Salem at Halloween! What could be more festive than 100,000 people packed into a small town with a normal population of 42,000 people to celebrate witches and the like.
We opted to take the Salem Ferry from Boston to Salem, which was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel. Tickets were $25 for the hour long ride.
The boat was enclosed on the bottom deck and open air on the top deck. There was a snack/drink counter and toilets. There’s a little historical information given during the first part of the ride and the views of Boston as you pull away from the pier were breathtaking!
The harbor area itself was very picturesque as well with old buildings and beautiful apartments lining the water and ducks that dove underwater and swam under for a while. They were too fast for my photograph.
Faneuil Hall is also in this area with many many shops and food stalls. So much shopping!!
Arriving in Salem, we had about a 10-15 minute walk from the pier to the center of Salem. There are a few shops along the way, including the oldest candy shoppe in the US – Ye Olde Pepper Companie, and the national park facilities with several buildings you can go in. We arrived at lunch time so we walked passed everything and headed straight for a place to eat.
We waited an hour to get in for lunch at the Lobster Shanty and we ate at the bar.
I had a lobster roll, basically buttered lobster meat in a hot dog bun, and Jerry had a burger. I thought $25 for a lobster roll was high, but when in Rome…. It did have quite a bit of big lobster chunks in it and I totally enjoyed it!
There were lines to get into the museums, attractions and even some of the stores.
We had a walking tour scheduled for 3:00pm that was supposed to last 90 minutes. It went over by 45 minutes. The tour was called “Witch Walk”. You are with a real practicing witch who first performs a circle ceremony with the group, calling the quarters and goddess to bless the circle. He then charged some quartz stones for good luck and we each got to take one.
The whole group participated in the ceremony. That part was ok. After that he escorted us around town stopping at places to discuss how the old pagan traditions that centered around planting and harvesting of crops and solstices and equinoxes have been modified by Christianity and other religions. He touched briefly on the history of the Salem Witch Trials and hangings. No people were burned (they did that in Europe). The Puritans hung their “witches”. Burning was thought to release their souls which was far worse in their eyes. The problem with the tour was that he didn’t take us to see anything. We walked to a parking lot and listened to him talk. We went to an office building courtyard to listen to him talk and then on to side streets and alleys. We visited one house that was owned by one of the Salem witch trial victims that is now a restaurant. I was ready to go after an hour. Then he kept talking because it was his last tour of the day…. but we wanted it to be done so we could see other things. All in all, I was a bit disappointed in the tour. Just as he finally finished, it started to rain.
It looked like it was going to continue all night, it was cold, and the crowds had grown throughout the afternoon, so we decided to go. We did walk through the Witch Trial Memorial and cemetery before we left.
We caught a train on the way home and ended up riding for free because no one ever came by to sell us tickets.
It was pretty cool to see all the people dressed up in costumes and all the Halloween decor around but I’d prefer to go back when it’s less crowded so we can enjoy it more and actually see and do more.