Monday, May 31, 2010

How We See Salem: Julie Arrison from the Phillips House

For this week's installment of "How We See Salem," we are traveling up Chestnut Street to the Phillips House (1821), which is a property of Historic New England. Historic New England is celebrating its Centennial this year, and on June 5 all properties of Historic New England, including the Phillips House and Gedney House (1665) in Salem, will be open free of charge from 1pm - 5pm.

"For one hundred years, Historic New England has served as the region's storyteller, opening its doors to share four centuries of New England home and family life," reads the release on, and I couldn't say it better myself.

The Phillips House is the only home on Chestnut Street that is open to the public. If you can't make it during the Centennial Open House on Saturday, it is certainly worth the $5.00 admission fee during its regular operating hours. More information can be found at (They have recently launched a new-and-improved web site, and it's worth browsing to see the Phillips House and all of the properties in the care of Historic New England.)

Here is how the very busy site manager for the Phillips and Gedney Houses sees Salem:

Julie Arrison Salem Resident
Site Manager for Historic New England's Phillips and Gedney Houses, Board Member and Events Committee Co-chair for Historic Salem, Inc., Board Member for the Chestnut Street Associates

Where are you from originally? Chicopee, MA

How long have you lived or worked in Salem?
I've moved up to Salem for my job with Historic New England, which started in May 2008.

What is your favorite thing about Salem?
There is always something to do and you can always walk to it if you choose! Salem also has a great running community, almost fully organized by the Wicked Running Club.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Salem?
In a Pig's Eye, Gulu Gulu, Lobster Shanty

What’s your favorite place to shop in Salem?
Salem Wine Imports...Eric Olsen, the owner is so helpful about wine selection for special occasions or every day. Roost has a great selection of anything for myself or for gifts. Harbor Sweets is at the end of my street and is also another great place for last minute gifts.

What is the first thing you do with guests from out of town?
The great thing about Salem is that no matter which type of guest is coming up, there is something appropriate to do...and ALWAYS something going on. Museum friends always like a trip to the PEM. Others like dinner at Sixty2 on the Wharf and drinks somewhere after. Mom and Dad love to walk around the Willows and Winter Island. I've "coerced" friends to come up for the Phillips House Car Meet, the Antique Boat Show, Spring Fling, Salem So Sweet, and many other fun events.

* * *

If you want to shop, dine, and explore like Julie, here are links for more information:

In a Pig's Eye
Gulu Gulu Cafe
Lobster Shanty
Sixty2 on Wharf

Salem Wine Imports
roOst: Urban Country Design
Harbor Sweets

Antique Boat Festival
Peabody Essex Museum
Phillips House Car Meet
Salem Willows
Winter Island Maritime Park
Wicked Running Club

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Enjoy this Memorial Day

Best wishes for a happy Memorial Day to all, and thanks to members of the American military past and present, and their families, for all you do and have done.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Salem Ferry - One of Boston's Best Cruises!

It's Memorial Day weekend, which means anything that wasn't open for the season yet... is now open (Hooray!), including the Salem Ferry.

The Salem Ferry is an excellent connection between Salem and Boston. Create an awesome day trip adventure in either direction with the Salem Ferry's Cruise & Dine program, in which your Ferry ticket is valid for some nice dining discounts in Salem and Boston. Most restaurants offer 10% off the price of your meal.

To take advantage of the discounts offered by more than a dozen Boston restaurants and nineteen restaurants in Salem, simply show your Ferry ticket / receipt to your server. Most participating restaurants will honor the Cruise & Dine discount for two days after the date on your ticket, so don't throw it away!

Round trip passage on the Salem Ferry is $19 for adults, $17 for children and seniors. In addition to lowering fares this year (last year an adult round trip ticket was $24), the Salem Ferry has added interpretation and narration to the cruise, so you can learn a thing or two - if you want to - while being carried over the cool blue sea between cities. The interpreters identify landmarks on the shore and provide some history of Salem, Marblehead, Boston, and a few of the other communities in between. Bart was our narrator this week, and he was wonderful - history and a splash of humor is always nice!

