Monday, November 30, 2009

Santa's Arrival & Holiday Tree Lighting rescheduled to Friday, December 4th

Due to the bad weather Santa's arrival in Salem was rescheduled for Friday, December 4th. Festivities start at 5:30 p.m. on the Salem Common where we will be on the lookout for Santa’s arrival. Holiday music will be provided by the Gathering Church and the Salem High School Alumni Organization will be on hand with free hot chocolate while we wait for Santa. Following tradition, Santa will descend from the Hawthorne Hotel (around 6:00 p.m.) assisted by the Salem Fire Department and, with the help of his elves, distribute candy to the children.

Mayor Driscoll will welcome Santa to town. She will then lead Santa and elves through the Essex Street pedestrian mall to light Salem’s Holiday Tree. This lovely evergreen tree towering over 20 feet will be lit at approximately 6:15 p.m. on Essex Street, in the East India Square Fountain by the entrance of the Museum Place Mall. Holiday music along with free hot chocolate will be provided by the Gathering Church and will be served by Salem's Beautification Committee members.

Inside the mall children can sit on Santa’s lap and share their holiday wish list and receive a candy cane. Museum Place Mall merchants will have face painting and activities to entertain children while they wait for Santa.

The event is organized by Salem Main Streets, the City of Salem and the Salem Beautification Committee.

A gorgeous holiday photo... to get you in the mood

Okay, so we haven't had any snow fall yet... but isn't this picture great? I pulled it off the Hawthorne Hotel's blog this morning. I just love it.

And, by the way, the Tavern in the Hawthorne Hotel is the perfect place to warm up after walking through Salem Common on a chilly, snow-dusted evening. A bowl of chowder and glass of red wine by the fire as you settle into one of the comfy chairs is a little slice of winter heaven in Salem!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ready to usher in the holiday season

Downtown Salem is ready for the holidays. The halls of Museum Place Mall are decked and ready for Santa's arrival on Friday night. He will be posing for pictures and listening to Christmas wishes after his arrival atop the Hawthorne Hotel (Friday night at about 5:30 PM).

The tree is trimmed in the East India Fountain, ready to be lit on November 27th at about 6:15 PM. (Check out for more info.)

And the downtown is festive and bright. I love the candy-cane light posts this year. All we need is a few flakes of snow, and Salem will be a bewitching wonderland.
Make sure to include Salem in your holiday plans. Shop, dine, explore, and stay in Salem, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cinema Salem showtimes for this week

Here's a quick summary of this week's movies and showtimes at Cinema Salem so that you can plan to enjoy a great film over the weekend.

NEW MOON (PG-13) will screen today and Thanksgiving at (4:30) and 7:15; Friday and Saturday at (11:00 AM), (1:45), (4:30), 7:15 and 10:00; Sunday at (11:00 AM), (1:45), (4:30) and 7:15; and Monday-Thursday at (4:30) and 7:15.

Opening today is Disney's OLD DOGS (PG) starring John Travolta and Robin Williams, which will screen today and tomorrow at (4:15) and 7:30l Friday at (12:15), (2:45), (5:00), 7:30 and 9:40; Sunday at (12:15), (2:45), (5:00) and 7:30; and Monday-Thursday at (5:00) and 7:30.

PLANET 51 will screen today and tomorrow at (4:45) and 7:00; Friday and Saturday at (12:00), (2:15), (4:45), 7:00 and 9:00; Sunday at (12:00), (2:15), (4:45) and 7:00; and Monday- Thursday at (4:45) and 7:00.

Opening Friday is WORLD'S GREATEST DAD which 95% of the world's top critics rated positively, using words like "tasteless", "sweet", and "black comedy with heart" in many of their reviews. WGD will play Friday and Saturday at (11:45 AM), (2:00), (4:15), 7:20 and 9:30; Sunday at (11:45 AM), (2:00), (4:15) and 7:20; and Monday-Thursday at (4:15) and 7:20.

THE DRUMMER will screen today and tomorrow at (5:00) and 7:20.

And don't forget that you can watch GLEE tonight at 8:30 on the high definition, giant screens of CinemaSalem. We normally also show FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS at the same time, but we don't think there's a new episode this week. Are we right?

There's a little over a week until the BEAD FOR LIFE party arrives at the CinemaSalem Café on December 5, where you can find beautiful bracelets and necklaces handmade by Ugandan women. If you decide to purchase some, you'll find the prices are amazingly reasonable!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Salem Maritime National Historic Site Hours fo the rest of the month

Here's a cheat-sheet for the Salem Maritime National Historic Site's hours for the rest of the week/month. Visit for more information.

