You read a lot of books in high school, some are okay, some bore you, some you totally forget about, but a few stick with you…possibly forever. The Crucible by Arthur Miller was one of those sticky books for me. I don’t know if it was the history of the events that happened in Salem or Millers way of making them come to life, but I loved the book. Salem isn’t too far from Boston, a 30 minute ride on the commuter train and about the same driving, so I figured it would be interesting to stop by for an afternoon. It was the weekend before Halloween the place was a madhouse. People were dressed up and roaming around looking for ghosts, or something spooky.
It’s filled with witchy kitschy things too do. This history is long in the past and the town has clearly moved on, they certainly benefit from the tourism. In my eyes it’s a little controversial to have it here, but I had to stop at the Bewitched Statue [235 Essex St., Salem, Massachusetts] because I loved the show as a child.
I didn’t want to feed into the hysteria too much and forget what actually happened in the town. People were hanged here, and there was a carnival right next to the cemetery where the Salem Witch Memorial [Liberty St, Salem, MA 01970] was, an absurd juxtaposition.
To be sure there were a bunch of people in it, and I believe walking tours go through it, but this is the place you would want to pay tribute and acknowledge the history. I saw names of the characters in the play, real life people, who were hanged for witchcraft.
I remembered the name Rebecca Nurse, she was an 80 year old woman during the 1600s. She made it that far in life without modern medicine, and was known to be a good woman. We should always remember terrible events that happen like this in hopes they may prevent evil in the future. On the non-witchy end of the spectrum is the Salem Maritime National Historic Site [193 Derby Street, Salem MA] which is cool to walk around or you can take a guided tour. The Friendship of Salem is a replica of an East Indiaman ship from 1797.
We ventured away from town for a while to check out Salem Willows Park [167 Fort Ave, Salem, MA 01970]. The area was kind of dead this time of year, but after the crowds in town it was a nice reprieve. We walked around the willows and took in the views of the calm water.
I can imagine this place is lively during the summer time, the little New England strip has an arcade with rides, mini golf, and homemade ice cream. All of those places were closed for the season. The popcorn shop was open and we tried out some of their famed popcorn bars as a snack, the coconut molasses one was best!
If we came again I’d love to try a chop suey sandwich people rave about, but we had reservations back in town. Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall [43 Church St, Salem, MA 01970] was our last stop of the day. Back to the crazy reality of town, Turner’s was completely packed. Despite the huge crowd that they had, our waiter did a great job. Our food came out fast, waters were filled, we were happy. I got the baked scrod which was tasty, but Jeff’s meal took the cake this evening. He is still talking about his bouillabaisse, saying it was the best seafood he’s ever eaten. Everything was cooked perfectly and the flavors were spot on. The grilled peasant bread was phenomenal, wish there was a whole loaf of it!
Our trip to Salem was great. We had a lot of fun exploring a new town, without forgetting what really happened here all those years ago. We watched the movie version of The Crucible the next weekend when we were home on Halloween. Real life is much scarier than the movies.