Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Blog, New Feedburner

We are launching a new-and-improved, which is very exciting for all of us at Destination Salem.  We have completely rebuilt the back-end of the site, improving the database that provides all of our attraction, tour, museum, restaurant, and shopping listings to you in an organized and (we hope!) easy-to-read format.

We also have a new calendar - which is the most exciting thing for us, because none of us loved the old calendar. We really love the new calendar, and its pictures, and its searchability.  I hope you love it, too.

We are still putting some final touches - adding pictures, double-checking links, creating itineraries - on the site.  But we think it looks pretty great.

What does this mean for you, gentle blog-subscriber?  Well, the blog is no longer going to be written on Blogger.  We've enjoyed Blogger for these past four years, and the 882 posts will remain here as an archive, but your subscription will now come through Feedburner.

If you subscribe to the Destination Salem Blog on Blogger and you do not receive the blog via email, please let me know.  You can also subscribe again by visiting the new blog at

Thanks for being a blog subscriber.  I hope the transition is seamless, but just in case it is not... I thank you for your patience!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Salem Trolley Tours this Weekend!

Spring must be getting closer, because the Salem Trolley will be operating during weekends in March beginning this weekend!  You can explore Salem via Trolley on Saturdays and Sundays, first tour departing the Visitor Center (corner of Essex and New Liberty Streets) at 9:40 AM and last tour departing at 4:00 PM.

As long as the forecast remains snow-free, this will be the Trolley's weekend schedule throughout March.
The Trolley is a great way to explore Salem - especially if you have never visited before (or, perhaps it has been a while?).  The one-hour, live narrated tour talks about Salem's history and heritage, tells stories and reveals little-known secrets about the City.  It makes stops throughout the City, including at the Trolley Depot on Essex Street, Chestnut Street, Pickering Wharf, the House of the Seven Gables, and the Salem Witch Museum.

The trolley will also take you out to Winter Island, where you will have a great photo opportunity with the picturesque Fort Pickering Light.

What's your favorite historical tidbit about Salem?  Let us know here, or Tweet us at
For more information on the Trolley, visit

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Re-Find Mens Opens

We have a new clothing shop in Salem! Re-find, which opened on Washington Street last year, has opened a brother store - Re-find Men's.  Similar to its big sister, Re-find,  the masculine shop has a mix of new and consignment clothing.  Graphic T's,  hip button-down shirts, funky socks punctuate the new apparel.  Consignment items include shirts, jeans, ties, and more.  The store also has a selection of gift ideas for the guy in your life.

The renovations to the space have created a Restoration Hardware meets J. Crew ambiance, perfect for browsing and shopping for him and her.  Re-Find Mens is located at 244 Essex Street.  You can find more pictures and info on their Facebook page.

The original Re-Find is around the corner at 72 Washington Street.  Check them out for new and consignment, incdluding designer, women's clothing and accessories.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Vote for Finz!

We are so excited that Finz Seafood & Grill has been selected as a finalist in the 2012 New England Travel Readers' Choice Awards. Between now and March 21, readers will be voting for the Best Place to Eat Lobster in New England. 

While it's thrilling that Finz Seafood & Grill was nominated and made it onto the final ballot, we think Finz should win, win, WIN!  So we need your help.  

Visit to cast your vote (for Finz!).  You can vote as frequently as once each day, so vote early, vote often!  

Go Finz! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Celebrate Shapeshifting at the PEM

This Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19, the PEM will celebrate their remarkable Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art exhibit with wonderful weekend festival.  The programs will include incredible dance performances, art making and demonstrations.

My son was fortunate enough to go to the PEM on a field trip this week, and his class participated in the Weaving demonstration with D.Y. Begay and the dance demonstration by Yellow Bird, and it was amazing.  Any program that can keep forty 11-year-olds transfixed and wanting more is a great success in my book.  I highly recommend taking the family to the PEM for this unique Weekend Festival this weekend.

All activities are Included with museum admission unless otherwise noted.  Click here for Sunday's schedule.

