Friday, December 31, 2010

My top 10 of 2010

We had a great time in Salem in 2010.  Here are my ten highlights from the year.

1.TLC's What Not to Wear came to Salem.  OK, they actually came to Salem in 2009, but the episode aired in January 2010 and has repeated throughout the year.  Stacy London and Clinton Kelly came to  Salem to make over Leanne Marrama, who works at Omen.  The "ambush" was shot at Old Town Hall with the cast of Cry Innocent providing awesome extras and giving a sense of history and place for Salem in this national television show.  The "reveal," when Leanne returned to Salem after the week-long makeover in New York City was held at the Hawthorne Hotel, and her final photos were shot in the gardens at the House of the Seven Gables.  The detail I took away from the shoot? Stacy kept a pair of flats handy because even she knows that running on cobblestones in heels is completely impractical.

2. Theater in Salem. Whether it was Into the Woods or Lend me a Tenor at Salem State University or Rounding Third, Hair, or The Long Christmas Ride Home at Salem Theatre Company, 2010 was a great year for theater in Salem.  Salem State became a University, and Salem Theatre Company acquired a stage of its own.  I'm looking forward to 2011 and the comedies and dramas that will make us laugh and think and cherish live theater in Salem.

3. The Map of True Places, by Brunonia Barry, was released in May, bringing readers to Salem to follow the story of Zee when she returned home to Salem to care for her father and deal with the loss of a patient.  My favorite moment? Zee's father, Finch, selling personal items through the window of his house on Turner Street a'la Hepzebah's Cent Shop in the House of the Seven Gables.

4. The Salem Farmers' Market returned for its second year, and it continued to be cherished by residents and visitors alike.  From the fresh produce to monkey bread to eggs to locally made arts and crafts, the Farmers' Market in Derby Square was a destination each Thursday afternoon that served more than 40,000 customers.  I can't wait for its return in 2011. 

5. The Salem Maritime Festival brought Salem's maritime heritage to life again this year.  Music, crafts, and demonstrations filled the wharves and gave families a day of free family fun on the waterfront. This year the National Park Service enhanced programming by offering free sails on tall ships from the region, the Schooner Fame from Salem and the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon from Gloucester.  We loved making and flying our own kites.

6. The Carrier Family Reunion.  Hundreds of descendants of Martha Carrier, who was condemned in 1692, came to Salem in November with author Kathleen Kent.  The group had lectures, tours, and events that celebrated their heritage, commemorated the Salem Witch Trials, and toured the region.  Kathleen Kent, who wrote The Heretic's Daughter, released her second novel, The Wolves of Andover, in November as well, giving us another opportunity to immerse our minds into the world of 17th century Massachusetts.

7. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives at the Lobster Shanty. If you are not a fan of The Food Network show, Diners Drive-ins and Dives, you probably don't know Guy Fieri and wouldn't recognize his red Camero parked outside the Lobster Shanty this fall.  The Shanty was featured on an episode that highlighted their Lobster Martinis and pulled pork sandwiches.  In case you were wondering, the Shanty is neither a diner or a drive-in.... but it is a local favorite on Artist Row!

8. The Emperor's Private Paradise was the exhibit that put the PEM in the same sentence as the Met.  This fantastic exhibition of artifacts from The Palace Museum in Beijing has given the public its first opportunity to see into an Emperor's private retreat.  The PEM was selected for the exhibit because of the exceptional preservation and interpretation it has done with Yin Yu Tang, the Chinese House that is the only example of 18th century Chinese architecture on display in America.  From Salem, The Emporer's Private Paradise will travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in January.

9. Shopping!  Whether we were shopping for jewelry at Treasures over Time, unique home decor at Urban Elements, apparel at Signatures and J.Mode, accessories at Quint Essentials, or gifts to make you laugh at The Beehive, the shopping in Salem has never been better.  Creative, unique gifts can be found from Sophia's to Hex, Salemdipity to the Trolley Depot.  This was the year we went out to Shop Different. Shop Salem. 

10. The food.  Have you ever seen so many new restaurants?  We can dine around the world without leaving Washington Street.  From Italian to Polish to American to Mediterranean to Chinese to Thai... the restaurant scene is hopping!  And our favorites like Finz, Victoria Station, Capts, and the Lyceum are still here, offering a steady and strong base for all of the new restaurants.  Restaurant Weeks in April and November gave us the opportunity to dine out for less and experience the new as well as the tried-and-true.

That's 2010 in a nut (mussel?) shell!  My favorites from 220 blog posts and even more events, activities, and places to visit and experience in Salem.  Next year I may have to pick Eleven favorites.  Ten just isn't enough.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Get your glow on to ring in the New Year at Rouge!

Hey, girls... let one of the Rouge professional makeup artists glam you up for your big night out!   Whether you want super natural or a dramatic evening look, you’ll be gorgeous!  And, they do amazing false lashes, from very subtle to full out va va voom, tons to choose from.

Call 978.740.1044 to book your makeup application today before they fill up, you’ll be the belle of the ball!

$50-Complete Makeup Application
$70-Complete Makeup Application w/ Lashes
$20-Lashes and Lash Application

Celebrate New Year's Eve in Salem

Celebrate the old and ring in the new in Salem! Here are a few options... 

62 Restaurant & Wine Bar
Gather, reconnect, and ring in the New Year with 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar! Chef/Owner Antonio Bettencourt is preparing a specially crafted four-course menu with an assortment of his highly-acclaimed modern Italian dishes ($60 per person). For an additional $20 guests can enjoy carefully paired wines from "62's" exclusive, all-Italian wine list. The perfect setting for a special evening, come celebrate the achievements of the past year and the years to come at "62!" come.  Please call 978-744-0062 to make your reservations. Click here to preview the menu!

Choose from two seatings on New Year's Eve.  The first ends at 8:00 PM, and the second begins at 8:00 PM. Jazz keyboardist and clarinetist Peter A. Kostopoulos will play beginning at 9:00 PM.  Make your reservations at 978.741.0555. Click here to view the menu.

Ring in the New Year with The Mystics at Finz. Live music and dancing 9:30 PM - 12:30 AM. There will be a special menu and a complimentary midnight champagne toast. Make your reservationsat 978.744.8485.

Green Land Cafe
Savor the old and ring in the new with a special Prix Fixed Menu and live music. Henry Allen and the New Swingset will play from 9:00 PM - 12:30 AM. $85 per person. Call 978.744.7766 to make your reservation. Click here to preview the menu.

Gulu Gulu Cafe
New Year's Eve Disco Ball! 70'S DJ DANCE PARTY - Local DJ Radio Scotvoid will be spinning 70's era Funk, Disco, and Soul all night long! 70's era garb suggested. Food will be laid out for all to enjoy. Free champagne at mid-night! Doors will open at 7PM with the party starting right around 8PM! Space is limited and tickets will sell out! Tickets are only $15!

Hawthorne Hotel
New Year's Eve Dinner, December 31, 6pm -10pm
Elegant four-course, prefixed dinner.  Live Jazz music (no dancing). Nathaniel's and Sophia's. Price $85 per person. Reservations strongly recommended. Please call 978-825-4311.

The Lyceum
Great Food, featuring a special New Year's Eve Menu. Great Music with The Psychedelic Relics starts at 9:00 PM. Call 978-745-7665 for reservations.

Ring in the New Year with a Champagne Toast and party favors. Two floors open with DJ Tony D in our new upstairs ballroom and the Herland Brothers live band downstairs. Dinner reservations availalbe 7:30-9:00 PM, $65 per person. Click here to see menu. Tickets at the door, admission 7:30 PM - 12:30 AM, $25 per person.Call 978.745-2411 for reservations.

Victoria Station | Vic's Boathouse
Join us on Dec.31 as we boot out the old and get geared up for the new!! Guest Dj and Bobby Vee will be spinning the tunes and we will have a free champagne toast at midnight and free passed appetizers throughout the evening. We will also be having prize give aways and party favors!! The festivities begin at 9:00 PM and run into the New Year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snowy Salem

Salem was draped with nearly two feet of snow yesterday.  Today it is beautiful!  

Here are a few pictures I took along Essex Street this morning when I came into work.  The PEM is open, as is the Visitor Center, Salem Witch Museum, and The House of the Seven Gables.  The streets are cleared (but I recommend parking in the garage at 1 New Liberty Street or the South Harbor Garage on the corner of Derby and Congress Streets).  The sidewalks are a bit slushy, so wear boots, bundle up, and come out to explore Salem!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Holidays from Destination Salem!

Best wishes for a warm and magical holiday season from Destination Salem! 

The Gazebo on Salem Common.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Photo Contest results are in!

Wow!  A whopping 1,115 people voted Destination Salem's 2010 photo contest!

