I can finally cross something off my bucket list because I got to Salem, MA over the Columbus Day Weekend. The only downside was that a family emergency came up so we were only able to stay one night instead of the original 3 days of sight-seeing, museum hopping and some light shopping I had planned, however, we still managed to cram as much as we could into the few hours that we had.
This is a trip that I’ve been wanting to do for a while and I am so happy that I even managed to go so during Halloween (aka the entire month of October), all the while looking my “bruja(witch)-best” in pieces from Torrid. Here are some highlights from the trip. Sure, the (official) spooky season may be coming to an end but there’s no time limit on travel and fashion inspo, right?
*This is a post sponsored by Torrid and features gifted product I selected.*
The Witch House
Of course our first stop was the last remaining structure in Salem with ties to the Salem Witch Trials – The Witch House. Also known as the Jonathan Corwin House, its namesake was one of the judges who sent 19 people to the gallows for the alleged crime of witchcraft. The house stayed within the Corwin family until the 19th century and as it is considered an excellent example of 17th Century New England architecture it has since been converted into a museum for 17th Century interior design and material culture. Besides loving the witchy aesthetic of the house facade, I loved touring this small museum because it gave me a chance to do a mental comparison to the European equivalents of that period that I studied back in graduate school. Just a heads up, whether you go for witch pics or for the design history, expect a long wait in line as this is the most popular site for tourists.
Essex Street is lined with a bunch of witchy and witch-inspired shops and restaurants that converts into a pedestrian mall as you walk along. During the month of October this street is closed off to traffic and lined with booths operated by small business owners, artists, food vendors and performers for an event called “Haunted Happenings.” I was warned by my friends, whohave already been to Salem, that it is a seasonal town and to expect loads of crowds in October. They were very much correct as there were lines for everything on Essex, including the brick and mortar stores.
While it was a tad difficult walking through all the booths and the massive crowds, it was worth it to see some one-of-a-kind, only-available-in-Salem photo ops and items for sale. Some of the shops even had of all things Harry Potter merchandise which I guess proves that there is no limit to the kinds of magic that is embraced in this place.
Salem is truly a walkable city so it was fine to just park the car away from all the activity and explore. Even with all the crowds and the focus on its witch (trial) past, you can still find some quiet spaces to explore that give you the sense of what life was like back when this historic coastal city was first settled. From the cobblestone roads to the architecture that has managed to last to the present day, it is remarkable.
The Salem Witch Museum
Museums abound in Salem. You have one for Ouija boards, another for Salem’s History (outside of the witch trials of course) and another for the Witches’ Dungeon, just to name a few. The museum-lover that I am wanted to go to them all but we were pressed for time so I figured I should just go for what I consider an absolute must.
The Salem Witch Museum houses exhibitions showcasing the history of the 1692 witch trials and executions that made Salem’s history so egregious. There’s also an exhibition on the evolution of the witch from ancient times as midwives and healers to today.
Die With Your Boots On
I’ve never fully out grown my goth “phase,” as most people like to refer to it, and probably never will. I mean black and pink have always been my favorite colors (I know this is a bit of a paradox, but it’s a fact) so I guess that tells you all you need to know about my personality, hahaha. Anyway, it should come as no surprise that at the very top of my list of shops to visit during this trip was Die With Your Boots On – a shop that specializes in black clothing with a great number available in plus!
I must admit that I found it very hard to not just buy everything, though I did take some time to try some things on and I’m happy to report that many things were true to size. So if you’re in the market for some alternative, black clothing definitely check them out online if you can’t make it in person.
Even with all the temptation around me, I somehow managed to keep myself to making only two small accessory purchases this time around. I was so happy to have left the store armed with my new Halloween-design Die With Your Boots On tote on my arm, that the four hour long drive back to NYC went by in a flash.
Have you ever been to Salem? Let me know your favorite shops and attractions. I’ll definitely be visiting again during the Off-Season so I can appreciate everything just a bit more.