You'll notice that tours of the tall ship Friendship resume on Friday, November 27th. (Huzzah!)

Salem Regional Visitor Center: Daily 9 am – 5 pm; closed Thanksgiving

Orientation Center: Daily 9 am – 5 pm; closed Thanksgiving

Tours (from the Orientation Center):

Monday November 23 - Wednesday November 25:

  • Home from the Sea:Narbonne and Derby Houses: 10:00 am & 2:30 pm (1hour; limited to 8 people)
  • Tars, Trade Goods & Taxes:Custom House: 11:15 am & 1:15 pm (1 hour; limited to 20 people)

Thursday November 26 - Closed

Friday November 27 - Monday November 30:

  • Home from the Sea: Narbonne and Derby Houses: 10:00 am & 2:30 pm (1hour; limited to 8 people)
  • Tars, Trade Goods & Taxes: Tall Ship Friendship & Custom House: 11:15 am & 1:15 pm (1 hour; limited to 20 people)

West India Goods Store:

Tuesday – Sunday: 10 am – 4 pm; closed Thanksgiving and Monday

Monday, November 23, 2009

Good links for visiting Salem

Today's blog post features a few updates and links that I hope you find useful.

Last Friday I sent out an e-blast that highlights some of Salem's Holiday Happenings. If you did not receive it, you can click here to view it online. If you would like to receive future e-blasts, join Destination Salem's mailing list by clicking here!

Destination Salem has a snazzy new video about the Ten Free Things to Do in Salem. Click here to see the video (thanks to Chamber PG for producing it!), and you can view the list on

If you are looking for things to do in Salem, visit the calendar on There are amazing events, which range from Santa Claus to theatre to shopping days to house tours to exhibit tours, happening in Salem during the next six weeks. Take advantage of it all!

Do you have a MassValuePass? It's free, and it will get you discounts on attractions and accommodations around Massachusetts. The Salem Inn, Phillips House, Salem Witch Museum, The House of the Seven Gables, Witches Cottage at the Griffen Theatre are among the Salem businesses that accept the card. The MassValuePass is a program of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (thanks, MOTT!)

Finally, we are always adding new discounts and deals to, so check it out. There are great packages and incentives.

Finally, you can subscribe to this blog by entering your email on If you've already done that - thanks!

Happy Monday, and happy Thanksgiving week!

Friday, November 20, 2009

National Park Service prepares for the return of Friendship of Salem!

National Park Service Superintendent Patricia S. Trap announced today that Friendship of Salem is sailing home. "It is time to celebrate. Friendship is in the water and if the weather holds, we invite the community to join us Sunday, November 22nd, shortly after 2:30 pm on historic Derby Wharf to wave her home."

Part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Friendship has been under repair at Boothbay Harbor Shipyard since May. She was launched off the marine railway on Thursday, Novem
ber 19, 2009. Since then, the Friendship crew has been hard at work getting the ship ready to set sail home.

"We plan to depart Boothbay on Saturday, November 21, with an anticipated arrival during high tide on Sunday, November 22nd," confirmed the Chief of the Marine Divison, Colleen Bruce. "Inclement weather can delay her departure and subsequent arrival, so we suggest that anyone interested in welcoming our ship home to first check the park's website ( or contact the National Park Service Visitor Center at 978-740-1650," she urged.

To celebrate her arrival, the National Park Service will distribute a free, commemorative handkerchief to the first 75 people. The hankies will be distributed from the National Park Service Orientation Center at 193 Derby Street starting at 1
pm on the day of Friendship's arrival.

In the 18th century, family and friends would gather on the wharf and wave their hankies as a ship arrived home after an extended absence. "Waving the ship into port is both a fitting tribute to her homecoming and a great way to commemorate Salem's rich maritime heritage," stated Trap.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Salem, Massachusetts - for Everyone has a new page, which welcomes LGBT travelers to this bewitching seaport. I am really excited about this page, and I hope it is a great resource for travelers - like our groups page, accommodations page, and "10 Free Things" page already are resources.

As Destination Salem is creating the new page, the upcoming Rainbow Wedding Resource Guide will feature Salem as a destination for weddings and receptions (and honeymoons, I might add).