The Salem Ferry departs Boston's Long Wharf North daily at 10 AM, 12 Noon, 2 PM, 4 PM, 6 PM, and 8 PM. On Fridays and Saturdays, they also leave Boston at 10 PM. Ferry service into Boston runs from Blaney Street, just a block away from the House of the Seven Gables, at 9 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM, and 7 PM. There is an additional 9 PM run on Fridays and Saturdays.

This really is a great way to connect Salem and Boston. It's fun, it's relaxing, there's a galley and bar on board so you can have a snack during your trip, and you get a great perspective of both city's skylines and shorelines. It is truly one of Salem's MUST DO activities.

If you need additional convincing, there's a great video about the Salem Ferry by

Happy Memorial Day!

Photo credits: Sunset image: (c) Leighton O'Connor, Other images courtesy Boston's Best Cruises.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Images from a Great Day in Salem

Yesterday was Destination Salem's annual Tourism Day. This is an event that brings members of the tourism industry - Concierge, tour operators, destination marketing professionals - to Salem for a day of appreciation and exploration.We had stunning weather. Blue skies, high of 90, and air conditioning during lunch. Our hosts were fantastic, and the group had a wonderful time.
Here's what we did and where we went...We took the Salem Ferry up from Boston (Ferry service between Boston and Salem begins for the season on Friday, May 28! Ticket prices are less this year - $19 Round Trip for adults!), and we were met by two bright red trolleys from Salem Trolley.Trolley driver and tour guide extraordinaire Fran took one group on a trolley tour of Salem, to the Witch Dungeon Museum, and to the Schooner Fame. Trolley two, captained by the fantastic driver Ron, took the rest of our guests to the Salem Witch Museum, the House of the Seven Gables, and on their own trolley tour of Salem.

We all met at the Peabody Essex Museum where people could have a guided tour of the new Fiery Pool: Maya and the Mythic Sea exhibit or an overview of PEM highlights.And then there was lunch, which was so delicious! The Lyceum, Caffe Graziani, Finz, Capt.'s, Sixty2 on Wharf, Nathaniel's at the Hawthorne Hotel, Coffee Time Bake Shop, and Woodman's of Essex provided incredible samples of their menus. From salad to gazpacho to chowder to real cream Bizmarks... nobody left lunch hungry!

We ate lunch in the beautiful East India Marine Hall, which had a cameo in the film Bride Wars. In the Bride Wars scene, Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway quip, "But it isn't the Plaza..." Well, no, it isn't... it's the PEM, which I think is much more interesting.

After lunch, the group was split into four and they headed off on walking tours (Kudos to the guides and guided - it was hot out there. Very hot.) Ranger Emily Murphy from the Salem Maritime National Historic Site took a group off to learn about Maritime Heritage, Julie Arrison of Historic New England's Phillips House led some to the McIntire District to discuss architectural heritage, Spellbound Tours led a group through Salem's haunted history, and Hannah Diozzi from Salem Strolls took a group through Salem's downtown shopping and dining districts.We ended the day with cool refreshments and complimentary psychic readings provided by psychics from Hex and Omen aboard the Salem Ferry back to Boston.

It was a great day - and a good example of just how much you can fit into one very busy day of exploration in Salem.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How We See Salem: Captain Mike

Schooner Fame opens for the 2010 season on Saturday, May 29. To celebrate the launch of the new season, we are sharing Captain Mike's favorite things to do in Salem.

Schooner Fame is a replica of a successful privateer (of the same name) of the War of 1812. Fame was built at Burnham's Boat Yard in Essex, Massachusetts, and has been sailing out of Pickering Wharf since 2003.

When you sail aboard Fame, you will learn about the fishermen, pirates, privateers, traders, and men of war who shaped the North Shore. The captain and crew share stories of Essex County's early fishing trade, the East India Trade that made Salem rich, and the privateers of the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

Here's a bit about Captain Mike and his haunts in Salem...

Captain Mike Rutstein
Schooner Fame

Where are you from originally?

How long have you worked in Salem?
8 years

What is your favorite thing about Salem?
The history, and the waterfront.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Salem?
Victoria Station, Derby Deli, Finz

What’s your favorite place to shop in Salem?
Nautical Traders

What is the first thing you do with guests from out of town?
Take them sailing!

