Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween in Salem - It's Like no other!

Halloween weekend is upon us! It is, in Salem, the most magical time of the year. The weather forecast is stupendous - we feared rain a week ago, and now it looks like it is going to be 70 and lovely for the next couple of days.

If you are planning to come to Salem for Halloween weekend, I want to draw your attention to Salem's Public Safety Advisory, which urges revelers to bring their common sense to Salem this year. In short, that means:
  • Use public transportation,
  • Get here in time to enjoy yourself and be ready to depart at 11:00 PM,
  • Leave the weapons (real and fake) at home, and
  • Refrain from public consumption of alcohol.
We had word of a few cancellations at accommodations in Salem on Thursday. If you are at home wishing for a room to open up - try The Stepping Stone Inn, Hawthorne Hotel, and Clipper Ship Inn. As of Thursday afternoon, they each had one room available.

Salem received some great coverage on The Today Show this week! Check out correspondent Sara Haines searching for the perfect costume in the first segment, and Sara exploring Salem's historic and haunted sites in the second segment.

Here's a quick list of things to do on Friday, October 30th, in Salem, MA. Visit for the complete list of weekend events, as well as directions, parking, and road closure information. (Hint: the resident tab is full of lots of useful info!)
  • Carnival on Derby Street - Open until 10pm Friday and Saturday night.
  • Chilling Tales celebrating Edgar Allan Poe in the Bonded Warehouse behind the Custom House at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.
  • Eerie Evenings at the Witch House, 310 Essex Street, features costumed actors, startling stories and authentic settings. 978-744-8815 or
  • Count Orlok's presents the Original Michael Myers from 12-4pm, 285 Derby Street, Tony Moran who was the original Michael Myers in "Halloween" will be signing autographs
  • Bewitched in Salem, 180 Essex Street, will be hosting John Goff signing his new book, The Witch House, from 3-5pm.
  • Spirits of the Gables and Legacy of the Hanging Judge at The House of the Seven Gables, 54 Turner Street, witness literature and history come to life in two of Salem's most historic homes. 7:15-11:00pm. or 978-744-0991 ex. 104 Reservations Strongly Recommended.
  • The Official Salem Witches' Halloween Ball at the Hawthorne Hotel, 7:30 PM-12:30 AM, Join the Salem Witches with guests Fiona Horne, Wendy Rule, and Dragon Ritual Drummers for the event AOL rates among America's top Halloween parties! 800.595.4TIX or 18+
In addition to all of the above listed special events, all of Salem's tours, attractions, and activities will be open late. You can be inspired to explore on our online visitor guide!

We are expecting quite a few people to visit Salem this weekend, so please plan extra time for parking and traffic, and if you can take public transportation... do! The MBTA has added extra trains and The Salem Ferry has added extra ferry service. If you are driving in, here's the City of Salem's map of parking lots and garages. There will also be many private lots (churches, gas stations, businesses) who will be charging for parking. Plan to pay $15 - $25 cash for parking for the day.

This post was inspired by all of the calls we have received at Destination Salem this week. I hope I've answered some of your most pressing questions.

Travel safely, and Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tall Ship Repairs - Free Lecture on Thursday, November 4

As all of FRIENDSHIP's many friends are aware, Salem's Tall Ship has been in Maine for the last six months. A trip to the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard for routine maintenance turned into a much bigger project than anticipated.

Join the National Park Service at 7 p.m., on November 4, at St. Joseph Hall, 160 Derby St., Salem, to see slides and hear stories about the ongoing work. We'll also get an update on the certification process as well as a sneak preview of FRIENDSHIP's schedule for 2010.

This free lecture is sponsored jointly by FAME and by the National Park Service. Refreshments are served. The Hall is handicapped accessible. For more information, call 978-729-7600 or 978-740-1660.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Treasures Over Time - Special on Witch Balls and Holders

Treasures Over Time is offering a special on their hand blown Witch Balls and their ornamental ornament holders.

There are two ways to save!

1) Purchase one of their colorful hand blown glass Witch Balls and save 10%, or

2) Purchase a combination Witch Ball and a Decorative Ornament holder for the Witch Ball and get 20% off!

All you have to do is mention Destination Salem and you will save, save, save!

Witch Balls are one of the most popular gifts / souvenirs in Salem. They are hand blown glass globes that ward off evil spells and misfortune when hung in your window. And they are lovely to look at!

Treasures Over Time is a fantastic store that sells not only Witch Balls, but jewelry, gifts, housewares, are artwork from the mineral kingdom. Their jewelry and housewares fit the bill for everything from hostess gifts
to engagement rings, and everything in between.

