Get Into The Halloween Spirit With Your Boo Or Your Ghoul Friends With A Day Trip To Salem

One of our favorite Rhody wordsmiths (and moms) is back with everything you’ll want to see and do in Salem, Massachusetts this month.

Deflate your giant unicorn pool floaty, clear away your patio set and figure out where to store your stand-up paddle board. The weekends are still sunny but the leaves are beginning to show their true colors and so am I. This on again, off again relationship has developed between me and my cardigan or hoodie or any other “just in case” article of clothing. (I want to be enveloped in security and warmth but quickly feel stifled and  soon tie said article around my waist or neck or stuff it in my purse or drag it along the ground like an impudent four-year-old.) This deciduous biome we live in is about to burst into a palette of yellow/orange/red and it is perfect weather for a New England day trip!


Aside from packing a might-get-chilly top layer and re-usable water vessel, the only prep I did for a recent trip was type a city in my GPS: Salem, MA.  I like to explore and had a general idea of what I wanted to see but this is a seaside city steeped in (as relevant as ever) history that deserves more than a cursory visit.  A deliberate and well-planned day trip should consider the following:

Salem Witch Museum, Washington Square

Get a detailed narrative of the Salem Witch Trials featuring historically accurate dioramas presented so that even children (and harried adults) will understand the defining historic trials and era of this town.  An interactive second half of this presentation follows the history and addresses the modern implications of the trials. 

Photo by sphraner/iStock /Getty Images

Photo by sphraner/iStock /Getty Images

House of the Seven Gables, Derby Street

Yes, this is the house that inspired The Scarlet Letter author Nathaniel Hawthorne to write the book of the same name. Located on the waterfront, this site also includes Hawthorne’s birth home, a spectacular garden and secrets that will make mystery novel lovers squeal with glee. (Seriously, I don’t want to give it away but it is the title of a Nancy Drew book!)

Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, Derby Street

This is America’s Oldest Candy Company. You can indulge in Gibraltars, Black Jacks and so many flavors of fudge. We showed restraint and purchased a snack sized bag of candy corn, ok, two of them…and dark chocolate turtles...and fudge…and random confections we simply could not resist.  

Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square

This is when flying by the seat of your pants pays off. On the day we ended up in Salem, we had just parked our vehicle and were wandering down the street when some lovely ladies on stilts dressed as butterflies drew our attention to the Peabody Essex Museum. Turns out PEM was free to the public on this day and we began to enjoy the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Collection featuring Chihuly sculptures, John Singer Sargent paintings and then quickly realized we needed an entire day to appreciate this museum and all it has to offer. We will revisit PEM and added it to our Winter Day Trip List.

Witch House, Essex Street

Touted as the “only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Salem witch trials of 1692,” Witch House was the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, who played a major role in the trials. This homestead is frozen in time and offers insight as to how the people of Salem lived in the late 1600’s

Photo by xeni4ka/iStock/Getty Images

Photo by xeni4ka/iStock/Getty Images

Ropes Mansion and Garden, Essex Street

Located three blocks away from the Peabody Essex Museum, it is one of its historic homes. A keen eye may also recognize this as Allison’s house from the Hocus Pocus movie. We sauntered through this beautiful garden filled with blooms of every shape and color, peering into the koi pond and wistfully watching butterflies flutter from one flower to another.

The city is filled with all kinds of eateries: family friendly or foodie favorite, casual or sophisticated.  All types of readings are available such as tarot cards, palm readings, psychic readings...there is even a seance service.

Salem is very pedestrian friendly and many different walking tours are available: historic tours, haunted tours, maritime tours, and even a tour for fans of the venerable 1993 Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus. There is also a trolley tour! For more information, visit  Welcome to Destination Salem - The Official Travel & Tourism Website of Salem, MA .

About The Author

Christina is a life-long Rhode Islander who has been dedicated to mission-driven human services work. A mother of two, she recycles, composts, and runs her household with solar energy. An animal lover and a world traveler, this bon vivant has jumped out of a plane, bungee jumped (twice!), run over the Newport Bridge, swum across Narragansett Bay, and penguin plunged.