* * *

If you want to shop, dine, and explore like Captain Mike, here are links to the places he recommends:
Learn more about the Schooner Fame at

Friday, May 21, 2010

Six ways to raise your spirits in Salem

The forecast for this weekend looks awfully good. Here are six ways - of many - to raise your spirits in Salem this weekend.

1. Dine Outside! Grab a table in front of Rockafellas, Caffe Graziani, or Gulu Gulu Cafe and watch the world walk by on Washington Street or sit harbor side at Finz, Capt's or Victoria Station on Pickering Wharf for a maritime view. Find the perfect restaurant for your taste at

2. Take a Lighthouse Cruise aboard Mahi Mahi Cruises. This weekend kicks off Mahi Mahi's summer cruise series. The two-hour lighthouse cruise will take you out and around the historic lighthouses of Salem Sound, including Beverly's Hospital Point, Marblehead Light, Derby Light, Pickering Light, and Baker's Island Light.

3. Eat Ice Cream. Stop by Maria's Sweet Somethings or Ben & Jerry's and get an ice cream cone, and eat it fast because it's going to melt all over your hands. Don't forget the jimmies.

4. Slow down, Stretch, and Breathe. Stop by Green Tea Yoga and find a calmer state of mind for your weekend. Classes range from high intensity Forrest Yoga to a gentler Hatha Mix.

5. Be inspired by the Maya. The Peabody Essex Museum "Atrium Alive" Series will celebrate Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea with family programming on Saturday and Sunday.

6. Unplug. Fretless, an a capella quintet will be performing in the Cornerstone Books Cafe on Saturday at 7:00 pm. This is a cover-free show in the Cafe.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Plan 9 from Outer Space hits Salem on Saturday

The final film in Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery's 2010 film series is coming this weekend. Check out Plan 9 from Outer Space on Saturday, May 22. Bela Lugosi! Tor Johnson! Vampira! What a night...

Admission ($8.00) includes the movie and a tour of Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery, a fantastic museum of horror cinema.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea Weekend Festival

If you are looking for something to do this weekend, grab the family (or not!) and check out the special events at the Peabody Essex Museum. The PEM is hosting a weekend festival that celebrates their current exhibit, Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea, May 22-23.


Maya Dugouts Boat builder Wade Smith reconstructs a large-scale, speculative model of a dugout canoe based on ancient Maya designs.

Guatemala Maya Sawdust Carpet Master artist Ubaldo Sanchez creates an alfombra from hand-dyed sawdust, rice, dried beans and flowers on the Atrium floor. Help make the border!


Grupo Awal Noon and 3 pm Young troupe members represent the Maya culture of Guatemala through folk dances, dress and cultural traditions.


Puppet Theater 1:15 and 4 pm Gustavo Boada and members of the dance troupe Grupo Awal perform the Maya creation story - El Popol Vuh - with life-size puppets.

Story Time

Rain Player 2 pm A boy named Pik challenges the Maya god of rain to a game of pok-a-tok - a cross between soccer and basketball - to avert a drought.


Breaking the Maya Code 4:45-6:45 pm Based on the best-selling book by Michael Coe, Breaking the Maya Code traces the epic quest to unlock the secrets of the script across 200 years, nine countries and three continents.

Art activities, docent-led gallery tours, presentations are included with museum admission. For reservations and a full schedule of events visit

Saturday Events

Sunday Events

Monday, May 17, 2010

How We See Salem: Destination Salem's own Stacia Cooper shares her thoughts

Today the local perspective is coming from Stacia Cooper, Project Assistant extraordinaire at Destination Salem.

Destination Salem is the destination marketing organization for the city of Salem. In addition to managing and, we create the annual Visitor & Travel Guide to Salem. We also work with tour operators, travel agents, travel associations, concierge, and tourism councils to get the word out about Salem - and that word is awfully good these days!

Stacia Cooper, Project Assistant Destination Salem
Where are you from originally? Upstate New York
Ilion, New York

How long have you lived or worked in Salem? 13 years

What is your favorite thing about Salem?
The diversity of the community. The city offers some of the richest culture.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Salem? Bella Verona

What’s your favorite place to shop in Salem? Modern Millie, Roost

What is the first thing you do with guests from out of town? In the summer, we have a picnic at Winter Island and then to the Peabody Essex Museum.

