Monday, September 2, 2019

Our Amazing Trip ~ Part 2: Salem, Massachusetts

We spent the second non-travel day of our vacation exploring Salem. A couple years ago, Anne became very interested in the Salem witch trials and wondered what would cause such mass hysteria to whip through a community. I had heard that Salem was a bit of a tourist trap with lots of silly witch stuff. However, I was pleasantly surprised that there were plenty of serious learning opportunities if one looked just a bit. Apparently, Salem is interested in preserving their history and keeping cheesy tourism under control.

We visited the burying ground first thing to study the gravestones. Many of them were from the mid-1700s or even older. We couldn't find the one young woman who was buried in this burial ground and had been accused and hung for being a "witch". However, we very much enjoyed studying the different graves.

We then moved on to The Witch History Museum. We chose this museum because it was supposed to be historically accurate and didn't sensationalize this tragic event in history. It was very well done. The museum started off with a small lecture and them moved through the story of the witch trials while walking past wax displays.

We also visited the Salem Wax Museum, which told all about pirates, maritime history and the witch trials. It was old and a bit outdated, but interesting.

We saved the best for last. We toured the House of the Seven Gables, made famous by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1851 novel, The House of the Seven Gables. It is a 1668 colonial mansion in Salem, Massachusetts, named for its many gables. Hawthorne was a relative of the family who inherited this home and was entertained in this house. Later, he wrote a novel about it. We all found this tour to be fascinating. I always learn something new when touring a historic home. I learned about the water bucket fire brigade and how each home had their own leather buckets with their street address stamped on them, so that everyone would know who showed up (or didn't show up) to put out a fire. It was a good way of shaming everyone into getting the job done when there was a house fire. The kids loved all the hidden passages and the hidden stairwell in the chimney.
This bed and its textiles comprised one-third of the family's wealth and was right in a room where they entertained.
The door has 500 nails in it to show the wealth of the family. (Nails came from England and were expensive.) 

Leather fire buckets

One more fun picture, just because ~ 

Next up ~ Mount Washington, New Hampshire!

Blessings, Dawn


  1. I'm suddenly imagining just how much research you must have done to be able to find these places and know where to go and where not to go . . . I'm blown away!

    That picture of the cooking implements and ovens has me wondering what it was like to feed a family in that kind of kitchen!!!

  2. We have yet to tour the House of the 7 Gables but we did enjoy the Witch History Museum.

  3. This must have been a great trip, love your photos.

  4. We haven't been to Salem in a very long time. We visited the House of Seven Gables while we were there.

    I later found out when my mom was doing our family's ancestry, that one of my ancestors was actually judge in the Salem Witch Trials.

    Thanks for sharing about your trip!