Christmas in Salem, thought to be the nation’s longest running holiday house tour, invites visitors to tour private homes spanning the grand boulevard of Lafayette Street in the historic South Salem. After the Great Salem Fire of 1914, the citizens of Salem put forth an effort to rebuild their lost homes in an architectural style that reflected the height of the Colonial Revival movement. In 2014, visitors will be able to tour these homes as well as the Victorian homes that were narrowly spared by the fire all while learning about the history of the renewal of the South Salem neighborhood.
Advance ticket holders will be welcomed to join in the Friday Night Candlelight Preview as well as a complimentary mini-Salem Food Tour, ending at Salem Spice on Pickering Wharf. On Saturday and Sunday, ten homes spanning a variety of histories and architectural styles will welcome supporters with unique decorations and live music. Christmas in Salem has become far more than a house tour. It’s now a citywide event for both residents and out-of-town visitors. There are wine tastings, walking tours, live music, and hotel discounts available for all tour goers.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of Historic Salem, Inc.’s largest fundraiser. Christmas in Salem: After the Great Salem Fire will feature ten historic properties with ties to a section of the city that took on a unique identity 100 years ago. On June 25, 2014, a fire sparked that would eventually claim 252 acres of Salem—claiming hundreds of homes of businesses in its wake. Tour goers will have not only the opportunity to learn about the neighborhoods, but also about the city of Salem’s unique response in the years after the disaster through a special exhibition at Salem State University. Other activities include the opportunity to explore B&S Fitness in Shetland Park—once home to the Naumkeag Steam Cotton Mills and to enjoy the open house at Harbor Sweets on Leavitt Street.
Always held the first weekend in December, Christmas in Salem is the perfect time for lunch or dinner with friends, not to mention shopping. You’ll find holiday decorations for sale at the Salem Garden Club boutique at tour headquarters at the Saltonstall School and the welcome mat out—along with discounts for tour goers—at many local attractions, restaurants and retailers. The complimentary trolley that takes visitors from downtown parking locations to the tour route provides historical information and a festive ride.
The popular Preview Candlelight Tour (for advance ticket holders only) will be held on Friday, December 5, 2014, from 5:30 – 8:30 PM and will feature three Colonial Revival homes. On Saturday, December 7 from 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM and Sunday, December 8 from 11:30 AM - 4:30 PM all sites will be open for tours.
Prices are $25 each for Historic Salem, Inc. members and $30 each for the general public. Tickets may be purchased in advance by visiting ChristmasinSalem.org or by calling Historic Salem, Inc. at 978.745.0799. Deadline for advance ticket sales is Wednesday, December 3 at 5:00 PM.
Tickets for the house tours can be purchased at Saltonstall School, 211 Lafayette Street, on December 6 and 7 for $35 each.
Christmas in Salem is presented by Historic Salem, Inc. an advocacy group dedicated to preserving Salem’s historic resources and educating the community to their value. The historic house tour and other fundraising efforts of Historic Salem, Inc. are the primary source of funds for the restoration of the National Historic Landmark, the Nathaniel Bowditch House.