Friday, September 30, 2011

It's a Surreal and Absurd weekend at the Peabody Essex Museum

Visit the Peabody Essex Museum this weekend to step into the surreal!  Their weekend festival, The Surreal and Absurd, will allow visitors to experiment with Surrealist techniques, experience dreamlike films and make friends with odd creatures from Big Nazo*. All activities are included with museum admission and take place between 10:30 am  and 4:15 pm. 

Click here for the Sunday Schedule 

A celebration of the surreal will no doubt bring fact and fiction together in a blur of creativity.  What a perfect festival theme for the opening weekend of Salem Haunted Happenings.  I'm pretty sure this is going to be a brilliant beginning to what is bound to be a month filled with the surreal and occasionally absurd in Salem! 

*I didn't know what The Big Nazo was, so I looked it up.  Here's what I found at BIG NAZO is an international performance group of visual artists, puppet performers, and masked musicians who unite to create bizarre and hilarious larger-than-life sized characters, environments, and spectacles. It looks really cool!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Salem Haunted Happenings

It occurred to me last night that I haven't written a Destination Salem blog post about Salem Haunted Happenings yet this year. It completely slipped my mind.  You may be wondering how on earth our biggest festival and busiest time of year could slip my mind, and I have a great excuse - I'm blogging Haunted Happenings separately, so it really hasn't split my mind so much as it's overtaken my mind. 

The 30th Annual Salem Haunted Happenings kicks off on October 1st and runs through the month of October.  It is a festive celebration of all things Halloween and fall in New England.  There are haunted houses, street fairs, psychic fairs, costume balls, theatrical presentations, ghost tours, live music, great food and a hole lot more.

There's a Harvest Fest, a Battle of the Bands, and Spirits at the House of the Seven Gables. There are two films about the Salem Witch Trials, a Grand Parade, and finale fireworks.

Nearly 25% of the people who visit Salem do so during October, and they have good reason. The City looks beautiful, the fall foliage sets the stage for the characters (from historical to horrific) who wander the street, attractions and museums have extended hours, restaurants are brimming with yummy soups and chowders, and everyone's having fun. 

For more information on visiting during Salem Haunted Happenings, visit  You can also follow Haunted Happenings on Facebook and Twitter

Finally, if you would like us to send you a printed Guide to Salem Haunted Happenings, we are happy to - just shoot us an email at

And I'll start showing Haunted Happenings some love here on the blog.  There's certainly enough going on to cover two blogs for the month.  Happy Haunted Happenings!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Late Night Eats Goes Small Plates at 62

I have some especially yummy news to report - just in time, I might ad, for the opening of The Woman in Black at Salem Theatre Company.  62 + STC = Great Date Night.  Here's (one of the reasons) why:

62 Restaurant & Wine Bar is launching a new Late Night Spuntini Menu that features some of Chef Tony's delicious small plates for $4 from 10pm - 11pm, Thursdays – Saturdays.

Those craving late night eats can now skip the drive-thru and make a beeline directly for the award-winning 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar on Pickering Wharf. Starting Thursday, September 29th, 2011, and continuing indefinitely, 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar will have a Late Night Bar Menu available in the lounge every Thursday – Saturday from 10:00PM – 11:00PM. Chef Tony Bettencourt will be offering a series of his small plates for only $4 each (See standard pricing below)! The special late night menu will always be evolving letting guests try many standard favorites as well as small plate items that are only available during this time slot.

Featured Spuntini, which are usually priced between $7-$12 each, will have a late-night price of $4 per plate.  Late night featured dishes may include: 
  • Arancini Arborio rice fritters with mozzarella, tomato confit & basil 
  • Chickpea Fritters Deep fried chickpea fritters & date compote
  • Mushrooms Pickled trumpet royale mushrooms, sea salt & extra virgin olive oil 
  • Polpette Beef, pork & ricotta meatballs, pomodoro & soft polenta
  • Crudo Yellow fin tuna with citrus zest, wild fennel pollen, sea salt & extra virgin olive oil 
  • Zucchini Blossoms Crisp-fried, stuffed with crab & ricotta with preserved lemon 
  • Pork Belly Confit pork belly, spicy red cabbage salad with thai chile pepper and cilantro 
  • Crostini Whole milk ricotta, black mission figs & chestnut honey  
  • Baccala Potato and house-made salt cod fritters with lemon-caper aioli 
62 Restaurant and Wine Bar is located on Pickering Wharf at 62 Wharf Street. For more information please call the restaurant at 978-744-0062.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Commemorate Civil War history in Salem

I love a blog topic that requires a brush-off of my historical knowledge.  Salem is known for the Witch Trials of 1692, fishing in the 17th century, trade in the 18th century, architecture, museums, and, today, great dining. Salem is not, however, known for its Civil War heritage.

The Hawthorne Hotel just may change that.

Salem and Essex County were involved in the Civil War from preparation to the battlefield.  From abolitionists and activists to enlisted men and officers, Salem and the surrounding area gave a great deal to the war effort.

If you are a Civil War history buff, the Hawthorne Hotel has a package for you.  Use it as a catalyst to explore Salem and the neighboring communities of Marblehead and Beverly, and on to Boston.  Use the New England Civil War Discovery Trail to lead you on your journey, and know that there are cozy accommodations at the end of your journey through history!

The Hawthorne Hotel Civil War Package includes overnight accommodations at the historic Hawthorne Hotel, breakfast for two, passes for two to the Peabody Essex Museum, and an itinerary and map of Civil War-related sites in the Salem area.  Prices begin at $199 plus tax per night, double occupancy, and are based on availability.

This package was created by the the New England Civil War Heritage Foundation.  Call (978) 744-4080 to make your reservations!

If you are interested in more Salem and Essex County Civil War / Abolitionist connections, you may be interested in the National Park Service's pamphlet on the Underground Railroad in Essex County.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Salem Spins! (We love this new bike program.)

I'm going to start with the local sponsors whose inspired involvement is bringing a wicked cool new program to Salem.  So, big, heaping kudos to the City of Salem, Hawthorne Hotel, Salem State University and Salem Cycle.   

What have they sponsored, you ask?  They have sponsored FREE TRANSPORTATION. And I'm not talking about walking.  

Salem is pleased to present its new, free, bicycle sharing program, which is provided by the City of Salem and Salem State University.  The program, aptly called Salem Spins, will open near the Hawthorne Hotel and at the Salem State Central Campus on Monday, September 26th.

Cool! How does it work?

Bicycles will be available at two "hubs."  The downtown hub will be near the Hawthorne Hotel.  Simply visit the front desk at the Hawthorne Hotel, show a credit card and valid ID (for security - there's no charge!) and you will be supplied with a key to unlock one of the bicycles. This easy transaction offers an easy, unique and free way to explore historic Salem.

The second hub will be at the Salem State Campus Police Station, where bicycles will be available to Salem State students and faculty. A Clipper Card is required for use of the bicycles at Salem State. 
Salem Spins will be offered from September through November and will re-open after the winter season in March (schedules are weather permitting and the program is active only during daylight hours).

Program underwriters and sponsors include the Green Communities Division of the MA Department of Energy Resources, the Hawthorne Hotel, and Salem Cycle.

Start Spinning! 

This is a great new option for residents, students, and visitors.  If you get out and about on a new Salem Spins bike, send me a picture at and I'll post a follow-up blog showing us all using this healthy, green, fun mode of transportation! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grace Kelly comes to Salem

With all of the haunted houses and ghostly stories in Salem, I wouldn't be half surprised to learn that Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, was seen in town.  This, however, is a musical, cultural blog post, and this Grace Kelly is a saxophonist phenom. 

The 19-year old saxophonist, singer, songwriter, and composer performs a mix of standards and original works with her quintet. Kelly is the 2011 Boston Music Awards “Jazz Artist of the Year” and is the youngest person to be named to the Downbeat Critics Poll’s “Rising Stars.”  Tickets are: $20 general/$15 non-Salem State students and seniors.

Monday, October 3, 7:30 pm.
The Grace Kelly Quintet
Recital Hall, Central Campus
71 Loring Ave., Salem State University
Information: 978.542.7890
Tickets online at

Check out the Grace Kelly Quintet at the Montreal Jazz Festival

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finz & Cisco Brewers. Cisco Brewers & Finz. Either way, it's a good match.

Finz is bringing Cisco Brewers to the North Shore all the way from Nantucket later this month, as they pair good beer with good food to create a great night out.  

If you love beer and good food, and you don't have plans for Tuesday, September 27, this could be the night you've been waiting for!  The prix fixed dinner costs $34.99 plus tax & gratuity.  Contact Finz at 978-744-8485 to make your reservations.  There is one seating at 6:30 PM. 


Lobster Clambake Tater Tots... Clambake tater tots atop a cream corn sauce, chorizo and arugula micro salad, hollandaise drizzle 
Sankaty Light Lager...A light-bodied American lager with great balance and hop character

Shrimp Enchilada...Peppers, onions, pepper jack cheese, roasted red pepper cream sauce, black bean and cotija cheese corn relish, avocado puree, garnished with crisp tortilla
Indie Pale Ale... East Coast IPA with full malt body

BBQ Baby Back Ribs...Over chipotle slaw and sweet potato hay
Whale’s Tale Pale Ale... English Style Pale Ale 

Twinkie Tiramisu...A play on the classic tiramisu with a nostalgic twist
Moor Porter... Dark session beer with chocolate and roasted malt flavors

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Andre Dubus, III at Salem State

I have to admit, I have not read Andre Dubus' novels.  I have, however, heard a couple of excellent interviews with Dubus on NPR, and he is a compelling storyteller. 

It's very exciting that Andres Dubus, III will be in Salem at the end of September.  A crowd is expected for this reading, so get there early!  

Thursday, September 29, 7:30 pm. Andre Dubus III reads from Townie: A Memoir 
Marsh Hall Conference Center
Room  210, Central Campus, 71 Loring Ave, Salem State University. Free. 

Andre Dubus III is the author of a collection of short fiction, The Cage Keeper and Other Stories, the novels  Bluesman, House of Sand and Fog and The Garden of Last Days. His memoir, Townie, was published this spring. He has served as a panelist for The National Book Foundation, and has taught writing at Harvard University, Tufts University, Emerson College, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he is a full-time faculty member. Information: 978.542.7890 or

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Good news for fans of the Picklepot!

The Picklepot will be celebrating it's official "re-opening" on Wednesday, September 21st, with an official ribbon-cutting at 3:15pm, followed by sampling and socializing until 6pm.

The Picklepot is reopening as a locally owned spice store on Salem's Pickering Wharf. Striving to be known as the "Source for Seasonings, Implements, and inspiration". The Picklepot boasts over 200 different spices, rubs, and traditional blends under the brand name "Salem Spice". The shop at 75 Wharf St. on Pickering Wharf also carries local honey, fine teas from EastWind Tea along with sauces and marinades from Stonewall Kitchen. A large portion of the store is dedicated to kitchen gadgets and culinary tools.

The Picklepot was recently awarded the Salem Chamber of Commerce's "2011 Green Salem Business Challenge" for our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint, sourcing our inventory ecologically, and supporting other local and green businesses. The new Picklepot features old-fashioned, manual tools that you have to use with love. It is also home to the "Cookbook Recycling Center" where you can bring in your old cookbooks, or browse through the cookbooks left by others and take one home for free.

"You have to eat, you may as well make it taste good." - David Bowie

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lecture, Exhibit, explore lives of 17th-century women in Salem

The pages of history textbooks are always full of information about the lives and exploits of 17th and 18th century men, but what about their wives?  

How did women in the 17th century spend their days?  

Using the Turner family inventories, lecturer, author and historian Elisabeth Garrett Widmer will shed light on the lives of wealthy women in the 17th century.  

What did Mrs. Turner wear and how did she get dressed?  

What did a wealthy woman in Colonial America eat and how did one maintain such a large home?  

For a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Turner women and members of their social class, join The House of the SevenGables for the fifth lecture of The Gables’ seven lecture series entitled, Living Comfortably in the 17th and 18th Century on Saturday September 24th at 2pm. This lecture, offered at The Gables as part of Essex National Heritage Commission’s Trails and Sails weekend, will be free of charge.  

For more on the lives of 17th century women, join the Witch House for a fascinating look at a new exhibit titled 17th Century Midwifery: Herbs and Customs Surrounding Childbirth.  Also offered as part of the ENHC's Trails and Sails Event the exhibit will be available for viewing September 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 26th.

Elisabeth Garrett Widmer received her MA from the University of Delaware in the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture before becoming Curator of both the DAR Museum in Washington DC and the Abigail Adams Smith Museum in New York.  Ms. Widmer spent eleven years with Sotheby’s Educational Studies in New York where she directed Sotheby’s graduate-level American Arts Course before becoming a Senior Vice President at Christie’s where she directed Christie’s Classes in Connoisseurship.  Ms. Widmer lectures throughout the United States on American decorative arts and is frequently consulted by museums on historic interiors, exhibitions and education.  Her numerous articles and books have won her distinguished awards and accolades including the Colonial Dames of America book award. 

For more on Salem Women's History, visit

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trails & Sails Weekends are here!

It's time to get out and explore! There's no reason not to, because for the next two weekends, it's free.  Thanks to the hard work of the Essex National Heritage Commission and their partners, there will be more than 200 free events throughout Essex County (which includes Salem) on September 16, 17, 24 and 25. 

200 Events.  And they are all free. 

This is the Tenth Annual Trails & Sails, so you may be aware of it.  It is the region's largest celebration of  natural, cultural and historic resources.  You can sail on a Schooner, explore beaches, discover hidden rooms, learn gossip from the past.  And that's just in Salem.

All of the events are listed online at, and printed guides to Trails & Sails are available at Essex Heritage Visitor Centers (including the Salem Regional Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty Street) and participating Eastern Banks.

Essex Heritage is sweetening the pot this year - they have created a Trails & Sails Passport (very cool!), and if you get 10 stamps, you can send your passport in to be entered into a drawing for fabulous prizes.  There's more information on the web site. 

Here's a quick list of the events in Salem this weekend and next.  Make sure to review the event capacities; if they are limited, you may want to get arrive early. 
  • (Re)Discovering Salem's Franco-American hosted by Historic Salem, Inc.
  • ­17th Century Midwives at Witch House
  • ­1812 Privateer FAME: Go Sail! Aboard Schooner Fame
  • ­Beach Seining Demonstration hosted by Salem Sound Coastwatch
  • ­Guided Tour of Special Exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum
  • ­Hawthorne Hotel Tour
  • ­Living Comfortably in the 17th Century at the House of Seven Gables
  • ­Lunch Hour at the Gedney House
  • ­Marine Lab Exploration Salem State University’s Cat Cove Marine Laboratory
  • ­Talk of the Town: Salem 1802 hosted by National Park Service
  • ­The Art of the Birchbark Canoe hosted by the Peabody Essex Museum
Not to sound like a broken record, but check out for complete information on the listings, the weekends, the host sites, and Essex Heritage.