Double-sided Drum, ca. 1890

10:30 am–3:30 pm
ARTIST DEMONSTRATION: WeavingArtist D.Y. Begay (Diné Navajo), featured artist in Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art, demonstrates how she creates her original handwoven Navajo rugs.
10:30 am–3:30 pm
DROP-IN ART ACTIVITYUse strips of paper to explore abstract landscapes.
11 am–3 pm
ARTIST DEMONSTRATION: Transforming PotteryAtrium
Artist Jason Garcia (Okuu Pin) transforms materials into a visually rich mix of Pueblo history and culture, comic book super heroes, video game characters, religious icons and all things pop culture. Watch as he shares his artistic process and inspiration.
11 am
STORY TIME: Jingle DancerMeet at information desk | For families with children ages 4 and up
Tickets available at admissions desk on day or program
How will Jenna be able to perform a jingle dance in the upcoming powwow without enough tin jingles? Hear what happens when we read Jingle Dancer, by Cynthia Leitich Smith, a tribal member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
FAMILY GALLERY EXPLORATIONFor children ages 5 and up with adult
Tickets available at admissions desk on day of program
Explore Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art, in a 30-minute, hands-on tour designed just for families.
Noon and 2:30 pm
PERFORMANCES: Yellow BirdAtrium
The internationally renowned family dance troupe from Phoenix, Arizona, led by Ken Duncan (Apache), perform the energetic and stunning hoop dance and more.
1–2 pm
DOCENT-LED GALLERY TOUR: ShapeshiftingMeet at information desk | For adults and teens
Tickets available at admissions desk on day of tour

3:30–5 pm
FILM: Dear Lemon LimaMorse Auditorium | For adults and teens
Reservations by February 16
While rallying her fellow misfits to compete in their school's Snowstorm Survivor competition, an awkward Alaskan teen discovers her Yup'ik heritage. PG-13, 87 minutes.Purchase Tickets

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Second Annual Artists and Authors Winter Exhibit

The Hawthorne Hotel and the Salem Arts Association are delighted to announce the second annual Artists and Authors Winter Exhibit at the Hawthorne Hotel on Thursday, February 23, 2012, from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Hawthorne Hotel’s Ballroom will be overrun by local fine artists and authors—both famous and nearly so—including visual artists Charles Lang, Wendy Snow-Lang, Sara Ashodian, and Ellen Hardy and authors Robert Booth and Nelson Dionne. Robert Booth is the author of Death of an Empire: The Rise and Murderous Fall of Salem, America’s Richest City. Nelson Dionne’s Salem in Stereo: Victorian Salem in 3D—just recently published—comes complete with 3D glasses.

Audial pleasure will be provided by the music of Brendan O’Reilly and Clay Ventre & the Bond Girls. To complete the delight  of visitors’ senses on this cold winter night will be a cash bar featuring a special ‘arts menu.’ The Artists and Authors Winter Exhibit is free and open to the public.

Artists and Authors Winter Exhibit
The Hawthorne Hotel at 18 Washington Square West, Salem, MA
Thursday, February 23, 2012
5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Music by Brendan O'Reilly and Clay Ventre & the Bond Girls
Cash bar and special 'arts menu

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

School Vacation Week Special at the Salem Wax Museum

The Salem Wax Museum is offering a great special for School Vacation Week! 

$4 off the Hysteria Pass, which includes:
- Discounted Admission to the Salem Wax Museum
- Discounted Admission to the Witch Village
- Free Witch Trials Memorial Information Scroll

The Salem Wax Museum and Witch Village are located adjacent to the Old Burying Point and the Salem Witch Trials Memorial.  The Wax Museum is a self-guided exhibit about the history of Salem, including Roger Conant's arrival in Salem in 1626, pirate history, maritime heritage, and, of course, the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.  The Witch Village is an indoor, guided tour through the history of witches. 

The Salem Wax Museum is also home to the interactive Souvenir Factory, where kids can make grave rubbings, spin art, and wax hands (for a fee). 

Learn more & buy tickets online here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Salem So Sweet Ice Sculptures

The weather has kept organizers of the Salem So Sweet Chocolate and Ice Sculpture festival on the edge of their event-planning-seats this winter.  With forecasters calling for snow, there was great optimism that the ice sculptures would make it through the weekend - and, indeed, they have! 

Here are a few pictures from Saturday.  Thanks to everyone who came out and enjoyed the sculptures, the chocolate, and, we hope, our restaurants, shops and museums.  We had a great time!

