One of my very favorite trips is going to Salem, Massachusetts in October. The town is rich with history, tradition, and fun! This is a trip I highly recommend for families because there is so much to do! On the weekends, there are parades, vendors, special events, and more constantly going on. You can visit historical sites like The House of the Seven Gables, the Old Burying Point (so cool!), and museums galore. One thing I always do is take a visit to Marblehead, just outside of Salem, to one of the beautiful spots on the East Coast. Fort Sewall, an old fort that defended the U.S.S. Constitution in the war of 1812, sits on a grassy knoll next to a rocky cliff overooking the Atlantic Ocean. Absolutely breathtaking! I love to get pictures of my kids there each time we visit as a good way to see how much they have grown.
Below, check out some of the great places that we visited. It’s a great time to plan your own quick weekend getaway to Salem! There are fun Haunted Happenings all throughout the month of October.
Although I have been visiting Salem for about 10 years, I was only recently invited to visit America’s first living history museum, Salem Pioneer Village, for the first time. Created in 1930, this village was built to represent Salem in 1630 for a play. Residents of the town and state loved it so much that they decided to keep it to show visitors what Salem was really like back in 1630. It is a great way to teach everyone what life was like back when the English settlers were there.
One of our favorite Halloween movies is Hocus Pocus. Set in Salem, this is a fun seasonal film that gets us excited to visit one of our favorite towns. In the opening of the movie, a small Puritan village is shown. Being so familiar with the film, we were very excited to see it up close and get to see the details, as this is the Salem Pioneer Village!
Located in a park, this small village shows what it would be like to live in the 1600’s. We walked into the cabins to find artifacts from that time period. We loved seeing the Governor’s house, as a warm fire was burning inside and a woman was making split pea soup from a recipe from that time. Beside her, a woman spun wool.
Down the path was a blacksmith’s cabin, where he demonstrated his trade. Beautiful gardens, thatched huts, and wigwams are also located throughout the three acre plot of land. It was fun to be taken back in time and this was something our kids really enjoyed.
The location of the Salem Pioneer Village is about a 10 minute scenic drive from the center of town. Beyond the park is the ocean, with stunning views. Re-enactments and festivals also take place in the village throughout the year, including a special Haunted Salem Village later this month, some time slots are available for children, but later evening times are for those who want to be scared!
To learn more about Salem Pioneer Village and to purcase tickets, visit their site here.
You can’t make a visit to Salem and ignore the Witch Trial history. There are reminders everywhere. But, if you are looking for an interesting way to learn about it, going to see Cry Innocent is a must! This interactive performance starts in the town square where Bridget Bishop is accused of practicing witchcraft and taken away to the town hall. Attendees of the performance are actually brought to the town hall with her, where they discover they are to determine if Bridget Bishop should be given a trial on the charges of witchcraft! Based on the true account of Bridget Bishop, the jury learns what really happened on that fateful day and decides for themselves if she is guilty of witchcraft!
We were able to experience this for ourselves during our visit this weekend. This performance takes place in the historical Old Town Hall and people of all ages are welcome to participate. My kids really liked this part of our visit. My son was able to hold the keys to her shackles during the hearing. We all got to ask questions of the witnesses as we learned of their documented accounts. Then, of course, they loved deciding what should become of Bridget. Before the performance began, they loved seeing the performers interacting with the crowd and then hearing the news that Bridget Bishop had been charged with witchcraft, as she was standing right next to them when it was announced. Her arrest was exciting and they couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the hearing would bring. Based on the accounts that we heard–Bridget Bishop didn’t seem so nice!–we decided that she should most definitely be put on trial, but others in the audience did not agree and they decided to let her free for another day.
This is definitely a fun experience for history lovers when visiting the town of Salem! To order tickets to see a performance of Cry Innocent, and for more information, visit their site.
Haunted houses aren’t exactly kid friendly, from what I have experienced. But, my kids have been dying to go to one, as they are a bit older. We definitely wanted to see if we could find one in Salem and what we found was perfect!
Salem’s 13 Ghosts offers an unusual type of haunted house, as it is in 3D! Perfect for kids 6 and older (although our 5 year old did great!), you put on a pair of 3D glasses and work your way through the building. You aren’t quite sure what is an illusion or what is real, as there are real people and things intermixed with the amazing special effects. The black lit rooms and illuminated holograms and images throughout the haunted house were the perfect thrill for each of us. We had such a fun time participating in this great haunt.
This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip, as it was something we had never done before. It was a blast and I highly recommend it for your family when you visit Salem!
To find out how to purchase tickets, which is definitely recommended, visit their website. In addition to the 3D haunted house, ghosts tours are available for the older, braver crowd. The location is right in the heart of Salem, making it a very convenient stop along the way!