Salem, Mass; Hella Touristy

In October I lived out one of my longest travel fantasies- Salem, Massachusetts for Halloween.

I knew going into the trip that it would be tourism at it's finest and worst- and it was! It was also cold, crowded and covered in Harry Potter and Hocus Pocus. Unbeknownst to me when planning the trip, as I spent most of my research on accommodations (see this informational post about  planning ahead to plan ahead!), along with Salem Horror Fest was the Salem Haunted Happenings festival. It was layer upon layer, day upon day of tourism, museums, monsters, characters and, well, pizza.

Though I can't say that I loved Boston, I certainly loved Salem. I've always been a Halloween nut, and it's tied for my favorite holiday with St. Patrick's Day. Salem does not disappoint if you're hoping for any chills, thrills, ooks or spooks! I'm pretty sure the whole downtown area thrives off of the six weeks surrounding Halloween as community funding for the year.

We originally went to Salem to see the Monster Squad Doc Wolfman's Got Nards and to try to meet Andre Gower and Henry McComas (we did!). The doc was rad and the movie house CinemaSalem was pretty neat and had great teacup bathroom art! I loved every minute of being there, watching the doc and getting to show off some of my Monster Squad and Cult Film knowledge like a nerd. (Pro Tip: NEVER be embarrassed about knowing something or speaking up about something you're passionate about! It could work out to your benefit one day by having a conversation with your childhood heroes!)

The Good: So much good, but, that could just be subjective since I had a dream of coming here since I was a teen.
  • I loved seeing a few buildings used in Hocus Pocus like the Town Hall and Vanessa's house. I really did walk up to the town hall building humming and wiggling to I Put A Spell On You like Winifred did whilst approaching the stage at the party. Chris did not get it. 
  • The Samantha Stephens statue from Bewitched was a big deal to me! I've seen every episode (What ever did happen with Adam?) 
  • I adore it when people dress in costumes and walk around town! I met Belle and Beast on the street and told beast all about one of my fave tree ornaments of him! He bragged.
  • Old Burying Point was really neat to see, I love old stones though. Something nobody ever mentioned was that the markers for the Witch trial gang are on a small walk about in front of the cemetery, not on the actual grounds that are fenced in. See my last post for my feelings on Giles Corey. I just don't understand why he is the unsung hero here! I could rant and rave like an accused witch about how terrible he seems to have been leading up to the Trials themselves...
  • Salem Horror Fest is great! I love the genres and the cult canonization of cult cinema, and so be at a horror movie festival in Salem is exciting! I think I would like to volunteer with them some time to be a part of the action again! Exclamation Points!!!
  • Maria's Sweet Somethings: Delish! I got a waffle cone dipped in fudge thinking it would be that kind that hardens on to the cone but it was hot fudge and SO messy with a mint Oreo ice cream! Da BOMB! A tad expensive, and the treats, fudge and bonbons are all hella amazing looking but pricey. 
  • Pizza Tie: Essex's NY pizza at the Witch City Mall AND Engine House Pizza. Both amazing in slightly differing ways, both good crust, both HUGE and both cheesey. I honestly sat here thinking which one I prefer- I cannot pick! Try both for yourself. 
  • The Salem Heritage Trail is a super neat idea- the red line painted on the ground leads you to all of the main points of interest in historic Salem. I think it's a great idea to help get people involved! Also, we didn't know what the red line was until we googled it whilst already in Salem, so, now you know ahead of time! The red line circling the town is a tour! Neat!

