So, in looking back at my posts from before my hiatus, I see that the only thing that I promised to talk about but still haven’t is my Halloween trip to Salem, MA. Of course, I don’t remember all the details now, being that it’s almost six months later (*gasp*), but I will do my best.
Early in the day, Brian drove down to meet Bill and me at our apartment. We then headed to Dan’s in Cambridge to park the car and continue the rest of our journey on the T. We headed to North Station and waited for the commuter rail train out to Salem. Although we missed the train we were aiming for by literally a minute and had to wait an hour for the next one, the experience on the train was certainly better than the previous year’s. In 2007, Dan and I impulsively decided to go to Salem on Halloween so we tried to take one of the rush hour trains out there. Well, practically everyone and their mother, and their mother’s mother too, tries to head to Salem after work on Halloween for some evening partying. That made for a very cramped and difficult ride. Additionally, Dan and I were more interested in the “Haunted Happenings” than the late night drunken parties at the Salem bars but we got there so late that all we were left with was thousands of obnoxious drunk people in costumes. Hence the decision to take the day off from work and head out there for a nice full day this year.
When we first got off the train, we weren’t really sure where to start. We ended up at the Witch Dungeon Museum where you get to watch a stage reenactment of a 1692 witch trial before heading down into the basement where you get a guided tour of the dungeon. The original dungeon was torn down but they have one large beam from the original structure on display down there. The show is pretty good and the tour is fun. It was a good way to start the day.
We then got something to eat at a small local place and people watched as the costumed revelers walked past the windows. After lunch, we wandered around a little, checking out all the available activities and entertainment, not to mention more crazily costumed people. We really wanted to get into the Salem Witch Museum but they said that they would not sell tickets in advance when I called a few days ahead and by the time we made it down that way, the last showings were sold out. We then wandered around the graveyard trying to make out names on the tombstones. I know that some well-known “witches” are buried there, as well as some historical figures, but I think you need to be with a tour guide who knows exactly where they are…because all the writing is worn away.
Our last stop was Eerie Evenings at the Witch House, a 17th -century mansion and home of Judge Jonathan Corwin. We were taken into three different rooms of the house and in each one, a costumed actor came in and told a story – they were actually more like monologues and they were quite good! It was a really great atmosphere and the actors were great. Apparently they were all actually Union actors which definitely showed.
After that, we headed back towards the train to begin the journey home. We were all exhausted and sore from wandering all day long but had a good time. I’d definitely do it again sometime, even on a day that’s not Halloween since that day is so crowded in Salem. You can’t beat the atmosphere of actually being there on Halloween, but Salem does a good job of getting into the Halloween spirit starting right on October 1st. Most of the museums are open year round too – I know I’ve been there on a school trip before. When I have kids, it can definitely be an autumn family activity – fun and educational.