Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Morning Glory B&B

We had the opportunity to visit the Morning Glory Bed & Breakfast last week, and inn keeper Bob Shea gave us a top-to-bottom tour of the inn, which I was about ready to move into... and never leave... when we got to the third floor.

The Morning Glory is an early nineteenth-century Georgian Federal home on Hardy Street, directly across the street from the House of the Seven Gables.

The first floor is primarily private living space, with the exception of the dining room, where breakfast is served.

The second floor has three bedrooms and a common living area with a computer, coffee maker, and other amenities. Each bedroom has its own private bath, and each is decorated with New England charm. I loved the room above because of the fabulous gold walls.

The third floor has a fabulous suite, and the picture above shows part of the living room, through the bathroom, into the bedroom.

And just outside the third floor is the incredible roof deck with views of Salem harbor and Marblehead. As we basked in the sunshine on the deck, we debated the pros and cons of the foliage that will grow in, blocking part of the water view, but providing privacy. Either way, the deck is fantastic.

The Morning Glory B&B is comfortable and well appointed. It has a great location, walking distance from everything downtown, and innkeepers Bob and Marcel are highly regarded by their guests.

Like the sign, which hangs in the dining room, says, There's no place like home - and you will certainly feel like you're in a home away from home at the Morning Glory.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea Opens at PEM this weekend!

Another incredible exhibit opens at the Peabody Essex Museum this weekend. It will be here until July, and it is definitely worth checking out. The exhibit brings the ancient world of the Maya to life through artifacts and multimedia.

Another example of excellence from the PEM, Fiery Pool is a collection of art and artifacts that has never been gathered before, providing a new perspective on this mysterious ancient civilization.

What I found absolutely incredible is how pristine some of the artifacts are. There are pieces that date to 500 AD that are in beautiful condition. Great care has been taken to preserve these artifacts and present them to us.

Here is what the PEM says about their new exhibit:

Surrounded by the sea in all directions, the ancient Maya viewed their world as inextricably tied to water. More than a necessity to sustain life, water was the vital medium from which the world emerged, gods arose and ancestors communicated. Over 90 works, many never before seen, offer exciting new insights into Maya culture that focus on the sea as a defining feature of the spiritual realm and the inspiration for the finest works of art. Fiery Pool was organized by Daniel Finamore, The Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History at the Peabody Essex Museum and Stephen D. Houston, The Dupee Family Professor of Social Science and Professor of Archaeology at Brown University. The exhibition is scheduled to travel to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Saint Louis Art Museum.


This exhibition is organized in four thematic sections.

Water and Cosmos

Surrounded by the sea in all directions, the ancient Maya viewed their world as inextricably tied to water. More than a necessity to sustain life, water was the vital medium from which the world emerged, gods arose and ancestors communicated.

TajchanahkThe panel shown (left) is an exceptional example of Maya sculpture depicting a ruler known as Tajchanahk, "Torch-Sky-Turtle," seated on a water lily throne in the royal court, while simultaneously inhabiting the subtle, watery realm. A bubbling stream delineates the space with stylized foliage anchoring the corners. This work suggests that for the Maya, the realms of earth, sea, sky and cosmos may have been perceived as flowing into each other, rather than as distinct territories of being.

Creatures of the Fiery Pool

The world of the Maya brims with animal life, animated, Lobsterrealistic and supernatural all at once. Objects in this section portray a wide array of fish, frogs, birds and mythic beasts inhabiting the sea and conveying spiritual concepts. This effigy of an actual Caribbean spiny lobster (shown here) is the only known Maya representation of the creature. The object was excavated in 2007 from one of the oldest sites in Belize, populated for over three thousand years. It dates from the turbulent early colonial period when traditional Maya life was besieged by incursions of Spanish soldiers and missionaries. A plugged cavity bearing a stingray spine, three shark teeth and two blades of microcrystalline quartz hint at blood sacrifice. The head emerging from the mouth may be the face of a Maya deity.

Navigating the Cosmos

BelizeFor the Maya, water was a source of material wealth and spiritual power. All bodies of water ─ rivers, cenotes (deep, inland pools) and the sea ─ were united, and all could be traversed to a cosmic realm. This magnificent head is a Belize national treasure, and one of the most exquisite works discovered in the Maya world. Weighing nearly ten pounds, it was created from a single piece of jadeite, the color of which was directly associated with the sea. Likely carved in Guatemala and transported by canoe to Belize, this sculpture is a complex depiction of a deity with the eyes of a sun god. It was found in the tomb of an elderly man, likely cradled in his arm upon burial at the sacred site, Altun Ha.

