Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Haunted Happenings is nearly here!

It all starts on Thursday! October 1st is the kick-off of the 28th annual Salem Haunted Happenings Festival. Are you ready? Can you feel it?

I can!

The corn stalks are up around town. The Haunted Happenings street banners are going up. The porta-potties are on their way. Halloween is, indeed, upon us.

I invite you to keep tabs on's sister site, We will be posting Haunted Happenings information, stories, and photos on that site throughout the month of August. Some details will certainly leak over to, but the most comprehensive information is on

You can also be a fan and a follower of Haunted Happenings on Twitter and Facebook!

The month begins with the SALEM HAUNTED HAPPENINGS GRAND PARADE, presented by the Salem Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, October 1st. The parade will step off from Shetland Properties at 6:30 PM, and it will then wind its way from Congress Street to Derby to Lafayette to Front to Washington to Essex to Hawthorne Boulevard and into the Common. (See map at right).
Thousands of Salem's kids - from preschool to college - will march in the parade, all dressed to fit the theme Night at the Museum.

Click here for street closure and parking ban information.

Click here for a parking map of downtown Salem.

For the complete calendar of events in October, visit or email us at and we would be happy to send you a printed brochure. The brochures are also available at the regional Simon malls, including North Shore Mall (Peabody), Liberty Tree Mall (Danvers), Square One Mall (Saugus), and Burlington Mall.

Happy Haunted Happenings, everyone! I hope you can join us for this festive month of fall, New England, and quintessential Salem.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Landscapes, Literature, and a Lace Reader Tour

I had the pleasure of spending the morning with a group of travel writers from Germany,Austria, and Switzerland. They are in New England researching trips inspired by Landscapes

They will experience landmarks and landscapes that influenced the literature of Hawthorne, Mellville, Thoreau, Twain, Stowe, Longfellow and Fitgerald. They started in Salem, and then will travel to Concord (Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott), Hartford, CT (Twain), New Bedford (Melville), Boston and Cambridge (Longfellow).

While in Salem the group stayed in the Hawthorne Hotel and visited The House of the Seven Gables. We took a new Lace Reader tour aboard the Salem Trolley, with a guide from the House of the Seven Gables. The tour blends Salem history and the fiction of Brunonia Barry's bestselling novel, The Lace Reader. It was a great opportunity to see how Salem has inspired American fiction throughout history.

After our contemporary literature experience, the group saw the mansion that inspired
Hawthorne's The House of the Seven
Gables, and we talked briefly aboard the
Trolley about The Custom House where Hawthorne worked prior to writing The Scarlet Letter. You can see Hawthorne's office in the Custom House on guided tours with the National Park Service.

If you have a group that is interested in The Lace Reader Tour, contact The House of the Seven Gables. The full tour is 2 1/2 hours long, and includes recorded passages read by author
Brunonia Barry.

The pictures include: our trolley tour's starting point at the Hawthorne Hotel, our tour guide,
Scott, with Pickering Light behind him, taking pictures of Salem Harbor and Pickering Light on Winter Island, and the group at the House of the Seven Gables.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stay in Salem: The Coach House Inn

When you visit Salem you have many unique choices for accommodations. You will not find a single chain hotel in historic Salem, Massachusetts. We think this is a good thing. We have unique accommodations that range from full service hotels to intimate B&Bs. And we have a number of inns and B&Bs that are converted sea captains homes.

The Coach House Inn is just such a house.

The Coach House Inn is an 1879 Victorian Mansion that is located on stately Lafayette Street between downtown Salem and Salem State College. The gardens at the Coach House are lovely, and they set the stage for the hospitality and attention to detail you will find inside.

Perfect for a girl's weekend, the Coach House Inn is located across the street from the highly-rated Andrew Michaels Spa, it is walking distance from the harbor and Forest River Park, Salem State College, and downtown Salem.
You don't have to take my word for it, read some of the "Excellent" reviews of the Coach House Inn, and innkeeper Pat Kessler, on TripAdvisor. Past guests have said: "Would definitely stay here again!” "Looking forward to a return visit!” and "Loved it and will go back!”

