Monday, October 31, 2011

Restaurant Week Next Week!

With all due respect to today being HALLOWEEN, the finale of our month-long Haunted Happenings celebration (visit for info, please), we are really excited about Fall Restaurant Week, which starts on Sunday, November 6.

Evidence that there is always something going on in Salem, Massachusetts.

Restaurant Week is produced twice a year - November and April - by the Salem Chamber of Commerce

Friday, October 28, 2011

Haunted Happenings for Kids

Here’s a quick list of attractions and events scheduled for the weekend of October 28-31 that may work for your kids.*  This list was created for the average 10-and-under visitor. 

Trick-or-Treat Hours in Salem are October 31, 5-8pm

Special Events—October 28-31
Ask a Witch-Make a Wand
Saturday and Sunday, 11am - 6pm, Sponsored by the Witches Education League. Children can  make a wand and ask questions about witches and witchcraft! $1.00. Pickering Wharf | 978-745-0065

Family Fun Days on Salem Common
Rides, games, and entertainment
Saturday & Sunday, 11am - 5pm, Salem Common

Fiesta Shows Carnival
Sat-Sun and Halloween Noon to 10pm, 289 Derby Street

Haunted Happenings at Salem State University
Sunday, 1pm - 4pm
Games, arts and crafts, food, face painting, a bouncy castle, and more! All for FREE, Ellison Campus Center- North Campus, 978-542-6079

Haunted Salem Village at Pioneer Village
Saturday and Sunday, 6pm and 6:15pm shows are less scary for children.
Forest River Park |
The Haunted Movie Series on Salem Common
Saturday, 6:30pm | Featuring Beetlejuice. FREE!  Salem Common

Trick or Treating at Pioneer Village
Saturday and Sunday, 2pm—5pm
Forest River Park,

Tricks and Treats Magic Show at Salem Theatre

Thursday - Saturday, Shows at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm. $10
90 Lafayette Street | 978-790-8546 |

Wizardly Wonders at the Witches Cottage
Saturday at 10am, Sunday at 11am, 7 Lynde St
978-825-0222 |

Haunted Houses & Attractions
Cry Innocent: The People Verses Bridget Bishop
A reenactment of the 1692 Witch Trial examination of Bridget Bishop where the audience is the jury. |978-867-4767

Griswold’s Ghostly Grove
Family-friendly haunted house. Museum Place Mall

The Haunted Neighborhood at the Salem Wax Museum
Five attractions in one place, including Frankenstein’s Laboratory, where kids can say, “Monsters Be Nice” when the frights are to much, and the Souvenir Factory. 
282 Derby Street,

New England Pirate Museum
Visit a re-created dockside village and pirate ship and experience the adventures of New England’s sea-robbers.  Arrggh! 274 Derby Street,

Peabody Essex Museum
It’s not haunted or scary, but Ripple Effect, the Art of H20 exhibit is interactive and fun for all ages. 
161 Essex Street |

Pioneer Village: Salem 1630
At forest river park. Presenting a “haunted Salem Village” during October., 978-606-7426

Playground on Salem Common
There’s no better free fun than letting the kids run around on a playground!  Southeast corner of the Common.

Salem’s 13 Ghosts 3-D Haunted House
Will temper the haunted house experience for younger guests. 
131 Essex Street,

Visit for complete information on Salem Haunted Happenings!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Update on Friendship

You may have noticed a big, gaping hole in our waterfront this month.  Indeed, the Tall Ship Friendship is not currently in port.  We miss her dearly.

I have an update on Friendship's status, and a few answers to the frequently asked questions we've been hearing around town.

First, a Q&A:
  1. Where is she?  Friendship is at the Fairhaven Shipyard, which is in southern Massachusetts near New Bedford. 
  2. Why is she gone?  Per her US Coast Guard certification, Friendship is required to have an annual haul-out. It's like a physical examination for a large, wooden vessel. 
  3. Why now? It's our busiest season!   Making an appointment for a haul-out is not as dependable as making a doctor's appointment.  She was originally scheduled to be gone in September, in which case she would have been home in October, but the schedule was delayed by the shipyard schedule.  Also worth noting, the last time Friendship was hauled out, a considerable amount of work was needed and she was gone for more than six months - April through October, 2009.  Rather than risk that happening again this year, the National Park Service opted to have her haul-out done in the fall.  This way another "worst case scenario" would impact Salem Maritime National Historic Site over the winter months, not the summer months. 
  4. What's being done?  Friendship is being checked for wear-and-tear, power-washed, and receiving a new paint job above and below the waterline.
Next, a couple of pictures.