Birth to Rebirth

censerThe final section of the exhibition addresses the cyclical motion of the cosmos as the Maya experienced it. The sun rose in the morning from the Caribbean in the east, bearing the features of a shark as it began to traverse the sky (it only had these features in the early morning). Cosmic crocodiles exhaled storms and battled with gods of the underworld. This elaborate censer (shown right) portrays a deity central to a creation myth from Palenque, Mexico. Water curls on his cheeks and shell ear ornaments linking him to the rain god, Chahk, speak of his connection to the watery world. A shark serves as his headdress topped by a toothy crocodile. From this censer, ritual smoke curled through the city of Palenque, suffusing it with scent and mystery.


  • Panel with a seated ruler in a watery cave; AD 795; Cancuen, Guatemala; Limestone; 22 5/8 x 26 ¼ x 3 inches (57.5 x 66.5 x 7.6 cm); Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes ─ Museo Nacional de Arquelogía y Etnología, Guatemala City; Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum © Jorge Pérez de Lara.
  • Lobster effigy circa; AD 1550; Lamanai, Belize; Clay and paint; 2 ¾ x 8 ¼ x 3 in (7 x 21 x 8 cm); National Institute of Culture and History, Belize; Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum photograph © Jorge Pérez de Lara.
  • Jade sculpture of a deity; AD 550-650; Altun Ha, Belize; Jadeite; 5 7/8 x 4 3/8 x 5 ¾ (14.9 x 11.2 x 14.8 cm); National Institute of Culture and History, Belize; Photograph courtesy National Institute of Culture and History, Belize.
  • Incense burner with a deity with aquatic elements, AD 700 - 750; Palenque, Mexico Ceramic; 46 ¾ x 22 ¼ x 7 7/8 inches (118.5 x 56.5 x 20 cm); Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Museo de Sitio de la Zona Arqueológia de Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, 10-604759; Courtesy Peabody Essex Museum, photograph © 2009 Jorge Pérez de Lara.


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

Celebrate Women's History in Salem on Saturday

Mayor Kim Driscoll has officially declared Saturday, March 27, 2010 to be Women's History Day in Salem! Salem has been home to a lot of remarkable people, male and female, and this weekend you can have the opportunity to celebrate women from Salem who changed the world locally and globally.

In addition to a few special events, a number of stores - many women-owned - will be offering Women's History Day discounts on Saturday. You can learn more about Salem Women's History and those discounts at

From Elizabeth Peabody who established the first kindergarten to Caroline Emerton who established the House of the Seven Gables in order to fund the social mission of the Settlement House to Mary Spencer who created the first mass-produced candy in America... Salem has a rich history of feminine history.

If you can't make it this weekend, the Salem Women's Heritage Trail is available through HurdSmith Communications ($15). It's a great feminist tour of this bewitching seaport.

Here are a couple of events to put on your calendar for Saturday. Bonnie and Emily both do a fantastic job, so try to catch both events, if you can!

Walking tour with Bonnie Hurd Smith
10-11:30 a.m.
Meet at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site Visitor Center across from the entrance to the Peabody Essex Museum
$10/person the day of the event
Hear inspiring and entertaining stories about women in Salem history as you visit the places where they lived, worked, and even changed the world. Rain or shine!

“Salem’s She-merchants: Women in Commerce 1670-1780"
Illustrated talk by Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Park Historian Emily A. Murphy

2-3 p.m.
Salem Maritime National Historic Site Visitor Center
By the end of the seventeenth century, Salem was a bustling seaport
community with a thriving economy. But who was behind that economic
success? As part of the celebration of Salem Women`s History Day, the National Park Service will present a lecture by Park Historian Emily A. Murphy, Ph.D. Dr. Murphy will explore some of the little-known women who contributed to the economy of colonial and revolutionary Salem. Meet the tavern keepers, printers, and merchants -- all women -- who helped Salem to become an economic powerhouse in early America.

Monday, March 22, 2010

1,000 Great Places in Massachusetts

What's your favorite place in Massachusetts?

Winter Island? The Peabody Essex Museum? Salem Common?

The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism is working with legislators to create the first list of 1,000 Great Places in Massachusetts. Nominations are being accepted until April 1, 2010, and the list will be published in May.

Derby Wharf? Chestnut Street? Salem Willows?

This new program has been created to celebrate what is unique about Massachusetts, its communities, and its people.

The House of the Seven Gables? Peabody Essex Museum? Forest River Park?