If you are interested in visiting the Coach House Inn, call Pat at (978) 744-4092 or visit

Make sure to follow Destination Salem on Twitter and be a fan on Facebook! I post availability at Salem's inns regularly - hoping to inspire you to plan a last-minute getaway to our bewitching seaport.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Glimpse of Friendship

We miss our tall ship! We really do, and it pains us to know that she will be away from port through October. National Park Service has been great about keeping us in the loop, and this morning park historian Emily Murphy sent me a link to pictures and information about the Friendship, which has been hauled out for work in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

The drama of the missing tall ship began in May this year, when Friendship traveled to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, for her haul-out and required US Coast Guard certification inspection. Unfortunately, during the inspection a considerable amount of rot was discovered in the ship's stem. (Like a plant, if the stem is compromised, a boat doesn't have much holding it up.) It's important to remember that Friendship is a wooden vessel, and she sits in water 24 hours a day. Rot is not unusual, and it is something that needs to be taken care of to ensure the Friendship will return and be here for many years into the future.

I suppose the difference between the original Friendship's Salem of 1797 and today's Salem is that the boatyards were all here in Salem. She would have been hauled out locally, and the local gossips and town criers would have kept us all abreast of Friendship's status. Today she is far away, and we wish her well for speedy repairs and a safe return.

You can see pictures of the ongoing work on Friendship on I've pulled two of my favorites into the blog.

I'll let you know when Friendship is scheduled to return to her berth on Derby Wharf.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mark your calendars for Iris Apfel at the PEM

I am so excited about the upcoming Iris Apfel exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum! There are some great dates to save at the bottom of the post.

If you are not a member of the PEM, it's a great time to join - then you won't miss a beat of Iris Apfel or any of the upcoming exhibits and special events.

The following is from the PEM... they wrote it so well, I'm just passing it along.

Any woman who has ever worn a pair of jeans has Iris Apfel to thank.

In the 1940s, when only lumberjacks and field hands wore blue cotton denim, a persistent young girl hounded the owner of a Wisconsin Army & Navy store until he finally ordered her a pair of boy-sized denims.

Her intent: to wear them with a turban and large hoop earrings.

Such was an early milestone in the career of a fashion visionary and muse who quite possibly launched a trend in women’s fashion — jeans — that now represents a 10 billion dollar industry yearly in the U.S. alone.

And that was just the beginning. Inspired by the music of Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and other jazz musicians, Iris Apfel was already synthesizing high and low, classical and ethnic elements in her manner of dress and aesthetic outlook. The result is a life and career of remarkable creativity and verve proving that it’s not only what you wear, but how you wear it.

Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel will be on view at the Peabody Essex Museum October 17, 2009 through February 7, 2010 featuring more than 80 dramatic ensembles from the personal collection of legendary tastemaker and style icon Iris Apfel. Known for her eclectic permutations of designer clothing and exotic baubles, Apfel has inspired bold developments in the clothing and design industries through her spirited irreverence and pitch-perfect taste.

Now in her 86th year, she continues to challenge visual culture with radical juxtapositions of far-flung influences. These spectacular and unexpected wardrobe combinations are exhibited with inventive staging and playful displays that underscore Apfel’s inexhaustible creative spirit.

“Not only does Iris Apfel possess a finely-tuned sense of personal taste, but her ability to combine diverse fashions — from haute couture to flea market finds, street style to tribal dress — is astonishing and endlessly inventive. Her use of fashion as an artistic medium is revealed in her sophisticated handling of color, line, pattern, texture, and ornament,” said Paula Richter, Curator for Exhibitions and Research at the Peabody Essex Museum.

With a personal style the New York Times described as “controlled flamboyance,” this fashion maven, New York society figure, and co-founder of the legendary textile design company, Old World Weavers, has counted among her friends and clients the legends of international art, culture, and fashion. For decades she has traveled the world, building her business and inspiring fashion designers such as Ralph Rucci, Jason Wu and Isaac Mizrahi (slated to join Ms. Apfel in conversation at PEM -- see Exhibition Events below). All the while she has scoured souks and boutiques worldwide as a connoisseur of all things wearable and wonderful. She recently appeared at the top of Vanity Fair’s international best-dressed list and is featured in print advertising for Coach. On the street, Iris Apfel is easily recognizable for her out-sized spectacles and head-turning accessories.