These pictures from her haul-out are courtesy  She is due back in early November.  When the work is done in Fairhaven, she is going to be in port and open for visitation at New Bedford Whaling National Historic Site for two days.

We're really sorry if you came to Salem and missed Friendship.  She is a wonderful piece of our waterfront and our maritime heritage.  She is also a great ambassador for Salem and the Essex National Heritage Area, so when she isn't here, we will let you know where she is (last summer she was in New York City and Gloucester for different events), and perhaps you can visit her when she is traveling.

I'll let you know when she's due back in Salem.  It's always a great photo opp when she comes in on the high tide!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence - Film Viewing & Symposium

The Essex National Heritage Commission, in partnership with the National Park Service, is hosting a special viewing and symposium with the scholars of the new interpretive film, “Salem Witch Hunt: Examine the Evidence.” The film about the 1692 Salem Witch Trials is based on the most recent scholarly research of the causes, events and aftermath of these famous trials. The movie reveals newly found documents and research which shed new light on the trials, with reenactors speaking the documented words of the accusers and victims, and analysis by scholars who have studied the trials for many years.

The film will begin at 7:00 PM, followed by a lively discussion and questions & answer session with the prominent witch trial scholars featured in the film, moderated by National Park Service historian, Dr. Emily Murphy. The renowned witch trial scholars include: Mary Beth Norton of Cornell University, the author of In the Devil’s Snare; Benjamin C. Ray of the University of Virginia who has written extensively on the religious aspects of the trials and maintains the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription website; Emerson (Tad) Baker of Salem State University who has recently published The Devil of Great Island: Witchcraft and Conflict in Early New England; Margo Burns who is the Director of the Language Center at St Paul’s School and an associate editor and project manager of Bernard Rosenthal’s book, Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt, a comprehensive compendium of nearly a thousand documents from the trials; and Richard Trask, historian and archivist, Town of Danvers (formerly Salem Village).

Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM
National Park Service Visitor Center in Salem
2 New Liberty Street, Salem, MA 01970 

Light refreshments will be served in the lobby. Tickets for this exclusive event are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Essex Heritage members $12/Non-members $15.  Purchase tickets online at or call 978-740-0444 for more information.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Salem Fall Restaurant Week 2011

The Salem Chamber of Commerce is set to welcome back the 5th Annual Fall Restaurant Week. This ten day event will kick off on Sunday, November 6th and run through Thursday, November 10th. It will start back up again on Sunday, November 13th and finish off on Thursday, November 17th.  Due to last year’s overwhelming success, more than 20 of Salem’s best restaurants will be participating.

This year’s event will feature some of the finest establishments on the North Shore offering exquisite cuisine at mouth-watering prices. During Restaurant Week, diners can enjoy a prix-fixe two-course dinner menu for $15 or a prix-fixe three-course dinner menu for $25. Please visit or call the restaurants directly to see what they will be offering; some restaurants may have both course options. Prices are per person and exclude beverages, tax, and gratuity.

Co-owners of the North Shore Dish (, Jill Rose and Kristen Nyberg, shared their enthusiasm about the event, “It’s been a real pleasure watching Salem’s Restaurant Week grow over the past several years. With so many new restaurants in town, it’s the perfect opportunity for people to support the local economy and try something new at the same time.”

New to this year’s lineup is 43 Church, located in what was formerly The Lyceum. The restaurant introduced its new name and “without the beefy attitude” steakhouse concept this past September. Other participating restaurants include: 62 Restaurant and Wine Bar, Adriatic Restaurant and Bar, Bella Verona, Black Lobster at Stromberg’s Cove, Café Polonia, Capt.’s Waterfront Grill & Club, Cilantro, Finz Seafood & Grill, Grapevine Restaurant, The Great Escape, Green Land Café, Howling Wolf Taqueria, Lobster Shanty, Nathaniel’s at the Hawthorne Hotel, Regatta Pub at the Salem Waterfront Hotel, Rockafellas, Salem Beer Works, Seaport Café, Thai Place, and Victoria Station.

Reservations are strongly encouraged!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Celebrate Halloween weekend at Finz

Finz is going to be frightfully hip during Halloween weekend.  They are turning the second floor into a swanky living room lounge movie theater with comfy couches and cash bar.

On Saturday, October 29th they will be showing two Halloween classics - The Exorcist and Friday the 13th.  Admission to the films is $20 per person, which includes complimentary snacks and popcorn. The films start at 7pm.

As if that wasn't enough, Finz will have a live music schedule during Halloween weekend that will keep the dead awake, as well.

