Salem may be most widely recognized for its role in the 1692 Witch Trials, its robust foodie scene, or for the film location of the cult classic, Hocus Pocus, but there are even more ways to immerse yourself into the past and present of our historic seaport that could really only happen in Salem.
Dine where the first long-distance phone call was made at Lyceum Hall
The first-ever phone call occurred in 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell placed a phone call to his assistant, Thomas Watson, in the next room. The following year, however, Bell sent the first long-distance call from Lyceum Hall in Salem to Watson in Boston. Today, Lyceum Hall is the home of Turner’s Seafood, so you can enjoy a traditional New England seafood dinner in quite the historic venue.
Visit the mansion that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The House of the Seven Gables
The Turner-Ingersoll Mansion (c. 1668) has multiple Salem stories to tell, from its beginnings as a house built for successful Salem maritime families to the home of Susanna Ingersoll, Hawthorne’s cousin whose visits with him at the house prompted the idea for his 1851 novel. By the early 20th century, The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association was established to help immigrants arriving in Salem, and its programs continue to this day. Tour the mansion while in Salem and be sure to explore the property’s Colonial Seaside Garden as well as Hawthorne’s birthplace.
Take in global history by exploring Yin Yu Tang at the Peabody Essex Museum
This 200-year-old house was moved to Salem from China and reconstructed at the Peabody Essex Museum. The home dates back to the early 19th century when it was built by a wealthy merchant with the surname Huang during China’s Qing Dynasty. The six-bedroom house was home to generations of the Huang family until the last living descendants moved in 1982, and by 2003, the structure had been moved to Salem and incorporated into the Peabody Essex Museum’s permanent collection. Add an audio tour of Yin Yu Tang onto your general admission to make the most of your next visit to PEM.
Walk through Salem Common, the birthplace of the National Guard
In 1637, the first militia muster of the North, South, and East Regiments of the Massachusetts Bay Colony took place on Salem Common, marking the start of the National Guard. While the exact date of the event is unknown, a reenactment takes place each April. And, in 2013, President Obama signed into law a bill that designated Salem as the birthplace of the National Guard.
Learn about Salem’s role as a global maritime port at the first National Historic Site in the country
Salem Maritime National Historic Site preserves the historic buildings, wharves, and the replica vessel Friendship to share the story of the maritime traders who brought the riches of the Far East to America. Explore the grounds of Salem Maritime, board the Friendship (seasonal), or make the half-mile walk out to Derby Wharf Light Station while in Salem.
In addition to all of the above, Salem hosts a festival every month of the year, including the largest celebration of Halloween in the world during Salem Haunted Happenings each October. Our downtown also offers unique shops with art by local makers, gourmet chocolates and gifts, Salem-inspired clothing, and more, along with opportunities to see Salem on guided tours by trolley, sea, or on foot.
Tags: Only in Salem