Iris Apfel is part interior designer and part performance artist. She can deftly change a room by appointing a space with objects and textiles, as well as by simply appearing in an outfit with its own stylistic center of gravity. Anyone who has ever given an especially elegant drapery pull a long look when accessorizing an evening dress would find a kindred spirit in Iris Apfel.

While few are as fearless as Apfel in assembling daily attire, all can find inspiration to take risks and regard apparel and the wide world of accessories as a means of creative self-expression and a source of joy. Couture and flea market finds, haute and — not — all have their place in the imagination and closets of the divine Iris Apfel.

Elements of Style According to Iris Apfel:
1. Never take yourself or an outfit too seriously.
2. Visit the animal kingdom.
3. Consider the clergy.
4. Travel widely.
5. Go high and low.
6. Don’t fret about your age.
7. Don’t be afraid to stop traffic.

Distilled from Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel by Eric Bowman, available in the Museum Shop or online at


TUESDAY November 3, 2009 8 PM at the Peabody Essex Museum

FRIDAY December 4, 2009 6:30 -10 PM at the Peabody Essex Museum

SATURDAY December 5, 2009 Time TBA

About the Peabody Essex Museum
The Peabody Essex Museum presents art and culture from New England and around the world. The museum's collections are among the finest of their kind, showcasing an unrivaled spectrum of American art and architecture (including four National Historic Landmark buildings) and outstanding Asian, Asian Export, Native American, African, Oceanic, Maritime and Photography collections. In addition to its vast collections, the museum offers a vibrant schedule of changing exhibitions and a hands-on education center. The museum campus features numerous parks, period gardens and 22 historic properties, including Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old house that is the only example of Chinese domestic architecture on display in the United States.

HOURS: Open Tuesday-Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 am-5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

ADMISSION: Adults $15; seniors $13; students $11. Additional admission to Yin Yu Tang: $5. Members, youth 16 and under and residents of Salem enjoy free general admission and free admission to Yin Yu Tang.

INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit our Web site at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chris & John to the Rescue... in Salem!

Salem was all aflutter with film crews last week. The TLC show What Not to Wear was in town filming for an episode that will air in 2010, and the Toronto-based reality show Chris & John to the Rescue was filming four episodes that will air as the show's "Halloween Superstar!" in October.

John, of Chris & John, sent me a few fabulous pictures from their shoot. This show is great fun - it's impossible not to smile with Chris & John to the Rescue around. They shot one segment on the Salem Trolley, and the driver said it was a blast.
The producers of the show "...had an AMAZING time in Salem! Everyone was SO welcoming to us - honestly it was the best and most welcoming town we have ever shot in."
We were happy to have the show - and we look forward to seeing the Salem episodes!
Check out these pictures!
1... the Halloween Party (in Old Town Hall)
2... Pumpkin Pie eating contest on Salem Common
3... the Contestants' arrival, in Derby Square (Old Town Hall behind them).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sophia's Cake

I've decided that a Monday without birthday cake is not a Monday at all. We should make a habit of gathering for cake on a regular basis.

Today we celebrated the actual day of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne's birth. She is 200 years old today, and she looks quite well for the years. It was a wonderful weekend of celebrations throughout Salem. The organizers of Sophia 200! gave a very fitting tribute to this remarkable woman of Salem.
The picture above is of Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, portrayed by National Park Service Park Historian Emily Murphy, cutting the cake at the Hawthorne Hotel.

The Hawthorne Hotel blog features much better photos of the celebration. I, alas, had only my phone to capture the moment, while Juli at the Hawthorne had a digital SLR camera. You can view Juli's pictures and her blog here:

On Saturday State Representative John Keenan, Mayor Driscoll, and others gathered at Sophia's of Salem for a plaque dedication that commemorates the woman of the hour. Here is the plaque at Sophia's, which lived in the building on Union Street during her childhood.

And here is Sophia's - the plaque is below the light on the right side of the door. It is a wonderful boutique, brimming with romantic and feminine gifts, jewelry, home decor, and art. Well worth stopping by to see the plaque, do some shopping, and talk about Sophia.

Happy birthday, Sophia!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sophia 200!