Thursday, October 27: The Zackleys
Friday, October 28: Savage Tanners
Saturday, October 20: DJ Alex (in the bar)
Sunday, October 30: Sunday Bloody Sunday 
Monday, October 31: Mother Ton

For more information, visit or call (978) 744-0000.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yo-Ho-Ho and a Schooner called FAME

The Schooner FAME has added a special cruise to its October schedule!  This Saturday, October 22 at 4:00 PM the FAME shall set sail with ample parts rum and entertainment on deck. 

Here's the scoop from Captain Mike:

Rum and sailors have always gotten along like wind and water! Molasses imported from the West Indies was being distilled into rum in New England from the earliest colonial times, and rum was the basis for many of the libations imbibed by the Sons of Liberty as they plotted to push Massachusetts into open rebellion against the Crown.

On this cruise, you'll have the opportunity to sample contemporary beverages, hear Tobias Tripp squeeze out 18th-century songs on his fiddle and squeezebox, and even dance a hornpipe! Revolutionary beverages based on rum & wine will be available for $5; soda and water are also available for $2.

FAME is a replica of a privateer schooner from the War of 1812. During the Revolution and the War of 1812, hundreds of privateers sailed from New England ports to strike a blow for liberty. Come see what all the fuss was about! Sing the songs, drink the drinks, dance the dances, and sail the schooners that helped earn us our independence from Great Britain!

October 22 at 4 PM 

$30 pp, no discounts, passes, vouchers or Groupons. 
Taste the latest New England rums from Turkey Shore Distilleries in Ipswich!
To purchase advance tickets go to

Monday, October 17, 2011

Day trip to Boston II - The Freedom Trail

This is part 2 in what is quickly becoming a "Day Trip to Boston" series.  Using Salem as your hub for vacation is a great idea - from Salem you can easily explore Boston, Gloucester, Rockport, Ipswich, and Newburyport via public transportation. 

Day Trip to Boston I focused on sports and shopping.  This day trip is all about the Freedom Trail, so get ready to brush up on your Revolutionary War History.

So, you've taken the Salem Ferry or MBTA Commuter Rail from Salem to Boston, and you have found your way to Faneuil Hall  (Via green line from North Station, via foot from the Ferry).  Faneuil Hall is adjacent to Quincy Market, so you have a perfect balance of shopping, buskers (seasonal), and the National Park Service.

The Boston National Historical Park interprets the Revolutionary War, and there are worthy stops at Old North Church, the Constitution in Charlestown, and the Old State House.  The Freedown Trail, which is a 2.5 mile brick trail to some of Boston's most significant historical sites, is a great walking tour that can be self-guided or professionally-guided.  There are an ample selection of brochures and walking maps at the Boston Visitor Center should you decide to go it alone.

I recommended a trolley tour to get your bearings in the first Day Trip to Boston post.  Feel free to insert that recommendation again here. 

There are several places to eat in this historic district, but you may want to hold your appetite until the Freedom Trail takes you into the North End toward Paul Revere's House.  Fabulous pizza, pasta and pastries abound in Boston's North End.  Eat well, you'll need the energy if you're going to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument.

Finally, take in a tour of Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution in Charlsetown.  "The world's oldest commissioned warship afloat,"  a tour of the Constitution is interesting for all ages. 

Back at Faneuil Hall, and at the adjacent Quincy Market, there is ample shopping for all, and a plethora of restaurant options for the snack or meal you will need after walking the Freedom Trail.

I haven't gotten into Boston's museums yet, which means there's a Day Trip to Boston III still to come.

One last note: If you are taking the Salem Ferry back to Salem after exploring Boston, I will happily remind you that there is a galley on board with plenty of snacks and beverages to help you relax, unwind, and recount your day's adventure. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

You only think it's too soon to think about Christmas

It's time.  It really is.  The Trolley Christmas Carol tickets went on sale in September.  Nutcracker commercials dance across the television.  And Christmas in Salem home tour tickets can now be purchased on line. 

The theme for the 32nd annual Christmas in Salem tour is "Rediscover McIntire," which means we will be strolling along Chestnut Streets and Essex Street, seeing some of the most splendid Federal style archicture in the country.  Christmas in Salem is a wildly popular fundraiser for Historic Salem, Inc. The program invites ticket holders into some of the most beautiful private homes in Salem, which are decorated for the holidays by local florists and interior designers. 

I highly recommend buying your tickets in advance, either online or at one of several downtown shops, so you can attend the Candlelit Preview on Friday night (and you'll save a few dollars by buying in advance). 