* * *

If you want to shop, dine, and explore like Stacia, here are links to the places she recommends:
Learn more about Destination Salem at

Friday, May 14, 2010

The House of the Seven Gables to Host 100 Years of the Gables Colonial Revival Garden Lecture

The House of the Seven Gables welcomes spring and continues to celebrate its centennial anniversary with its Seven Lectures at Seven Gables series. The third of these will be 100 Years of The Gables Colonial Revival Garden, given by landscape designer and historian Robyn Kanter on Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 2:00pm.

In 1909, Gables founder Caroline Emmerton hired Joseph Chandler, a landscape architect, to layout the Colonial Revival garden overlooking the harbor. It was designed in Jacobean style as an “oasis of beauty” to be enjoyed not only by guests, but by Emmerton’s neighbors as well. After Hawthorne’s Birthplace was moved to the property in 1958, the entire site was re-landscaped by famed designer Dan Foley using Chandler’s raised bed design.

Kanter, of Kanter Design Associates, is the landscape designer responsible for the current arrangement of The Gables garden. Under her direction and attention to detail the old fashioned practices remain including hand pruning and cultivation to help retain the tradition of one of New England's most treasured places.

Utilizing The House of the Seven Gables collection of historic photographs, landscape records and her own research, Kanter will discuss the evolution of The Gables garden. In addition to the lecture, Kanter will guide guests through the present re-creation of the Colonial Revival garden on site, and introduce historical evidence from the garden’s past 100 years.

The lecture will be held on Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 2:00pm. Tickets are $10 for non-members and $5 for members of The House of the Seven Gables, Historic New England or The Salem Athanæum. For tickets, please call The House of the Seven Gables at 978-744-0991 ext. 104.

For more information on this year’s centennial events, please visit

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Summer Theatre at Salem Tickets Go on Sale Tomorrow!

Summer Theatre at Salem, the professional troupe in residence at Salem State College announces its 16th season, opening June 17 with Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor, and continuing in July with Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

Artistic Director
David Allen George will share the stage with summer favorite Peter Zachari for the first time in their 20-year working relationship. They began as student and professor in the late 80’s, and each has directed the other. This summer, in Lend Me a Tenor, George plays a panicked producer whose star tenor (Zachari) is unable to perform just hours before curtain call. (Directed by Peter Sampieri.) The side-splitting farce is also currently on Broadway, starring Tony Shaloub, but the high quality professional performance in Salem has tickets available for just $20-$25.

The season continues July 8-18 with Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, directed by Zachari.
The cast and crew of Summer Theatre at Salem is comprised of Salem State alumni who work in the theatre industry, regional professionals, and select students who in many cases are having their first professional theatre experience.

Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig
June 17-27, Thursday-Saturdays, 7:30 pm, Sundays 2 pm
Salem State Mainstage Theatre, 352 Lafayette Street

Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine
July 8-18, Thursdays- Saturdays, 7:30 pm, Sundays 2 pm
Salem State Mainstage Theatre, 352 Lafayette Street

Tickets are available at
Info: 978-542-7555.
Tickets are also available at the door one hour before performances.

For the first time, Summer Theatre at Salem is offering subscription discounts! Call for details.
Individual show tickets are $20-25.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Looking ahead to the Antique & Classic Boat Show in August

AHOY! This is a perennial favorite. If you're thinking about a weekend to visit Salem this summer, this is a good one.


August 28-29, 2010 (Sat. 11 am - 5 pm; Sun. 11 am - 3 pm)
Hawthorne Cove Marina, 10 White St., Salem, Massachusetts
Admission: $5. Children under 12 free
Info & Boat Entry: 617-666-8530, 617-868-7587,

The 28th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival is happening in Salem, Massachusetts August 28-29. Expected craft as of early May include:
  • JUNIATA, a 1927 New York Consolidated commuter;
  • CATHERINE ANN, a 1938 Richardson cabin cruiser;
  • BREEZE, a 1946 Hinkley sloop; a 26¹ steamboat;
  • a 1940 Lyman runabout towed by a 1948 Pontiac woody,
  • TABBY, a 1946 Fenwick Williams catboat.
The Festival includes boats built prior to 1976. They can be power, sail or hand-powered, and do not need to be in show condition. "The spirit of the Festival is to gather together the grand old craft and all who love them," says festival organizer Pat Wells.