This evening I had the pleasure of attending the surprise 200th birthday celebration for artist, journalist, and travel writer Sophia Peabody Hawthorne. Most of us know Sophia as the wife of novelist Nathaniel - and it does seem she deserves great credit for being his muse and, at times, his motivation.
It was a lovely soiree with actors portraying Nathaniel and Sophia, and Sophia's sisters Mary and Elizabeth Peabody. Toasts were made by Nathaniel as well as author Megan Marshall, who wrote the book, The Peabody Sisters, and author Patricia Dunlavy Valenti, who is professor in the Department of English and Theatre at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The toasts were followed by a wonderful dramatic reading of letters between Sophia and her beloved Nathaniel. They were great romantics, and it was great fun to hear their words spoken to "each other."

If you were not among the 200 or so people who attended the surprise birthday party, there is plenty of time remaining to celebrate Sophia's 200th. A complete calendar of events is on

Friday, September 18, 2009

Yarrr! It's Pirate Day!

Hoist the Jolly Roger and talk like a pirate aboard the Schooner Fame!

September 19 is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, so break out the pirate regalia and set sail aboard Salem's favorite privateer. Grog and hardtack will be available, along with more traditional refreshments. Regular ticket prices apply: $25 adults/$20 seniors/$15 children.

Landlubbers will enjoy stepping into the Pirate's lair at the New England Pirate Museum. Your pirate guides will take you through Salem's soggy past, into pirate caves and along a replica wharf.

After all the pirate research, you'll certainly need to stop in at a watering hole for a swig of somethin' with a kick. Plenty of watering holes to choose from in Salem, and many will serve the rum you may be seeking. Yo-ho-ho!

Taste of the Wharf this Weekend

Join the wonderful restaurants on Pickering Wharf for Taste of the Wharf this Sunday, September 20th from 12:00 - 5:00 PM.

There will be live music from noon - 5pm, including the Jessica Prouty Band (noon-2pm) and Soul Baby (2-5pm). From 3pm-5pm you can sample tastes at Sixty2 on Wharf, Regatta Pub, Capt's, Victoria Station, and Finz.

Bring your canine companions to Living with Pets for their special treats and samples.

In addition, all of the restaurants will be offering 10% discounts on meals, retailers will be offering Taste of the Wharf discounts, and the kids can get their faces painted.

Admission is a $5.00 (or more) donation, and all proceeds will benefit St. Joseph's Food Pantry.

Good eats for a good cause! Come on down!

Free Trails & Sails invite you to explore the Essex National Heritage Area this weekend

Ah, fall - there's a chill in the morning air, the leaves are beginning to change, Salem businesses are decking their halls for October, and Trails & Sails: A Weekend of Walks and Water has come 'round once more. This is the eighth year of Trails & Sails, and the weekend has many devoted followers and fans. If you have not yet discovered Trails & Sails, this is your year. And, to make it easy for you, Trails & Sails is now two weekends - not one.

Trails & Sails is organized by the Essex National Heritage Commission, an organization that is based in Salem but that works to promote, preserve, and enhance the myriad historic, cultural, and natural assets in the Essex National Heritage Area. The Area includes the 34 communities of Essex County, Massachusetts, reaching from just north of Boston to the New Hampshire border.

Whether you are interested in sailing the high seas, a cemetery walk, historic architecture, or family activities - Trails & Sails has events to appeal to you. And it is all free. Free, I say!

Prepare yourself to be wooed during Trails & Sails, because Essex Heritage and the sites that are hosting all of these fabulous events want you to fall in love with the sites, the landscapes, and the region. Once you are hooked, they want you to become steward for the sites and ambassadors for the region.

It's not hard to do. This is a remarkable region with a wealth of assets and history. So go, explore, enjoy - and engage. Come back again and again, join the organizations and become and Essex Heritage Explorer. You'll love how much there is to explore.

re are the Salem sites participating in Trails & Sails Salem, which is a great place to start!

812 Privateer FAME: Go Sail
Cruise the historic waters of Salem Sound aboard our full-scale replica of the 1812 privateer schooner FAME! Aboard the new FAME, passengers learn about the fishermen, pirates, privateers, traders and men of war who shaped our North Shore. They learn about the fishing trade that prompted Cape Ann's first European settlements... the brave little schooners of George Washington's fleet... the East India trade that made Salem rich... and, of course, the privateers of the Revolution and the War of 1812. LIMITED AVAILABILITY
Location: Pickering Wharf Marina, Salem 01921. 978 729-7600
Dates: 09-20 Sunday 1:00PM No reservations. Ticket booth opens at 12:30.