Here is an excerpt from that article:

The Witch City Sheds its Persecuting Past
and Embraces GLBT Community
- Daniel Whitehead, Contributing Writer

Looking for a romantic, cultural, adventurous and historical vacation all in one? How about a wedding with world class restaurants, museums, historic charm and an emerging GLBT community? Did you know that Salem Massachusetts offers this along with 2 TAG approved full-service hotels, and several GLBT-friendly or owned inns and B&B’s? It’s all this and more that makes Salem an ideal location for GLBT weddings.

As you stroll through the historic cobblestone streets of Salem you find yourself surrounded by some of the best shops, boutiques, art galleries, museums and finest dining options in the Northeast. Hailed as the “Witch City” worldwide, Salem is a charming seaport town, easily accessible to Boston, 17 miles by car or the Salem Ferry to/from Long Wharf North. Many couples and single GLBT travelers have chosen Salem as a destination of choice for their wedding because of its openness to all, not just one group, religion or way of life. This is clearly the message that is eluded within the “Witches- Evolving Perceptions” exhibit at the Salem Witch Museum.

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll says, “Salem is proud to be a no-place-for-hate community. We learned and teach lessons of tolerance from the tragic Witch Trials of 1692, and today Salem’s visitors, guests, and residents find a welcoming environment regardless of their lifestyle.”

Although the Salem community has monthly gay events, friendly bars and entertainment, it’s the culture and history, both mystical and nautical, that has evolved Salem into an ideal GLBT ceremony-reception location. The city boasts gay owned shops, restaurants and B&B’s including the Morning Glory Bed and Breakfast that is consistently rated as the #1 B&B in Salem on Finz Restaurant, located on picturesque Pickering Wharf, offers great views of the harbor and an ideal location for rehearsal dinners while sipping a delicious martini.

Salem also boasts two distinct TAG approved hotels that feature reception halls, full service catering, pubs and restaurants. Hosting your wedding at the Salem Waterfront Hotel and Marina provides a one stop destination in planning and concierge. The hotel also offers a special concession that donates a small portion of your wedding proceeds to the Human Rights Campaign or NAGLY, the local LGBT Youth organization on behalf of your wedding party.

“Salem is a unique, diverse community that welcomes people regardless of religion, ethnicity, or orientation,” says Kate Fox, executive director of Salem’s Office of Tourism & Cultural Affairs, “The witch hunts of the seventeenth century are long past, and today Salem is a great city for celebration, vacation, and even relocation."

# # #

Check the new web page frequently, as we will add it as events and programs are provided to Destination Salem. Discover the Magic of Salem... for everyone!

Celebrate Iris Apfel at the PEM

This just in from the PEM...

Celebrate Iris Apfel with a weekend of hands-on fashion fun. The festivities begin on Friday night with a fashion session featuring Iris Apfel and Michael Vollbracht, followed by a live runway show. On Saturday, enjoy a full day of activities including fashion sketching, styling demonstrations, film, fashion slide shows and a live DJ. Headlining the day will be a World of Fashion panel discussion featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion journalist Robin Givhan, designer Michael Vollbracht and the legendary Iris Apfel.

Friday, December 4 | 6:30 – 10 pm

Fashion Session with Iris Apfel

Reservations by December 1

Members $30, nonmembers $40

Enjoy a lively conversation between Iris Apfel and designer Michael Vollbracht as Apfel recounts the experiences and influences that shaped her iconic fashion style. Vollbracht, former artistic director of Bill Blass, launched his own line in 2008. He is a top New york designer and creator of Bloomingdale’s Big Brown Bag. Watch Apfel’s inspiration come to life in a fashion show produced by Christine Robidoux of Salem’s Modern Millie. In collaboration with the Museum Shop, the show features clothing and accessories created exclusively for sale at PEM, vintage fashions from Modern Millie and select pieces from Apfel’s personal collection.

Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel will be open for viewing from 6:30 to 9 pm and the Museum Shop will have extended hours until 10 pm. Cash bar and light hors d’oeuvres will be available.

Saturday, December 5

Demonstration: The Art of Fashion in Action!

11 am – 4 pm, Atrium

Jay Calderin and his students from the School of Fashion Design in Boston lead this behind-the-scenes look at how a garment comes to life, from fashion sketch to fabric draped on a dress form. Calderin is director of creative marketing at the school and founder and executive director of Boston Fashion Week. His designs have appeared in Vogue, Elle, The Boston Globe and The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.

Fashion Activity: Iris Style

Noon – 4 pm, Atrium

Stylists from Stilista, a Boston-based fashion style agency, help fashionistas of all ages pay homage to Iris Apfel. Try on necklaces, bracelets, wraps and other accessories to accentuate your individual style. Have your picture taken on the “runway” and be part of PEM’s fashion slide show on the PEM Flickr page!

