Friday, August 24, 2012

Massachusetts Road Trip: Salem

I was excited to finally check out Salem!  I have heard so much about it and I find the history of it very interesting!  Although, I am far from being an expert on the subject!!!

Did you know that the movement to deal with witchcraft all started due to what we would now consider "teen rebellion"?  At least that is what we were told while visiting Salem.  It kind of makes me wonder what we (society) may have done in more recent times that will be considered so crazy in the future!

Salem is not a huge place but there is a lot to see.  There is a plenty of shopping, wax museums, haunted house tours (commercial ones only from what I saw - not actual houses that you toured), and historic tours.  Plus, there are many people in the area that really love the time period so you will see them wondering around dressed and acting like people would have during that time period.

Fun free photo opportunities all over!
First, find a map!  Just about every free city guide will have one.

It isn't hard to walk around and figure out your way to the key places.  To help you along, they have a red line painted on the roads and sidewalks to help guide you on a walking tour.

It was very hot during our visit and we had 3 little ones with us.  So, we walked to the key areas and then drove to another.

First on my list was to visit the cemetery that I have heard so much about!  

To make it even more thrilling, there is an abandoned house next to it that looks haunted.

Map of the cemetery

Our first encounter with someone dressed
and talking like a gentleman from the time period.
He was making a walking stick.  Very friendly!

Not sure why someone added the sweater....

The next section of the cemetery was under construction but we could still walk around and check things out.  This is the area to remember those that were accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death for it.  

Each stone "seat" was in remembrance of an individual.  They listed how their sentence was carried out and some were very graphic!

Why put change (pennies) on the stones?  I wondered why people did this at grave sites.  I found a few reasons why but this I think is the most fitting:  

"Some people hold to the tradition of leaving something of yourself when visiting a grave. If nothing else, a coin from your pocket serves as a marker of your passage and esteem for the departed. It also signifies to any that pass by that the grave was visited, and that the deceased is well loved and esteemed and has not been abandoned or forgotten. Coins are also an older form of leaving flowers, a practice prompted by the heavy Romanticism of the Victorian era."

Leaving some pennies of our own

Some even left flowers
Next we drove to tour "The House of Seven Gables".  We made the mistake of parking in a spot far away only to find out that they offer plenty of parking on location.  

I found the tour very interesting but it really was more about how people lived in the late 1700's.  Having not read the book, I was hoping for ghost stories and family secrets but on a kid friendly level.  My kids were bored!

The house that Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in was relocated to this location and you can tour it on your own.  

Notice the difference in spelling for Nathaniel Hawthorne vs Justice John Hathorne?  Nathaniel did not want to be associated with his family member (I think uncle) who was the justice for the witchcraft trials.

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