You can, of course, nominate sites that are not in Salem. But I don't know why you would!

Submit your nominations at before April 1!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Celebratory Weekend

The House of the Seven Gables is celebrating its Centennial during 2010. There are two significant events this weekend, both of which connect the Gables with another architectural gem - the Phillips House.

The Phillips House is part of Historic New England, and that organization is also celebrating its centennial this year.

Sunday, March 21 Salem 2010: Now & Then Community Celebration Day
12:00 pm to 4:00 pm | Free

In celebration of their centennials and bicentennials, Salem residents and employees of Salem businesses will enjoy free admission to the House of the Seven Gables, Historic New England's Phillips House, The Salem Athenaeum, and the Brookhouse Home for Women. There will be cake and family activities at each site. The Salem trolley will offer free shuttle service between the sites.

March 21 - April 15 Exhibit: The Preservation Movement Then & Now 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM | Free

This exhibit, developed by Historic New England, will be in the Visitor Center at the House of the Seven Gables. It will illustrate the beginning of the preservation movement throughout New England, connecting local preservation efforts with national efforts. Panels are accompanied by artifacts and photographs from the House of the Seven Gables' collection, which illustrate the Gables founder Caroline Osgood Emmerton's involvement in saving the National Historic Landmark.

The Phillips House, a property of Historic New England, has some amazing stories to tell. A stunning Federal mansion, it is the only home on Chestnut Street that is open to the public. It's rooms are filled with collections from around the world, gathered by five generations of the Phillips family. Amidst beautiful furniture, you will find objects from Fiji and Africa in the Phillips House, early American board games, Persian carpets, and import porcelain.

Enjoy the celebration this weekend and throughout the year, of a few of Salem's remarkable sites.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Salem Trolley to run this weekend

Thanks to the great forecast for the weekend, The Salem Trolley is going to be running tours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this weekend.

The Salem Trolley will run from 10am-5pm each day this weekend, last tour leaving the visitor center 4pm.
Tickets are available on board the trolley or at the Trolley Depot at 191 Essex Street and Salemdipity on Pickering Wharf at 86 Wharf Street.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Derby Wharf Repairs

Salem Maritime National Historic Site is working to repair damage done to Derby Wharf by the severe storms that pummeled Massachusetts on February 25 and March 13-15. “We are committed to maintaining this important historic feature of Salem’s National Park,” said Salem Maritime Superintendent Patricia Trap, “and we understand that Derby Wharf is important to the local community as a place of recreation. We are developing strategies to repair the damage from the last storm, and find long-term solutions to preserve the wharf for future generations.”

The storms exacerbated some existing problems on the wharf -- moving gravel near the lighthouse, and washing out fill from behind the granite casing stones on the east side of the wharf. In addition, the earlier storm loosened some of the bollards that are used to tie up the tall ship Friendship on the west side of the wharf. The site is getting the funds together to both repair the major damage from the storms and finance an engineering study to try to solve the continuing problems with the loose gravel and stone dust washing out during high tides and storm surges.

About Derby Wharf

Derby Wharf is the oldest extant wharf in Salem, one of the last survivors of over 50 wharves that once lined the harbor and the rivers during the late 18th and early 19th century. The wharf was begun in 1762 by Capt. Richard Derby, Sr., who at the same time had the brick Derby House built at the head of the wharf as a wedding present for his son, Elias Hasket. For many years during and after the American Revolution, Derby Wharf was the hub of Elias Hasket Derby’s massive trading empire. It was gradually lengthened over the years to hold more warehouses and reach into deeper water, until Elias Hasket Derby’s heirs extended the wharf to its current half-mile length in 1806. The wharf continued to be used for shipping throughout the 19th and early 20th century. In 1937, Derby, Hatch’s, and Central wharves were handed over to the National Park Service to form the nucleus of Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

Top picture, storm damage, by Barbara Warren, Salem Sound Coastwatch
Second picture, Derby Light, by Brad Morin

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kidnapped to Caffe Graziani (with pleasure!)

I was kidnapped by friends dining at Caffe Graziani today at lunch time. It was a fortuitous series of events, because as I walked by Graziani I was feeling the pull of the Shrimp Primavera listed on the special board. I love Chef Giavonni's Primavera, and adding shrimp to it... well, how great does that sound for a sunny Tuesday?!

Paula and Giavonni did some renovating last month, and the restaurant looks great. And - this is big for people who love their debit cards - they are now accepting credit cards (Visa, MC, Discover).

