Saturday, November 5, 2016


so it is kind of appropriate that i am starting this post on halloween (but who knows when i will actually get to posting). salem, massachusetts was always a must for me when planning this trip. it also was part of the reason i wanted to go in october. now if you live under a rock, this is where the salem witch trials occured. unlike europe, the united states didn't have many rash witch accusing fits so it really sticks out in our history. also there is a big maritime history, though this was not the initial appeal.

in 1692, people in puritan colonial massachusetts were accused of being witches. in total 20 people were executed by hanging, 1 was crushed to death with stones, and 5 others died while in prison. to keep it short, some girls had a fit, others got included in the mix, and the townspeople freaked the fuck out. in response, they were arrrested, tried, and killed. oh i wish we moved on from mass hysteria, but we have not. look at our politics? anyways, i sidetracked.

look at this goober.

unfortunately, this was a cold rainy day (unlike the near 80 degree weather just 2 days before). the upside is it was not as busy. so many locals told me the day before it was so crowded (and clear weather). october, for obvious reasons, is a busy month. i took the train and arrived early in the morning. because nothing was open, i had breakfast at gulu-gulu cafe. it was cute. the first and only other one is in prague! funny how hopefully a year from now i will be there.

the samantha from bewitched statue right outside the cafe. apparently it was given by tv land.

after taking a bit of a walk i went to the salem maritime national park visitors center (the first np historic site) to get a little more information on what else there was to see. in early us history, salem was a huge trading port. i forgot how much, but salem brought the most taxes to the new federal government. next i made my way towards the sea, and saw some cool things along the way.

a witchcraft store

some creepy art installation

the statue dedicated to the founder of salem. they made his face mysterious because no one knows how he really looked like.

i then went to waite & pierce, the nps gift shop. now why the name you ask? at least i was curious. normally, the nps gift shop is just in the visitors' center and doesn't have its own name. the ranger told me that the company this store is named after was paid by the us to steal from british boats. it was legalized privateering, something salem was known for. their tagline was, 'fortune favors the bold.'

no one signed up for the tour of the narbonne and derby house, so i told the ranger i would. i also took the tour with a couple from kentucky. they were so nice and i had a really pleasant conversation with the wifr. the derby house (c. 1762), reflects georgian design, while the narbonne house (c. 1672) was constantly transformed by new owners and was a private residence until the 1960s!

the wallpaper inside the narbonne house.

what i found the most interesting was learning about how the nps has preserved houses throughout it's history; the history of the nps archival theories. in the 1920s, it was all about restoring a building to its former glory even though it may not be the most accurate and irreversible damage may occur (the derby house). in the 1960s, the theory was about keeping things the way they are, the bare minimum. restoring, but not replacing. this was shown through the narbonne house. the house had barely any furniture, chipped paint, and peeled wall paper. boring to most, interesting to me.

the custom house, where all the taxes were collected from the ships arriving.

the scary eagle making sure you are paying your taxes.

so many cool decorations.

the tentacles or so cool

next was the memorial to the victims of the salem witch trials. it is a granite wall inscribed with each of the victims' names. unfortunately because of the rain, they were hard to read. probably because it was october and more people visit the city, almost every slab had some type of gift (mostly flowers). in 2001, the victims were exonerated from their crimes 300 years too late.

the memorial of john proctor.

an interesting gate around the corner of the memorial.

i also went to the witch house. now this was an experience, but a bad one. it was super duper busy. the cashier (who was young and overwhelmed) did not have any change, so i told her i could pay the coin amount, but then she got even more confused and overwhelmed. the boss lady then walked in and told me i was just making things more difficult. yea, i should have walked out but this was the only actual attraction i went to that was connected to the witch trials. i definitely would not recommend.

inside the witch house

for lunch i went to the new england soup factory and got a caprese sandwich & clam chowda.

the court clerk in me had to appreciate salem's old superior court building (c.1862)

i left at 3:30. a little early but it was starting to get more crowded. this weekend was the biz baz fair (bizarre bazzar, i figured this out later). also it was really cold and wet. while waiting at the stop i met a real nice bostonian gentleman. i love meeting friendly locals. it makes my trip even better :)

one last stop before going to the hostel was dunkin' donuts.

i also tried historical 18th century american chocolate. it can only be described as chocolate flavored chalk. they should call it chalk-olate (i am so punny). 

now for a song! i know i have been picking more of the broadway classic songs, but they are so fun to sing. today, i chose 'take a break.' i love the dialogue between hamilton & angelica. my favorite line is, 'ambition is my folly. i'm a polymath, a pain in the ass, a massive pain.' also, a really funny line is, 'angelica, tell my wife john adams doesn't have a real job anyway.' enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment