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Expectations a bit too high?

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Haverhill...
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Expectations a bit too high?

I was just reading some of the reviews of Salem, and I think some are expecting Witch City to be a real witch city.

While I enjoy going to Salem ( I work and live near by), the exploits of the Witch Trials, and all things witches is by far over-blown.

Yes, it is a draw for many...but for the rest of us, just another port town....think Newburyport, Rockport, Essex, etc...with a witch history. Much to the defense of the poor reviews, the board of tourism of Salem perpetuates the notion that it is a tourist destination, but in many aspecs, lacking.

So for all tourists looking to extend their Boston vacation with a visit to Witch City, do some research; set your expectations a bit lower, and have a good time.

Baltimore, Maryland
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1. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

I've often said Salem has the best pr department especially in the UK. Stopped trying to dissuade them.

Halifax, Canada
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2. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

I've often thought that first time visitors are expecting the wrong things. Such as spookiness everywhere, obvious witches walking down the street(brooms and all) and just basically Horrortown. There's a bit of a let down for some when they realize it's not very different from other New England cities. Shame, because those expectations cloud them having a great time and checking out all the city has to offer.

Although,it is interesting that when you look on Trip Advisor"s "Things to Do in Salem", that the witch related sites are pretty lowly ranked on the list, while more credible sites are near the top. Maybe that means all is not lost, and it's slowly get out there that there's so much more to see than witches in Salem.

South London
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3. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

I'd always wanted to visit , having been hooked on history all my life and love visting historical sights. Many of my friends are Wiccan, and so I'm aware of what 'modern day witches' are/aren't.

That's problem there - there are no historical sights. The 'Jail' is not the original building, Gallows hill is a caravan park. Everything is based on where something once was.

Perhaps it's just because I'm from the UK where many of our historical sights are preserved.

I expected more. I have no idea what the 'PR in the Uk ' is about - as having lived here all my life, I've never seen it once advertised. Anywhere.

The old wax dummies and museums could use some money spent on them - they are so very dated. Each one offering the same as the other.

The best info and stories are gained on the Trolley tour - which is always a delight.

I still prefer to stay in Salem when visting Boston (quieter location, smaller town, kayaking in the willows, and cheaper in many cases too.)

Boston
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4. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

Because Salem was founded in 1630 and the witch hysteria was in the 1690's, very early in its history, of course there is little left from that time period. A very different timeline than in the UK. You have to understand the historical context. Again, expectations......

Edited: 17 January 2012, 13:43
South London
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5. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

To be fair, we still have pubs from the 1400's so perhaps I was thinking you guys would have something similar :)

You'd just expect a few things of interest to have been preserved - maybe a church or two etc

I understand it's early on, but it's something alot of tourists expect to see

The town itself is lovely, and I can't fault it , but for the tourist , it can be a little disappointing.

The Witch museum in particular, could be so much more than it is.

Although I really enjoyed the free film about the maritime history, something fewer visitors come to see.

Edited: 17 January 2012, 14:08
Boston
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6. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

To see what you're expecting, you should go to Plimoth Plantation, a recreated village from the initial time of settlement. When you see it, you'll understand why none of it exists today.

Edited: 17 January 2012, 14:22
Halifax, Canada
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7. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

There is the Witch House. That is original (although moved slightly from its original site) and has ties to the witch trials. Personally, I just enjoyed the house for itself, as I love older architecture. I agree that the Witch Museum needs an overhaul. It was looking a little tired the first time I went twenty years ago.

North Shore, MA
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8. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

I think Raven_7 described the situation very well in post #2. There is so much more to Salem than its association with the witchcraft delusion of 1692, and awareness of Salem's maritime history in particular is growing. Many buildings, as well as Derby Wharf, remain from the peak of Salem's maritime era in the late 18th century.

Back to the witchcraft delusion, it is important to remember that the first accusations were made in Salem Village, which then was a part of Salem proper and now is the town of Danvers. In Danvers one can visit the original home of Rebecca Nurse, one of the accused, and an archaeological site where the home of the first accusers stood. Other buildings associated with the witchcraft hysteria remain in Danvers and nearby communities.

Finally, and remarkably, original documents from the witch trials still exist. Much of the dialogue in the new film, Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence, is taken verbatim from these records. While the documents themselves are generally available only to scholars, their use in interpreting this tragedy to visitors looking for Salem's early history is invaluable.

Edited: 17 January 2012, 19:07
North Shore, MA
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9. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

Jessep666, you may also want to visit Pioneer Village on your next trip to Salem. I went there many times as a child (many years ago!), but haven't been back since it was renovated and reopened in the last few years. I need to return!

http://www.pioneervillagesalem.com/

South London
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10. Re: Expectations a bit too high?

Last time I was in Salem (June last year) we tried to check it out - and the Hawthorne even called them for us - but it seemed they were closed. I was most dissapointed :(