Film: Unzipped

1995, 73 minutes, directed by Douglas Keeve

12:30 – 1:45 pm, Morse Auditorium

Reservations by December 3

Peek behind the scenes as fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi plans his fall 1994 collection. This documentary features supermodels and Hollywood stars amid the chaos and sublime creativity of high fashion. This film is rated R for mild profanity.

Panel Discussion: The World of Fashion with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Fashion Journalist Robin Givhan, Designer Michael Vollbracht and Iris Apfel

3 – 4:30 pm, Morse Auditorium

Reservations by December 2

Find out what three influential members of the fashion community say will be hot in the coming year. Our panelists discuss how they met, their shared inspiration and their passion for fashion and design. They also talk about the dynamic relationship between art and design. Paula Richter, curator for exhibitions and research, moderates the discussion.

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 24 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, November 17, 2009

Fools by Neil Simon

The buzz about Fools by Neil Simon, which opens on Thursday, November 19th in the Mainstage Theatre at Salem State College, is very good. I have been assured this play is going to make you laugh. And laugh.

The story is this: A young teacher comes to the village of Kulyenchikov, Ukraine only to discover it has been cursed with stupidity. He has one day to undo the spell, or be cursed to become a fool himself.

Professor David Allen George, who directs the show, says this production "is full of silliness, vaudeville, a lot of mayhem and just the right amount of love."

Fools by Neil Simon runs Nov 19- 21, Dec 3 – 6. Evening performances at 7:30, December 6 at 2 pm. Tickets are $15 general and $10 students and seniors. To order tickets call: 978-542-6290 or visit:, where you can buy tickets online.

What a great night out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Photo Contest Deadline is three weeks away!

Destination Salem is looking for a cover image for the 2010 Salem Visitor & Travel Guide. Do you think your photo has the stuff vacations are made of?

The first annual Destination Salem photo contest comes to a close on December 1, 2009. Entry into the contest is free, and the winning photographer will will $100 cash and the image will be the cover image of the 2010 Salem Visitor & Travel Guide.

There are prizes for second and third place, as well.

Complete rules and a contest description are on

When you submit images, please make sure to send an entry form with the images. We must have that form in order to consider the images.

The Destination Salem Marketing Committee is going to review all submissions and post the top three will be posted on Destination Salem's Facebook page for a public vote. I will announce the winning photos here on this blog.

Click here for the printable PDF of the rules and entry form.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Arts & Antiques Month in Salem!

November is a perfect time to explore the museums, galleries, and antiques shops in historic Salem, Massachusetts. Salem's rich history has endowed the seaport with incomparable architecture, museums, and collections. Take a moment to rediscover Salem's history through the special events and ongoing exhibits of Arts & Antiques Month.

Special Events

Fish Girl, Engraving Print Portfolio, Salem State College Center for the Arts

Engraving 2009 Print Portfolio | Salem State College Center for the Arts

Through November 5 | 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

A portfolio exhibit of world-class engravers including Rudy Pozzatti, Evan Lindquist, Jack Orman, and Will Fleishell, who engraved Lincoln on the new five-dollar bill. Salem State College, Winfisky Gallery, Ellison Campus Center. Gallery Hours M-F, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm or by appointment. Free. For more information call: 978-542-7890 or visit

Gadgets & Gizmos | The Phillips House

November 8 | 10:30 AM

What are those odd-looking gadgets in the cabinets at the Phillips House? Who made them? Who used them? Explore the kitchen at the Kitchen of the Phillips House, Historic New EnglandPhillips House and learn about domestic technology in the early 20th century on Sunday, November 8, 2009. This specialty tour will consist of a tour of the Phillips’ dining room, china closet, and kitchen and will provide information about the family and their curiosity about the burgeoning technology around 1920. After the tour, visitors will be able to try out antique kitchen gadgets similar to those in the Phillips House. The tour starts at 10:30 a.m. at 34 Chestnut Street in Salem. The cost is $5.00 for Historic New England members and $10.00 for nonmembers. Space is limited and advance registration is recommended. This program is part of Historic New England’s Year of the Kitchen celebration.

Behind the Canvas | The Phillips House

November 8 | 3:00 PM

As part of Destination Salem's Art and Antiques Month, the Phillips House offers a special tour highlighting paintings by American and European artists on display in the house. Learn about both the artists and the Phillips family's passion for collecting.

Weekend Festival: The Art of Fire: Glass Beads and Josh Simpson’s Work | Peabody Essex Museum

November 14-15 | 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM Josh Simpson Mega Planet, Peabody Essex Museum

Spend a weekend with New England glass artists as they demonstrate their skill with small “lamps” of fire and talk about the beads they created in response to objects in PEM’s collection. Meet world-renowned glass artist Josh Simpson, whose Mega Megaplanet is on view in the American Art Gallery, learn to play marbles, listen to glass harmonica music and make a beaded bracelet. 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

Annual Faculty Art Exhibition Artist Reception | Salem State College

November 18, 2009 | 6:00 PM

This annual show includes faculty works in printmaking, painting, glass, sculpture, photography and other media, with artists Haig Demarjian, Benjamin Gross, Mark Malloy, Ken Reker, more. Winfisky Gallery, Ellison Campus Center, 352 Lafayette Street, November 10 – December 10. Gallery Hours M-F, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm or by appointment. Free. For more information call: 978-542-7890 or visit:

Peabody Essex Museum’s 37th Annual Antiques Show

37th Annual Antiques Show | Peabody Essex Museum

November 28-29, 2009 | 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

A Thanksgiving tradition, this year The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) Annual Antiques Show will feature nearly 30 dealers from New England and across the United States showcasing exceptional silver, furniture, paintings, porcelain, jewelry, and decorative accessories, the Annual Antiques Show supports PEM’s educational programs, which serve thousands of children and families each year. Show is included in Museum admission. Get a first look at the annual Preview Party on Friday, November 27, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $125 in advance/ $150 at the door

Sunday Jazz Brunch | Peabody Essex Museum
Sunday, November 29 | 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Join Landry & Arcari Oriental Rugs & Carpeting for a lively champagne brunch and an opportunity to learn more about collecting antique rugs. Great jazz, food, door prizes and more! $25 per guest. INFO: Call 866-745-1876 or visit

The House of the Seven Gables
Ongoing Exhibits

The House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables constitutes its own national historic district on The National Register of Historic places in Salem, Massachusetts. The property features the 1668 Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, which is the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England. Made famous in Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel The House of the Seven Gables, today exploration The House of the Seven Gables and its neighboring properties provides insight into the lifestyles of Salem's upper class in the 17th and 18th centuries. 54 Turner Street. INFO: 978-744-0991 or

Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel | Peabody Essex Museum

Explore more than 80 dramatic ensembles from the personal collections of legendary tastemaker and style icon Iris Apfel. Known for her eclectic mixing of haute couture with costume jewelry and exotic baubles, Apfel has inspired bold developments in the fashion industry through her spirited irreverence and pitch-perfect taste. Now in her 88th year, she continues to challenge visual culture with radical juxtapositions of disparate influences. These spectacular and unexpected wardrobe combinations are exhibited with inventive staging and playful displays that underscore Apfel's inexhaustible creative spirit. INFO: 866-745-1876 or

Iris Apfel, Rare Bird of Fashion at the PEM

Valérie Belin: Made Up | Peabody Essex Museum

Internationally-acclaimed photographer Valérie Belin comes to PEM for her first solo show in the United States. Featuring 17 exquisite, monumental images, Valérie Belin: Made Up explores a photographer’s ability to manipulate perception of artificiality and reality. In her images of mannequins, models and still lifes, Belin’s work treats the iconic and the banal equally and displays both on a disarmingly large scale. Belin’s mid-career retrospective was received with enormous popular and critical praise across Europe – she is rapidly becoming a leader in the world of photography. Valérie Belin: Made Up was organized by Phillip Prodger, PEM’s Curator of Photography. INFO: 866-745-1876 or

The Collections of the Peabody Essex Museum

To engage the mind and spirit, the PEM collection offers outstanding works primarily from the 1700s to today: paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, textiles, architecture and decorative objects. Our African, American, Asian, maritime, Native American and Oceanic art emphasizes the lively conversation that occurs through creativity across time, place and culture. INFO: 866-745-1876 or

Self-Guided Walking Tours

The McIntire Historic District Walking TrailThe McIntire Historic District Architectural Walking Tour brochure cover

Salem is well known for the beauty of its architecture. This one hour long self-guided tour will show you around one of the most spectacular areas of the city. Brochure is available at the Salem Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, or you can download and print at here.

Architecture in Salem

This guide introduces the differences between four centuries of architecture in the city, and highlights outstanding examples of architecture that are open to the public. Brochure is available at the Salem Regional Visitor Center, 2 New Liberty Street, or you can download and print at here.