The Festival is about people as well as boats. "Over and over again, the public tells us that what they like best is seeing the beautiful old boats and talking to their owners," says Wells. "Boat owners sometimes meet old-timers who have known their boat in the past and can recount stories and history.

Here are a few great nautical connections made during past boat shows:

MATCHLESS, a 100 year old catboat owned by Peter Haney of Bourne (MA), was visited by a former owner who had her in the 1950s.

TEASER, a 1935 sailboat owned by Dana Marcorelle of South Hamilton (MA), was visited by Alice Bonney who saw her launched in Salem in 1935 and spent her honeymoon aboard her!

The Antique & Classic Boat show was held in downtown Boston, Charlestown and Quincy, Massachusetts, before it made Salem its home base in 1999. According to organizers, festival-goers love Salem, its historic district, attractions, and restaurants. The Hawthorne Cove Marina is lovely and compact, so visitors do not have to walk far to see the boats.

In addition to the boats, the Festival includes a crafts market, old-time band music, children¹s activities, the Blessing of the Fleet and the grand finale ­ the Parade of Boats.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Filming in Salem for Fox 61 / CT Now

I was "on location" in Salem with Sarah Cody from CT NOW on Fox 61 yesterday. Here are a few pictures from the day.

We started at the Regional Visitor Center and then walked through the PEM campus to the Salem Witch Museum. Mike, the cameraman, shot b-roll along the way of the Essex Street, Hawthorne Hotel, Roger Conant.

Sarah interviewed Alison D'Amario at the Salem Witch Museum. They had a great discussion about the Witch Trials, what happened in Salem in 1692, and how lessons from the trials are relevant today.

We headed to Pickering Wharf after the Salem Witch Museum, and Mike took some shots of the stores and restaurants. (Note, it was lunch time when we were down there and the restaurants smelled goooood!)

We stopped in at Artemisia Botanicals, where Sarah talked to Teri Kalgren about the shop, about being a witch, and about Salem. I took a few more pictures at Artemisia, which I will post later this week.

Then we headed over the Central and Derby Wharves and Mike filmed some intro spots with Sarah, with the tall ship Friendship in the background. I took this picture with Schooner Fame in the background because it was the first time I'd seen her with her winter wrap off. (Sails start Memorial Day!)
We had great timing at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, as the riggers were working on the Friendship. What a great day to be hanging from rigging on a tall ship!!

Mike took some shots of the Custom House and Derby Street before we went down to Turner Street and the House of the Seven Gables. The last stop for the day was on Chestnut Street for a few shots of the Federal architecture and stunning streetscape.

I can't wait to see how they boil it down to a two-minute segment! The piece is scheduled to air on Monday, May 17. It will be online after it airs, and I'll be sure to share the link.

Monday, May 10, 2010

How We See Salem: The Hawthorne Hotel's Chef Kenneth O'Keefe

This week's "How We See Salem" column has been submitted by Chef Ken from the Hawthorne Hotel.

The Hawthorne Hotel has two full service restaurants, Nathaniel's and The Tavern in the Hawthorne Hotel, and a full banquet service. Here's a bit of insight into Salem from the man behind the menus.

Chef Kenneth O'Keefe
Executive Sous Chef at the Hawthorne Hotel

Where are you from originally?
New York and New Hampshire

How long have you lived or worked in Salem?
8 years

What is your favorite thing about Salem?
The history. There are very few 400-year-0ld cities in the United States.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Salem?
Tavern at the Hawthorne Hotel, Sixty2 on Wharf, Dube's Seafood

What’s your favorite place to shop in Salem?
Beautiful Things and J. Mode (for gifts for my wife).

What is the first thing you do with guests from out of town?
I usually take them to the Peabody Essex Museum.

* * *

If you want to shop, dine, and explore like Chef Ken, here are links to the places he recommends:
Before I post this, I just have to add... Chef Ken shops at J. Mode and Beautiful Things for his wife! He wins for sweetest answer yet. I can't wait to see what next week's perspective brings!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mark your Calendars for Summer in Salem

The festivals are coming! The festivals are coming! Mark your calendars for some great special events and festivals in Salem this summer. If you want more - visit the calendar on It's chock full.

