Travel Diary: Salem, MA

CJ is in between transitioning jobs so we’re trying to take advantage of the time we do actually have together and do fun activities. I’ve been dying to go to Portsmouth, NH so hoping to fit that in this fall before it gets too cold but because it’s October I made him go with me to Salem, MA which was only about 40 minutes from where we currently live. I’ve always wanted to go to Salem especially in October knowing its history with the Salem Witch Trials but for some reason even having grown up in Massachusetts, I had never been.

First, the downtown area of Salem is super cute! I really didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised to find lots of little shops, restaurants, and even a Starbucks in a cute, very festively decorated downtown. The parking situation was a bit crazy but we eventually found a spot in a lot that I think we illegally parked in but no ticket so that was a win.

The first thing we did was go to the Hollywood Halloween museum which had life size replicas of all of Hollywood’s scariest Halloween movies’ characters. There were probably 50+ monsters and it took about 15 minutes to go through. I would totally recommend visiting this place if you visit Salem this time of year. The characters are very realistic especially if you look at their eyes; I honestly thought some of them were going to move and if they did I would’ve screamed. Definitely a place to put you in a spooky mood.

We were both STARVING when we arrived in Salem we found this place on a corner downtown. I just thought it looked cool from the outside but it was equally cool inside and had a awesome history behind it. The place was called Rockafellas and the building was built in 1826 as Salem’s First Church and also was a jewelry store before they eventually converted it to this restaurant in the early 2000’s. I love history so to me this was really cool. The place was all decked out in Halloween decorations which was really cool and the food was great. I got their sun-dried tomato pesto grilled cheese that came with a tomato bisque dip (genius!!) that was amazing.

Being in the Halloween spirt, I had to try their pumpkin martini which was unbelievable. They use their homemade pumpkin puree in it and it was to die for.

After lunch, we walked around. There really was just a bunch of souvenir shops with witch hats and other Halloween like mugs, pens, sweatshirts, etc. so we didn’t do any real shopping but did hit a haunted house on the way out. It was only about 5 minutes and you just walk through a little decorated dark maze with people jumping out at you, but if you’re looking to scream during your trip I would recommend hitting a haunted house.

There’s a lot of history in Salem and while we didn’t hit any of the historical museums, we did do a drive by of a couple cool places. One being the Witch House, which is the only standing building in Salem that still has ties to the Witch Trials as it was the home of the judge. You can take tours of the house but we just drove by and it definitely stands out on the street. It’s super eerie and you can tell that it’s a 17th century house. Pretty amazing that the town has preserved it.

The Witch House

And because it’s not me unless there’s a basic component, Hocus Pocus is by far my favorite Halloween movie. I absolutely love it and have ever since I was a kid. The movie was shot in Burbank, but they did spend about two weeks shooting some scenes in Salem. They used the outside of a house in Salem as the house in the movie so we had to drive by it. Interestingly, someone is totally living in it. There’s no tours of this one (although I SO would’ve taken one if there was) and the house is actually on a beautiful street with waterfront views which you would never know from the movie.

Hocus Pocus House

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