America's Best Idea Sneak Peak
Salem Maritime NHS is pleased to present a sneak preview of the upcoming Ken Burns film The National Parks: America`s Best Idea. A 45-minute preview of the six-episode series will be shown at 4:00 PM in the auditorium at the Salem Visitor Center.
Location: 2 New Liberty St, Salem 01970. 978-740-1650
Dates: 09-26 Saturday 4:00PM

Art meets Nature at PEM!
Listen to a story about circles in nature and create a giant collaborative mandala from colorful natural materials for everyone at PEM to see! Visit the new exhibition in the Art & Nature center, Trash Menagerie and discover the many ways in which artists use trash from their environment to create amazing works of art!
Location: East India Square, Salem 01970. 978-745-9500 x. 3076
Special Directions: First come, first serve.
Dates: 09-20 Sunday 3:00PM

Chestnut Street Stroll
Enjoy a leisurely stroll down Salem's Chestnut Street, often cited as one of the most beautiful streets in America. Learn about how this suburban neighborhood fit into an urban setting in the early 19th century. Presidents have dined in select homes, artists have created their masterpieces, and it has been home to generations of some of Salem's most prominent families. Participants will receive a discount coupon to visit the Phillips House on the day of the walk.
Location: Corner of Chestnut, Summer, and Norman , Salem 01970. 978-744-0440
Dates: 09-26 Saturday 10:00AM

Circuit of Salem Woods
Join in on a 2.5 miles leisurely walk over some steep terrain in historic Salem Woods. We will introduce the history of the woods and note some of the flora and fauna of this diverse habitat. If you'd like, bring along binoculars for bird watching and field guides to investigate something of interest along your walk!
Location: 65 Broad Street, Salem 01970
Directions: Park at the Olde Salem Greens Golf Course parking lot, 75 Willson Street, Salem MA. The trail head is at the farthest end of the parking lot as you enter from Willson Street. There is a large trail head sign that says Salem Woods/Highland Park
Dates: 09-26 Saturday 9:00AM

Dearest Dove
Join us for a theatrical performance of Dearest Dove: The Courtship of Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne written exclusively for The House of the Seven Gables. Witness this historic romance in a 30 minute production featuring Hawthorne's fabled love letters. LIMITED SPACE
Location: 115 Derby Street, Salem 01970. 978-744-0991
Special Directions: Parking lot on site for use during visit.
Dates: 09-20 Sunday 2:00PM Sunday 9/20/2009 2:00 - 3:00pm

Hawthorne Hotel Tour
Hidden on the roof of the Hawthorne Hotel is an exact replica of a cabin from the Salem vessel Taria Topan. For over three centuries this cozy cabin has served as the headquarters of Salem's oldest organization, the Salem Marine Society. Join us for a very rare visit to the Salem Marine Society. Learn why this unique site has its own story to tell, and how it has been connected to the Hawthorne Hotel for over 80 years. Event Length: 25-30 minutes
Location: 18 Washington Street, Salem 01970. 978-825-4364
Special Directions: Free parking adjacent to Hawthorne Hotel
Dates: 09-19 Saturday 1:00PM 2:00PM 3:00PM Event length is 25-30 minutes

Junior Ranger Days
Earn your Junior Ranger badge while exploring Salem Maritime National Historic Site. Try your hand at planning your voyage to the Far East including places you've never traveled, decide which trade goods will make you the most money, round up the crew who will join you on this adventure - All during the Golden Age of Sail in the late 1700s! Explore and have fun!
Location: 191 Derby St., Salem 01970. 978-740-1660
Dates: 09-26 Saturday All Day Event 9am - 5pm, with tours throughout the day
09-27 Sunday All Day Event 9am - 5pm, with tours throughout the day

Lunch Hour at the Gedney House
Spend your lunch hour touring the Gedney House. Take a tour of the Gedney House, a stunning example of a Colonial American house, estimated to have been constructed circa 1665. The house is significant for its structural carpentry and for surviving early paint and decorative finishes. Take a peek into one of Salem's architectural and historic gems that very rarely opens it's doors to the public.
Location: 21 High Street, Salem 01970
Dates: 09-25 Friday All Day Event 12-1 and 1-2

Marine Lab Exploration
The Cat Cove Marine Laboratory is operated by Salem State College to promote the sustainable use of aquatic resources on the North Shore and elsewhere. Instruction, outreach and research activities are pursued by Laboratory staff. Fish, clams and other "critters" are spawned and reared as part of instructional, restoration and enhancement efforts. Participants will observe aquatic life and will learn how these organisms are used to understand and manage aquatic resources.
Location: 92 Fort St, Salem State College, Salem 01970. 978-642-6703
Dates: 09-18 Friday 3:00PM
09-25 Friday 3:00PM

Sophia Hawthorne's Salem
Join National Park Service Historian Emily Murphy as she portrays Nathaniel Hawthorne's wife Sophia on a 90 minute walking tour of historic Salem to celebrate Sophia's 200th birthday. This outdoor walking tour will visit spots familiar to the Hawthornes during their lives here in the early 19th century. Meet at the Hawthorne statue, Hawthorne Blvd.
Location: Hawthorne Blvd and Essex St., Salem 01970. 978-740-1650
Dates: 09-19 Saturday 10:00AM 2:00PM
09-26 Saturday 10:00AM 2:00PM

Tales From the Sea
Explore maritime art through objects that celebrate the grandeur of the sea and express seafaring life.
Location: East India Square, Salem 01970. 978-745-9500
Dates: 09-20 Sunday 10:00AM
09-27 Sunday 10:00AM

Walk Harmony Grove Cemetery
Join Historic Salem Inc's Sunday Walking Tour of the Harmony Grove Cemetery, Sunday September 27, 2009. The tour will be led by Margie Lavender, administrator of Harmony Grove Cemetery. Meet at the Cemetery Chapel at 1pm for this 90 minute excursion. This tour is free as part of the Trails and Sails Program.
Location: 30 Grove Street, Salem 01970. 978-745-0799
Special Directions: Meet at the Cemetery Chapel
Dates: 09-27 Sunday 1:00PM

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's Fall Restaurant Week in Salem!

Salem's Restaurant Weeks - presented by the Salem Chamber of Commerce - is a great opportunity to get out and eat - especially if you're like me and have Champagne taste and a family-to-feed budget.

Fall restaurant week began on Sunday and runs through Thursday, September 17th. The participating restaurants are offering three-course prix-fixe dinner menus for $25 (which does not include drinks, taxes, or gratuities).

Whether you choose a restaurant on Washington Street, which has become known as "Eat Street" in Salem, or Pickering Wharf, or anywhere in between you will find great dining options at the participating restaurants.

Perhaps this is the opportunity for you to try something new (Have you always wanted to have dinner at Nathaniel's in the Hawthorne Hotel? They serve award-winning cuisine, but you forget about it because it's within the hotel?), or the motivation to return to a favorite spot (Finz, Victoria Station, Capt.'s, perhaps?). Three courses for $25 is a great deal, and a great reason to get out of your own kitchen for a night this week.

Your cravings for steak, lobster, curry, and pasta can all be satisfied this week in Salem. The biggest problem this week will be deciding where to eat!

One note from the Chamber of Commerce: Restaurants will offer multiple choices for appetizers, entrees and deserts. Reservations are encouraged, and you should contact the restaurants directly to save your restaurant week table. Remember to mMention "Restaurant Week" when making your reservations.

Current List of Participating Restaurants (As of September 1st)

Black Lobster at Stromberg's Cove
2 Bridge Street, Salem, MA

Capt's Waterfront Grill & Club

94 Wharf Street, Salem, MA

282 Derby Street, Salem, MA

Finz Seafood Restaurant
76 Wharf Street, Salem, MA

Grapevine Restaurant
26 Congress Street, Salem, MA

The Lobster Shanty
25 Front Street, Salem, MA

Nathaniel's at the Hawthorne Hotel
18 Washington Square West, Salem, MA

Passage to India
157 Washington Street, Salem, MA

Regatta Pub at the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites 225 Derby Street, Salem, MA

231 Essex Street, Salem, MA

Sixty2 on Wharf
62 Wharf Street, Salem, MA

Tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel
18 Washington Square West, Salem, MA

Tavern in the Square
189 Washington Street, Salem, MA

Thai Place
Museum Place Mall, Salem, MA

Victoria Station
86 Wharf Street, Salem, MA

Make your destination Salem Restaurant Week... and you will discover the magic of a satisfied appetite!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Salem Trolley Christmas Carol

You're probably expecting more information about October in bewitching Salem, Massachusetts. Nope. Not today. Today I'm planting Christmas seeds.

