Friday, May 30, 2008

Caddies on the Common

Here's a photo opp for classic car enthusiasts - On Sunday, June 1st, the national Cadillac & LaSalle Club will kick off a drive through the North Shore in Salem. The tour will begin at 9:00 AM when approximately eight classic Cadillac cars from the 1930s through the 1970s will be parked around Salem Common. The car owners owners are going to tour the Salem WitchMuseum before heading off on a 33-mile, all-day drive through the north of Boston region.

The tour, which was developed by Salem Witch Museum CEO Biff Michaud, is going to be made available through Destination Salem and the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau for other car clubs or leisure travelers looking for a perfect Sunday drive (good any day of the week, of course!).

What a a great way to spend a Sunday morning! Come to Salem, have a hearty breakfast at Reds or Caffe Graziani, check out the classic Cadillacs over by the Common, and then head off to explore Salem for the morning or the day.

If you go, take pictures and send them to I just might post them on the blog!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Last Chance for Origami

I have to blog about the PEM's origami exhibit because the grasshopper is so darn cute. Before I tell you more about the exhibit, which includes interactive folding stations, I must warn you that creating an origami creation as intricate as our little green friend to the left is probably not a talent you will gain from the exhibit.

Here's the scoop: Origami Now! has been one of the most popular exhibitions at the Peabody Essex Museum, and it will close on Sunday, June 8, 2008. The exhibit, which opened last June, has drawn more than 100,000 visitors to see its more than 60 works, created by 24 of the world's foremost contemporary origami artists. Origami Now! includes animals, insects and flowers, plus portraits and abstract forms. The exhibition reveals the diversity of techniques and interpretations in contemporary origami.

The exhibit is in the PEM's Art & Nature Center, is appealing for all ages and is especially fun for families. Learn more at the exhibition's Web site,, where you will find a step-by-step video guide to folding seven origami designs.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Favorite Cemetery

Here is another photo submission of a "favorite spot" in Salem. This is the Howard Street cemetery, submitted by Ron Martin. In the back of the cemetery is the Old Salem Jail, which is not used today (rumors abound that it will soon be a restaurant - stay tuned). Thanks for your submission, Ron!

If you are interested in exploring Salem's supernatural history through its cemeteries, there are a few options. Salem Historical Tours offers Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tours, and is home of SPIRIT (Salem Paranormal Independent Research Initiative Team). Spellbound Tours offers Vampire & Ghost Hunt tours led by Licensed Ghost Hunter Mollie Stewart.
There are a lot of things that go "bump" in the night in Salem. These two tour companies may help you find them!
If you have a favorite spot in Salem, email a .jpg photo to me at I'd love to know where you find the magic in Salem!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Ride the Ferry!

I love this time of year because it seems like every week there is something fantastic starting its new season. The weather is getting warmer (well, it's not warm today, but it will be beautiful this weekend), and there are lots of people visiting and exploring Salem.

Today I say, "Hooray for The Salem Ferry!" It is the best ride between Salem and Boston (the train is a close second, of course, but it's tough to compete with open water, coastal views, and a snack bar). Beginning Friday, May 23, the Nathaniel Bowditch is a high-speed catamaran that will carry you between Blaney Street Pier in Salem and Central Wharf in Boston in 45 minutes. Blaney Street is two blocks east of The House of the Seven Gables, and Central Wharf is adjacent to the New England Aquarium in Boston. More centrally located you can not be!

The Salem Ferry has a special spring fare of $9.00 per ticket until June 10, and there are cruise-and-dine promotions with Boston and Salem restaurants. For more information, visit

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Great Night Out

I love this - Cinema Salem is offering an Economic Recovery Special of $6 for films before 6pm. If you cut out the circular decal and present it when you purchase your tickets, you'll get a free Cinema Salem bumper sticker!

(And, in truth, you'll get the special and the free bumper sticker without the circular decal, so if you want to save the paper, that's okay, too...)

I think Cinema Salem is one of those "best kept secrets" in the downtown, and I know it won't be for long because they have delicious popcorn, and they get the latest films, and they have $6 movies before 6pm. These things are a recipe for great success and popularity.

Harrison Ford doesn't hurt, either.

Plan your night out in Salem now - have dinner (Thai, Japanese, and Pizza are a stone's throw from the theater... walk slightly further for American, Italian, seafood, Indian), see the movie, and then rehash the best and worst scenes over cocktails and desserts at another restaurant (Rockafellas, Finz, and Capt.'s are all very good for this end-of-night respite). Now that's a date.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some of your favorite spots

Thanks for the photo submissions! It's great to hear about what people cherish most about Salem - whether it is the views of the water, the open space, the historic cemeteries, the architecture. You all have great, unique perspectives. Thank you for sharing!

Here is a favorite spot sent it by Cuyle Carvin in New York. I think Salem Willows is a favorite spot for many, many people.
If you have a photo of a favorite spot in Salem, send it to me! Email it to

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What's your favorite spot in Salem?

This picture was taken from the roof of the Museum Place Garage. The garage is, in addition to the most practical and centrally located place to park in town, my favorite spot for gazing down on the Salem Visitor Center, Essex Street, Liberty Street, the Trolleys passing by, visitors wandering into the Peabody Essex Museum, and impromptu picnics happening in Armory Park. You can see the masts of the Friendship, the unique roof line of the PEM, the top of the Salem Witch Museum. It's a peaceful spot to get a new perspective on Salem.

What's your favorite spot in Salem? Send a picture to and I just may post it on this blog!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spring in Salem Fashion Show

Today, Saturday, May 17, at 12:00 pm Signatures and the Peabody Essex Museum present the Spring in Salem Fashion Show at Old Town Hall in Salem. The show will feature fashion from the Peabody Essex Museum Shop and Signatures, an "Art in Bloom" inspired exhibit by the Salem Garden Club, and much more. Refreshments will be served starting at noon and the fashion show will start at 1 pm. Price: $5; Age Suitability: 21 and up.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Salem Main Streets and the Salem Garden Club. Following the show, receive a 20% off discount on all spring clothing at Signatures and the Peabody Essex Museum Shop. Seating is limited. R.S.V.P. by calling Signatures at (978) 825-0015.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Location, Location, Location

Isn't it hard to choose a place to stay from far away? So many questions, so many options... I am hoping to help you make informed decisions by highlighting some of Salem's historic, comfortable, unique inns with short (very short) video spotlights.

Today we are at the Stepping Stone Inn. Innkeeper John Brick welcomes guests to his home, which features 8 uniquely decorated rooms. The house was built in 1846 for Naval officer Benjamin True. It features a living/sitting room, breakfast room, and private baths in the heart of downtown Salem. The Inn is adjacent to the Salem Witch Museum, across the street from Salem Common (perfect for a stroll to walk off the delicious dinner you have at one of Salem's fabulous restaurants!), and a short walk from everything you would want to do in Salem.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Two Shows at the Griffen Theatre

Salem is so lucky to have the Griffen Theatre - it is a venue for local theater companies, for local productions, for comedy, and for The Witches Cottage, which is a live stage show with thrilling, haunted stories from Salem's past.
The Griffen Theatre is pleased to present two new shows this month. The first one, The Big Show: A Staged Reading of a New Comedy, by Frank Hauser, will run this weekend - May 16 & 17 at 8pm. The Big Show takes place on the set of a late-night talk show hosted by Teddy Leeds. In addition to the challenges of making his mediocre show seem interesting, he’s dealing with the bizarre gambling habits of his driver, the increasingly explosive nature of his investments in South America and his blossoming, albeit ill-advised, romance with a mobster’s niece. And the death threats, one can’t forget about the death threats. Tickets are $12.00, general admission. Doors open at 7:30pm. Reservations: 978-825-0222, More info:

