USA Trip Day 15

Thursday was witches day as we decided to explore the town of Salem just north of Boston. We joined the Salem Trolley Tour which is a hop-on-hop-off guided tour on a trolley that goes around town stopping at all the memorable places.

Our first stop was the Witch Dungeon Museum. They give you some history behind the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 where innocent people were accused of witchcraft and hung. They also do a live re-enactment from transcripts of the trial and there is a tour of the dungeon to show in what despicable conditions the accused were held. One of the judges, known as “the hanging judge” because he sent so many people to the gallows, was John Hathorne, the great-great-grandfather of Nathaniel Hawthorne (author of The Scarlet letter). Apparently Nathaniel was so embarrassed by his connection to John Hathorne (who never repented for having innocent people hung during the trials) that he even changed his surname (by adding the “w”). Salem also has a rich Maritime history as one of the important seaports along the Atlantic sea during the 17th century with stories of adventurous sailors, discoveries, trade, wealth and pirates which was fascinating. The Trolley tour was very informative and gave lots of facts while taking you around town.

I explored At the water’s edge at the Peabody Essex museum, an exhibition about the work of the late Ansel Adams (my favourite landscape photographer) before we went to lunch at Scratch Kitchen which was lovely. We decided to get something sweet from Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie which is America’s oldest candy store. As I have not been too impressed with American candy we each bought two handmade chocolates that we were going to enjoy by the harbour while watching the boats sail past. Oh my word! They were so divine, 10 minutes later we were back for more. This is some of the best chocolate I have had. The sweets are apparently famous and were featured on the Oprah show and website but having eaten one of those turtles (nuts, caramel toffee and chocolate) I can understand why. The peppermint gibralters were just as heavenly.

Late afternoon we went to Winter Island Park with views of sailboats, the Fort Flickering lighthouse, a seaplane hangar and Waikiki beach and later went down to see some of the boats that were lying around because the tide pulled back exposing the ground. I had a little walk around but nearly lost my shoe and then had to walk barefoot in the mud. I was all dirty when I got back to the car. Luckily I had some water to wash my feet. We discovered the wealth and architecture of Chestnut Street which was interesting. It is/was the richest street in Salem and the architect that designed most of the houses used some tricks to create illusions of grandeur such as making the windows on the second and third floor a little smaller so that the building seems higher than it actually is.

Salem was a very charming and surprising town that I enjoyed tremendously. We ended the day with burgers and Fuddruckers that is a famous chain that has been around since 1979. I was not adventurous enough to try the buffalo or elk burgers and settled on a normal burger but it was great and the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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