This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about our honeymoon trip to New England and New York City in October 2014. See all New England road trip posts.
When we thought about our honeymoon road trip prior to setting off, one of the places we were most looking forward to was Salem. Having a general interest in American History I was really looking forward to visiting the infamous city and learning more about its history. The city equally met my expectations and suprised me too.
Our arrival into Salem was one of our favourite parts of our journey around New England. We had made it in one piece from Boston to Salem driving an automatic car on the wrong side of the road. It was a miracle. To celebrate, immediately upon our arrival we sought out the closest place which would dispense me a pint of their finest alcohol.
Luckily for us the first place we came across after parking in Waterfront Garage was Salem Beer Works, which had been recommended to us by our friends who had done a similar trip for their honeymoon just four months earlier.
Quiet and relaxed with suitably Salem decor, it was just what we needed. I ordered a Bluebeery Ale (my driving shift was done for the day) and Nial ordered a coke (he was designated driver from Salem to Kennebunkport) as well as some food. I had the Pumpkin ravioli (so delicious) and Nial had a pastrami sandwich which looked incredible.
We only had a few hours in Salem before we had to get back on the road to head to Kennebunkport on the Mid-Maine coast so we didn’t linger too long and started walking the trail around Salem.
There were plenty of spooky Salem places and decorations around but as we were there in early October the place was really just starting the preparations for Halloween. We walked to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial where a lady from the tourist board was just starting a short talk on ‘Salem myths’. She was frank about what had happened and tried to correct a few of the more outlandish myths. After taking a few pictures of the memorial we continued our walk.
We walked by a number of the museums including the Witch House and the House of Seven Gables but sadly due to lack of time (and budget!), we didn’t get to visit any of them (well apart from the Salem Witch Museum gift shop for a present for a friend). The Peabody Essex Museum looked great but sadly we just didn’t have enough time. The Bewitched sculpture was fun to see.
Half way through our walk we stopped off at a Dunkin Donuts where I ordered one of their Halloween pumpkin donuts only to discover this branch hadn’t iced on the pumpkin face. Look how sad the donut looks. Delicious but blank.
One of our favourite places on our walk was Front Street which had some lovely independent shops including a lovely little stationery/gift place called Roost & Company and Seed Stitch, a wonderful craft store with yarn bombing outside.
The last hour or so of our trip included a walk across Salem Common which led us to the fascinating and pleasant historic harbour area. The area included information about the historic use of the area and associated buildings including the Customs House and the Friendship of Salem. We sat on a bench outside one of the buildings looking out across the harbour area and the Friendship. On a pleasantly sunny but breezy day it was lovely.
Before we left we popped into Ye Olde Pepper Candy Co which is meant to be the oldest candy company in America. We bought some sweets for the road and candy corn to bring back for our friends.
We had hoped to have some time to drive around the area before heading to Maine. We wanted to visit Danvers, the ‘real’ home of the witch hunt and a few other places but sadly we had ran out of time and the only thing left to do was to get back on the road to Kennebunkport.
I loved our time in Salem. It was interesting to see all the things related to the Witch Trials but actually the thing I most enjoyed about Salem was what I never expected. I had expected it to be a little gaudy in the run up to Halloween but it is actually a really nice and incredibly well-maintained city. Clean and spacious with lots of independent retailers and cultural institutions, Salem is the kind of place you could imagine living. That’s not to say there aren’t lots of witch-related shops but it all works well together and isn’t overbearing. If we are lucky enough to get the chance to return we would definitely spend a couple of nights there.