Mando and I had plans in Boston to attend a conference, so we decided to make a mini-trip out of it. We flew in a day early in order to have more time to explore.
We began our adventure in Salem, Massachusetts--the small coastal town where the infamous witch trials were held in the 17th century. This place has been on my bucket list since before I can remember, and I was so excited to finally check it out!
We reserved a room for the night at the allegedly haunted, historic Hawthorne Hotel. It was a beautiful hotel, with lots of character, and elevators padded in a decadent, dark fabric, reminiscent of a coffin. To add to the elegant creepiness, we were assigned room 606 (if it was 666, we were finding another hotel), just doors away from the “haunted” suite 612. As I lay in bed that night, in the pitch black darkness, I took a few photos with the flash to see if I could catch any orbs. Unfortunately, the pictures were crystal clear...maybe next time.
After a half-day of traveling, we were famished—so, bags squared away; we set off to find some local cuisine. Perfectly situated cattycorner from the Hawthorne was the Olde Main Street Pub. As we stepped inside, we took in the dark wood seats, old world bar, and I could easily imagine myself holed up there on a cool, fall day enjoying a crisp cider. I ordered a roasted vegetable sandwich, which was served on a gluten-free savory waffle....yah, that waffle was NOT good. However, Mando ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and a cider that she really enjoyed (I only assume this because she was making yummy sounds every other bite).
After lunch, we walked down the partially cobbled Essex Street, stopping to check out the many witch and magic shops along the way. We discovered Salem’s Vintage Photography, a vintage photo shop that artfully photographed us dressed up as cackling witches (similar to the old time saloon photos you can get in many tourist locations). The entire experience was probably more fun than it should have been for a couple of grown adult women...
As we ventured deeper into Salem, we set our sites on the Witch House, which is reportedly the only building remaining in Salem with direct ties to the witch trials. The house itself is simply constructed with lead glass windows and bare walls befitting its Puritanical owners. The museum and staff at the Witch House do a wonderful job of explaining the significance of Judge Jonathan Corwin, who was a judge presiding over the trials, and educating tourists on what life was like in the 1600’s.
Next on our Salem walking tour was the Old Burying Point Cemetery off of Charter Street, the oldest cemetery in Salem, established in 1637, where witch trial judges Jonathan Corwin and John Hawthorne are buried along with Richard Moore, a passenger on the original Mayflower voyage. Adjacent to the cemetery is the Witch Trials Memorial, a thoughtful and thought-provoking monument dedicated to the 20 executed victims. This site is definitely worth a visit!
As we neared the harbor, we stopped at Magika, another witchcraft store, where we each got our tarot cards read. I normally wouldn't partake in this sort of activity, but when in Salem...
After a delicious dinner at Finz, we speed-walked back to Essex Street to meet up with our Bewitched After Dark tour. From our internet research, it was highly recommended, and for good reason! It was essentially a 2-hour historical walking tour around the city, stopping at the different places significant to the witch trials. This tour was very well done, the guide was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining, and I learned a lot more about the witch trials that I didn't know before.
During the tour, our guide mentioned some good spots to get a bite and Red’s Sandwich Shop and Murphy's Restaurant & Pub were top of our list to try. What's really cool about Murphy’s is that it is directly next to the cemetery, but on lower ground (once underwater), so one of the building's walls is a stone wall with bodies from the cemetery directly on the other side. Supposedly a casket broke through the wall at one point...how would you like to see that while eating your lunch?
The next morning we stopped at Red's Sandwich Shop for breakfast, prior to our departure for Boston. This place was recommended to us by several people, so we had to check it out! The food was bomb.com and the portions were HUGE. Mando got the lobster eggs benedict (more yummy sounds were made), while I opted for the French toast. I couldn't decide between the three different types of French toast they offered, so the waitress kindly brought me a slice of each!
More to come on our time in Boston!