Salem Arts Festival June 4th-6th, 2010
The Salem Arts Festival will celebrate all the arts: painting, photography, sculpture, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theatre, poetry, culinary and visual art. It will engage participants of diverse backgrounds and ages by reaching out to current art patrons, local students, and the community at large.

Salem Farmers Market Thursdays, 3:00 - 7:00 PM June 17 – October 29 Derby Square (between Front Street and Essex Street), Salem
Get a taste of history in Salem this summer! The Salem Farmer’s Market opens on June 17th and will be open on Thursday evenings during the growing season. We expect ten farms to be selling fresh produce, seafood, eggs, and baked goods. Artists and vendors will be selling unique treasures, soaps, scarves, and more. New this year: Asian vegetables, Preserves, Cheese! More than 38,000 people shopped the Salem Farmers' Market in 2009, and we can't wait for it to open for 2010.

Salem Celebrates the Fourth!
Sunday, July 4th | 4pm - 10pm (fireworks at approximately 9:30) Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Celebrate the 4th in Salem with the Dirk Hillyer Festival Orchestra! Bring a picnic and blanket and enjoy the concert, the fireworks, family programming, and an old fashioned New England Independence Day celebration!

Salem Jazz and Soul Festival and Berklee Summer Series Summer Series: Saturdays: May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, 5-7 pm at Derby Square Festival: August 21-22, 2010 at Salem Willows
Experience that vibrant music scene that is Salem in the Summer! The festival will build on rich jazz history adding soul, blues and funk to the mix. A series of free concerts with a conclusion at the Salem Willows. The festival will spotlight the wealth of talented musicians on the North Shore and already has attracted thousands of fans!

Salem Maritime Festival August 6-8, 2010 | 9am – 5pm Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Join the National Park Service for the 22nd year of free family fun! Dance to sea shanties, climb aboard vessels from another era, create crafts that hearkens back to long ago. Past Maritime Festivals have included kite making, forging demonstrations, Revolutionary War reenactments, fish print making, and demonstrations from artisans and crafters.

Salem Heritage Days August 6-15, 2010
Celebrate the heritage of Salem! This perennial favorite features Mayor’s Night Out, restaurant sampler, ice Cream festival, pizza contest, Essex Street Fair, the Salem Maritime Festival, a dog show, movies on the Common, kids’ events at the YMCA, music on the Common, the Witch City Triathlon, and a finale of fireworks! The complete schedule will be posted on in July.

Antique & Classic Boat Festival August 28-29, 2010 Saturday 11am-5pm; Sunday 11am – 3pm Hawthorne Cove Marina, 10 White St., Salem, Massachusetts
Elegant yachts from yesteryear will sail into Salem Harbor for the 28th Annual Antique & Classic Boat Festival on August 28-29. Forty vintage sailboats and motor yachts from the 1880s Р1960s are expected to be on display at Hawthorne Cove Marina in Salem, Massachusetts over the weekend. Mostly wood and privately owned, vessels range from skiffs and dories to sleek mahogany runabouts and cabin cruisers to all manner of sailboats. Known for their hospitality, many boat owners invite the public aboard their boat for a personal tour. Some adorn their craft with period d̩cor and fetching flower arrangements.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Training in Historic Interpretation Offered by the Gordon College Institute for Public History in Salem

Think history is dry? Think again. Interpreting history to students in the 21st century means incorporating objects, music, dance, and theatre.

Beginning on Saturday, May 22nd and running through Friday, June 11th, the Institute for Public History--recently established by Gordon College, in Salem--will offer four courses for the training of public educators, undergraduates in history or theatre, or just those interested in adult development activities.

The courses cover four areas of training in historic interpretation. Meeting on the weekends, Researching Folkways and Material Culture covers the skills of understanding and extrapolating information from historical objects. Longtime North Shore historian and Gordon professor David Goss will be beginning with this course and then following with one called, The Salem Witchcraft Hysteria.

Two other courses will meet on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and will be taught by History Alive! Artistic Director Kristina Wacome Stevick: Improvisation and Interactive Theatre and Period Style, Voice and Movement. These theatre-focused courses will teach the art of using dramatic technique and the understanding of class, fashion, mores, geography and invention to literally bring history alive on the stage or in the classroom.