The holiday season is a mere 11 weeks away. That's it! (Haunted Happenings starts in 3 weeks if you need something to focus on in the near future.) And one of the best holiday shows in Salem starts selling tickets on Monday, September 14th.

The Salem Trolley
& Griffen Theatre will present the 23rd season of "A Christmas Carol" from November 28 through December 23.

If you have never participated in the Trolley Christmas Carol, get tickets (which are $22 per person, purchase via phone at 978-744-5469 or at the Salem Trolley office at 8 Central Street in Salem). It's great fun for all ages.

The premise is this: you ride the trolley with good ol' Ebeneezer Scrooge between Christmas Past, Christmas Future, Christmas Present, and Scrooge's redemption. The acting is great, the script is comedic, and the experience is interactive.

The show has a degree or two (or twenty) of improvisation, so everyone feels included in the production. It's a great girls' night out or date night.

Last year, the trolley started and ended at Pickering Wharf (so you can start or end at Capt.'s, Victoria Station, Finz, or Sixty2 on Wharf without moving your car).

The trolley is a great movable theatre, but it's seats are limited, and tickets are limited. So, check your calendar this weekend. Talk to your friends. Book your tickets and be ready to laugh and cry with Scrooge in Salem this December.


Photos provided courtesy of The Salem Trolley.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Rouge Cosmetics!

I was in a meeting this morning and we were talking about Christmas shopping. This was refreshing, because a great number of meetings I am attending are talking about October and Salem Haunted Happenings.

We talked about Men's Shopping Nights and Girl's Nights Out and how much shopping in Salem has changed over the past 10 years. It is amazing. And it's not news to this blog - I can't believe how fantastic shopping in Salem is today, especially as compared to when I arrived on the Salem scene in 1998.

One of Salem's favorite shops is celebrating her second birthday this month, and this is a good one for the ladies to know about - prizes and gifts galore, girls!

Rouge Cosmetics will celebrate with complimentary makeup applications during the month of September - appointments are necessary and are available every Sunday-Friday during September (Saturdays in Rouge are pretty remarkable - brides, brides, brides, happy chatter, beautiful women - so you may want to stop by on a Saturday just to absorb some of the happiness.).

Rouge will also have many events and gifts with purchase throughout September, including bareMinerals National Makeup artists on September 12, Caudalie Facials on September 19, Darphin Facials on September 23, and Mario Badescu Facials and Paula Dorf Makeup Lessons on September 26. Appointments are necessary, so call to book yours!

Rouge was awarded Best of Boston 2009 for Makeup (Shopping) by Boston Magazine, Worth the Trip 2009 by the Improper Bostonian, and Best of Northshore (BONS) 2008 and 2009 by Northshore Magazine. It just doesn't get any better than that!!

Make a day out of it, ladies - stop by Rouge, swing around the corner into Cornerstone Books for a new book (have you read The Lace Reader? It's new in paperback!), head up to the Peabody Essex Museum for a tres chic lunch in the Garden Cafe (The crab meat salad is divine) and then stroll through the American Decorative Arts exhibits to find inspiration for what your house could look like - if it doesn't already - with a wood carver like Samuel McIntire around.

For more information on Rouge, call the store at 978-744-1044 or email For more information on how to spend the rest of your day in Salem, visit

You don't have to wait until Christmas to shop Salem. I invite you to discover the magic when you shop, dine, and explore Salem this September.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Salem, Boston, Salem - a great excursion

We had a plan today. The plan was to take the Salem Ferry into Boston, switch vessels to the New England Aquarium Whale Watch, and head out to Stellwagen Bank for an afternoon of stellar whale watching. We had visions of humpbacks and minke whales dancing in our heads. Bright blue skies, and fairly gentle seas rolling ahead of us.

Unfortunately, a hundred or so other people shared our plan and our vision, and by the time we arrived in Boston to buy our whale watch tickets - they were sold out.

There's a moral to this story, which you've probably figured out already, and it is: Buy tickets online, in advance.