Nes and Sivan Sergott are extremely knowledgeable and helpful if you have any questions about gems and minerals.

Treasures Over Time is located at 139 Washington Street in Salem. Stop by and check it out, and if you buy a Witch Ball, make sure to tell them Destination Salem sent you!

For more information on Treasures Over Time, visit their web site at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Notable Literary Events / Book Signings this Weekend

Katherine Howe and
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
at The Witch House, Saturday, October 24th
3:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Topping local and national bestseller lists, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (Voice, June 2009, ISBN 978-1401340902, $25.99) is the hot book of the season! Local author Hall brings the witch trials to life in a whole new way in the tale of a grad student unraveling family secrets in Salem and Marblehead. Finding a key and a scrap of paper reading only "Deliverance Dane while readying her grandmother's house for sale, Connie Goodwin begins a search for answers that leads her toward a mysterious book and important revelations about her family and the Salem witch trials. Meet Katherine Howe at the house of Judge Jonathan Corwin, local magistrate serving as judge during the witch trials of 1692, 310 1/2 Essex Street, Salem, MA, 978-744-8815.

Kathleen Kent and
The Heretic's Daughter

at Cornerstone Books, Sunday October 25th
1:00 PM

The Heretic's Daughter (Pan Books, September 2009, ISBN 978-0316024495, $13.99) is a beautifully written novel that tells the story of Kent's ancestor Martha Carrier, who was hung as a witch in Salem. Set in Andover and Salem and based on true fact and family lore, The Heretic's Daughter is a novel as much about the strength of family and the complex relationship between mothers and daughters as it is an account of the Salem witchcraft trials. This thoroughly researched book is an excellent portrait of Puritan life, and puts a truly human face on one of American history's most shameful episodes. Reading and talk followed by Q&A and book signing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Today Show Films in Salem

Salem was thrilled to host NBC's Today Show Correspondent Sara Haines and her producers, Josh Weiner and Susan Tahsler, on Saturday. They were filming for a segment that will air during the week before Halloween (don't worry, I'll let you know when).

The crew was visiting, exploring, and touring in Salem all day on Saturday. I caught up with them in the afternoon when Sara judged the decorated pumpkin contest at Pickering Wharf.

Here, Sara is with the winner of the 2-3 year old division, who was a real scene-stealer.

Sara, Josh, and Susan had been costume shopping and they were going to a costume party at Rockafellas on Saturday night. The girls at Rouge Cosmetics glammed Sara and Susan up for the party -

The crowd, and Open Bar Band, went crazy for Sara and Today Show hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, with masks sent up from the Today Show for the occasion.

I hope Sara, Josh, and Susan had as much fun as Salem did on Saturday. We can't wait to see the segment!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Valérie Belin: Made Up at the Peabody Essex Museum from October 17, 2009 through January 18, 2010

French photographer Valérie Belin’s first one-person show in the United States opens today at the Peabody Essex Museum. Belin is an artist as famous for the unsettling qualities of her floor-to-ceiling photographs as she is for her provocative subjects. Well-recognized in the past for her portrait series of Michael Jackson impersonators, body builders, lapdogs and showgirls, Belin delves deep into a subject of fascination compelling viewers to probe the sublime quality of even the most familiar things.

Valérie Belin: Made Up presents 20 exquisitely-printed, larger-than-life images exploring a photographer’s ability to manipulate perception of artificiality and reality. From shimmering black and white portraits of mannequins and models, ballroom dancers and bags of chips, to richly-colored and unexpected still lifes, all have their place in Belin’s studio and in PEM’s galleries. Referencing French philosophical traditions, Belin continually challenges her viewers to consider what is real, what is artificial — and whether knowing the difference matters after all.

Among Belin’s most recent shows was a joint exhibition with Édouard Manet at the legendary Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Belin’s 2007 mid-career retrospective was received with enormous popular and critical praise across Europe — she is rapidly becoming a leader in the world of photography.

Parking for Cinema Salem this weekend...

This just in from our friends at Cinema Salem:

With the opening of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE today, several people are inquiring about how to park for the movie theater over the next three weekends without getting stuck with a $20 fee. Here's how. >1. Go to the Church Street parking lot (the one across from our marquee and near the Lyceum).

2. If the weather is bad, there will be no $20 prepay fee, so just grab a ticket and pay the relatively reasonable rate.

3. If the weather is good, you'll need to pay the $20 prepayment, so go ahead -- but you'll get it back!

4. Come to CinemaSalem and purchase your ticket, and KEEP YOUR STUB. Enjoy the movie of your choice.

5. Go back to the Church Street lot and show your CinemaSalem ticket stub to the attendant, and you will receive a full refund on the $20 prepayment.

