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Discussion Starter #21
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.

I'll definitely make a point of going to GULU Cafe due to your raving review!

I haven't heard of Sleepy Hollow! Please tell me more about that!

I am from the suburbs of Philadelphia, so it will be about a five hour drive for us.

We aren't going on Halloween. We're going the weekend before (October 28-30). I've seen videos of Salem on Halloween day and it honestly looks packed. I'm sure the weekend before won't be too much better... right?

We originally had reservations at the Marriot Peabody, but found an Airbnb room for less than a third of the price of one night at the Marriot!

Ahhhh yes I am super ready to go wild and purchase a bunch of souveniers from our trip!

Thank you again!!!
 

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its funny, i have met so many Halloween related people from the Philly area. Guess its a thing haha. The weekend before will be pretty busy sure, but atlas its not on the actual day. You will be good though. If you plan to do any tours or attractions, see if you can book them in advance before you go it'll be a huge help to you.

Sleepy Hollow, the town in NY where the story was written does a whole ton of great stuff for the month of October, most notably the Great Jack-o-lantern Blaze. !0,000 pumpkins, all carved and lit. Its amazing, a must do. They also have a haunted attraction or two. look into it you will dig it.

Also, I forgot to mention, while in Salem hit up Crow Haven Corner. its their best witch shop, and get to Cinema Salem. They play some really hokey and funny town made movies. You won't be short on stuff to do, trust me
 

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Discussion Starter #23
its funny, i have met so many Halloween related people from the Philly area. Guess its a thing haha. The weekend before will be pretty busy sure, but atlas its not on the actual day. You will be good though. If you plan to do any tours or attractions, see if you can book them in advance before you go it'll be a huge help to you.

Sleepy Hollow, the town in NY where the story was written does a whole ton of great stuff for the month of October, most notably the Great Jack-o-lantern Blaze. !0,000 pumpkins, all carved and lit. Its amazing, a must do. They also have a haunted attraction or two. look into it you will dig it.

Also, I forgot to mention, while in Salem hit up Crow Haven Corner. its their best witch shop, and get to Cinema Salem. They play some really hokey and funny town made movies. You won't be short on stuff to do, trust me

We have a lot of haunted attractions in Philly which could definitely add to the hype - Bates Motel, Eastern State Penitentiary, etc. I worked at Bates Motel for a year which was a great experience.

Thanks again for all of the recommendations!
 

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Lots of great suggestions here. I will second a meal at Finz on Pickering Wharf, we really enjoyed our anniversary dinner there last year. We went to the Hawthorne Hotel Halloween Ball one year and sadly...we didn't enjoy it. It. Was. Packed. Stuffed to the gills, I tell you! I mean...hardly room for moving at all, let alone dancing. Everybody's costumes were A+ which is amazing to see, this is the only place I've ever been where you can tell people really put a ton of thought into their costumes. Trying to get a drink at any of the bars though...good luck. If you can even get TO the bar, good luck getting the bartenders to actually notice. We didn't get one drink the whole time we were there and actually left early. I don't say that I'll never do it again, but maybe if we can actually stay AT the hotel, and maybe if we're with a group of friends...not just the two of us. My husband doesn't dance so that left us with just people watching, dying of thirst, and talking to each other. It was very expensive and especially when you consider taxi service to/from the Peabody Marriott. But LOTS of people seemed to be enjoying themselves so I think it just maybe wasn't the thing for us, you know? I always like to hear how everyone else enjoyed it. Like I said, I would try it again if we could stay AT the hotel.

You're going to have fun, but be prepared for crowds!
 

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Salem is amazing! My husband and I try to go in October every year. We've been to the Hawthorne Ball three times - it's fabulous. If you can save enough money, I highly recommend staying at the Hawthorne during the ball. It's expensive but you get better access, a pretty sweet goodie bag, meal vouchers for the Hawthorne's restaurants and it's great to be able to run up and down to your room if needed throughout the evening. The ball is crowded but with three levels of music, drinks, food and seriously amazing costumes, the time at the ball flies. We couldn't do the Hawthorne's minimum stay this year (I think it's like 4 or 5 nights - something really long) so we are skipping that and going up in mid-October instead. I'm bummed to be missing this year's ball!

Most people have covered what we typically do when we're in Salem (walk Essex St., Finz for Seafood, Salem Beer Works, Count Orlock's). We did the Hocus Pocus walking tour one year and it was great. It discussed filming scenes for the movie a bit but also gave you history of Salem that you might not get from the Witch Trials stuff alone (e.g., we walked to and discussed the location of the old jail). We also enjoy walking around the McIntire historic district as the houses and fall decor are beautiful. I'll post again if I think of anything else. Meanwhile here's a pic of the 2014 ball - (first time posting so hopefully it comes through)! View attachment 279978
 

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As some one who is a regular to Salem for Halloween, let me add to the list of the other suggestions...

You could try Christian Day's Witches Ball. It's a smaller ball than the Hawthorne's, but is still held in the Hawthorne. Check out festivalofthedead.com for more info on that one. I know Crow Haven Corner has been mentioned, but also check out Hex. Those are two of the best witch shops in my opinion. Have drinks and dinner by the fire in Nathaniel's, one of the restaurants in the Hawthorne hotel. Take a stroll to see the Friendship of Salem that's docked in Salem Harbor. Definitely see Old Burying Point cemetery and the Witch Trials memorial. They're next to each other. There is no shortage on things to do, see and buy.

hauntedhappenings.org <-- Great source for things to see and do.
 

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Oh I know this goes without saying, but.... be sure you have your camera or your phone fully charged. You will with out a doubt need it at the Hawthorne Ball.

You can check previous years Halloween ball pictures on the Hawthorne's webpage.
 

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Connecticut had witch trials in 1647-1697 before Salem.
http://www.history.com/news/before-salem-the-first-american-witch-hunt

The History Channel has Salem Witch Trials is a good start of understanding that 19 people lost their lives because of mass hysteria.
http://www.history.com/topics/salem-witch-trials

Salem Village which is now Danvers is where the 17th century witch hunt actually started.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/12/AR2010101202782.html

http://salem.lib.virginia.edu/Commemoration.html

I went years ago, it is so sad where so many lost their lives.
 

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Just an FYI Reds is cash only...it's an awesome place too!!! We did a ghost tour and a history tour! History tour was my fav!!! There's a sports bar on the other side of the cemetery...can't remember name, but it was a good place...ghost tour told some neat stories about that bar. Have fun!!! I LOVED Salem!!!!
 

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I know this is from last year but I'm going to hijack it and see if anyone else has any suggestions or tips. I'm planning on going this year , stopping in Sleepy Hollow on the way up as well so any suggestions for that would be great to.
Specifically for Salem, and driving...I've heard it's hard to actually get into the town during October, so is the only way to stay in town ? Has anyone ever taken the train in?
Also, if I'm there during the week, instead of the weekend , will crowds size be smaller? and will I miss activities? what I mean are is there things that only happen on weekends that I would need to see??

Also any suggestions for walking/ghost/historical tours? there are so freaking many, I'm not sure which ones are good and which are rubbish. If you tried one and liked it I would love to know the name....guess I prefer more of a ghost/haunted bent to it.
Any help would be great.
 
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All great questions that Frog and I have too... In fact I was just about to look up this very thread to reread the tips and hints already posted. Had hoped to get to Salem last year but alas it wasn't to be, life happens. Going is on the top of my bucket list and after a year filled with so much sadness, we're going to do our best to make it happen this year. The plan is the first week in Oct. Monday to maybe Wed or Thurs so no weekend days for us. Hoping the crowds will be less and most of the happenings will be happening. I know we'll miss the Ball but Balls aren't that important to us. If we go so early will we miss anything else. Cemeteries are favorite things to visit for us so any must visit ones along I-90 or not far off we'd love to know.

