The Salem Trolley is the Best Way to Explore the Witch City
Let’s get nostalgic. I love everything to do with the old days – silver screen, black and white TV, Lucille Ball, bobby socks, etc. Thinking about that time capsule makes me incredibly happy and it got me writing about I Love Lucy, a delightful restaurant in Boston that emulates the days of flappers, and now about a place that inspired one of my favourite shows of all time- Salem. I had to head here to see exactly what happened and become educated on a topic that has been interesting to me for years. So I researched my trip and learned the best way to see the Witch City was by Salem Trolley.
As we were heading to Boston on such an incredible getaway, I just had to include a day trip to Salem. So, we hopped on the ferry (which seriously is the best way to get there) and made our way to Witch City. To heck with car rentals and buses! Take the ferry! Plus, the views of Boston Harbour are pretty great from the ship deck.
Book a Tour: Salem Witch Museum Admission Ticket
Once we arrived, we were greeted by our friends at the Salem Trolley. A guided trip full of facts, figures, and humour, the tour is truly one of the best things you can do to learn more about the Witch City.
First, a few Salem Facts:
- Currently over 41,000 reside in the city.
- Over one million visitors arrive to Salem yearly bringing over $100 million in revenue.
- Most travellers visit to learn about the infamous witch trials, which has shaped the city’s identity.
- Police vehicles and street signs adorn witch symbols.
- Salem has been nicknamed the “Witch City.”
- One of the three beaches in the world named “Waikiki beach” is here in Salem. The other two are in Hawaii and Western Australia
Your Salem Trolley Must-See Stops List
Our friends at the Salem Trolley truly know their city. Enjoy their knowledgeable commentary as you learn about the the attractions on your Salem bucket list. Take the full tour of interesting facts and historic tidbits or exit at one of the many convenient stops on route. Should you wish to hop back on, the Salem Trolley runs until 5 pm daily. Don’t have a preset list? Here are our recommended highlights you really should not miss when here in Witch City.
Book a Tour: Boston to Salem 1-Way and Round Trip Ferry Tickets
The Salem Witch Museum
Salem is best known for being the ominous setting for the infamous Witch Trials. There really is no better place to learn more about this tragedy than through the Salem Witch Museum. Upon admittance, become educated with two informative presentations on what really happened in 1692 when the wrongful hanging executions took place thanks to a select few believing the victims were witches.
Learn of the witch image that has passed through the decades from such notable literary references as The Wizard of Oz, Hansel and Gretal, Harry Potter, and of course, my favourite, Bewitched.
The trials were such an example of uneducated ignorance. The Salem judge sentenced 20 people to death for suspected witchery. Even two dogs were killed as the foaming of their mouths, probably caused by rabies, was believed to have been witchcraft.
Admission is quite reasonable and there is a delightful gift shop to browse upon exiting. Seriously include this attraction during your day on the Salem Trolley.
Book a Tour: Go Boston Card: Save up to 55% on top attractions
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial:
After learning of the unnecessary deaths of the 20 innocent victims, head to the Witch Trials Memorial and pay your respects. Dedicated in 1992 for the Tercentenary, all those who were executed in the 17th century trials are remembered and honoured here. Its design of granite stones and benches resembles that of the Vietnam War memorial and was designed by Maggie Smith and James Cutler.
The Elizabeth Montgomery Bewitched Statue
Are you a Bewitched Fan? If so, you will love the statue located on 235 Essex Street. The statue of Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha Stephens, a witch who marries a mortal and tries to live without her witchcraft, honours the show for its taping of several episodes on location during its seventh season. TV Land presentedSalem with the statue in 2005.
The show truly embraced the tragic history of the witch trials and ensured all respect while filming. The Salem residents were split on the decision to bring the statue to the city. Depending on who you talk to, you will either find a lover or hater of the unveiling as some felt Elizabeth Montgomery played a fictitious witch and that she wasn’t truly a witch to belong in the city. Others truly do feel otherwise and honour the statue every day. Being a massive fan of the show and knowing of the efforts put forward to keep the memory of the innocent victims of the hangings alive, I loved seeing the statue and proudly posed beside it.
The House of Seven Gables
So, how many of you out there have read or heard of the novel “The Scarlet Letter?” I am sure quite a few. Well, Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of this book and “The House of Seven Gables” wrote both pieces here, with his novel inspiring this 1668 heritage home of the same name right in the heart of Salem.
