AAA Travel Tips / Boston Off the Beaten Path

Boston Off the Beaten Path

Courtesy of Destination Salem
By AAA Travel Editor Patricia Miller
July 10, 2018
The specter of the 1692 witchcraft trials still looms over Salem, Mass., and you’ll want to investigate some related attractions, but not everything here is about the village’s somber history. There are more lighthearted things to see and do, including amazing museums, charming shopping areas and divine restaurants. Head north to this entrancing little town and see if you don’t fall under its spell.
Bewitched Statue in Salem Massachusetts
flickr/Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
Bewitched Statue
235 Essex St.
Salem, Mass.
Pose for a selfie with a statue of TV witch Samantha Stephens from the show “Bewitched,” which aired 1964-72. Perched perkily on a crescent moon with her broomstick, Sam is cast in bronze and lives in Lappin Park. It’s as if her misbehaving mother Endora had cast a spell and frozen her for eternity, although she can no longer twitch her nose to make magic.
Exterior photo of the House of Seven Gables in Salem Massachusetts
Courtesy of Destination Salem
The House of the Seven Gables
115 Derby St.
Salem, Massachusetts
(978) 744-0991
At first glance, you may not think that the drab gray house with seven peaks could have inspired the fascinating stories of Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of the 1851 Gothic novel “The House of the Seven Gables,” but step inside this AAA GEM® attraction for a 45-minute tour given by costumed guides and you’ll be convinced otherwise. Period furnishings, seaside gardens and a secret stairway add to the mysterious aura of the storied house and provide insight into the lifestyle of its residents in 17th- and 18th-century Salem.
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East India Marine Hall at the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts
Peabody Essex Museum
Peabody Essex Museum
161 Essex St.
Salem, Massachusetts
(978) 745-9500
This stunning art museum, a AAA GEM® attraction, is home to a remarkable collection of more than 1.8 million art objects, including an extensive maritime art collection that attests to Salem’s shipping history. Its 30 galleries boast a wealth of African, American, Asian and Native American art as well as portraits, furniture and costumes. Attempt to see it all, but don’t miss the Yin Yu Tang merchant's house from the late Qing Dynasty; it was brought over from China and reconstructed on site.
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oysters, lemon
Where to Eat in Salem
Salem, Massachusetts
No toadstools or witches brew here, but seafood? That’s a different story. If chowing down on ocean fare puts a smile on your face, head to Turner's Seafood at Lyceum Hall, a casual eatery with its very own fish market. Been there, done that? Don’t miss Finz Seafood & Grill, where you can see the marina from just about any table. Oysters and clams from the raw bar are so fresh you’ll want to slap them.
sign at Salem Witch Museum in Salem Massachusetts
AAA/Patricia Miller
Salem Witch Museum
19 1/2 Washington Sq. N.
Salem, Massachusetts
(978) 744-1692
If you can only go to one witch-oriented attraction in Salem, choose the Salem Witch Museum. Using mannequins dressed in 17th-century attire to illustrate its story, it offers a slightly creepy yet historically accurate presentation about the beginnings of witchcraft accusations and how they developed into the tragic, groundless deaths of 20 innocent citizens.
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candles in OMEN: Psychic Parlor and Witchcraft Emporium
AAA/Patricia Miller
Where to Shop in Salem
Salem, Massachusetts
Roam the brick-covered streets of the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall, lined with one-of-a-kind boutiques. OMEN: Psychic Parlor and Witchcraft Emporium will fulfill your desire for witchy wares like pointed black hats, crystals, magic potions and candles that you can use for healing or house blessings. Pop into Pamplemousse (it’s French for grapefruit) and pick up delightful kitchen gadgets, funky gifts, gourmet foods and fine wine. Just off Essex Street is Modern Millie, an adorable boutique overflowing with candy-colored original and reproduction vintage clothing, including dresses similar to those that Samantha Stephens wore.