Many thanks to the many photographers who submitted images, to the finalists, to the Destination Salem marketing committee, who had the arduous task of narrowing the field of 255 images down to seven, and to the people who voted.  Here are your results:

First place, and the cover of the 2011 Salem Guide: 
Salem Willows Fence, by Hillary Dearborn

Second place, and winner of a $50 Salem Chamber of Commerce Gift Certificate:

Hooper Hathaway House by Janet Mahon
Third place, and winner of a $25 Salem Chamber of Commerce Gift Certificate: 
The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion (The House of the Seven Gables) by Elaine Webb
Congratulations to the winners, and thanks again to everyone who contributed to this year-long contest!  Many of the images submitted will be used in the 2011 Salem Guide, which will be available in February. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Have you made a wish list? Are you ready to shop late on Thursday?

This Thursday is Men's Shopping Night in Salem! 

Participating businesses are making the holidays extra-easy by offering wish lists, serving refreshments, and staying open late.  Salem Main Streets has all the details on their web site at

See you Thursday... 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vote for your favorite in the 2010 Photo Contest!

Destination Salem received 255 submissions from 148 photographers to the 2010 Photography Contest! This is a 56% increase over the number of photographers who submitted images in 2009, so the competition was pretty fierce!  

The Destination Salem Marketing Committee has whittled the 255 down to seven, and now it's time for you to choose. You have through Friday morning to vote. We will announce the winner at 12:00 Noon on Friday, December 17. 

Click here to vote for your favorite photograph, or visit You can only vote once from your computer, so choose wisely! 

The images are online at, too.  Feel free to share with your friends! 

The Derby House
The House of the Seven Gables

Tall Ship Friendship

Fence at Salem Willows

Hooper Hathaway House at The House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables

Old Town Hall

Now click here or at to vote for your favorite! Thanks!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Salem Shopping Event

Tonight is The Salem Shopping Event downtown Salem, which is a great excuse to bundle up and come downtown to do some shopping. And you know you won't find any run-of-the-mill gifts in Salem. From organic baby gear to gorgeous jewelry to home goods that range from the practical to the whimsical (and are occasionally both), in Salem you will find gifts that will NOT be regifted.

There will be great discounts and promotions offered at shops in the Townhouse Square neighborhood (the blocks around Washington Street at Essex Street) and throughout downtown. I know Pickering Wharf shops are staying open late, as are shops on Derby Street and Front Street.  Grab that list and get ready to start checking people off!     

If you've sent a wish list of your own to Santa, make sure to pick up a Men's Shopping Night post card at participating retailers. You can create wish lists at more than ten downtown shops, check the shops off on the card, and leave it surreptitiously on somebody's bureau (or the dishwasher, or taped to the rear view mirror).  I recommend wishing for a lot, and then being pleasantly surprised by what is ultimately selected, wrapped, and left under the tree!

The postcard may be gender-specific, but don't let that stop you.  Anyone can create wish-lists! 

Shops will be open late tonight - and many are open late on Fridays and Saturdays in December, as well - and next Thursday. There will be drawings, prizes, tastings, refreshments...  it's going to be a very merry place to shop different, so shop Salem tonight and throughout this holiday season!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Salad Options at Coven

Have you discovered Coven yet?  Oh, the baked goods! Oh, the sandwiches!  Oh, the coffee!  And now... oh, the salad options!

This artisanal market opened at 281 Essex Street in May, and it's a great option for treats, lunch, breakfast, brunch (you get the picture).  I'm a big fan of their almond croissants.  The sandwiches are big and hearty,

Here is their brand new "Build Your Own Salad" menu. Definitely worth a try! 

And please let them know you heard about it from Destination Salem!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Downtown Salem Holiday Window Contest

This is the last week to vote in the Downtown Salem Holiday Window Contest!  Every vote enters you into a raffle for a holiday stocking! 

Here are some pictures from last year's competition...

This is a great excuse to walk around downtown Salem, window shop, and check out all of the great retail and restaurants.  For complete details and a list of participating businesses, visit

Your help is needed to choose the winner - the competition is fierce!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Facebook friends, it's time to Tag & Shop!

It's December, the season of giving, and we are going to give-give-give for the next couple of weeks.  Some of Salem's most generous shops have given Destination Salem gift certificates to give away during December, and we are going to do just that!

Tag & Shop on Facebook

You may have followed and participated in our Tag & Dine give-away during November.  Tag & Shop will work in exactly the same way. Here's how to play...

  1. If you aren't already, become a fan of Destination Salem on Facebook!
  2. Each day between December 2 - 16 we will post a picture of a downtown shop and invite you to "tag yourself."  We post the pictures at different times, and it is completely random.  We try to do early morning, mid-day, and evening posts to reach people who are on Facebook at different times.
  3. To "Tag" yourself, click "Tag this Photo" on the right of the page.  Facebook will then allow you to put your mouse on the picture and "tag" yourself.
  4. Note: You do not have to actually be in the photograph to tag yourself in it!  
  5. Facebook only allows 50 tags per photo, so once there are 50 you'll have to wait for the next opportunity. 
  6. A random drawing will be done - yes, we have a fishbowl with 50 numbers in it in our office - after the picture has accumulated 50 drawings and the gift certificate will be awarded!
Here's the fine print: You can only win once, so if you win a gift certificate, please make way for others.

