Quick Escape: Salem

Salem during HalloweenNo place in America conjures up the spirit of Halloween better than Salem, Massachusetts, where, in 1692, twenty innocent victims were hanged or stoned to death as witches. Every October, the town remembers its hallowed past by staging a 24-day event called Haunted Happenings where haunted houses, museums, concerts, psychic fairs, and craft shows help make Salem the “Halloween Capitol of the World.” This year, Haunted Happenings had to be toned down due to the pandemic, but nothing is too scary for Salem. There are still many cultural events in town to savor the history and enjoy fall foliage. Then stay for dinner and a night’s sleep.

The Peabody Essex Museum is now open and is presenting two exhibitions brimming with the stories, people, and objects that can only be found in Salem. Salem Witch Trials 1692 presents rarely exhibited documents from the museum’s collection to reveal the tragic and true stories of both the accused and the accusers. Also on view is Salem Stories, 26 vignettes about the people, places, and events that made Salem the city it is today.

You can also take advantage of the nice fall weather we’re having to take guided tours, including strolls through Salem’s historic neighborhoods. Or head out on a Haunted Happenings Harbor Cruise to learn seafaring folklore and take in the foliage colors. As of late, Salem has become a foodie hub, with great Italian fare found at Bella Verona and fresh seafood at Finz Seafood and Grill. If you want to spend the night, grab a room at The Merchant, an 11-room boutique hotel located in the former 18th-century home of shipping merchant, Joshua Ward.