For complete information, visit

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gedney Glows for Haunted Happenings

Explore the 1665 Gedney House by the glow of lantern light and find out why this is not your typical historic house tour. Explore the architecture of a seventeenth-century Salem shipbuilder's home, stand inside the chimney, see original paint treatments, and view the layers of the house in a totally new light. 

There are two sessions of this special twilight tour of the Gedney House available on Thursday, October 20. The first tour is from 5:15-6:00 p.m. and the second tour is from 6:00-6:45 p.m. The Gedney House is located at 21 High Street in Salem, Mass.

Registration is required for this event, as it has sold out in years past. The cost is $5.00 for Historic New England members and $10.00 for nonmembers. Please call 978-744-0440 or visit to purchase tickets.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

North Shore Magazine features Green Land and Mahi Mahi

Two of our friends are featured in the current issue of North Shore Magazine.  We were very excited to see Green Land Cafe, and their yummy-sounding Autumn's Dawn cocktail, and Captain Will Cole from Mahi Mahi Cruises in the pages of the October/November 2011 issue. 

These two profiles highlight two excellent ways to experience Haunted Happenings in Salem! 

Read the article at

Read the article at

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day trip to Boston I

I ran into a family this weekend who were doing two days (maybe three) in Salem, and wanted to add a day into Boston.  This was their first trip to our neck of the woods, and in talking with them I realized I had a blog post topic on my hands. 

This was a family of four: mom, dad, teenage son and (younger) teenage daughter. 

First, they had to get from Salem to Boston.  It was the weekend, so I recommended the Salem Ferry (, which departs Salem on the odd hours and takes 55 minutes to get into Boston.  The Ferry runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (Columbus Day and Halloween Mondays) through October. Were it mid-week, I would recommend the MBTA Commuter Rail from Salem to Boston's North Station ( 

A Back Bay Day
Mom wanted to check out Boston University, which is easily reached via the MBTA Green Line from North Station or Government Center (which is near the Salem Ferry dock at Long Wharf North).

They guys were interested in sports, so a tour of Fenway Park might me in order.  Fenway is near Boston University, so even if you don't do the tour, a stop at the store on Yawkey Way could take care of some holiday gifts.  You may also want to visit the Sports Museum at the TD Garden, which is above North Station.

Not to be overly stereotypical, but the girls wanted to shop.  And why wouldn't they? Boston has great shopping.  Since they're heading to the Back Bay to see BU, the boutiques of Newbury Street and the shops in the Prudential Center are all a fairly short walk (when the weather is beautiful, walking Boston is wonderful). 

And they wanted to check out Cheers, which is another short walk from Newbury Street (or a couple of stops on the T from the Prudential Center).  Cheers is adjacent to the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common.  Families with younger kids should check out the Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Public Garden. It's a most popular photo opp.  Teenagers, however, would look funny sitting on the little brass ducks.

Be a Tourist - Take a Tour
Whether you are visiting Salem or Boston for the first time, I always recommend a good overview tour.  Most trolley tours are perfect for getting you around, pointing out the sites, sharing the cities' history, and allowing you to hop on and off.  Boston also offers Duck tours, so you get that water/land combination. In Boston, Supertours, Old Town Trolley, and Boston Duck Tours would love to show you the sites. In Salem, you'll want to hop aboard the Salem Trolley, which meets most incoming Ferries.

Transportation, a trolley tour, brushing up on Boston Sports history and shopping is a full day.  It's not your only option in Boston, however.  Stay tuned for Day Trip to Boston Part II, which will list a few options closer to the harbor. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ground Breaking Archaeology: Learning about 34 Chestnut Street from the Ground Up

Archaeology studies the way that people lived through both environmental data and the unveiling of material culture. In an effort to learn more about the way the Phillips family lived and worked at 34 Chestnut Street, Historic New England is performing a multi-year study of the landscape of the property. Using a variety of sources, a team of landscape architects crafted a cultural landscape report that revealed that the yard of a century ago is quite different than the yard of today.

During the summer of 2010, Peter Sablock, a professor in the geological sciences department at Salem State University, brought in a team of students and a technology called ground penetrating radar to unveil an even more complete landscape history at the Phillips House. The findings of his team as well as a demonstration of ground penetrating radar technology and electromagnetic induction will take place at 34 Chestnut Street on Wednesday, October 19, from 6:00-7:00 p.m.

The cost of the program is $5.00 for Historic New England Garden and Landscape members, $10.00 for Historic New England members and Salem State University students and faculty, and $15.00 for nonmembers. This special lecture is part of Massachusetts Archaeology Month and members of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society members may also join us for the $10.00 rate. 