All courses will include special guest speakers, historic tours and site visits, and all will take the Salem historical setting as their foundation. Many of those involved in the courses will be training for the summer season with the long-running play, Cry Innocent, or as historical hosts and volunteers at Pioneer Village: Salem in 1630. Public school teachers are encouraged to register for the weekend sessions, earning 4 graduate credits and learning valuable transferrable skills to history classrooms.

Official undergraduate or graduate college credit (2-credits per course) is available for all of the courses and will require the completion of various projects. However, the Institute does invite those who wish to attend the training for enrichment purposes only to register at a greatly reduced fee.

All courses will meet in the Salem Old Town Hall at 32 Derby Square, Salem. Tours of numerous Salem sites will be included in the instruction and will be covered in the costs for the course. Syllabi for each of the courses is available at the Institute for Public History website.

For specific dates, costs, and registration please visit the Institute website at: Register soon, space is limited to less than 20 students per course.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Count Orlok's Film Series

Count Orlok's film series continues this Saturday, May 8 at 8:00 PM when they show the George Romero classic Night of the Living Dead. Admission for the movie and a tour of the museum (Salem's only monster museum!) is $8.00.

If you haven't been to Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery yet, now is the time. It's a must for cinema buffs and horror fans. The figures on display are incredible, and the museum gives you an excellent history of horror cinema, from Nosferatu to Jack Torrance ("I'm Baaaaack!"). Check it out. I'm not sure I can call the collection of scary characters "gems," but if I could, Count Orlok's would be a hidden gem in Salem.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Calendar of Annual Events in Salem

We have a snazzy new electronic brochure that features the 2010 Calendar of Annual Events in Salem and directions to Salem. It's a lovely 4-page brochure that you can view and print at home.

Click on the brochure cover to check it out! It is available on the "Free Guide" page of, as well. For a current list of events and programs in Salem, visit the Calendar on We add things to the calendar almost every day, so check in often!

There's a lot of good stuff coming up - first in line is the Salem Arts Festival, June 4-6. Mark your calendars and make your plans. I hear there will be an artist on the Common playing a tree that is a musical instrument. You know I'll post more information on that as soon as I have it!!

Arts Festival, Farmers' Market, Maritime Festival, Heritage Days, Salem Jazz & Soul, Literary Festival, Haunted Happenings, Restaurant Week, Arts & Antiques Month, Holiday Happenings... pick your season to visit Salem. There's going to be something fantastic going on!

Monday, May 3, 2010

How We See Salem: Author Brunonia Barry

Here is the second in our new series of how we see Salem.

Today we feature Salem author Brunonia Barry. Born and raised in Massachusetts, and currently living in Salem, Barry made her literary debut with the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling novel The Lace Reader (William Morrow). Her second novel, The Map of True Places, hits booksellers in the U.S. tomorrow, May 4. Like The Lace Reader, The Map of True Places is set in Salem, and entwines many of our favorite historic sites, restaurants, and neighborhoods into the story of Zee Finch.

Brunonia will be celebrating the launch of The Map of True Places on Tuesday, May 4, at The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, at 7:00 PM. This event is free, and books will be available for purchase through Cornerstone Books at the event.

Here are a few of Brunonia Barry's thoughts on Salem:

Brunonia Barry Writer: The Lace Reader, The Map of True Places Published by William Morrow/Harper Collins

Where are you from originally?
I was born in Salem Hospital and grew up in Marblehead (on the Salem harbor side).

How long have you lived or worked in Salem? My husband and I moved to Salem eleven years ago.

What is your favorite thing about Salem?
I like just about everything about Salem, but I think I like the people best.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Salem?
If you make me choose, I’ll say The Grapevine, but there are so many great restaurants, it’s not a fair question.

What’s your favorite place to shop in Salem?
Cornerstone Books. With a stop at A&J King (bakery) on the way home.

What is the first thing you do with guests from out of town?
First I drive them around the city to show them how beautiful it is. After that, we walk. I live in the McIntyre District which means you can walk to just about everything.

* * *

Do you want to shop, dine, and explore Salem like Brunonia? Here are links to the places she recommends:
Follow Brunonia's blog, the Bru-Ha-Ha, and learn more about her books: