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Discussion Starter #1
Hi friends :)

I first want to say that I'm super excited I've found this site. As a true Halloween-obsessed girl, I feel like I've found my people :)

So... I'm taking my first trip to Salem this October! I will be there from the 28th - 30th and I'm looking for advice/recommendations for my upcoming trip!


I've been doing a lot of research and here are some plans/ideas I have so far:

1. Booked a room through Airbnb. I've found that the majority of the hotels in Salem were already booked back in March when I first started planning this trip. I discovered that any hotels that were left over were upwards of $300+ a night. Nope! Our Airbnb room is about a 40 minute walk to downtown Salem. I have been well-informed that driving in Salem is a no-go, so does anyone know of a way to get around other than by car? Perhaps shuttles or something of the like?

2. Witch Walk Tickets have been purchased.

3. Hawthorne Hotel Halloween Ball Tickets have been purchased. Has anyone been to this before? This will be the main attraction of our trip.

4. I'm interested in Salem's Vintage Photography studio :cool:

5. Hocus Pocus is my favorite movie, ever. So I will most-definitely be checking out Town Hall, Max's House, Allison's House, etc.


Please, if you've been to Salem before, give a girl some advice! I'm soooo stoked and I'm hoping this will be the trip of a lifetime!

:eek::eek::eek: Wahoo!!!
 

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The only thing I remember from my family's trip there was a visit to the House of the Seven Gables house and museum.
 

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Yes! Definitely visit the House of the Seven Gables. It's VERY interesting. I would suggest starting your 1st day at the National Park Service Visitor Center. You can buy a movie/trolley/Witch House ticket combo there. The movie is a brief story of the witch trials. Then you can hop on the trolly right outside the door. The people who "narrate" the hop on hop off tour were locals who had lived there forever. They told great stories and pointed out where "Hocus Pocus" was filmed, etc. I LOVE that movie, too!

For sure visit the Witch House. Completely cool to be inside a part of history. It definitely has a creepy vibe. I asked the docents there if they thought it was haunted and that got a resounding "Yes". They would hear people upstairs all the time when they were the only ones in the building.

I was there in June of 2014 so it wasn't crowded for Halloween yet. I am sure it will be crazy when you are there!

For sweets/eats I spent an hour after I was tired of walking around and my feet were hurting at The Gulu Gulu Cafe on Essex St. They had an amazing cheese plate (started my love affair with cranberry wensleydale cheese) and craft beer. A visit to the oldest candy store in the US is in order, too: Ye Old Pepper Candy Companie on Derby St. The gibraltars are amazing. You can sample anything you like. Just ask.

Have fun!!!
 

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OKAY! My group went last year and I will tell you we stayed in Peabody at the Mariott right outside of Salem and drove to downtown (it was about a 15 minute drive). The first day we drove in and made it to the parking garage right on Essex street. That was a Thursday. Friday morning we drove and drove and every single garage and makeshift parking lot was full. HOWEVER we did find a secret parking garage that never got full for the remainder of our stay. It's the parking garage on Bridge street and it sits JUST outside of the downtown limits but you literally walk across the street and a 5 minute walk later you're right in the middle of everything. And I'm talking this garage still had spaces both times we went on Friday and even on Saturday ON HALLOWEEN it had plenty of room. So I definitely would recommend that as opposed to a 40 minute walk in my opinion because there are DEFINITELY parts of Salem that are very dicey. I would not want to be walking back in some of those areas surrounding Salem at night....

The Hawthorne Hotel party was okay...last year we all felt like they really sold way too many tickets because you barely had room to breath let alone move in some of the entertainment areas. Very stuffy. And the music was just okay for the most part...it got better towards the end of the night. Also drinks are EXPENSIVE, they're small, and it's cash only. The costumes that you will see will be AMAZING though. We actually had more fun in the streets than we did during the party.

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That's the map of the parking garage we went to, it's the building at the top of the screen.

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This was a shot from top of the parking garage looking down Washington street on Halloween night....it's crazy the amount of people and that is just a small section of a much larger street...not even mentioning the main streets like Essex or Derby. I'll try and post my pictures in an album for you to look at tomorrow.
 

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I've been to Salem in October 4 of the past 5 years and will be going this October as well!

1. We are actually doing an AirBNB this year as well. Salem has no chain hotels, only the Salem Inn and Hawthorne Hotel I believe, everything else is a Bed & Breakfast (which we have stayed in a couple of times in the past). And yes, lodging books up fast. We usually stay pretty close to the Hawthorne Hotel area so we never have a vehicle, but it's very easy to just walk around the area without worrying about driving.

2. We tried a ton of the Walking Tours and all are pretty much the same, just differing in how they present it usually. Probably my favorite one was The Witch Trial Trail.

3. We've never been to this as we've always gone in about the middle of October, but I hear it's a lot of fun!

4. Never done this before but have stopped by man times, the wife has always expressed interest in this so we may do it this year!

Things we have done in the past that we have really enjoyed:

The Ghost and Legends Trolley Tour - We did this last year and it was an absolute blast. The guide was incredibly knowledgeable and hilariously in character as "The Black Widoe"

Haunted Harbor Cruise - it's a 90 minute boat ride that travels to various "spooky" areas and the guide told stories about them. They had food and drinks (including alcohol) for sale there as well.

Count Orlocks Nightmare Gallery - this is a wax museum of famous movie monsters and it's a lot of fun! At night they turn it into a haunted house as well. Definitely worth it if you enjoy Horror Movies.

Gallows Hill - They have a couple of really good shows here. The Morning show is a Witchcraft show that details the History of Witchcraft in Salem and is good. At Night they do the Tales and Ales show where you listen to two ghost stories being told by an actor and is pretty good as well.

Just walking down Essex street and taking in the architecture and the beauty of the area is a lot of fun as well. We spend a lot of our time there doing just that. Plus quite a few houses decorate for Halloween so it's always great to look at those as well.

I can also suggest some really good places to eat at as well if you are looking for suggestions for that too!

I have a TON of pictures from there as well. I should post some of them!

You are going to have a blast!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi!

We actually had reservations at the Marriot Peabody, but decided to go for Airbnb after we realized that two nights at the Marriot would have run us almost $600 which is insane. For two nights at our Airbnb stay, it will only be $150, which is quite a steal in my opinion!

Thank you so much for the parking information! This will definitely come in handy.

I didn't realize that there were areas of Salem that were dicey. Can you tell me more?

Hmmm... well, I'm glad we're trying the Hawthorne Hotel Party, but if we find that it's not all it's cracked up to be, we'll pass for our next trip.

Thank you so much for your response! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ahhhh you're so lucky that you seem to make this a yearly trip!

Thank you so much for sharing all of these suggestions! Yes, I would love to hear suggestions on where to eat!

Totally feel free to share some pics - I'd love to see! I've been semi-stalking "Salem in October" YouTube videos for months now, haha. Sort of living vicariously these past few months in anticipation of the upcoming trip.

Thank you!!! :D
 

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Some places that I enjoy eating at are:

Tavern on the Green (in the Hawthorne Hotel)
Naumkeag Ordinary (In the Square with the Samantha Statue)
Reds - this is a must! Especially for Breakfast! It is to die for!!!! - just down from Old Town Hall.
Ugly Mug Diner - also a great breakfast spot - on Washington Street
Salem Beerworks - great Craft Beer and great Pumpkin Squash Casserole! - on Derby Street
Opus - great place if you enjoy Sushi! - on Washington Street
Finz - Great Seafoood - On the Wharf

Of course during October most all of the restaurants have some kind of Pumpkin related food and Halloween Themed Drinks.

I will definitely try to get some pictures posted soon!

And as far a dicey areas, the touristy part of the area, which is Essex Street, Washington Street and Derby Street area is safe. That's where you'll be spending all of you time most likely!
 

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Hi miss_halloween!

I went to Salem for the first time last October and LOVED IT! I'm sure you will too! I already can't wait to go back.

I agree with most of what everyone else has said. Some random tips that I have from our trip..

1) Pack your witch hat! Everyone around is wearing them (it's so fun!) but buying one can be expensive...

2) I didn't think the Salem Witch Museum was worth it. We wasted a lot of time waiting in line to see it, but it was basically a retelling of information most people (well, most people who love Halloween and witch history..) already know. It's just some still scenes that "light up" while the story is narrated.

3) This is a weird tip, but trust me. If you go into any place that has a bathroom- use it! There didn't seem to be many public restrooms around and you probably don't want to be going back and forth to your room constantly.

4) Definitely check out the Hocus Pocus houses and locations! I believe there is a tour that you can pay for, but we just googled the addresses. We met a lady in the neighborhood where Max and Dani's house is and she was living in the area while it was filmed. Cool to hear her stories, and she took our picture! She mentioned that A LOT of people come to the house to take photos, so don't feel weird about it like we did! You can even go in Allison's house, but just the exterior was used for filming.

5) We only spent the day in Salem, so I only have 2 restaurant recommendations- One was a mexican place that I can't remember the name of. I think it had something to do with a wolf. Anyway, it was REALLY good. We ordered fried avocado from there and it was amazing. Also check out the Salem Screamery for some really good ice cream (hopefully it won't be too cold for you!)

One thing I noticed about Salem in general- no one seemed to decorate for Halloween! We were there mid-October, so I don't know if it was too early... but you'd think the residents of the Witch City would be more into Halloween!

Enjoy your trip! :)
 

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Hey Punkingal!

Was it the Howling Wolf Taqueria? It is good!
The Howling Wolf is fantastic. As the other poster said Reds is a must for breakfast but bring an appetite because the portions are huge.

ON top of all the "witchy" things to do the maritime history is abundant in Salem. It was also home to the US 1st millionaire. Or at least the guide said that :).