Registration is recommended. To purchase tickets please call 978-744-0440 or visit

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tall Ship Friendship of Salem Departs for Annual Inspection

The National Park Service tall ship Friendship of Salem departed from Derby Wharf at 7:00 AM on October 5, 2011 for her annual inspection.  She is expected to be away from Salem Maritime National Historic Site for approximately three to six weeks.

Friendship is traveling to Fairhaven Shipyard in Fairhaven, MA, for her annual haul-out and inspection.  “The haul-out is the equivalent of an annual physical examination,” said Salem Maritime’s Acting Superintendent Rita Hennessy. “It gives us a chance to get the ship out of the water, examine the hull and fix any problems that might have developed in the past year.” 

Friendship had a very successful season in 2011, including a trip to New York City that provided leadership training for young National Park Service interns.  Educational programs brought nearly 1000 children from Salem and Essex County to Salem Maritime for school and summer camp programs. “We want to continue to be able to offer this sort of programming to school groups, interns, and the general public, both at sea and at the wharf in Salem,” added Hennessy, “and regular maintenance by our volunteer crew when she is home at Derby Wharf and during annual haul-outs is an important part of making sure that Friendship can operate safely.”   

For more information on the progress of the haul-out, visit Salem Maritime on the web: or follow us on facebook.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Alex and Ani at J.Mode

Check out these Alex and Ani bracelets, which are now available at J.Mode on Front Street.  These "expandable wire bangles" are awesome. You can wear one or twenty... depending on your mood. 

This is one of many examples of Newbury Street (Boston) style coming to Salem!  These bangles are really cool looking, and we can't wait to see them in the store.

When you're planning your trip to J.Mode, make sure to take into account the Jill McGowan "Great White Shirt" trunk show, which will be October 6-9.  Jill McGowan does beautiful shirts and jackets.  This is another "can't wait..."  Can't wait to see the new Jill McGowan line! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chowda Fest this Saturday

Join 92.5 the River next Saturday, October 8th for the 1st Annual Salem Chowderfest on Pickering Wharf.  Chowderfest festivities will be held under a large 30’ x 20’ tent at the Salem Waterfront Hotel and Marina.  Proceeds benefit the Avon Foundation 

92.5 The River along with Salem Waterfront Hotel and Marina and Aurora MRI will help promote breast cancer awareness and education during this Chowderfest on Saturday, October 8th from 11am - 2pm.  Chowderfest attendees will have the opportunity to listen to some great live music featuring Air Traffic Controller and local artist Courtney Reed (recent finalists in the Salem Five Music Matters “Battle of the Bands” at the Hard Rock Café) and sample and some of the best chowder on the North Shore.

Participants of Chowderfest  include: Salem Waterfront Hotel, Finz Seafood, Capt’s Waterfront and Vic’s Boathouse.  And 92.5 The River (yes the River too!) will showcase and sample its very own chowder recipe!  There will be a Budlight Beer Garden on the patio at Salem Waterfront Hotel overlooking the concert and Chowderfest.

"Sample Spoons" cost $5 and all proceeds will go to the Avon Foundation for breast cancer awareness and education.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Olde Burying Point

Salem has some wonderful, old cemeteries.  The most popular is the Charter Street Cemetery, or the Old Burying Point. 

The Old Burying Point has a few remarkable residents, including one Mayflower passenger, architect Samuel McIntire, and Justice John Hathorne (great grandfather to Nathaniel Hawthorne).  There are also some fantastic trees in the cemetery, and the stone carving is wonderful. 

Here are my three favorite points about the Charter Street Cemetery:
  1. It used to abut the harbor, which is why it's called the Old Burying Point.  The southern wall, adjacent to Derby Street, is the original sea wall. 
  2. One of the trees has been struck by lightening at least twice, and the person buried beneath that tree died by being struck by lightning (poor guy just couldn't get a break!).
  3. The graphic elements carved into the stones are wonderful. Count the angels, which look like winged skulls, as you wander through the stones.

Several tours will take you past the cemetery, interpreting it from afar, and at least two will take you into the cemetery to talk about the stones themselves.  For more information, check out Salem Historical Tours' "Cemetery 101: Grave Matters" and the Witch Walk

There is a plaque at the entrance to the cemetery that points out some of the more famous names, and providing the opportunity for a fun "scavenger hunt" experience without needing a tour.  The cemetery closes at dusk, and grave rubbings are not allowed.  Some of these stones are nearly 400 years old, so please tread gently.