How to Spend One Day in Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is picturesque and rich in history. There’ll be plenty to do and explore but if you only have 1 day to spare, here’s how to enjoy Salem in one day!
Wandering around Salem Maritime National Historic Site
Explore the legacy of the East Indies and Old China Trade. The Salem Maritime National Historic Site is a National historic site consisting of 12 historic structures, one replica tall-ship, and about 9 acres of land along the waterfront of Salem Harbour. Salem Maritime is the first National Historic site established in the United States ( 17 March, 1938).
Salem Custom House
Salem’s Custom House is an impressive looking building with historically furnished rooms and exhibit located on 178 Derby Street.
Friendship of Salem
Enjoy the sight of this handsome tall-ship. Friendship of Salem is a full-size, fully operational replica of Friendship, a cargo ship build in Salem in 1797 for international trade. Today, it sails to nearby ports, helping to bring the region’s maritime heritage to life.
This grassy strip of land extending into the harbour once was a busy commercial land owned by Simon Forrester, one of American’s first Millionaires. In 1776, Simon Forrester married the aunt of author Nathaniel Hawthorne (The House of The Seven Gables) and raised 12 children.
Visiting the House of the Seven Gables
115 Derby Street.
“What’s so special about this house?” I talked to myself loudly, not knowing why there were so many people queuing to get in the first time I walked pass the House of the Seven Gables 3 years ago.
“What’s so special about this house?” An order gentlemen standing in front of me turned around, repeated my ignorant question, then went on to give me a full explanation of the importance of this little red house.
Obviously this is one of the top 10 American’s favourite historic homes. Build in 1668, the House of the Seven Gables historic site showcases the oldest surviving mansion in New England. So come to discover the many surprises in the House of the Seven Gables including the famed secret staircase. Relax in the period seaside gardens and explore the birth house of author Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Visit Peabody Essex Museum
Peadody Essex Museum is listed among the 20 largest art museums in America. Hence it is a must see for museum enthusiasts. It hosts an amazing collection of American, Maritime, Asian art any where. Nevertheless, I’m still impressed a 200-year-old, 16-bedroom house from China is there too! I’ve never seen such a house in China (except the Forbidden City, which is comprised of lots of dark, almost empty rooms.)
Learn about the the history of Salem Witch Trial
The events that unfolded in Salem town and Salem Village (modern-day Danvers) more than 300 years ago have left an incredible mark on the history of American. Personally I think the “Witch” bit was a little overplayed in Salem tourism. However, it’s understandable as the Salem Witch Trial is such an important part of Salem history.
The most important one is The Witch House
This is the only building with direct ties to the witch trials, the 17th century home of Judge Jonathan Corwin.
As a result of the popular Witch history, there are a couple of other sites in town.
Old burying Point Cemetery Charter Street: Salem’s oldest graveyard, founded 1637.
Witch Trials Memorial: The Salem Witch Trials Memorial is a place of reflection and remembrance for visitors and descendants of those who were condemned in 1692. It’s symbolically located behind the Old Burying Point
Explore Downtown shops and restaurants
In Downtown Salem, Countless shops and restaurants are offering sweets & treats, delis, pizza and fine dinning experience.
It seems every cute house in Salem has a queue or some sort in front of it, and Salem has a lot of “American’s first” or ” American’s oldest”… something something.
There are also a lot of shops for Gifts & souvenirs in Downtown Salem. While I wasn’t keen to pick up any witch hats or costume, we came across a machine at a shopfront that allows you make your own souvenir coins to take home! Isn’t that the cutest idea?
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