The cemetery is a must visit also. There are several famous people buried there and even someone who came over on the mayflower.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi! Thank you so much for all of your feedback!

Totally would bring a witch hat if I had one! I'm planning on purchasing one there, along with a wand.

I might try the Witch Museum, only because I don't know much about witch history. I hope to learn a thing or two!

Thanks for the bathroom tip! Do you know if there are porta potties set up around downtown? I actually really hate them lol

Can't WAIT to check out the hocus pocus houses. Probably was the catalyst for this trip in the first place lol. The movie has been my favorite since I was 3. I am now 25. I told my boyfriend that if Max Dennison's house's owner ever decides to sell that we will be on that so fast! Haha.

Thanks for the Mexican restaurant recommendation! I also heard about that one on trip advisor, so it has really good reviews!

Omg that is SO funny that you mentioned that no one really decorates for Halloween. I'm a loser and I was looking up Salem in October hashtags on Instagram and I noticed that everyone kept instagraming the same house. I believe someone even captioned that it was one of the only houses they saw decorated. Too funny!!! If I lived there, I would go ALL out. I warned my boyfriend then when we go there, I'm most likely gonna fall in love with the town and want to move there hahahaha.

Thanks so much!!!
 

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Hi! Thank you so much for all of your feedback!

Totally would bring a witch hat if I had one! I'm planning on purchasing one there, along with a wand.

I might try the Witch Museum, only because I don't know much about witch history. I hope to learn a thing or two!

Thanks for the bathroom tip! Do you know if there are porta potties set up around downtown? I actually really hate them lol

Can't WAIT to check out the hocus pocus houses. Probably was the catalyst for this trip in the first place lol. The movie has been my favorite since I was 3. I am now 25. I told my boyfriend that if Max Dennison's house's owner ever decides to sell that we will be on that so fast! Haha.

Thanks for the Mexican restaurant recommendation! I also heard about that one on trip advisor, so it has really good reviews!

Omg that is SO funny that you mentioned that no one really decorates for Halloween. I'm a loser and I was looking up Salem in October hashtags on Instagram and I noticed that everyone kept instagraming the same house. I believe someone even captioned that it was one of the only houses they saw decorated. Too funny!!! If I lived there, I would go ALL out. I warned my boyfriend then when we go there, I'm most likely gonna fall in love with the town and want to move there hahahaha.

Thanks so much!!!
I didn't notice many porta potties, but that doesn't mean they weren't there! I wasn't really paying attention. Too many things to look at! You're welcome! If I think of anything else, I'll let you know. If you have other questions just ask and I'll try to help! :)
 

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For the love of god make sure you go to GULU CAFE! We have been to Salem 7 times and this is by far are favorite place to eat and drink!!! I cannot recommend it highly enough. Also, check out Ugly Mug which is fantastic for breakfast, and so is Reds. We could live on those three places alone. Make sure you go to the Witch Museum as well. Cheesy yes, but a right of passage when visiting Salem.
 
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For the love of god make sure you go to GULU CAFE! We have been to Salem 7 times and this is by far are favorite place to eat and drink!!! I cannot recommend it highly enough. Also, check out Ugly Mug which is fantastic for breakfast, and so is Reds. We could live on those three places alone. Make sure you go to the Witch Museum as well. Cheesy yes, but a right of passage when visiting Salem.
Thank you for the recommendations!! I heard Red's is amazing; that's definitely been on my list! I'll check out the others, as well. That's so awesome you've been to Salem so many times! May I ask where you're from? I'm pretty sure after this trip that I am going to want to live in Salem. My boyfriend has been forewarned hahahaha.
 

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To be honest I have tinkered with the idea of moving there many times. At this point, after visiting so much, we love it just for the fact that its a great town and the people are nice. Halloween, and autumn is the bonus, but its honestly great for food, drinks and music as well. Most of the stuff we look forward to most there isn't even halloween related. Like I mentioned before GULU Cafe is amazing. We own a boston terrier and their mascot is Jack, the Boston Terrier which the owners of the place have. They also own a pug. His face is plastered on the window of the joint and thats what drew me in there in the first place. It has become one of my favorite places on earth. Comfortable, and has great food.

We are from NJ by the way. Not so far a travel, but still to far. We go almost every year. Between that and Sleepy Hollow we are fortunate to have to great Halloween towns within driving distance. Where are you guys from? I can honestly say Salem is my favorite place in the country. You will love it.

A few other tips-

1. Not sure if I saw but are you going ON Halloween? It gets a bit crazy, I went once and will never go the day of again. The Week of...sure but never that day.

2. Staying in Peabody is way cheaper, but if you ever get the chance to stay at the Hawthorn do so, its great waking up in the center of town.

3. Save up.... you WILL buy tons of stuff.

4. if your going in the fall and driving north bound take the Merrit Parkway in Connecticut, its amazing

5. Visit the old burial grounds, you won't be disappointed.
 
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