DescriptionSalem was capital of the Massachusetts Bay Colony from its founding 1626-30. During the witchcraft trials in 1692 the accusations of a group of children and women in Salem Village (now Danvers) caused 19 people to be hanged and one to be pressed to death with stones.
By the end of the 18th century Salem was a prosperous shipping center. Ships from this port brought back rare and costly cargoes from around the world. Many handsome old houses are reminiscent of those seafaring days. The Friendship, a full-size replica of a 1797 East Indian merchant ship, is at Central Wharf across from the Custom House on Derby Street. Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote “The Scarlet Letter,” was born in Salem in 1804. His birthplace may be viewed at The House of the Seven Gables.
Misery Islands can be reached only via private boat. Winter Island Park, with views of Fort Pickering Lighthouse, has sandy beaches and walking trails. Offering a 55-minute cruise to nearby Boston is the seasonal Salem Ferry operated by Boston Harbor Cruises, which docks off Blaney Street. Reservations to sail aboard the 92-foot catamaran are recommended; phone (877) 733-9425.
A free 27-minute orientation film detailing the history of Salem and Essex County is presented at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem. During the month of October, the city embraces its shadowy past with Haunted Happenings. The event features everything from spooky parades and psychic fairs to outlandish costume balls and creepy haunted houses.
Visitor InfoDestination Salem 81 Washington St. SALEM, MA 01970. Phone:(978)741-3252 or (877)725-3662
Self-guiding toursMaps outlining walking tours are available at the National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem at 2 New Liberty St.
ShoppingPickering Wharf, on the harborside, houses shops and restaurants in the character of 18th-century wharfside Salem. Other popular spots for shopping and dining are Front Street, Derby Street and the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall.
Things to SeeCharter Street Burying Point