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Trip review from 5/5/13

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Trip review from 5/5/13

Hi everyone. I just got back from my trip to Salem and figured I’d write about what I did and how the day went. We arrived at the train station from Boston at about 10:00AM and headed south to get brunch at Gulu Gulu Cafe. It was exactly what I’d expect of a cute and hip cafe, with plenty of veggie options and an extensive coffee and beer menu. No regrets here--the server was even kind enough to chat with us about where else to visit in town.

Our plan was to start with a trolley tour, so we got onto the trolley in the middle of town and enjoyed the ride up to the House of the Seven Gables. We got off there and planned to get back on in an hour once we were done at the house. The House was fascinating (if a little cramped by our modern tastes), and the gardens were really beautiful. Pictures were allowed outside on the grounds, so I took a bunch of photos of tulips and the sea and sent them to my mom to brighten her day. The tour didn’t work out to be finished within an hour, so we didn’t get a chance to get back on the trolley there. Instead we went across the street from the House to Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, the oldest continually operating candy company in the US. The factory portion wasn’t running, so it really was just a candy store for us. We were a bit disappointed and headed back on Derby Street toward the center of town.

Along Derby Street, we quickly checked out the Friendship and ran out to the lighthouse at the end of the long wharf and back. Not sure why we ran. It seemed like the thing to do!

From there, we walked north to Salem Common and passed by the Salem Witch Museum. We chose to forgo the various witch museums and instead headed to the first witch-y store, Crow Haven Corner, and signed up for the Salem Witch Walk. We looked around the store (very interesting, though like all the other shops, not very large) and headed back out to start checking out Essex Street. We went into a number of shops (witchy and non-witchy) and were able to catch the last half of the “Examine the Evidence” film at the visitor’s center. It was very informative, and I wish we could’ve seen the whole thing. Luckily it was free due to the fact that they were having some technical difficulties with the showing.

After checking out the old cemetery and the Witch Trial Memorial, which we thought was very tasteful and provided a nice place for reflection, we headed back to the Witch Walk. Our tour guide, Tom, was a lot of fun, in an irreverent, self-deprecating, ADHD kind of way. He was dressed in a nifty silver and black jacket and started us off with a ritual outside the store, in which he “called the corners” and gave us a protective blessing before the tour. We got to hold our hands up Galadriel-style and speak “so mote it be” at various points along the way. Tom took us all around the town and shared bits and pieces about the Witchcraft trials, the history of the town, and modern witchcraft practices.

He also talked about why there are self-proclaimed witches in Salem today (which makes little sense when you think about it). All in all, I’d recommend the tour as a way to get a basic sense of what modern witchcraft is about.

After the tour was over, we headed to Pickering Wharf. It was dinner time and many shops were closed, but we poked around a few and ended up choosing Captain’s Waterfront for dinner. We got a seat right by the window looking out on the harbor and ordered a fantastic drink made of hot cider with rum and a cinnamon stick. The food was very good, and our server was nice enough to recommend a place to grab ice cream cones so that we could wander the town some more. She recommended Captain Dusty’s, so that’s where we went. It was delicious.

Ice cream cones in hand, we wandered the streets and learned firsthand that Salem is not an evening town. Past 5 PM or so, there’s not that much open. So we enjoyed watching the water and ended up going back to Gulu Gulu for coffee while we awaited the next train back to Boston. At 8 PM, we boarded the train and headed back, realizing just how tired we were from a great day!

At some point, I’d like to spend more time in the town, to see the shops that were closed and perhaps take a history tour. Perhaps I’ll check out one of the museums and other attractions or walk through Judge Corwin’s house. I’d also like to see Cry Innocent, which wasn’t opened yet this year, and finish the trolley tour. We never did manage to get back on the trolley!

All the best,


North Shore, MA
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1. Re: Trip review from 5/5/13

Thanks for the detailed report! It will be very helpful to future visitors. Do come back. Hopefully you can make better use of the trolley next time!

Salem, Massachusetts
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2. Re: Trip review from 5/5/13

John, I hope you do get to come back for Cry Innocent! It is fantastic. Can't believe you did that all in one day. I have been here 9 years, and you got me beat!! Thank you for visiting our little gem.

Hamilton, Ontario
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3. Re: Trip review from 5/5/13

Thank you for a wonderful review. We are spending a day in Salem before we head to Boston next month. You've given us lots of great ideas.

Halifax, Canada
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4. Re: Trip review from 5/5/13

"The factory portion wasn’t running, so it really was just a candy store for us. We were a bit disappointed"

Nooo, say it ain't so! They have some yummy stuff, there, that is either better than other stores, or can't be found anywhere else. Personal fave- buttercrunch! But, I guess I can see where you're coming from if you were expecting to see the factory.

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5. Re: Trip review from 5/5/13

Hi Raven_7. Actually part of the reason we couldn't enjoy Ye Olde Pepper was that they couldn't guarantee any of their products were totally nut-free. Nuts are delicious, but one of us will die if he eats one, so I chose not to buy and eat a bunch of candy in front of him. Very sad, because I would've loved to try their stuff. I appreciate the honesty on their part though! - John

6. Re: Trip review from 5/5/13

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