While in the Witch City, get off the Salem Trolley and enjoy a tour of the house. You will learn the facts and history of this home, one of the oldest in the USA, and how it survived many a storm and generation.
The house has had many a restoration effort over the years to preserve its incredible history by maintaining its shape and all gables. The earliest section of the house was built back in 1667 with originally only 2 rooms, a chimney, and seating area for guests. By 1676 the house had more than doubled its size complete with a kitchen, further seating areas, a cent shop, and its seven famous gables.
Tours run daily throughout the house and exterior gardens. No photographs are allowed inside the house; however, there is a beautiful gift shop stocked with photos, postcards, magnets, and copies of both the Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables sporting a commemorative embossed stamp acknowledging your purchase right at the source!
For all the Bewitched fans out there, the episode with the Bed warmer was filmed here and the actual bed warmer used in the show was on display! (Nope, they didn’t use a replica!) Keep an eye out for it on the first stop of the tour. Sadly you cannot take a picture or touch it, but it still is really cool that you were in the exact spot this was filmed 🙂
The Salem trolley drops you off very conveniently in front of the house and picks you up after your tour so long as you are done before 5 pm.
Ye Old Pepper Companie Candies
Right across the street from the House of Seven Gables sits the oldest candy shop in the entire USA! Enjoy homemade confection including fudge, truffles, bars, caramels, international treats, and more. What is also quite nostalgic about this shop is the fact that Oprah Winfrey is their biggest fan! A dozen homemade Turtles are purchased by the former talk show host on a monthly basis for her closest friends and family. Now that is something to be proud of isn’t it!?
Enjoy a Meal at the Witches’ Brew Cafe
Really get into the theme and head to the Witches’ Brew Cafe for a drink and lunch! Have the Salem trolley drop you off a the House of Seven Gables and head a couple blocks down the road for a nice bite to eat. Choose from a wide variety of dishes and cocktails. I particularly loved the Witches Brew Cocktail – served GREEN, it’s a delicious combination of coconut rum, melon liquor, pineapple, and splash of milk. It really set the tone for our day in Salem! Check them out, located just a small walk away from the House of Seven Gables.
Are you a Bewitched Fan? Well, besides checking out Samantha’s Statue, head to the Hawthorne hotel! The Salem trolley will stop nearby for you to check out the very cool memorabilia from this supernatural comedy. This is the exact place where the cast stayed while filming on location for the Salem Saga in season 7. If you head inside and make your way to the washrooms, right on the wall you will find filming details including the special menu created, scripts from the episode featuring the flying bed warmer, and photos of Liz and Dick Sargent! I don’t know about you, but as i’m a nostalgic NERD for my favourite vintage television shows, I was super excited to have seen this memorabilia, including scripts, handwritten messages, and more.
The Redline Cafe
Need a cuppa jo while sightseeing? Head to the Redline cafe! Enjoy organic coffee, incredible lattes, and a green pistachio muffin for good measure!
Halloween Events to Consider:
Witches symbolize this pagan holiday. As such, Halloween is hugely represented in Salem. Be sure to check out the various events when you get there and book early to avoid disappointment! The city is very very busy at this time of year so booking early is essential.
- Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery – Enjoy this wax museum of 60+ life-like figures, and its limited edition haunted house for the month of October!
- Gallows Hill Witchcraft Exhibition – a display of various crafts and shows dedicated to witchcraft and magic.
- Salem Haunted Magic Show – Enjoy 75 minutes of magic at this performance scheduled only for a limited time! The show is bound to entertain with its unique blend of inconceivable stunts, demonstrations, dark comedy, and more.
- Black Cat Tours – take a scary night tour around the various witchy and haunted parts of the city. Be aware that tours at night can be scary for kids and caution is advised.
Psychic services – various psychics, palm, and tarot readers are available on site for exclusive séances private and sessions. Inquire at one of the many booths in the city for more information.
- AM Coffee Tour – for the not-so-scary inclined, why not take a morning tour starting with a delightful cuppa Joe? Discover the history and culinary side of this incredible city. Enjoy a complimentary coffee/tea and exclusive spice tasting. Tours available only in October.
Salem truly is an amazing city full of history and tragedy. It is incredible how the locals have embraced this and made it all their own through theme, commemoration, heritage, and memorial. Do give yourself the time to head here on a trip to Boston as it is definitely a day trip worth every moment. Bewitched fan or not, learning of the witch trials and how far we have come since then is truly enlightening.
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Fill My Passport were a guest of the Salem Trolley on our recent trip. All opinions in this post are our own and were not influenced in any way.