We're a resilient bunch, though, so we adjusted. Our Ferry ride into Boston was great fun. We'd packed a picnic lunch and ate it on board, augmenting our sandwiches and fruit with sodas and candy from the snack bar. We took the 12:00 Ferry (planning to catch the 2:00 PM whale watch), and arrived at Long Wharf North in Boston right on time, at 1:00 PM.

It didn't take long to readjust our itinerary when we learned there were no tickets for the whale watch. We were standing at the foot of the New England Aquarium, so we shifted directions and ventured inside. Put our sweatshirts and jackets (it's 15 degrees cooler out on the water, and we were prepared) in a rented locker ($2.00), and started off on an exploration of rays, turtles, sea jellies, penguins, and fur seals.

I should add hear that my family is very familiar with the New England Aquarium, so we did not
do the entire Ocean Tank. We headed straight outside to the New Balance Marine Mammal
exhibit, which opened last month. There are four resident fur seals, and we were impressed with
their new habitat and the exhibit in general. We joined the crowd for a fur seal training demonstration, and I, for one, was impressed that the fur seals in residents seem to have better teeth-brushing habits than my children.

After fur seals and penguins, we crossed over to the IMAX theatre and saw the 45-minute, 3-D, feature, Under the Sea, which we all enjoyed.

From the aquarium we crossed the Rose Kennedy Greenway and did a pass through Faneuil Hall, stopping to watch the acts of two buskers. The first entertainer was on his last trick - standing on a board on top of a ball juggling household objects including a toilet plunger. We didn't actually see him do the trick, but just standing on the ball holding the objects was enough for us to give him a tip. We saw more of the second entertainer - a yo-yo aficionado who was talented and funny.

Street performers at Faneuil Hall are free and part of the experience of Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. It's important to note (and they don't really let you forget) that the performers are not paid by anyone except the audience. So, if you are entertained it is good form to put a few dollars into the hat.

At this point we had our eyes on the 5:10 ferry back to Salem, so we stopped at Joe's American Bar & Grill for a quick snack, gave the kids 5 minutes to play on the playground at Christopher Columbus Park, and ventured back to the Ferry landing at Long Wharf North.

The trip back to Salem was as smooth as the trip in had been. We passed two freighters and a cruise ship, which was exciting, not to mention the normal boat traffic going into and out of Boston Harbor.

An excursion to Boston via the Salem Ferry is a great addition to a multi-night visit to Salem. It's also a perfect staycation / daycation excursion for people who live in the region.

Weather and seas permitting, we will try the whale watch tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Salem Farmers' Market

I stopped by the Salem Farmers' Market yesterday, as I try to do each Thursday, and was delighted that I was in time for fresh eggs. The eggs have been incredibly popular, and some days the farmer is gone by the time I arrive at the market. I was, well, psyched to see a crate with three chickens sitting at the steps of Old Town Hall. I knew I had finally made it.

So, breakfast this morning included fresh croissants from the Swiss baker (yellow truck on the south side of Front Street near the Lobster Shanty - the pretzels are amazing, too), fresh peaches and blueberries, and fresh eggs.

I ran into a family at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site in August that was visiting from Houston. They had been on the road for two weeks. Hotel to hotel to hotel. Constantly eating out. The mother was excited to tell me they were staying in a family suite at the Salem Inn, and they had found the Salem Farmers' Market, where they purchased fruits and vegetables and bread... and she was able to cook their first "home-cooked" meal in two weeks.

So, for anyone who thinks farmers' markets are not for visitors - they are. And this farmers' market just might give you a little taste of home while you're on the road.

Discover the magic of eating local in Salem through the end of October. The Salem Farmers' Market is produced by Salem Main Streets each Thursday, 4-7pm, at Derby Square.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Destination Salem's 2009 Guide to Haunted Happenings is Here!

You're invited to the 28th Annual Salem Haunted Happenings, October 1 - November 1, 2009. I hope you can join us!

The brochures, which arrived in Salem yesterday, are being distributed far and wide. If you have already requested information on visiting Salem in October, your brochure is going into the mail today.

If you have not yet requested the schedule for Haunted Happenings, drop us an email at We would be happy to send you a schedule!

You can also download the brochure from While you are visiting, check out the calendar of events, business listings, and that blog.

There will be lots of magic to discover this October in Salem, Massachusetts! I hope you can join us.