Hey EC friends, I thought for a blog post this week I’d write up some suggestions for getting outside of Boston and exploring other parts of Massachusetts! Seeing this state from a perspective other than Boston is a great way to learn more about American history and culture, and to experience some new things.
My best recommendation is to go see Salem. Salem is a small town on the north shore of Massachusetts, known for being one of the first American cities and for its history of witch trials in the 1600-1700s. Present day, Salem is a nice community with a large array of arts and cultural events, and sits right on the oceanfront. Beautiful and easy to get to (it is 40 minutes from Boston’s North Station by Commuter Rail), Salem is the perfect spot for a weekend or day trip.
If you go up to Salem for the day, make sure to take in all the most important sights- walk along Essex street in the center of town, take a ghost tour and learn about Salem’s history of witchcraft and supernatural folklore, visit the world famous Peabody Essex Museum to see a diverse art collection (including an ancient Chinese house taken apart and reassembled here in America!), and of course walk out on the wharf in Salem’s bay to see the lighthouse and oceanfront. While you are there, make sure to try some of the restaurants, Salem has wonderful food options from Red’s Sandwhich shop (my favorite place for breakfast) to the Old Spot (best burger on the northshore) or Howling Wolf which serves excellent Mexican food.
If you are more interested in going for the weekend, check out the Hawthorne Hotel right in downtown Salem which provides free bicycle rentals with an ID, or think about camping at Winter Island campground. There is a local movie theater, CinemaSalem, with great popcorn and a special screening room that shows independent documentaries and is always worth catching.
Beware of Salem in October—the costumes are scary and the crowds are worse, so go with a buddy and don’t get lost!