featured art styles will include but are not limited to painting, photography, sculpture, installation, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theater, poetry, culinary, and visual art. Also planned for the event are local food pop-ups, a mural slam, and vendors specializing in handmade, locally sourced, and ethically crafted goods.

The Salem Arts Festival will also celebrate this year’s featured community art project: Tidal Shift. As part of Tidal Shift, the Salem Sound Watershed community created jellyfish made out of recycled plastic bags that have been installed over Front Street. Tidal Shift also serves to increase awareness of how single-use plastic bags can impact marine life, like sea turtles who often mistake floating plastic bags for jellyfish, which make up a significant part of their diets. The project comes with perfect timing as Salem is currently moving away from using single-use plastic bags in instances where reusable bags could be used instead.

The Salem Arts Festival is organized by Salem Main Streets, and would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors and volunteers. The Salem Arts Festival is just one part of Salem Main Street’s effort to promote Salem’s downtown neighborhood as a destination for attractions, community projects, dining, shopping, and cultural events throughout the year. For more information about the Salem Arts Festival visit SalemArtsFestival.com or follow the event on Facebook.

Augmented reality is coming to Salem Maritime

Augmented Reality image Boston Cyberarts

The Augmented Landscape at Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Boston Cyberarts

Things are about to get virtually interesting at Salem Maritime National Historic Site!

Boston Cyberarts has commissioned four internationally acclaimed artists–John Craig Freeman, Kristin Lucas, Will Pappenheimer and Tamiko Thiel–to create 8 Augmented Reality (AR) sculptures for The Augmented Landscape, an outdoor exhibition that will take place at Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

Augmented reality is computer-generated sound, video or graphics that are layered into a real-world environment. Sited throughout the park, either on the land and or in Salem harbor, the sculptures will be positioned via GPS, each in a specific place on the Salem campus, and viewable by using the augmented reality application Layar (free for iOS and Android) on a smartphone or tablet.

The National Park Service will have printed maps available for visitors that include the site of each piece, an image, artists’ information, title of the work and how to download the app to view the work. The information will also be available online, at the Boston Cyberarts and NPS websites. The NPS will have tablets or smartphones available for checkout. Visits to the site are free to the public.

The Augmented Landscape is supported in part by a $10,000 Art Works matching grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and funds from the Salem Cultural Council.

The free exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, May 27, and remain on view through November 30, 2017.

 

Salem.org