Good luck!

Celebrate your holidays at the Historic Hawthorne Hotel

The Hawthorne Hotel has a wonderful line up of holiday events for all ages.  Here is the schedule: 

"Toys for Tots" Teddy Bear Tea, Saturday, December 18, Noon - 2pm
A favorite tradition at the Hawthorne, this tea is dedicated to "Toys for Tots". Buffet luncheon with finger sandwiches. All children will have the opportunity to have their picture taken with the Hawthorne Bear. Price $21pp/Adults and $13.50pp/children (children are free when they bring a "Toys for Tots" donation--new and unwrapped, please--only two per table). Reservations are strongly recommended. Please call 978-825-4311. (Prices are inclusive of tax and gratuity). 

Brunch with Santa, Sunday, December 12 & Sunday, December 19, 11am - 2pm
The Christmas spirit is alive with this special holiday brunch.  Santa will be on property to hear holiday wishes and spread holiday cheer.  Prices are $28.95/Adults and $14.95/children. Nathaniel's and Sophia's. Reservations strongly recommended, please call 978-825-4311. 

Caroling with Julie Doherty, Christmas Eve, 4pm -7pm
Join us in the Grand Ballroom & The Tavern from 4pm-7pm on Christmas Eve, December 24th for a true holiday tradition in Salem. This event is open to the public. Admission is by freewill donation to a local charity; collections will be taken throughout the evening. A cash bar is available in our Ballroom. Our restaurants are open for normal business hours if you would like to join us before or after the caroling event. Please call 978-825-4311 for information. 

Christmas Eve Dinner, December 24,  5:30pm - 10pm
Christmas Eve deserves the elegance of Nathaniel's & Sophia's. Enjoy our à la carte menu as well as holiday specials. Please call 978-825-4311 for reservations or information. 

Christmas Day Buffet Brunch, December 25, 11am - 7pm
Buffet in the Lobby, Nathaniel's, Sophia's, The Tavern and the Ballroom. Prices are $40.95/Adults and $16.95/children. Reservations are required. Please call 978-825-4311. As this is one of our most popular brunches we recommend calling early for the best choice of reservations.

New Year's Eve Dinner, December 31, 6pm -10pm
Elegant four-course, prefixed dinner.  Live Jazz music (no dancing). Nathaniel's and Sophia's. Price $85 per person. Reservations strongly recommended. Please call 978-825-4311.

Eat at Chili's, benefit the Phillips and Gedney Houses (and other Historic New England properties!)

Chili’s Grill and Bar, located at 1 Newbury Street (Route One South) in Danvers, Mass. is hosting a “give back” night for Historic New England and their Preservation Maintenance Fund. Simply print this email and bring it to Chili’s on Monday, December 6 from 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. and Historic New England will receive 10% of the sales for that day.

This give back night will benefit the Beauport Sleeper-McCann House in Gloucester, Cogswell’s Grant in Essex, the Spencer-Pierce-Little Farm in Newbury, the Phillips House in Salem and six other local historic house museums. The Preservation Maintenance Fund was established in 2009 to help Historic New England better preserve their properties around New England.

There will be special giveaways of Historic New England museum passes and books as well as Chili’s gift certificates through the day. Information about membership and upcoming programs will also be available.

All of the proceeds raised at Chili’s for Historic New England will be matched dollar-for-dollar by an anonymous funder. Your attendance will truly make an impact on North of Boston culture.

Please contact the Phillips House at 978-744-0440 or Chili’s Danvers at 978-777-0750 for more details.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dreidels & Menorahs at Treasures Over Time

The holidays seem to be happening so quickly this year.  Thanksgiving is sliding right into Hanukkah, and then it's a mad dash to Christmas and New Years.

Treasures Over Time has some beautiful dreidels and menorahs. The crystal menorah, which photographs really poorly, is just stunning, and so different.  And the dreidels range from whimsical colors to elegant clear crystal.

I'm always so pleasantly surprise at the (and I have to say it) treasures I discover at Treasures over Time.  It is an aptly named store!  If you are in the Christmas shopping mode, they have wonderful ornaments (great teacher gifts!), ties, scarves, and - of course - the jewelry!

See for yourself at 139 Washington Street,