So, stop by Caffe Graziani for some of Chef Giavonni's wonderful Italian dishes - all three of us had the Shrimp Primavera today, but the lasagna at the next table looked pretty fantastico, too, and the gnocchi is always mmmm-perfecto.

Caffe Graziani is located at 133 Washington Street, Salem. You can be a fan of Caffe Graziani on Facebook, and visit them online at

Monday, March 15, 2010

The House of the Seven Gables Celebrates 100 Years

The House of the Seven Gables to host The Preservation Movement Then and Now Exhibit and Lecture
Exactly one hundred years ago this year, The House of the Seven Gables was saved, restored and opened to be enjoyed by multiple generations of visitors. While we are thankful to have this 17th century treasure and the literary masterpiece it inspired, this favorable outcome is not always the fate of historic buildings. To celebrate the centennial anniversaries of both organizations, The House of the Seven Gables and Historic New England present The Preservation Movement Then and Now Exhibit at The House of the Seven Gables.
The exhibit is free of charge in the visitor center at The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, from March 21st – April 15th, 2010.

This panel exhibit examines the 1863 battle to save the Hancock House in Boston. Although the building was ultimately lost, its demolition served as a call to action to save countless other threatened architectural marvels nationwide. The exhibit also highlights one of the first preservationists, William Sumner Appleton, whose concern over how quickly historic buildings were disappearing throughout New England resulted in his founding the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England). In the last century, the preservation movement has evolved to include not only saving buildings, but conserving land and shorelines, downtown revitalization and the preservation of entire neighborhoods. Included in the exhibit are artifacts and photos from The House of the Seven Gables’ collection illustrating Gables’ founder Caroline Emmerton’s efforts to save this nationally recognized historic landmark.

A lecture will accompany the exhibit at The Gables on Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 2:00pm. This lecture, the first in the Seven Lectures at Seven Gables series scheduled during this centennial year, is titled The Life and Legacy of William Sumner Appleton. Historic Preservation Team Leader Wendy Price from Historic New England will use materials from Historic New England’s collection to explore in greater detail the impact of Appleton’s early preservation work. Ms. Price will also address Caroline Emmerton’s role with the then Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities both as a board member and to move two threatened buildings to the grounds of The Gables: The 1682 Hooper-Hathaway House and the 1655 Retire Beckett House.
Tickets for the March 28th lecture The Life and Legacy of William Sumner Appleton are $10 for non-members, $5 for members of The House of the Seven Gables, Historic New England and The Salem Athenaeum. For tickets to the lecture, please call The House of the Seven Gables at 978-744-0991 ext. 104.
About the photographs
Both were provided by The House of the Seven Gables. The top image was made from Turner Street in the late nineteenth century. The bottom image shows the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion and gardens circa 1940

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Derby Square Lecture Series

We have more new programs to talk about today! (I love this!) Gordon College is ushering in spring with the new Derby Square Lecture Series at Old Town Hall. You may know The Gordon College Institute for Public History for it's award winning production of Cry Innocent: The People Verses Bridget Bishop. Or, perhaps you know their most scary work at Pioneer Village during Haunted Happenings, Spiritways: A Night in Besieged Salem. Now we can add "lecture series" to the list of excellent programming provided by Gordon College.

Here is the spring schedule:

Lecture #1 – March 30, 2010
"God and the Darwin Wars"
Dr. Karl Giberson, VP, BioLogos Foundation, Director of the Forum on Faith and Science at Gordon College
Karl Giberson is the author of four books on the intersection of science and religion including the highly acclaimed Saving Darwin. He was raised in a fundamentalist parsonage to believe the universe was 10,000 years old, evolution was a conspiracy with no scienti c foundation, and Darwin was evil. In “God and the Darwin Wars” Giberson tells the story of his struggle to
make peace with Darwin without losing his faith. Interwoven with his personal journey is the story of a deeply religious America wrestling with a science that is often used as a club to bash religion.

Lecture #2 – April 28, 2010:
“Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future”
Chris Mooney, Knight Fellow in Science Journalism at MIT, author, journalist
Chris Mooney o ers an updated "two cultures" polemic for America in the 21st century. For every ve hours of cable news, less than a minute is devoted to science; 46 percent of Americans reject evolution and think the Earth is less than 10,000 years old; the number of newspapers with weekly science sections has shrunken by two-thirds over the past several decades.
A plea for enhanced scienti c literacy, Mooney urges those who care about the place of science in our society to take unprecedented action. We must begin to train a small army of ambassadors who can translate science's message and make it relevant to the media, to politicians, and to the public in the broadest sense. An impassioned call to arms to reintegrate science into the public discourse--before it's too late.

Lecture #3: - May 19, 2010
A FREE Follow-up Session with local schools and colleges concerning curriculum directions.
Q&A session will follow the 40-minute presentations, and authors will be available for book purchase and signing following the sessions.

Here's the fine print...
  • Lectures will be held in the Salem Old Town Hall, Derby Square at 7PM.
  • Tickets: $5.00 per lecture, or $8.00 for both. Final session free to all.
  • Costs are subsidized by the Gordon College Institute for Public History.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Salem Health and Wellness Week April 12-17

Salem Main Streets and some of its more healthily-minded partners have developed a fantastic new Health & Wellness Week to Salem's already busy schedule of events for the spring.

You can download and print the brochure here.

You probably want to know that Health & Wellness Week will feature raffles and prizes... so not only will participation be good for you, it could win you cool stuff! (Can't beat that, now, can ya?!)

Here are just a few of the special events and promotions that are scheduled for the week of April 12-17.

Green Tea Yoga is offering:
  • $25 for UNLIMITED classes for the entire week, includes Mommy & Baby and Prenatal, Nia Dance Classes, and all Yoga Classes. New and current students are welcome to participate.
  • $10 off any 60 or 90 massage with Nicole or Debra-Jean all week.
  • Children’s Yoga after school classes are FREE to all children Tuesday and Wednesday for that week, but parent must call the studio to reserve a spot.
LivingWell is offering:
  • 30 minutes free with the purchase of a 60 minute Massage or Facial Treatment ($85) A $21 savings and your treatment time will be 90 minutes.
  • FREE 15 minute consultation with Dr. Al Costanza, Doctor of Natural Medicine.
  • FREE 15 minute Skin Analysis and Consultation

Urban Elements is offering:
  • All week at UE 10% off all body care, aromatherapy incense, candles and oils. Just mention the phrase “Live In Love."
  • UE is also hosting free chair massages - check the schedule for more information!

Body & Soul Massage and Wellness is offering:
  • Free chair massages, hand paraffin and sugar scrubs, and added values to facials and massages throughout the week (check the schedule!).

And that's just the beginning. The Health & Wellness Week schedule includes everything from Reiki to group runs, massage therapy to triathlon talks. It's a great excuse to get ready for summer and become familiar with all of the healthy resources in Salem.

For more information, visit the Salem Main Streets web site.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Exploring the Salem Witch Trials of 1692

The new NBC series, Who do You Think You Are opened on Friday with an episode featuring actress Sarah Jessica Parker on a journey to discover where she came from. Turns out, her ninth-great-grandmother was accused as a witch during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Esther Elwell of Gloucester was accused on November 5, 1692. Lucky for Esther, Governor Phipps had dissolved the Court of Oyer & Terminer on October 29, and the spectral evidence with which she was accused was no longer admissible in court.

Sarah Jessica Parker's trip down ancestry lane, and the incredibly beautiful spring weather we are enjoying as I write this, may inspire you to want to get out and about in Salem, and explore the Witch Trial History on foot. Here is a bit of history and a few relevant sites that you may want to include in your trek.

A shorter version of this article is printed in the 2010 Salem Visitor Guide.

The Salem Witch Trials of 1692

In the winter of 1692, Salem was a Puritan community overcome by fear. Fear of the bitter cold. Fear of disease. Fear of the Native Americans. Fear of the Devil, whom this devout Christian community blamed for any ill that came to their families. We know that this fear was the catalyst for a hysteria that swept through this region, from Boston to the south to the Andovers to the north. Hundreds were accused of practicing witch craft, 19 were hung, and one man was pressed to death.

Salem residents in the 18th and 19th century were, understandably, embarrassed by what happened here in the 17th century. The old gaol (jail) was torn down, any

evidence of a hanging tree or gallows were destroyed, and the city moved on into an era of incredible prosperity and success without looking back. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Salem developed into a destination for people looking for information on the Salem Witch Trials. Playwri Arthur Miller came to Salem to research his play, “The Crucible,” which used the people of the Salem Witch Trials to depict the anti-Communism Witch Hunt that was happening in America under the direction of Senator Joseph McCarthy. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today the stories of the Salem Witch Trials are ingrained in the American story as a dark and regrettable period of fear and accusation. The City of Salem has worked to identify and preserve the sites connected to the Witch Trials of 1692 through plaques and, in the case of the Corwin House, architectural preservation.

The Corwin House, or “Witch House,” was built prior to 1675. It is the only structure still standing that has direct ties to the Witch Trials of 1692. This was the home of Judge Jonathon Corwin, who served as magistrate during the Trials. Corwin investigated the claims of spectral evidence and diabolical activity being called out against members of the community. While Corwin was one of the judges who performed the initial examinations of accused witches, recent research indicates that these examinations did not happen in the house. The Witch House is located at 310 Essex Street.

On April 11, 1692, Sarah Cloyce and John and Elizabeth Proctor were examined at the First Church in Salem, which was located near the current location of the Daniel Low Building at the corner of Essex and Washington Street. A plaque on the Low Building reads, here stood from 1634 until 1673 the First Meeting House erected in Salem. No structure was built earlier for congregational worship by a church formed in America. It was occupied for secular as well as religious uses… Today, the First Church in Salem congregation worships at 316 Essex Street in a stunning English Gothic church that was dedicated in 1836.

In 1692 the courthouse in Salem stood in the middle of what is now Washington Street near the intersection of Lynde Street. A marker on the Masonic Temple at 70 Washington Street reads: Nearly opposite this spot stood in the middle of the street a building devoted from 1677 until 1718 to municipal and judicial uses. In it in 1692 were tried and condemned for witchcraft most of the nineteen persons who suffered death on the gallows. Giles Corey was here put to trial on the same charge and refusing to plea was taken away and pressed to death. In January 1693, twenty-one persons were tried here for witchcraft of whom eighteen were acquitted and three condemned, but later set free together with about 150 accused persons in a general delivery which occurred in May. The original courthouse was torn down in 1760.

The Salem jail that was used during the Trials was located on St. Peter Street, which was then called “Prison Lane,” near its intersection with Federal Street. Today there is a plaque on the building at 30 Federal Street noting the site of the former jail.

The condemned were taken from the jail to Gallows Hill. (There is a park outside of downtown Salem called “Gallows Hill Park” at the intersection of Hanson and South Streets. However, historians’ opinions differ on the precise location of the executions.) The true location of the hangings and the victims' graves have been lost to history. It was unlawful to give the condemned a Christian burial, and it is believed that most were buried in a mass grave behind the hanging tree or gallows. Some historical reports claim family members would return by the dark of night to bring their loved ones home and bury them in unmarked graves on the family’s property.

The Salem Witchcraft Trial Memorial is where we remember the victims of the trials. Located on Liberty Street behind the Charter Street Cemetery, it has twenty benches, one for each of the condemned, that are each inscribed with the victim’s name, date of execution, and method of execution. The entrance to the memorial has the words of the condemned inscribed on the stones, with stones falling onto the words to symbolize the community’s refusal to hear the claims of innocence. Six locust trees, chosen because they are the last to flower and the first to lose their leaves, represent the stark injustice of the trials.

Salem has three cemeteries that are significant to the Witch Trials of 1692. The Howard Street Cemetery is said to be where Giles Corey was taken to be pressed to death, a torture chosen because he refused to stand trial. George Corwin, who served as the high sheriff of Essex County in 1692, and his brother Jonathon Corwin, the Salem merchant who lived in the “Witch House” when he served as magistrate during the trials, are both buried in the Broad Street Cemetery. A white obelisk marks their grave.

The Charter Street Cemetery is the final resting place for at least two members of the Court of Oyer and Terminer, including physician Bartholomew Gedney and magistrate John Hathorne, who was the great-great grandfather of writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. Also buried here is Mary Corry, the first wife of Giles Corey, who died in 1684. Giles’ third wife, Martha Corey, was hanged for Witchcraft during the trials.

After the Salem Witch Trials were over, wealthy Salem merchant Phillip English returned to Salem. He had been accused in 1692, but escaped and fled to New York. Sheriff George Corwin seized English’s property, and when English returned to Salem in 1693 he found his home ransacked and his warehouses empty. Tradition says that after Corwin’s death in 169, English seized his corpse and held it until Corwin’s executors paid him reparations for his losses in 1692. In 1733 St. Peter’s Church was established through the generous support of Philip English. Upon his death, English was buried beneath the church chapel.

Hundreds were accused during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, and there are thus hundreds of stories from the trials that stretch from Salem through communities in Massachusetts’ north shore and Merrimack Valley. You can learn more of these stories at the Salem Witch Museum, where an audio visual presentation provides an introduction to the Trials and the second exhibit addresses the evolving perception of Witches in the world. The Witch Dungeon Museum has a dramatic reenactment of one of the trials and a tour of recreated dungeons where you can see how horrid the conditions in the old jail were. The Witch History Museum tells more stories of 1692 through life-sized scenes. The Salem Wax Museum traces Salem’s history including the Witch Trials through self-guided scenes. Cry Innocent: The People Verses Bridget Bishop recreates the pretrial of Bridget Bishop, and the audience is the jury.

However you choose to learn the stories of 1692 and wherever your exploration of Salem and the surrounding communities takes you, there are crucial lessons of tolerance and perspective here to learn. It is these lessons that inspire the businesses and community of Salem to continue telling the stories of 1692 into the twenty-first century.

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Pages on

We have new pages on that are worth checking out.

If you are planning a wedding or special event, you'll want to visit to check out some of the venues and services in Salem.

We have updated our "Deals" page with March specials... which run right into Easter. This is a great page to check often, as we are always updating it. has gotten a bit of a spit and polish, as well. You will find listings for Salem's two TAG-approved accommodations and other inns that are LGBT-friendly. (I want to note here that a number of Salem businesses owners were stumped by the creation of an LGBT page on "Why wouldn't we be LGBT-welcoming?" they asked. I think we as a community are fortunate to be able to take for granted the diversity of Salem.)

Finally, if you're starting to think about October, you're not alone. New events are being added to on a weekly basis, and hotel rooms for the weekends are already getting tight.

The 2010 Photo Contest rules and form have been posted on

If you haven't requested one yet, you can request your 2010 Salem Visitor & Travel Guide online at

If we are missing anything, let me know! I hope these new pages help you plan your visit to Salem - whether you are coming from near or far.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Map of True Places

Brunonia Barry's second novel, The Map of True Places, will be released on May 4, 2010. To celebrate the release of the novel, William Morrow and Destination Salem have created a sweepstakes to give a lucky reader and their guest the opportunity to visit Brunonia Barry's home town... bewitching Salem, Massachusetts.

Brunonia's first novel, The Lace Reader (2008) was also set in Salem, where Towner Whitney's journey took her from Salem Common to Derby Wharf to the Salem harbor islands and back again. If you have not yet read it, The Lace Reader is available in paper back from booksellers and shops throughout Salem.

The Map of True Places is another suspenseful novel set in the historic streets of Salem - along Turner Street, at the House of the Seven Gables, the Salem Athenaeum, and out and around Salem harbor.

Click here to enter to win a trip to Brunonia Barry's Salem. You can visit Brunonia's web site here, and you can visit our page about The Lace Reader in Salem here.

The sweepstakes prize features:
Total estimated value of the prize is $1,400!

There are some travel restrictions on the prize, so please visit the HarperCollins Sweepstakes page for complete rules.

Many thanks to all of the sites, particularly the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites, for contributing to this sweepstakes. Good luck!!

Once again, here's the sweepstakes page!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cornerstone Books in March

Salem has a bunch of stores that I just want to hug. Cornerstone Books is one of them. It's a great place to hang out, browse the shelves, see an author read, meet with your book club, or grab a latte.

Here's what they have cooking in March:

Friday March 5th at 7pm
Debra Crosby's A Quest Actor's Studio Presents A Night Of Entertainment!
Students aged 9 through 70 will be performing their monologues and stories. Debra Crosby's A Quest Actor's Studio is more than an acting studio. Founder Debra Crosby says: "Master the Craft of Acting & Discover the Confidence to Succeed in Life, on Stage and on the 'Big Screen!'" Debra Crosby invites everyone from actor to non actor to embrace the techniques from the performing arts and apply these skills directly to their life. A Quest Actor's Studio has a unique philosophy and approach in that each student is encouraged in a safe, supportive and positive environment to see their life as the ultimate creative expression or performance. Through humor, compassion and insight each student is urged to become engrossed in the Artistry of acting.

Saturday March 6th at 1pm
Paul Tremblay and No Sleep till Wonderland
The Boston Globe just named Paul a likely heir to Robert Parker's "face of Boston" crime fiction! In the follow-up to the much-lauded, Bram Stoker Award nominee The Little Sleep, narcoleptic detective Mark Genovich is back! Come hear Paul read from No Sleep till Wonderland (Henry Holt, ISBN 978-0805088502, February 2010, $14.00) and see why he's being praised as one of Boston's best!

Sunday March 7th at 11am
Discussion: The Environment
Do you like the Earth you live on? Do you care about it? Do you want to share your thoughts with others in our community who also appreciate our planet? Then come to Cornerstone Books on Sunday, March 7th at 11:00am. The group will be a free flowing discussion about any environmentally related topic! The goal is to get students and members of the community together to share their ideas and create a more connected community, with the environment in mind. The first ice breaker topic will be the movie Avatar, just to get the discussion going but where it stops nobody knows! Sponsored by the Salem High School Environmental Club.

Sunday March 7th at 2pm
The PSIence Society Meeting
Come together and collaborate, discover, and discuss the PSIence of consciousness and mind potential. Hosted by Matthew Liscomb; please go to for more details.

Thursday March 11th at 7pm
Calling All Educators: Julie Hahnke presents curriculum for The Grey Ghost
Middle-grade author Julie Hahnke meets with teachers to present her Parent's Choice Award-winning book The Grey Ghost, and demonstrate ways using the book can be integrated into classroom curriculum. Julie also demonstrates a presentation that she can deliver in YOUR classroom or school!

Thursday March 25th at 7pm
Thursday's Theatre of Words and Music
Thursday's Theatre of Words & Music features established and emerging writers and artists to read/display/perform their work for the public at Cornerstone Books in Salem, MA. An open mike will be held following featured writers/artists--artists are chosen by first-come-first-serve. March's featured artists:

  • Timothy Gager is the author of eight books of short fiction and poetry--and has received eight nominations fo rthe Pushcart Prize. His latest, Treating a Sick Animal: Flash and Micro Fictions (Cervena Barva Press), features over forty stories, many previously published in various literary magazines. He hosts the Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts every month and is the co-founder of Somerville News Writers festival. Timothy is the current Fiction Editor of The Wilderness House Literary Review, the founding co-editor of The Heat City Literary Review and has edited the book, Out of the Blue Writers Unite: A Book of Poetry and Prose from the Out of the Blue Art Gallery.
  • Gloria Mindock is editor and publisher of Cervena Barva Press and editor of the Istanbul Literature Review based in Turkey. She is the author of 2 chapbooks, Doppelganger and Oh Angel, and two poetry collections, Nothing Divine Here (U Soku Stampa) and Blood Soaked Dresses (Ibbetson St. Press). Her third poetry collection, La Portile Raiului, Romanian translation (Ars Longa Press) is forthcoming. Gloria has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including UNU: Revista de Cultura and Citadela in Romania, Arabesques, Poesia, Phoebe, Poet Lore, Blackbox, River Styx, and Bogg. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, the St Botolph Award, and was awarded a fellowship from the Somerville Arts Council. Gloria works as a Social Worker and freelances editing manuscripts and conducting workshops for writers.

To get the most out of Cornerstone Books, visit their web site and sign up for their emails. Then you will get their events on a regular basis, as well as coupons and reminders that are sure to inspire you to add Cornerstone to your schedule!

Monday, March 1, 2010

So much going on in Salem

There's an awful lot going on in Salem right now. When I glance at the calendar, I see an incredible range of events - from the Salem Film Fest to wine tastings to lectures to Yoga classes to Girls' Nights - that showcase all everything that Salem is today. The Peabody Essex Museum is preparing for an awfully cool looking exhibit, Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea, and The House of the Seven Gables and Historic New England (in Salem at the Phillips House and Gedney House) are celebrating significant anniversaries this year.

I've been doing the destination marketing for Salem on-and-off 12 years now, and never has Salem had so much to offer, or offered so many reasons to come back again and again. In 1998, Salem was a beautiful, historic town that was worth a trip. Today, Salem is a hip and contemporary destination built up from incredible history that is as much fun for those of us who work and live here as it is for everyone who comes to visit. And, of course, it's still beautiful, with its stately architecture, waterfront, lighthouses, and gardens (which will bloom soon!).

Here are two notable changes in Salem today from Salem in the late 1990's:

1) We get brain cramps when we try to decide where to eat lunch because there are so many awesome options.
2) There are so many things to buy, gifts to give, indulgences to rationalize. There's no need to shop anywhere else (and we have a new prepared food store and a toy store prepping retail space downtown).

One solution for the restaurant-inspired brain cramp: Put the names of all of the restaurants into a bowl and pull one out each time you are suffering dining indecision.

The 2010 Salem Visitor Guide & Map came out in February. I keep one in my car. You never know when you will need a phone number or an address to punch into the GPS. They are great resources for people planning a trip from afar, and those of us who make regular ventures into Salem. They are also quite handy for weddings and special events. If you are planning either, let us know and we can send you the guides in bulk. You can call Destination Salem at 978-744-3663 or email us at We'd be happy to help you.

There's a lot going on in Salem right now. Nobody can do it all - but I hope you can join us for some of it!

~ Kate