ITTN’s Shane Cullen reports on spooky and spectacular Salem in Massachusetts. While in Boston with Tony Lane, Shane overnighted in this delightful city that captures the heart and imagination as it revisits a dark period in the destination’s history. The trip was part of the 25th Annual Discover New England Summit & International Marketplace in Boston.
Salem in Massachusetts
Salem, infamous for the Salem Witch Trials, is 45 minutes drive northeast of Boston city centre. It is in Massachusetts on the Atlantic Coast. During the summer months, a ferry sails from Boston to Salem (journey time of c. 40 minutes) and a train travels between the two cities with just 5 stops and takes just 35 minutes.
Salem Witch Museum
The Salem Witch Museum, located overlooking Salem Common, is part of the city’s Heritage Trail. It depicts the events leading to the events of 1692 as well as the evolving perceptions of witches and their treatment in Europe leading to the events in Salem. This is well worth a visit though locals advise that this, along with the city, is very crowded during Halloween.
It opens from 10 am to 5 pm daily with extended hours during the summer and during “Haunted Happenings”. Adult tickets ($17.50) Child, 3-14 years ($14.50).
The Real Treasure is the Story – Real Pirates Salem
Sometimes paths cross and stories are shared that will stay with you, so I share a pirate tale dating back three centuries ago. This is a story of fearsome piracy off the coast of New England. These shores bore the brunt of pirate legacies and bounties stolen from ships that sailed to and from America.
The true tale of “Black Sam” Bellamy, the richest and one of the youngest pirates of all time and the love of his life, Maria Hallett, named “Witch of Wellfleet” is captured in the Real Pirates Salem, a museum brought to the public by Director Bill Golden.
And so the story goes, in the early 1700s, Bellamy captured the slave ship Whydah plus over 50 other ships. This gave him the title “Prince of Pirates”. The museum illustrates his journey and history up to their untimely death when their ship sinks off the Cape Cod coast in a storm.
Fascinatingly, the fear of piracy wasn’t looting but rather the pirate code, the varied social background and the equal democratic standing of each member of the crew. On land, society was governed by social class but out to sea, the pirates ruled themselves, each with an equal share of the bounty and a single vote which they could cast to decide matters such as the fate of those captured or to elect officers.
Clearly a passion project for founder, Bill Golden, this is a must-see for passing travellers, it will spark an interest in history, adventure, evolving culture or gruesome tales and buried treasure. I loved this from start to finish and would highly recommend it for young and old alike – fabulously fascinating.
This is a fascinating and family-friendly attraction open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Adult tickets ($17.50) Child, 5-14 years ($14.50).
Discover New England
For more on New England, discover our three-part series on this spectacularly beautiful US destination with Discover North of Boston, Discover Connecticut and Discover Rhode Island.