Salem is a great side trip when visiting the Boston area. The Boston-Salem Ferry is a nice way to get to Salem via the water and is quite ejoyable in the warmer months. The Ferry is located right by the Boston Aquarium and drops you off about 3 blocks down from the House of the Seven Gables in Salem.
From there you can spend the day wandering the streets of Salem and taking in it's infamous history or its seafaring past. Salem is a walkable town so there is no worries about not having a car. You can also take the Salem Troley from one point of interest to the next.
Liz and I usually stay right in Salem but have taking the ferry from Boston during a recent trip.
Some of our favorite sights are: The Peabody Essex Museum, House of the Seven Gables, Winter Island and the Witch Museum.
The town is obsessed with the witch matter and all the town participates to draw in people. It is said there are over 150,000 visit in last three weeks of the October month. They have witch museums, all over the place and combined packages to draw you in to take in the whole affair. I was not here to see this, but to see the old time pride of the city and see the wharf area and it heritage. I surely would not want to be in the crowded streets when these witch tours are in process. Traffic must be a mess.
Wow! is all I can say about this town. Please do rent a car, if you have to, and take the drive to Marblehead. It is fabulous. And if you still have time continue on up to Manchester-by-the-Sea by taking the scenic route going through Salem and Beverly. It is a beautiful drive.
Marblehead is a very historic and beautiful little town. Frankly, I think you could spend half a day or more walking up and down the streets just looking at the charming old houses, some dating back to 1680. You can have lunch there, too, down by the water.
After Marblehead you can drive over to Salem which is the next town. I think everyone pretty much knows about the Salem Witches, but this is quite nice town, much larger than Marblehead.
Then drive on up to Manchester. The drive is beautiful if you take the route that passes the ocean rather than the highway. The town is also quite lovely though very small.
Halloween in the Boston area is fantastic. Make sure you take a trip to Salem during this time. There you can meet Elizabeth Cabot, watch a witch trial and see just about every costume there is. The closer to Halloween you go the larger the crowds. There is a bus that runs from Boston to Salem about every hour or so, but be forwarned, the last bus leaves Salem sometime around midnight. I had a ball here when I went, but I did dress as a belly dancer so I was a bit cold. It was fun anyway.
Arthur Miller helped make Salem famous with his superb 'The Crucible', based on the witch accusation hysteria of the 17th century. But Salem itself has helped perpetuate its place in history - you can't move for 'witchery', and the place to be on Hallowe'en is the town. Aside from that, it's a cute, sleepy tourist destination about 40 kms from Boston - and with a train from Boston's North station running frequently throughout the day, it's an easy and enjoyable day trip.
Best known for the witch trials of 1692. Salem is a bit of a tourist trap around Halloween. Otherwise, it's a charming New England town.
No matter how Salem might try to promote its historical importance as an early American colony, its thriving maritime trade, its architectural landmarks, its literary legacy or its various cultural treasures, one chapter in its past will always stand out in the public consciousness. The Witch Trials.
My Salem page has a Salem's Haunted Happenings Guide for Muggles for those wishing to venture into Salem on Halloween!!
I took a train up to Salem, didn't take long to get there. The city tourism is obviously slanted towards the witch trials, and there are lots of little things up here in that vein-Salem Witch Museum, and other things.
It's kind of fun, you can get a bit of the history of what happened. Cheap, fast train gets you there and back from Boston.
If you are arround on Halloween (10/31) you must go to Salem. This is the place to be on Halloween. They had some problems with whiches and whichcraft some decades ago and now it's a highlite on Halloween. Stay cool they want to scare you and the do it very well!!
You should take exit off Hwy 1A to 114 and then go through the town to get to downtown area. Finding the directions and a place to park , I thought would be fairly easy. NOt necessarily so.
It's just a short drive to Salem, MA. Follow the millions of signs to Route 93 and you're on your way!