Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Witch City: Part One!

When we were talking about where we wanted to go on our fall trip this year Salem, Massachusetts kept coming up. Travis and I were both interested in exploring the North East since we hadn't been before (other than New York City) and Salem seemed like a good destination! We had originally talked about going with our friends Crystal and Marc, but Travis couldn't get actual Halloween week off so it was just us.
Using Air Bnb again we stayed in this amazing house in Marblehead! About a ten minute drive from downdown Salem, and a one minute walk to the beautiful harbor! Sadly there was an actual Nor'easter happening the two days we were there so it was freezing and raining! I would have loved to spend some time walking around the town. All the streets around us were filled with these beautiful historic homes!
Isn't it perfect? We were in a little apartment on the bottom floor.
The house was from the 1700's and look how cute it is inside! I couldn't get over it. My favorite Air Bnb ever. We put the kitchen to good use and made dinner for ourselves one night instead of going out. It was just so COLD!
My favorite thing was probably this plate they had hanging above the shower. I want it! I'm going to start collecting plates from places we've been and I need one with a muffler man on it!

Our first stop once we got into Salem proper was the Witch History Museum. There are several museums devoted to the witch trials in Salem. We went to two of the four.
These "museums" consist entirely of wax figures in dioramas. There was a big fire in the early 1900's and pretty much all of the artifacts from the actual era of the witch trials were destroyed. Thankfully, I like wax figures.
The wax figures at the Witch History Museum were all pretty crappy and deformed looking. Perfect. I didn't know a whole lot about the witch trials. It is a very sad story actually with lots of innocent people losing their lives and homes because of bored girls and a greedy corrupt police force and local government. Something that was reiterated over and over was there were no witches hanged in Salem, just innocent people.
Terrifying court scene.
After the Witch History museum we walked over to Ole Burying Point, one of the oldest cemeteries in New England. It was so beautiful, I'll have to devote a whole post to it. I could not stop taking photos of every stone I saw with a skull and wings on it. I love them!
Here is how we were feeling about this time. I didn't expect this turn in the weather so only had that thin hoodie (and I was wearing a dress and tights! ah!) Travis had a much better attitude. As usual.
Next up the Salem Witch Museum. This one was a big room with wax dioramas all around it. you turned around as each scene was lit up. My favorite part was the phone pole outside covered with the stickers they give you when you pay. We went through with a huge European cruise tour group.
 One thing I enjoyed about the Witch Museum was an exhibit about how witches were seen through time. It talked about the tradition of wise woman who were very respected in ancient civilizations as midwives and healers. When patriarchal religion came in and these woman became threats to the authority of the church they were demonized and turned against. Women who went against the grain (lived alone, never married, taught healing) were persecuted. I learned a lot about this in some of my college courses (I have a women's studies minor) and it was interesting to revisit this idea again. 
There were tons of stores selling spell supplies and witch hats and witch golf balls (and lots of terrible shirts! it took me forever to find something cute!). Most of the really cool looking ones didn't allow photos.
Need a stained glass portrait of the devil? Salem has it!
To be honest, I felt a little weird once we were there and learning about what really happened during the witch trials. The terrible tragedy turned this town into a place that sells witch hats and cauldrons and shirts with sayings like "I got stoned in Salem." A weird juxtaposition. I love the aesthetic and seeing spooky witchy stuff, don't get me wrong. But it seemed a little weird to be celebrating that in a location where innocent people were killed because of hysteria and greed.
But back to cute Halloween decorations. This was the week before Halloween week, so everyone had their decorations out. One year I'm going to go all out and decorate the front of our house too! I'm always so busy in October!
I'll be back soon to tell you more about what we saw in Salem. Even with the bad weather and conflicted feelings, it was a fun stop on our trip.

9 comments:

  1. Hey I've been to that Paul Bunyon statue in Bangor. It's right down the road from Stephen King's house.
    Did you go see the Samantha Stephens statue in Salem?
    Or the Pirate Museum? It's a nice change from all that brooms and spells stuff.....

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    1. yes we saw the Samantha statue! But we skipped the pirate museum, it was on our list, but after three we were museumed out!

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  2. More, more, more!!! I'm sorry the weather was so dreary but it probably added to the atmosphere. Isn't it weird how we turn a devastating period in history into a sometimes-campy tourist attraction? And yet, I still really want to go! I'm seriously looking forward to all your trip posts!

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    1. I'm glad!
      and even though I felt weird about it, I still loved it. it's just so campy and wonderful

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  3. I live in a village known for the biggest witch trail in europe, i love seeing tourists about the place xx

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  4. Those are some magnificent wax figures

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    1. they were all so bad! You would have been in heaven!

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