Ice Effects sanding the seams of the PEM Shape Shifting sculpture.

Chiseling in the final details.
The detail on this dragon was awesome.

Cupid AND Gemstones. Perfect match.

In addition to Tin Tin in ice, Mud Puddle hosted Valentine making in the store.

The Salem State University Viking.
Tall Ship Friendship on Pickering Wharf
We were thrilled to find a few of the sculptures were still being installed when we arrived on Saturday morning, which was at about 10:00 AM.  Installation of 17 ice sculptures is an all-night process, which began (in the rain) late on Friday and concluded at noon on Saturday. 

They did a great job - the sculptures were wonderful, and the weather stayed cold over the weekend, so most were still standing on Monday morning.  

Thanks to Salem Main Streets for organizing another - the TENTH, in fact! - fantastic celebration of Chocolate and Ice Sculptures!

Italian Wine Dinner at Adriatic Restaurant

Adriatic Restaurant & Bar is hosting an Italian Wine Dinner on Thursday, February 23, and the four course menu and pairings look fantastic! 

First Course
Warm Mussels Salad with Gaeta Olives, Radicchio and Oranges
Grecante, Arnaldo Caprai, Umbria
Second Course Acorn Squash Sformato with Mascarpone Cheese and Shitake Mushrooms
Soave, Bolla, Veneto
Third Course Lasagna Verde alla Bolognese
Montefalco Rosso, Arnaldo Caprai, Umbria
Fourth Course Braised Beef Short Rib, Creamy Polenta, 
Super-Tuscan, Le Volte, Ornellaia, Tuscany
Dessert Chocolate and Candied Ginger Cannoli
Rosa Regale, Banfi, Tuscany 

The dinner begins at 6:00 pm, and reservations are required.  Call (978) 594-1832 or visit for more information.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Reverend Bentley Returns to Salem

After 200 Years, the Rev. William Bentley
Returns to Salem to Reminisce, Observe,
and Gossip about the People He Knew

Donald Friary as Rev. Bentley
After 200 years, the diarist and irrepressible gossip Reverend William Bentley, S.T.D., will return to Salem to discuss his life as Pastor to the East Parish from 1783 to 1819. Dr. Bentley will discuss the people he knew, including the Derbys and Crowninshields, when Salem was at its peak, trading at ports around the globe. He will also recall the darker side of life in Salem – the disabled mariners, impoverished widows, deranged and dissolute folk he visited in their mean waterfront lodgings and in the almshouse on Salem Neck.

Rev. Bentley (aka Donald Friary) will hold forth on Wednesday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m. at Salem’s Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square. Tickets are $10 general admission, and $5 for students. Tickets may be purchased in advance at or at the door.

“It’s magical to have the Reverend Bentley reappear after all these years,” says David Goss, the Director of Gordon College’s Institute for Public History. “He knew everyone and everything, he was wise and observant, and has a lot to say.”

Humor aside, the Rev. Bentley will be portrayed by Donald Friary, the retired director of Historic Deerfield and a highly regarded historian, author, speaker, and consultant. Audiences love Friary’s portrayal of Bentley, even though Bentley was quite rotund and Friary is not!

Rev. Bentley’s visit kicks off the 2012 Old Town Hall Lecture Series. This year’s theme is “doing history” differently – meaning, how do we teach history in ways that will engage people, and make “history” interesting and relevant? That is the mission of Gordon College’s Institute for Public History, and that is the goal of the 2012 Old Town Hall Lecture Series. Friary’s portrayal of the Rev. Bentley will prove the point.

Upcoming Old Town Hall Lectures include:

March 21: Bonnie Hurd Smith on her new book, We Believe in You: 12 Stories of Courage, Action, and Faith from Massachusetts Women’s History

April 18: Maryellen Smiley, curator, on the history of Brookhouse Residence for Women in Salem

May 16: Andrew Giles Buckley, WGBH producer, on the 1787 Columbia Expedition, the first American trade voyage around the globe that had ties to Salem

Jun 20: Brunonia Barry on her new book – details to be announced!

For information on the Old Town Hall Lectures Series, visit

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day in Salem

Romance is in the air!

Here are several options for celebrating the love in your life this Valentine's Day... 

