Summer: Salem Massachusetts

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Summer: Salem Massachusetts

As the 4th of July falls on a Saturday this year, we get a long weekend to celebrate, so with my husband off work today we decided to head up to Salem Massachusetts for the day.

The 9yo has been asking to go to the Witch Museum for ages, having covered some of the history in school, so our bonus family day seemed an ideal opportunity to go.

Salem is only about a half hour drive north of us, and is on the coast. As it was a beautiful day today, a wander around the town and the harbour seemed like a good way to spend the afternoon. Especially as the last time we were there, it rained!

We found parking right next to the Salem Visitor Centre, in a multi-storey, and popped in to the Centre to get a walking map. We couldn’t resist a photo of our three pirates while we were there!


We then went straight to the Witch Museum, following the Heritage Trail, marked by a red line.

Walking the Red Line

The Salem Witch Museum is Salem’s most visited museum, and provides an insight into one of America’s most well known events, the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Witch Museum 1

This isn’t a walk-around museum, instead visitors experience two presentations. The first of which covers the witch trials themselves. Using thirteen life-size stage sets, the story of the Salem Witch Hunt is brought to life. From the initial testimony of a group of girls through to the fanatical hunt for supposed witches that resulted in the death by hanging of 19 innocent people, we learned about the instigators, the victims and others caught up in the hysteria of the time.

The second presentation covers evolution of perceptions of ‘witches’ from Pagan healers through to Hollywoods wicked witches to modern Wiccans.

The presentations take around 45 minutes, and they were really interesting. The wee girl, at three years old, was a bit young to appreciate it all (although she wasn’t scared by the presentations, which had worried me slightly), but the boys loved it, especially the 9yo!

Witch Museum 2

After we left the museum we continued to walk the Red Line, and found a wonderful piece of art along the way. Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty was made using tree saplings and was just stunning!

Stickwork 1

Stickwork 2

Stickwork 3

We then continued towards Derby Wharf, part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, wandering down the prettiest streets…


…before arriving to find the most wonderful views out across the water.

Derby Wharf 1

Derby Wharf 2

The Maritime site includes the Pedrick Store House which was originally located in Marblehead and built in about 1770 and was dismantled and reassembled in Salem.

Pedrick Store House

There is also a replica of the Salem East Indiaman Friendship which was first launched in 1797 and made 15 voyages in her lifetime (including to India, China and Europe).

Friendship 1

Friendship 2

Friendship 3

We didn’t go onto the ship this time as everyone was in need of some lunch! We found a restaurant, In a Pigs Eye (!) within a few minutes walk and had a great lunch, with added entertainment… that came entirely from the interactions between our waiter and the wee girl. Hysterical :)

After lunch, we continued to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful streets of Salem, wandering back towards the car.

We passed the Customs House…

Customs House

Having a quick rest along the way while a lost cap was retrieved from the restaurant…


We had a walk around Pickering Wharf…

Pickering Wharf 1

Pickering Wharf 2

Having to make a quick stop to let the wee girl become a mermaid…


We took in skeletons, which feature heavily around town!


Before reaching our last stop, the oldest burial ground in Salem, where grave stones are scattered, almost haphazardly and nestle around trees.

Burial Ground

And, the Witch Trials Memorial, where two very tired boys posed for a last couple of photos before asking to go home!

Witch Trial Memorial 1

Witch Trial Memorial 2

We had a lovely day; made a much asked for visit to the Witch Museum, learnt lots, enjoyed the gorgeous sunshine and sea breeze and had one of the most entertaining lunches we’ve had in a long time!

And, we ticked another thing off our summer bucket list :)

I’m linking up with the wonderful Country Kids at Coombe Mill, as always. Click on the badge to see what everyone else has been up to and be inspired to get outside!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


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18 thoughts on “Summer: Salem Massachusetts”

  1. What a fabulous day out and love the pirate photo of your trio. The Witch Museum sounds so interesting and the Stickwork sculpture looks amazing. Looks like you made the most of your day in Salem and packed a lot in to the day too :-)

  2. We went to Salem before we had children. Your photos bring back memories, although I don’t remember opportunities to photograph pirates or mermaids! It must have been quite a walk. Probably more than they realised, being distracted by the sights. #CountyKids

    1. Yes, as we drive home, with three very tired children, I did realise just how long we’d been walking for!

  3. What a fab day out, I bet it was really interesting learning all about the Salem Witch Trials at the museum. It’s great that the boys really enjoyed their trip as well, there’s nothing worse than them really wanting to go somewhere and then they don’t enjoy it when they get there. You managed to pack a lot of history into this trip too, I bet the kids were knackered after all that walking. Thanks for linking up with me on Country Kids.

    1. They were all pretty tired, although the wee girl did have a nap in the stroller :) It was a really interesting day, and the boys did really well walking so far!

  4. I’d love to visit Salem. I remember reading all about the witch trials when I was younger and being fascinated by them. The Witch Museum sounds great, glad it wasn’t too scary!

    1. The kids loved it, there is so much to see. There are loads of other museums and historic houses to visit too, but we’re saving them for another day :)

  5. Izzie Anderton

    Salem’s a great place to visit, we were lucky enough to stay for several nights back in 2012 and my daughters loved it! We did The Witch Museum, Peabody-Essex Museum, The House of the Seven Gables and one of the Ghost Tours… it was amazing.

    1. We did the Peabody Essex Museum the last time we visited, it’s fabulous :) House of the Seven Gables is next on the list!

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