One of my favorite shows as a child, Bewitched

Salem, Massachusetts

  • Statue of Bewitched’s Elizabeth Montgomery

The woman bumped into me and the first thing I noticed was the five-pointed pentagram on her necklace. I was in Salem, Massachusetts, home of the famous witch trials, and now I was face to face with an interesting person.

The Sites in Salem

As we each went our own way, I walked different streets to the Witch Trials Memorial and passed shops offering séances, psychic readings, tarot cards and ghost tours.

Although the weather was a bit cold and drizzling, I soon smelled the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread and my nose led me into A & J King bakery on Hawthorne Street. I found a bakery offering delicious-looking treats, I bought a piece of caramel bourbon bread pudding and noted the olive bread baguette and slices of carrot cake filled with mascarpone cheese. The sweets were a delight – not knowing what laid ahead in this town known for witches.

A few short blocks away I walked into the Witch Trials Memorial, a little U-shaped park with a row of stone slab benches that’s inscribed with names of those who were hanged in 1692. The name “witch” has always been one of interpretation, and the trials marked a period of injustice not to be forgotten.

A fun statue of Elizabeth Montgomery from Bewitched sits near Lappin Park. Having grown up watching the show, I thought she looked every bit as kind as I thought her to be, twitching nose and all.

New Shops Along the Streets

Salem is reinventing itself as a suburb of Boston and a destination travel spot with trendy boutique shops and eateries.  By car or ferry, bustling Beantown is only 17 miles away.  Popping in and out of stores on the cobblestone Essex Street, I couldn’t resist buying unique bath products in Scrub and talked with owner Kate Leavy. She excitedly told me Salem is now more than witches because of the development on Front Street and the effort to save brick-and-mortar storefronts.

Sure enough, I peeked inside Seed Stitch Yarn shop with women gathered around a table knitting and talking.  I found time to taste locally made Richardson’s ice cream in Maria’s Sweet Something’s. The annual poetry contest with poets reciting their works was underway close by in Derby Square, where people casually gathered to share a reading and a few laughs.

October is High Season

Each October is big business for Salem but besides that, year round, there are maritime events, an artist’s row with local artists and chocolate and ice sculpture festivals, and tours of the infamous House of Seven Gables.

After exploring the progressive downtown area, I met family at Finz’s Seafood restaurant on Pickering Wharf, where we dined on fresh oysters and potent Bloody Marys.

The town of Salem offers hospitality, New England character and maybe even a few witches!

This article was revised from the original article