The second show looks to be an amazing opportunity for those of us who have read and studied Hawthorne - We will be able to meet Nathaniel Hawthorne in Inspired on May 23rd and 24th at 8pm. which will be an hour-long journey through the famed Salem author’s triumphant and sometimes tragic life. With wit and candor Mr. Hawthorne will discuss his influences and friends, including such notable writers as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Herman Melville. He will also speak of his deep love and extraordinary marriage to Salem’s daughter Sophia Peabody. By turns humorous and deeply touching, this performance promises to capture the heart of one of America’s most important writers.

Starring Norman Jones, who founded History Alive and directed Cry Innocent for seven years. He has been performing the role of Nathaniel Hawthorne for fifteen years. He is an associate professor of theatre at Gordon College in Wenham, MA. Doors for these performances open at 7:15pm. Tickets $15.00. Reservations: 978 825 0222.
Talk back with the Actor following the show."Norm Jones takes you beyond history and into the heart, mind, and soul of Nathaniel Hawthorne himself, a seamless performance, which merges the past into the present, bringing Hawthorne into our own time and space and allowing us to meet him firsthand." -- M. Lynda Robinson, Producing Director, West End Theater, Gloucester
Complimentary beverages will be served for both performances, which is an awfully nice touch!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Share Your Bliss

I love a good contest, and the Peabody Essex Museum is running a one right now! In celebration of their excellent new exhibit, Wedded Bliss, The Marriage of Art and Ceremony, visitors are invited to share their wedding memories.

Here's the PEM's description about the exhibit they are building with your submissions: Wedded Visions: A Video Mosaic, the exhibition's dynamic large-scale projection of changing photographs, illustrates the diversity and universality of weddings. Visitors are invited to submit their own photograph and wedding story at

Selected entries may appear in the exhibition or in an online wedding album that will accompany the show. All submissions will be eligible for the Wedded Bliss Contest, which features great prizs from the Hawthorne Hotel (who doesn't want a romantic getaway for two?!), Viva Skin Care, and The Paper Store.

To participate, submit a brief story (no more than 1 or 2 paragraphs) and/or a digital image in a .jpg file (72 dpi and no more than 500k large) to All entries must be received by May 19, 2008. Detailed contest rules are below. Visit bliss for more information.

For more info: Call 866-745-1876 or visit

Friday, May 9, 2008

Are You a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?

Plan to shop for a unique Salem shirt when you get here! It's never been a better time to remember your trip to America's Bewitching Seaport with a t-shirt that asks if you're "a good witch or a bad witch?" Or a shirt that celebrates "Girls Night Out" in Salem!
Even better - you'll find some great gifts along with the traditional souvenir t-shirt in eclectic shops like The Trolley Depot on Essex Street and Salemdipity on Pickering Wharf. And the options at Witch Tees in Museum Place far exceed shirts and hoodies that celebrate Salem - you can celebrate Boston, the Red Sox, lighthouses and more!
Whatever your size or your taste, Salem has a T for you! Have fun shopping.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Amelia Payson Hospitality

I love inns. The more historic, the better. Inns have individual style and charm, and small inns and bed & breakfasts offer not only accommodations, but the opportunity to get to know people who live in the town you are visiting. Some of the best destinations are places where people love to live, and Salem is no exception. We are particularly lucky in Salem to have wonderful B&Bs that provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in accommodations that feel like home, not a temporary stop.

The Amelia Payson House is one of these places. Innkeepers Ada and Donald Roberts have elegantly restored the Greek Revival house, which was built in 1845 by Edward and Amelia Payson. The house offers the amenities you would expect (private baths, A/C, hair dryers, cable tv), a charming living room for socializing, and breakfast served in a beautifully set dining room each morning. AND, it's a 5 minute walk from pretty much everything you'd want to do, see, eat, and buy in Salem.