6. Thanks to the City of Salem for arranging this free parking for our patrons.

7. A review of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: "Profoundly beautiful and affecting, Where the Wild Things Are is a breath-taking act of artistic transubstantiation." Time Magazine

8. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (PG) will screen Friday at (4:30), 6:45 and 8:50; Saturday at (12:00), (2:15), (4:30), 6:45 and 8:50; Sunday at (12:00), (2:15), (4:30) and 6:45; and Monday-Thursday at (4:30) and 6:45.

9. Another review: "I can't speak for the kids, but I would rate Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's 40-page children's picture book up there with Up and Wall·E as topping the recent renaissance in children's movies." Boston Phoenix

10. Thanks for supporting CinemaSalem!

The Cafe at the House of the Seven Gables is Open... again!

The Gables is pleased to announce the grand opening of The Café at The House of the Seven Gables located in the Visitor Center in the historic Rose Tea Room (1910).

The café is operated by William Laganas, a restaurateur and caterer with over 20 years of experience and Mike Tracy who brings years of experience from the Boston Convention Center. Mr. Laganas’ primary business is Lynn Meatland, a butcher shop and market with a full service kitchen offering lunch and dinner daily as well as catering. “My vision is to make The Café at The House of the Seven Gables a destination for both visitors and locals alike”, says Mr. Laganas, “What better place to sit and enjoy lunch then the beautiful gardens and waterfront?”

A café has been on-site at The House of the Seven Gables since the 1920’s when Caroline Emmerton opened her tearoom and offered tea, finger sandwiches and pastries to museum visitors. Today visitors are treated to a more diverse menu ranging from hot dogs & hamburgers to gourmet salads, soups, wraps and grilled Panini sandwiches. In an effort to remain affordable to families working within a travel budget, all sandwiches and salads range in price between $5.50 and $7.75. The café also offers box lunch options at competitive pricing to group tours visiting the museum.

“We are very excited to have the café re-open," says Amy Waywell, Director of Visitor Services, “Not only is it a terrific amenity to our guests, but we hope it will encourage our neighbors to come in for lunch and enjoy our beautiful grounds.”

The café is open during the museum’s regular business hours and open until 11pm Friday and Saturday nights during October for the Spirits of the Gables and Legacy of the Hanging Judge programs. For more information about The Café at The House of the Seven Gables or to see a menu, please visit our website at

Friday, October 9, 2009

"The Weir" will be performed at Salem State College

The award-winning theatre department of Salem State College presents the modern Irish classic, The Weir, opening in the Callan Studio Theatre, October 15 and directed by department chairperson Bill Cunningham.

The lyrical and poignant drama showcases five characters who take to storytelling in an Irish pub, revealing through laughter and truths a shared loneliness, a touch of the supernatural and a fair share of ghost stories, with belief in redemption and immortality. Says Director Bill Cunningham: “This play has reality, faith, and humor. Ultimately, it’s about the triumph over the fear of isolation.” The Weir won the 1999 Olivier Award for "Best New Play"; The Outer Critics Circle Award for "Best Play" on Broadway, and McPherson won the 1997 Evening Standard Drama Award for "Most Promising Playwright" for writing the play.

The Weir, by Conor McPherson, runs October 15-17, 22-24 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, October 25, 2 pm. Advance ticket sales strongly recommended. $15 general/$10 students and seniors, free with Salem State student ID. 978-542-7890 or

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The West India Goods Store

There are hidden gems, and then there are hidden gems. This one isn't hidden at all, but it is petite, and it is a gem.

Locals shop here, so you know it's good.

The West India Goods Store was built in 1800 as a retail shop for Henry Prince, who was then living in the house next door. Today, it is a retail shop once again, operated by the NPS partner Eastern National. It caries coffees and teas and spices, glassware, redware, games for young and old, and gifts that celebrate Salem and the sea.

I love the spices and the coffee, myself. And the glassware makes great gifts.

You can take a virtual tour on the Salem Maritime National Historic Site's website at

Stepping into the West India Goods Store does feel a bit like stepping into another era. You really get a sense of the goods that were bought and sold at the end of Salem's wharves during the seaport's glorious maritime age. And, despite the store's name, the inventory at the West India Goods Store is from around the world.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Free Ferry Day on Thursday!

