Salem, MA

If you’re a witch, you should visit Salem, MA. It’s a great place for witches, those who associate with witches, or those who are interested in witchery in general.

After a few initial moments of “tourism based on a land-angry-cult-of-religious-wackos killing a few handfuls of people who they insisted were witches is weird“, we settled into the idea that the city of Salem does a decent job highlighting the idiocy of what happened in 1692 and also does an okay job of honoring the people who were murdered then and there.

We secured a campsite in the RV field at Winter Island Park, a strange little city park that has crammed tent and RV camping spaces amongst its beach, boat launch, playground, and historic artifacts. Once a spot where they mudered people by hanging, and later an early Coast Gaurd station, we enjoyed the park for providing us a great spot to pop into Salem proper from. As a bonus, we did not get haunted by any ghosts while there.

We spent a few days in Salem as a crew of the three usuals (Jake, Lucy, and me) employing our usual methods of experiencing a new area: running, eating, drinking beer, and walking about.

Emily, Jake’s youngest sister came to visit a few days into our time in Salem, flying into Boston. This provided us a nudge to spend a day walking around Boston.

Boston has an Eataly, and Jake and I really love an Eataly. It’s a sort of obnoxious Italian specialty grocery and eatery with locations across the world, and a few in the U.S. We enjoyed Eataly in Chicago and can now also say we enjoyed it in Boston. Sometimes the whole knowing what you’re walking into is a nice feeling. We popped into Eataly while picking up Emily from the airport – and after we dropped her off there again too.

The rest of our Boston Sunday was spent walking around with Emily pretty aimlessly and looking at stuff. This is definitely my favorite way to enjoy a place.

Most of Emily’s stay happened on weekdays (aka – workdays) which made it a bit trickier to enjoy our time together than we would have preferred, but Jake was able to take a day off from work to spend with her, and we snuck a few hours of Salem time in on other days too. Jake and Emily walked a ‘ghost’ tour, which apparently was actually a walking history tour and it sounded cool. The three of us spent an afternoon walking through Salem, snagging hotdogs (Boston Hotdog Company), and sitting through a reenactment of a witch trial at the Salem Witch Dungeon, which I found less cheesy than I had anticipated.

Salem is home to what is claimed to be America’s oldest candy company, and it was better than I expected because #1: they make and sell molasses sticks which are delightful, and #2: they sell the most reasonably priced good bulk fancy chocolates I have ever bought.

We also stumbled into Jean Louis Pasta, which is a cluttered little pasta shop not far down from the candy shop. It features an initially gruff, but quickly friendly Frenchman making and selling pasta in a storefront with a lingering smell of cigar smoke. His pasta is delicious and he is delightful. After providing us details on how to cook his pasta, Jean Louis gave us a pretty long lesson on the integrity of different kinds of butter. I have been educated in the fact that French butter is the best butter and Irish butter is also good, but American butter is grimacing-sad-face. We cooked up his lobster ravioli a few days later, slathered them in Irish butter (Jean Louis insisted olive oil was the way, but I just couldn’t do it), and cursed ourselves after all the ravioli had disappeared that we didn’t buy several more ziplock bags of them.

I consider Salem a day trip town. You could do much of what there is to do in a day, or maybe a weekend if you want to take your time or are super witchy. The city has tons of history, being old and such. I enjoyed the lingering landmarks of yesteryear that seemed to pop-up willy nilly as we explored the area.

Like the concrete slide that hides out at Pickering Point. It appears modern-day Salem residents still enjoy this outdated ‘fun’ (add-burning?) contraption, based on the slew of cardboard box sides littering the base of it.

Or, like Salem Willows, which is a quaint city park that features a small beach, a moored marina, food stalls, an arcade, and few tiny tike rides. The arcade features both modern like DanceDance Revolution (okay, maybe not so modern), and bygone attractions – like the Fun Chicken! My dad was always into sharing his childhood memories and joys with me, and he introduced me to the Fun Chicken machine early in my youth at Enchanted Forest Water Safari (where the fun never stops!) during summer trips to that amusement park (it’s back in the Adirondacks of NY). Salem Willows also has the Fun Chicken machine! I procured a fine blue plastic bracelet with a quarter and a dream, and am proudly sporting my egg treasure as I type this.