The Amelia Payson house is a perfect escape for couples or friends looking for the experience of living in an historic Salem home, if only for a short time, right in the heart of Salem.

Discover the magic of hospitality in Salem!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles...

Here are some answers to some commonly asked questions - Boston Logan Airport is the closest airport. It is about 15 miles south of Salem, which translates into a 30 - 45 minute drive, depending upon your route and time of day. A taxi will cost approximately $50.

From Boston, one of the easiest ways to get to Salem is via the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) Commuter Rail. Salem is the fifth stop on the Newburyport/Rockport Line. It is an easy 30 minute trip from North Station in Boston, and once at Salem Depot, downtown Salem is just a flight of stairs away. The cost is $5.25 per ride.

In a few weeks I'll be telling you about the Salem Ferry, which begins its service on May 23. I love the train (no traffic, no navigation, no worries, economical) - but the Salem Ferry is one of the best rides around. I'm getting ahead of myself, though. For now... discover the magic of Salem by train!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Breathing Life into 1692

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692 are what historically make Salem "the witch city," and, as such, visitors have options for learning about the Trials and what happened here in 1692.

The Witch Dungeon Museum effectively brings 1692 to you through the dramatic reenactment of one of the trials, with text excerpted from the original court documents. When I saw the trial of Elizabeth Proctor, the actors did an incredible job. Even knowing the history, I was hooked by the drama and the social intricacies of the era.
The reenactment is followed by a tour of the dungeons below the church. These are recreated - but an original beam is on display. The dungeon is dank and spooky (rumor is that it may be haunted), and the size of the cells is something amazing to see. Prisoners today have it easy compared to those of the 17th century.
There is not a lot of magic to discover in the tragedies of the Salem Witch Trials, but the lessons are important and continue to be relevant today.

Friday, May 2, 2008

An Historic Hotel of Salem

Ahhhh.... The Hawthorne Hotel... it's not just a hotel, a Salem landmark. Its prominence in this bewitching city is equal to that of Salem Common, Derby Wharf, The Friendship, the Salem Witch Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, Chestnut Street, the Roger Conant statue. It is a location that people can set their compass to (I can't tell you how many times I have instructed a visitor to: "Follow Route 1A around the west side of Salem Common and turn right onto Essex Street at the Hawthorne Hotel..." Or, in the other direction, "Walk up Hawthorne Boulevard, past the statue of Nathaniel himself, and turn left onto Essex Street at the Hawthorne Hotel." Clearly I give a lot of directions to the visitor center and parking garage!). It is a place to meet, a place to stay, a place to court, to celebrate, to wine and dine. It's the real deal.
And it has a great story: The Hawthorne Hotel was built by the residents of Salem in 1925. Over one thousand people in the area purchased stock in order to create a “modern” hotel. Now, designated an “Historic Hotel of America” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Hawthorne provides every amenity a “modern” traveler could desire and continues to welcome thousands of visitors every year.
The Hawthorne Hotel has redone and relaunched its interactive, informative, and inviting web site at Explore the site, explore the hotel, and discover the magic of this historic hotel of Salem.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Passport to Discover Salem

People are always asking me for packages and combination tickets. The Discover Salem Passport is the perfect ticket for visitors who are want to experience Salem's diverse and eclectic mix of history, art, architecture, entertainment, and culture. Explore The House of Seven Gables, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Salem Witch Museum, while using the Salem Trolley (in season) to get around. With Salem only 16 miles north of Boston it is easily accessible by high speed ferry.

The Discover Salem Passport also includes a 15% discount on lunch or dinner at the Salem Beer Works, Victoria Station, or Tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel (Not valid for special events, alcoholic beverages, gratuity, or tax.)

The Discover Salem Passport is available April 1 - September 30, 2008 and is valid for three days from first date of use. It is available for purchase on line, and must be purchased in advance of your arrival in Salem.