Today's blog post comes to you from Boston's Best Cruises:


It’s Missy from Boston’s Best Cruises, letting you know that we are offering a Free Ferry Day on the Salem Ferry Thursday, October 8, 2009!

Enjoy the Fall Foliage while our Fast Ferry whisks you between Boston and Salem in less than an hour. Amenities like our climate-controlled cabin, restroom, and full concession bar leave little to compare to driving or taking the train.

Tickets for scheduled service will be available at the Ticket Kiosks in Boston (at Long Wharf North, behind Tia’s Restaurant), and in Salem (10 Blaney Street, Salem). We suggest that Guests arrive at least 30 minutes prior to their preferred departure time. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Guests can continue the $avings with our Cruise & Play program (In Salem and Boston)! With over 50 of the best restaurants, shops, and attractions in Boston offering discounts from 10%-20, the savings are yours when you show your Ferry ticket! Most are within walking distance from either dock.

Visit for schedule information.

Bostons Best Cruises – more than just a boat ride!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Pictures of a Bewitching Seaport

I was out delivering posters to the attractions that are participating in tonight's Mayor's Night Out, and I took some pictures around town. Evidence that Haunted Happenings is here to stay - at least for the next 30 days!

These pumpkins and RIP stones can be found outside The Witches Cottage on Lynde Street.

The Witch House on Essex Street is the only building in Salem that has direct ties to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Judge Corwin lived here.

My camera did not do justice to all of the people who were hanging out, picnicking, and exploring Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site today. Derby Light (you can see it - way off in the background) is a great 1/2 mile walk out, just remember you have to walk the 1/2 mile back once you get there and take your picture!

Italian Sausage and fried dough stands are here! These are on the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall. There are others on Salem Common.

The Morning Glory B&B on Turner Street is beautifully decorated for fall!

For a complete list of things to do in Salem in October, visit

Last Minute Cancellations!

There have been some last minute cancellations at Salem's Inns, B&Bs, and hotels, so if you are looking for rooms this weekend - don't give up yet. The Salem Inn, Coach House Inn, Henry Derby House, Stepping Stone Inn, and Hawthorne Hotel each have one or more rooms available this weekend.

Come celebrate the first weekend of Salem Haunted Happenings! The Peabody Essex Museum will have their Fantastical Creatures program on Saturday and Sunday, the trolleys are running, the attractions are waiting to share our history (and haunts!), and the restaurants don't have 60-minute waits for a table... yet.

Fall foliage is beginning. It's a great weekend to discover the magic of Salem!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mayor's Night Out on Friday

Salem Haunted Happenings kicks off with local style each year. The parade on the first Thursday in October includes thousands of Salem children - from preschool to college aged - and their parents in costume. And the first Friday of Salem Haunted Happenings is Mayor's Night Out.

Come trick-or-treating with Mayor Driscoll at 5:30 PM! The Mayor will lead the charge as kids trick-or-treat at the stores along the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall neighborhood. This event is open to all children and lasts until the candy runs out (usually about 6:30 PM). Head to one of the local eateries to balance out your sugar rush... the Lobster Shanty and Gulu Gulu Cafe are all in the neighborhood.

Salem residents are invited to enjoy Salem's attractions on Friday afternoon for free - a number of attractions and museums are providing free or discounted admission with proof of Salem residency. Visit for the list of participating businesses.

If you need more to do - Salem Trolley is running its Ghosts & Legends Tour on Friday night, and CityView Trolley's Tales & Tombstones Trolley runs at 7pm and 9pm. Take a haunted ride through Salem. (Insert ghostly (((wah-hah-hah))) laugh here.)

Finally - we do have accommodations available for October! If you're on the fence, take advantage of the cancellations that give us this last minute availability...
In Marblehead, just a 5-10 minute drive from Salem, you'll find accommodations at:
For additional regional options, visit the accommodations page at!

Discover the magic of Salem Haunted Happenings!

Fundraising Event at Sixty2 on Wharf

Sixty2 on Wharf is holding a fundraising event on Monday, October 12, called "Maiti Nepal."

The event will include an auction, raffle and a documentary that explains how Nepali women and children are mistreated, and what we can do about it. Sixty2 on Wharf will serve hors d'ouevres.

Maiti Nepal (translation, "Mother's house") is a Nepali-run organization that combats the trafficking of women and girls from Nepal to India for prostitution - from education and awareness programs in rural areas, to raids within the Indian brothels to rescue the girls.

Cost to attend the screening and fund raiser event is $20 with pre-registration; $25 at the door, and includes hors d' oeuvres served by Sixty2 on Wharf ( To register, call Sixty2 on Wharf, 978-744-0062.