43 Church on Church Street will be serving a four-course prix fixe menu for $65 that includes Foie Gras, Ossu Bucco, and Arctic Char. A foodies' delight!
Learn More

62 Restaurant and Wine Bar on Pickering Wharf is offering a romantic, four-course prix fixe menu for $65 on Valentine's Day. Warm Toffee Pudding is love.
Learn More

Adriatic Restaurant on Washington Street will have romantic music and a special Valentine's prix fixe menu ($40 per person, $60 with wine pairing) in addition to their regular menu.
Learn More

Capt's Waterfront Premium Steaks and Seafood Grill on Pickering Wharf is offering 3 courses for $28 or 4 courses for $33. Both options include a Champagne toast and a rose for your sweetheart.   
Learn More

Finz Seafood & Grill on Pickering Wharf is offering a special a la carte menu for Valentine's Day, which includes a very intriguing Coco Dusted Scallops.
Learn More

Green Land Cafe on Washington Street is offering a Valentines' Prix Fixe menu  - we think the for $75, with live music by East West Duo.
Learn More

Salem Waterfront Hotel & Marina has chocolate, strawberries, Champagne, and breakfast in bed waiting for you in their February Romance package.  The best part? It's good all month long!
Learn More

Victoria Station, also on Pickering Wharf, has some great specials planned for Valentine's Day dinner, including Lollipop Lamb Chops with dried cherries and port wine, Stuffed Filet with moody blue smoked blue cheese, and 2-pound lobsters.
Learn More

Wherever you choose to celebrate Valentine's Day, we recommend reservations be made in advance.  And we hope you celebrate in Salem!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Kids are so sweet! Family Festival on Saturday


On Saturday, February 11, from 11 am – 4 pm, families are invited to visit Old Town Hall on Essex Street in Salem, MA for a free family festival. KIDS ARE SO SWEET, presented by the Salem YMCA, will feature entertainment from The Griffen Theatre, live music by The Dejas, and performances by The Bremer School of Irish Dance, the YMCA Theatre Group, and more.

Children can enjoy making homemade Valentine’s Day cards and crafts from Mud Puddle Toys and Frankenstein’s Art, as well as play games, win prizes and meet Clifford the Big Red Dog!  As part of “I Love To Read Month,” there will also be a Scholastic Book fair.   Kids Are So Sweet is presented by the Salem YMCA, Mighty Aphrodite Maternity, Pamplemousse, Mud Puddle Toys and Frankenstein’s Art.

Families are encouraged to come to downtown and enjoy Salem’s So Sweet which features over 15 giant ice sculptures on display as well as many chocolate inspired events at local retailers and restaurants. 

For more information go to or

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The 2012 Salem Guide is here!

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of the 2012 Salem City Guide & Map!  The Guide is filled with business listings to help you find the right place to stay, the best place to eat, the sites you want to explore, and the events you want to attend.

You can request your copy, or copies, of the guide by completing the form at, or emailing us directly.  We are happy to send you one or many, so let us know how many you need for your family trip, wedding guests, group tour, or local exploration.

The guide is available as a PDF online, as well, and all of its content is or will soon be listed on

Whether you are coming from near or far, we look forward to seeing you in Salem this year!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Curse of the Cupid... this Saturday night!

Colonial Hall at Rockafellas is hosting a hysterically romantic evening of dinner theater on Saturday, February 11.  Starring Erik Rodenhiser as detective Dennis Detroit, the show promises a night of romance, mystery and murder!

Here's the situation: The famous antique blowgun "Cupids Arrow" is on display to be auctioned off to the highest bidder by "Suckerbees" the well known auction house. This fabled artifact is said to have a love potion at the end of each dart, making this a much-coveted item. Guests have been invited to bid on the blowgun and enjoy a romantic evening. But beware; because quite a few people would do anything to have their hands on this powerful item, they may even kill for it! (How romantic.) The events unfold right at your table, as you enjoy a delicious Valentine's weekend dinner.

Featuring Erik Rodenhiser of Salem and a clever cast of Boston based actors.
For tickets, please visit
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Show starts promptly at 7:30 PM
Please arrive by 7:00 PM
Tickets are $55 per person and include the show and a three course sirloin dinner.