Salem, Massachusetts is known for a lot of things. Its maritime history, home of Nathaniel Hawthorne and his famed House of the Seven Gables, and of course the numerous historic residences found around the city. But the city's number one claim to fame is its relation to the Salem Witch Trials. Today, visitors come from all over the world to experience the history and magic tied to the city. In fact you'll find plenty of businesses here selling magical, new age, and other witchcraft related merchandise.
If you want to check out the area's Main Streets, Essex Street and Washington Street would be the primary places to visit. Parts of Washington Street can be very busy with multiple lanes of traffic. Essex Street is a little quieter and part of the road has been converted to a pedestrian-only mall. Many of the touristy stores can be found in this area, including gift shops, t-shirt shops, magic and witchcraft shops, and ice cream and candy stores. Nearby Front Street contains several boutiques and coffee shops. You can also walk along Derby Street passing by more shops, restaurants, and attractions as you make your way to the waterfront district. There you'll find Pickering Wharf, an area that features boutiques, gift shops, and restaurants all with a New England feel to it.
Salem is located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in New England. The city is in the Boston Metropolitan Area, specifically in Essex County, which is in the North Shore region in the northeastern part of the commonwealth. Salem is about 25 miles north of Boston and about 47 miles south of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Salem can be reached from Boston via the MBTA Commuter Rail Newburyport/Rockport Line. If you want to go by water, the Salem Ferry, travels between Boston and Salem.
This part of Essex Street is a pedestrian mall filled with shops and tourist attractions in downtown Salem, Massachusetts.
The old Salem Town Hall is now home to The Salem Museum.
Located on the water, Pickering Wharf features shops, restaurants, and even a marina, all with a New England feel to it.
We start our tour on the west end of Essex Street, one of the main drags through Salem's downtown. At the intersection of Essex Street and Summer Street is The Witch House, the only remaining house still standing with a direct connection to the Salem Witch Trials. It's also an excellent example of First Period architecture.
Shops line the 200 block of Essex Street. Many of the shops cater to tourists interested in the city's history, especially the Salem Witch Trials. Notice the witch in the window?
More shops along the 200 block of Essex Street. Some of the shops don't just cater to tourists and history buffs, but also to people who practice witchcraft.
This Bewitched statue can be found in Lappin Park at the intersection of Essex and Washington Streets. Although the show did not take place in Salem, one episode was filmed there in 1970. The statue was donated by TV Land in 2005 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the show.
Across the street is the Endicott Building, which was constructed in 1885 and was the home of the Webbers department store all the way up to the sixties. Today there's still retail on the ground floor, but the rest of the building now belongs to the Townhouse Square Apartments.
We'll take a detour off Essex Street and cover Washington Street, which is the main north-south boulevard through the area. This shot is actually just off Washington Street on Church Street on the northern end of Salem's business district.
We make it back to Washington Street. The Salem City Hall is located on the zero hundred block of Essex Street. The Greek Revival building was constructed in 1838 and is one of the oldest continually used City Halls in the country.
Here's another view of the zero hundred block in the heart of downtown Salem.
We're still on the zero hundred block of Washington Street. The red line is the Salem Heritage Trail. Pick up a map and follow the red line to many of Salem's landmarks and attractions.
A view of the 100 block of Washington Street. In case you haven't noticed yet, Salem is a bustling city and does not at all look like what you would be picturing if you were picturing the city during its infamous Witch Trials.
Another shot of the 100 block of Washington Street.
Across the street on the 100 block of Washington Street. There's the Salem Heritage Trail again.
At the intersection of Washington Street and Front Street is the home of the Salem Evening News. Also, notice the red emergency call box? They can be spotted all around Salem.
We make it back to Essex Street. This part of Essex Street is now a pedestrian mall. This is a view of the 200 block.
Here's a view of the 300 block of Essex Street. There's a lot of historical architecture along this pedestrian mall.
This stretch of Essex Street bustles with activity and is a major draw for tourists who come to Salem.
Just off Essex Street is the Old Town Hall, which is now the Salem Museum.
A small grocery store at the intersection of Essex Street and Central Street.
A T-Shirt shop and a candy store along the 100 block of Essex Street. Many of the businesses along here cater to the tourists.
This deli is connected to Museum Place, an indoor mall. Notice the figurehead artwork on the light post. A variety of these could be found throughout town and reflect Salem's past as a bustling sea port.
Another view of the Museum Place Mall. In front is the India Square Fountain. If you look carefully, you can see someone walking around in the fountain. They were doing a picture shoot of some sort that day.
We're not about the malls on this site, but here's a shot of the interior of Museum Place Mall. Shops and restaurants are located inside (along with bathrooms). Unfortunately, the mall was a bit depressing.
Just across the street from the Museum Place Mall is the Peabody Essex Museum (where the mall gets its name, of course). Notice the woman dressed as a witch and passing out fliers? And there's also another one of those figureheads on the light post beside her.
Another view of the Peabody Essex Museum near the intersection of Essex Street and New Liberty Street. Despite the modern structure, the museum itself is one of the oldest continually operating museums in the country.
From here we head a block south to the Burying Point Cemetery, the oldest burial ground in Salem. Justice John Hathorne, an ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne and one of the judges at the Witch Trials is buried here.
Next door is the Witch Trials Memorial. Each stone represents a victim who was accused and died for being a witch.
Yes, that is a random stockade in the middle of a parking lot. This shot was taken near the Witch Trials Memorial.
We continue east to the intersection of Essex Street and Hawthorne Boulevard. This part of Essex Street is open to vehicular traffic. The large building in the background is the Hawthorne Hotel.
Another view of Hawthorne Boulevard. This time along the zero hundred block.
And in the median is the Boulevard's namesake Nathaniel Hawthorne, who spent many years living in Salem. In fact, his book, House of the Seven Gables is based on a house in Salem that stands today and you can visit.
We head back west again. This picture was taken from the back of the Salem Museum and Old Town Hall. The stretch shown in this shot is known as Artists' Row and it's also where the Farmers Market is held.
More shops, this time along the quieter Front Street. You'll find more boutique shopping along this stretch. If it seems like we're doing a lot of zigging and zagging on this tour, it's because many of Salem's shops and restaurants are spread throughout town and not restricted to one main drag.
Another view of the zero hundred block of Front Street. At this point you probably can't help but notice the Salem Heritage Trail running down the center of the sidewalk.
Now we swing over to the 300 block of Derby Street, which is one block south of Front Street. This large historic building was converted into a restaurant with plenty of outdoor seating.
We continue east on Derby Street. This is the 200 block. Derby Street is a busier road that takes you all the way to the waterfront.
And at the waterfront is Pickering Wharf, a collection of shops and restaurants with a New England seaside town feel to it. But the stores selling witchcraft supplies won't let you forget that you're still in Salem.
Another view of Pickering Wharf. The cedar siding covering the building on the right is more reminiscent of typical architecture found around New England.
Across from Pickering Wharf is the Salem Maritime National Historic Site. That large brick building in the middle with the cupola is the historic U.S. Customs House. Check it out if you want to learn more about that part of Salem's history that doesn't involve witches.
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For More Information
Salem Arts Association
Salem Haunted Happenings
Salem Main Streets
Welcome to Salem, Massachusetts
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