Boys Are Dumb
Last weekend in September, 1998 (I wrote this a year after the trip)
The Friday night we arrived we went to the Manray goth club in Boston, read the report on that in the club section.
While this is probably not complete, it it's a small place and you can find everything pretty fast. I had to do all of my research before the trip online by myself, so I wasted a lot of time and missed a few things I should have done. If you are fortunate enough to be an AAA member you can go get all the free maps you need, they'll even plan your route for you free(or you can try www.mapsonus.com, www.mapquest.com, etc). If you buy maps, I recommend the yellow Hagstrom book maps because they point out cemeteries and parks, along with those small fold out plastic laminated streetwise or easymaps for durability and waterproofness. When you get to or near Salem just stop at any motel or tourist looking gift shop spot and there'll be tons of brochures with what to do in and around town and they will have detailed maps of the town in them (it's not very big, we parked and walked around all day). I have several detailed free brochures with maps and historical points of interest.
Salem has quite a few little museums to $5 & $7 you to death, most tell you the exact same story, which is commonly known anyway. Some places sell discounted combo tickets if you are going to do tours at more than one place. There's a few cheesy cute haunted houses too. Everything closes by 6pm which sucks, but the evenings are quiet, mostly deserted and romantic, and there's an odd feeling in the air. Maybe it's just all the old buildings, sort of made me feel like I was in Interview with the Vampire, except in Salem. We went around all gothed up and people were all like ooooo ahhhhhh at us. Nice restaurants were not easy to find for some reason. Lots of cheap burger stand type places, you have to seek out good veggie food.
To save a bundle (I extensively called around and this was pretty much the best deal for 2 people that wasn't booked at the last minute) we stayed at a motel about 4 miles out of Salem called the Country Side Motel, it was like $55 for a double bed, no reservations taken, it's all first come first serve. 978 535 1150. Air cond, TV, phones, free donuts, and it's sufficiently clean.
Museum Place (174 Essex St, East India Sq) is a good place to park your car for the day(in the parking garage), it is a fairly central location, but if you stay around to hang out late around town park your car on the street, they close up at midnight or 1am I think. It's a shopping mall, I think I remember seeing a a movie theatre in it too. Before you buy your shot glasses with witches on them from the museums, check in here, I found them at least $1 cheaper at a place in here (which did matter since I was buying a bunch of them for everyone who didn't come with me). There is an excellent Thai restaurant in here too called Thai Place.
Don't miss (well.. I thought it was cool anyway):
The Witch dungeon museum (16 Lynde St) - starts with a silly show with bad actors, but it's the most interesting because it is all about the dungeons and horrid conditions accused witches were kept in, as well as an underground wax museum of the dungeon. It's a little creepy, and they have on display one of the real beams of wood from the actual dungeon. $4.50, allow 45 mins.
The Witch House (310 Essex St) - Former home of witch trial Judge Johathan Corwin, only structure still standing with direct ties to the 1692 Witch Trials. It's just a med sized house, with like 4 rooms, and talks about 17th cent arcitecture, furnishings, dress, and lifestyle. $5, 30 mins. A few parts were a bit boring but for the most part I'm very interested in hearing how people lived in rougher times
Merlin's Castle (10 Front st) - great witchy shop, the owners are really nice and we hung out with them a bit. Ritual tools, jewels, clothing, cards, books, candles, crystals, gems, incense, statues, etc.
Atomic Candy (2 Lynde St) - lots of collectable old toys and junk and some extremely nice racks of vintage clothes. My friend got a slightly worn tuxedo jacket with tails for like $30. 50's to 80's collectible toys, ephemera, vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories, comics, moderne, mod and funky furnishings, political, psychedelic advertising and more.
The Fool's Mansion - (127 Essex St) - nice gothy, medieval, mystical clothing, jewelry, oils, etc.
What I missed and should have seen (aka, the first stops next time I visit Salem):
The House of The Seven Gables (54 Turner St) - $7 adults, allow one hour
Salem 1630 Pioneer Village (Forest River Park, off West Shore Ave) - $5, allow one hour
New England Pirate Museum (274 Derby St) - $4, allow 45 mins
Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour - One hour narrated lanternlit walking tour through Salem's bewitching historic district. Costumed guides regale visitors with authentic tales of documented area hauntings, murder, infamous period characters, and colonial witchcraft. 8 Derby Square, Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-0666, for more info contact Leah Schmidt, Owner/Tour Manager. (If the link doesn't work go to www.northofboston.org, click on Salem on the map, click on For Visitors, then click on Receptive Tour Operators and search "haunted".)
Web resources I used in planning:
City of Salem - This was one of the most useful sites when I planned my visit there. Info on maps, tours, events calendar, sites, visitors guide, shopping, eating, architecture, and witches available on the site.
Destination Salem - office of tourism, Salem, MA. This site has very similar info to salemweb.com.
Salem @ Nationalgeographic.com - this is a neat little historical informative site with a little travel info, and you can send e postcards.
Salem Witch Museum - Washington Square Salem, Massachusetts 01970 (978)744-1692. faqs, tour info, witch trial info, etc on the site. I think this is the one.. it's one room with a bunch of wax scenes behind glass that light up one at a time as the story is told, pretty good wax figures, tells about the arrival of traders to the Salem area leading up to the witch trials. I'm also pretty sure this is the one(I know it's whatever one is located right next to the witch village) that afterwards, you exit into a room where you can do some silly activities, and do a rubbing of some replicated stones to take home. If I'm speaking of the right one the graves of the judge and other notables from the period are located around back of this one.
Salem Wax Museum - printable discount pass, dates, hours, special events.
Salem Witch Village - take a journey back in time to discover both the myths and facts surrounding the subject of Witchcraft. 282 Rear Derby Street Salem MA 01970 (978) 740-9229.
Useful books (aka, I am addicted to those cheap little touristy books with ghost and witch stories):
Our Silent Neighbors: A study of gravestones in the olde Salem area, by Betty J. Bouchard. 1991, this is a small pamphlet size book. This one's great if graves are your thing, maps and some photos of notable graves and cemeteries in the area. I wish I had picked this up before my last afternoon there.
The Witchcraft Hysteria of Salem Town and Salem Village in 1692. Small pamphlet book available around Salem in most shops, has a then & now map of Salem, historical overview of the Witch Hysteria, info on parsonage, the courthouse, gallows hill, and burial grounds. This one's a good little guidebook of the most prominent historic places and burial grounds. Another I wish I picked up before the last day there.
The Horrors of Salems Witch Dungeon and other New England crimes & punishments (Collectible Classics Series: No 9), by Robert E. Cahill. Paperback. Well, this one's not all that useful, just interesting, available at the museum shops.
New England's Cruel and Unusual Punishments, by Robert E. Cahill, paperback, 1994, available around Salem in shops. Sex, Slaves & serving maids, black and blue laws, hanging, burning, boiling, beheading. Another one that's just interesting.