I'm trying to see if we can toss a side trip to Sleepy Hollow too. So any good hints or tips to make me really fit this in too would be welcome.
 

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Hey Stink, fun to see you might be going this year as well. I've thought about this trip year after year and just never jumped all in and planned it but this year it's for real happening. We have decided to go the first week in Oct as well, just like you hoping crowds and lines won't be as bad. Will miss some action sure but i decided I wanted to be able to be a little more casual and not so hurried and frantic trying to get through crowds. Going weekdays also with the design of being less crowded....thats the hope anyway. you will have to let me know if you actually pull the trigger and head that way !

I debated starting a new thread for this , I was afraid since it was old people might not respond, especially since it is the slow season. Oh well hopefully some people will have some advice on Salem and or Sleepy Hollow. I really would like some suggestions on walking/ parking/ driving to Salem area and advice on a good walking tour. I've seen good reviews for two, the salem witch walk and the hocus pocus tour but there are so many I would like to hear opinions.
 
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The plan was to go last year but it seemed every month, Jan to Nov, I learned someone dear to me passed away or had so serious a health problem that forever changed their lives. After my son passed in May it just wasn't important anymore, spent the remaining year in wave after wave of lose. After losing so many friends and family last year I've decided that life is to short not to go and do things and make memories. Both Frog and I HATE to fly so it'll be a long cross county drive for us... doing what we love to do - looking at the scenery and checking out what Cemeteries we find along the way. There is a small chance we might Amtrak over but that does take out one of the important steps... Finding those cemeteries on the route.

Going will cut into my card making time, I'll have to have my Halloween card designed in August LOL...
 

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Well we booked our room and plotted our trek. We are driving it takes about 15 -16 hours to drive there straight so we are making stops along the way, Sleepy Hollow being one of them and then more stops on the way home. Spending 2 or 3 days in Salem and Salem area. We are going the first week in October, missing some of the activity that happens closer to the big day but I'm ok with that. Stink let me know if you decide to bite the bullet. We did it fast because hotel rooms were filling up fast. we also did it early Oct because the later you go the more expensive the hotel rooms got.

Would still love some tips and "must see" suggestions ect. , ghost tour that is good, museums that are good, restaurants that are good...all that jazz.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Hi all,

Sorry it's taken me so long to respond! I started this thread, so now that I've actually been there during October, I'll share a bit of what I remember from last year.

I went the last weekend in October last year, right before Halloween. I remember the traffic being bad in Massachusetts in general (apparently that's a common thing there, though) but getting into Salem wasn't as crazy as people made it out to be. We also weren't there on Halloween day, so that might have had something to do with it.

We drove into Salem, but that's the only time we used our car while we were there. The parking situation is crazy, so I would recommend using Uber or Lyft, if you're comfortable with that sort of thing. We also did a lot of walking.

Both of you asked of things to do during the weekends you're there. I recommend Googling the "Haunted Happenings" website and requesting that they send you a brochure for this Halloween season. Inside they have all of the events and their dates listed out. That's what we did last year, and it's pretty comprehensive and definitely a good thing to have before you go to Salem so you can plan. It's also good to have while you're there so you can see what's going on at what time.

I did go to Red's like everyone suggested and it was good. It is cash only. I remember getting there in the 8'o clock morning hour and not having to wait long to get in, but I did notice that the later it got, the line started forming. So, if you're picking a day to sleep in, I probably wouldn't recommend going to Red's that day, unless you don't mind waiting in long lines.

The Salem Witch Walk was really informative if you're interested in learning about MODERN DAY WITCHES. I heavily emphasize that, because our witch guide told us that people sign up for the tour believing that it's about the Salem Witch Trials. While there is some information on that, the "theme" of the tour is on modern day witchcraft. If this tour doesn't seem to interest you, I would recommend going on Trip Advisor. There are literally dozens of different guided walking tours. I would book these in advance (I booked mine last summer) because they book up fast.

salem1.jpg

We also went to Cry Innocent, which everyone raved about. It's a reenactment of Bridget Bishop being summoned after being accused of witch craft. The reenactment begins outside in front of Old Town Hall, then moves inside of Town Hall, upstairs. This didn't happen to be my favorite part of the trip, although, it was interesting to see.

salem2.jpg

I know the two of you said you're not going to Salem during the last week of October, which is when the Hawthorne Hotel Halloween Ball is, but in the future, you should totally go! It's so much fun. The entire first floor of the hotel (and a few parts of other floors) are completely dedicated to the ball with a DJ, band (which is so good), photographer, psychics, etc. This was my absolute favorite part of the trip! We're planning on going again this year. Oh, and the costumes are unlike anything you've seen. People are over-the-top, in a good way!

salem4.jpg

Sorry for rambling. The trip was the highlight of my year and I can't wait to go again this October.

If you have any questions, let me know!

salem3.jpg
 

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Thanks for responding miss_halloween ! Did you go to any of the other "museums" the witch trial musem, gallow hilll show, count orlok's ?
I ordered the halloween happenings brochure early on , I just needed some specifics from someone who had gone so we don't waste time or money on something that is terrible. Any shops you really liked?
 

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All right Miss_Halloween I have a couple questions. I went to Salem 2 years ago but it was in May. I stayed in the Salem Waterfront hotel and really liked it. I plan on going back to Salem in OCT next year for our anniversary ( Oct 28th) and what to stay in town and know there is only 2 hotels. I know the price is higher in OCT but the convenience is worth it. When did you book it and what hotel did you book your room?
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Disembodiedvoice, I went to the Salem Witch Museum. You're seated in a large room where there are sculptured scenes of the Salem Witch Trials. Each scene is "lit up" as an audio recording plays. The sculptures are 360 degrees around you. If you do not know a lot about the trials, it is interesting. However, if you are looking for something HIGHLY entertaining, I would say skip it. An audio recording may feel a tad boring or outdated. I would say go, as it is one of the major attractions of the town, but if you miss it, I really wouldn't sweat it.

In terms of shops, I feel that you have to visit Crow Havens Corner, simply for the novelty of it and its significance in our county - it's our country's very first witch store. They carry interesting witch merchandise and have psychics. Be warned, this is the store that will have the longest line. Stop by "Witch's Tees," too, as they will have Salem t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. at the best prices in town (as I learned from a local on YouTube).



Godcrusher, it's good that you're looking to plan your trip for next October well-over a year in advance, because to stay in a hotel, it's honestly the only way you can do it. Personally, if you can get a room, I'd recommend staying at The Hawthorne Hotel. It's the iconic hotel on Essex Street, so it's in a great location. It's also said to be very haunted.

I actually emailed the Hawthorne about acquiring a room for next October, myself, and this is the response I received:

"We book a year out in advance, so you would have to wait until this October to start booking weekdays for 2018 (364 days ahead). A small exception: Our current guests will have first pick for next year weekends. So whatever remains in our inventory, will become available the following Tuesday of whatever weekend you are interested in.

For weekends, there is a two night minimum and a Room and Tax deposit for Saturday night at the moment of making the reservation. The lowest rate that we would have, would be for the Economy single with a Full-size bed for a weekday.

Beside the weekdays, there are no minimum number of nights or deposits you ‘d have to make. Rates, overall, will be at their highest."



I personally have not stayed there, so I can't get my personal review, but from my extensive research of the town, this is THE place to stay.

When I went to Salem last October, I personally stayed in someone's home through Air B-n-B, which I enjoyed because I got to see what life is like "like a local".

Feel free to ask me any other questions!
 
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We have a room reserved for the first week in Oct so hopefully that will be good enough to get a good taste of Salem in Oct. without the big crowds. A number of years ago we did Knotts scary farms 2 nights. One was a week night and enjoyed it alot the other was a weekend night... even with having the early entrance and staying open later it was so packed that it just wasn't a good time. So much of the scary was lost with the hoards of people packed just on the walkways forget about the lines onto the "haunted" rides and houses.
 
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