The Bad: (or at least mediocre) Far be it for me to say a museum is BAD, so much as boring. I like history and museums as much as the next, but sometimes it's not as interesting as you hope it would be:
  • As stated in my last Salem post, the Salem Witch Museum is a little bit more fun in theory than real life. it's only three rooms and a gift shop. 
  • The Witch History Museum  (Pictured) was just as interactive as the other, with slightly terrifying waxy mannequins in spotlight telling their woes. 
  •  The Salem Museum was all right, too, more history about Salem beyond witches- pirates and authors! The museum itself os kind of dull BUT they have actors come out that basically live in character on the streets and also come and reenact certain points of interest! We didn't get to see much of that due to a jammed schedule and jammed city, but I love that it happens. They told us when we got our $3 tickets that they're good all day but they didn't explain why, and it wasn't until later on that we learned there are staged scenes worth returning for. If we had known we would have stayed closer in the area to catch one.
  • We went to eat at Hotel Salem because everything was jammed with tourists and they had an open table inside. The food was bland and overpriced. They had two bathrooms which both had lines 5 people long and the waitstaff seemed to keep forgetting we were there. Do not recommend eating there.

The Ugly: Shopping- Even though it was Salem Haunted Happenings with artists and vendors all over the streets- still low shopping level for variety! Almost every store was the same; Witches, hats, Harry Potter, spell books, monsters, we get it! It was all mostly Salem themed clothing so show off to others that you spent a weekend in Salem, or just in case you blacked out and forgot where you were, you could read it on 100 passersby. I think that despite my tourist lovin heart, I'm not tourist enough for the tourist shopping here. But I did think about buying a tiny witch hat hair piece while I did buy a few things like books and a bracelet, so I'm good for some shopping.

There were a few spots we wanted to hit, but couldn't like the Dungeons Museum, Haunted History tours,  House of Seven Gables, The Witch House. 'd love to go back in the Spring instead of Fall just to be able to lay low and possibly get a room in town. I would DEF eat more pizza.

Have you been to Salem, or want to plan a trip? Plan ahead and leave me your thoughts below! How does my account of Salem measure up?

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  1. I love that you shared both the good and the bad of your experience.

  2. Awwww Salem such fond memories! Such rich history! Thank you you for you post about Massachsuetts reminds of home and why I love it so very much !

  3. This post sounds like you had an amazing experience. Good on you for making your travel dreams come true.

  4. I agree with oh so much in this article. It's also fun that we were there the same day! Wish we could have gotten together to revel in the majesty of Salem, but I have a feeling there will be plenty of other opportunities to meet you and nerd out! My cousin and I skipped the museums aside from the Witch House (because I missed that on my first trip to Salem), but we both enjoyed the Hocus Pocus location spots too-albeit in the rain! Got to see Max & Dani's house, Allison's house, Town Hall & the High School! I also LOVE Old Burying Point, Samantha's Statue, and the Lighthouse/waterfront area. As much as I love the witches, I'm also an avid fan of nautical history! Can't wait to hear about your next trip! :)

    1. OH MAN Katie you got to see the Dennison house??? How did I miss that???? That scene of Winnie busting out of the top floor window is iconic to me!!

  5. Such a fun way to do this post! I am definitely adding it to my Travel Bucket List! Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Well when you do anything touristy they’ll be some downsides like crowds and hard to find places to eat. I like to eat out during non-peak hours like 2 or 3pm.

  7. Thank you for sharing the highlights and lowlights of your trip! It sounds like it was a really amazing experience. I'm so glad you gpt to go :).

  8. Thanks for the interesting read, would definitely consider a trip to Salem sometime !

  9. I had never thought about going to Salem, Mass in October - that's a great idea just as a bucket list item to check off! I can imagine it was touristy but that's sometimes half the fun of it. I think I would rather have that than have nothing at all commemorating (is that the right word?) what happened there

    1. that's right! Yeah, it was hard to move around and things, but you're right, I like the hustle of it more than being the only person in town, i guess!

  10. All year long Halloween vibesss YEEESSSS!!!

  11. Thank you for sharing both sides of the story. I've always been curious about the town.

  12. Touristy isn't always terrible. I would love to go to salem, I love witches.

  13. I would love to visit Salem one day! I actually love touristy places so maybe I should go in October haha xx Naomi


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