A Perfectly HausWitch Day in The Witch City!
A Perfectly HausWitch Day in Salem, MA (according to Head Witch herself, Erica Feldmann!)
10 a.m. — Witch’s brew
Front Street Coffeehouse! We have a bunch of awesome indie coffee shops here but the iced Americanos from Front Street are my favorite. Front Street itself is also super cute with cobblestone streets and our Old Town Hall. Odd Meter Coffee is also a hop, skip, and a jump from HausWitch and takes their ethical sourcing seriously!
10:30 a.m. — Conjure your brunch
Ugly Mug Diner, 100%. I order the “This Ain't No Chicken and Waffles,” which is duck confit and candied pecans on a waffle with streusel butter. Need I say more? It’s always really busy on weekends so be prepared for a bit of a wait! It’s only a few doors down from my shop so you can come visit to pass the time!
12 p.m. — Second-hand magic
After breakfast I love to browse at Witch City Consignment, a big thrift store right downtown that has all kinds of furniture and bric-a-brac. They also donate a portion of sales to a local animal shelter so you can feel even better about the hidden treasures you can find there.
1 p.m. — Non-necromantic pizza for lunch
2 p.m. — Get your witch on
The Witch House and the Salem Witch Museum and everything in between. The Witch House is the only building historically tied to the Witch Trials (it was one of the judge’s houses). It’s now a museum and they have recreated it to be like it was in the 17th century. Half a block away is the Ropes Mansion (featured in the movie Hocus Pocus) which has the most beautiful public garden in the back.
Then, head down the pedestrian mall on Essex Street, which is the main tourist drag. Even if that’s not your thing, it’s worth seeing and only takes about 5-10 minutes to walk. At the end of the road is the Witch Museum, which I would say is the tourist hotspot here. It looks like a spooky castle and has a life size animatronic reenactment of the Witch Trials that no trip to Salem would be complete without experiencing.
3:30 p.m. — Historically speaking
Well obviously you need to catch a tour with our sister company (actually spouse company!) NowAge Travel! For more of a wander, walking around the McIntyre Historical District and seeing all the old houses and cobblestone sidewalks is still one of my favorite things to do and I’ve lived here for 10 years, in the historical district no less! The Peabody Essex Museum is also an incredible world-class museum that’s right on the main drag.
5 p.m. — Coffee Pick-Me-Up
Gulu-Gulu Café has great vibes, great coffee, a huge beer list, and great snacks. It’s always been one of my favorite spots in Salem for the environment alone.
7:30 p.m. — Supper-natural
Our favorite spot in town is Settler, hands down! "Settler is a New American restaurant inspired by the rustic and handmade approach to french cookery. Tucked away on Lynde Street in Salem, Settler is a cozy but chic neighborhood spot. From homemade sourdough to fresh pastas, almost everything is made in house."
We're also fans of Ledger, a restaurant in a renovated old bank! They really do a great job of honoring the building’s history while keeping a contemporary feel. Get the popovers to start (the Sunday brunch is also incredible).
9 p.m. — Cocktails for covens
All Souls Lounge has become a favorite spot for our coven: vintage cocktails and fancy grilled cheese in a cute cozy speakeasy-type atmosphere (vegan options available!) Need we say more?!
Opus has great cocktails and the food menu has a wide variety of options. Everything from tacos to sushi to burgers. They also have a basement event space called Opus Underground that hosts concerts, dance parties, and all kinds of performance art.
Where to stay in Salem:
Depending on your budget I would suggest an Airbnb in the historic district, The Hotel Salem, or the Merchant Hotel. The latter are boutique hotels that have just opened up in the last couple years. The Merchant is a little spend-y, but totally one-of-a-kind, and the Hotel Salem, which is a little more accessible, has its own restaurant and bar called Counter. All three are right downtown.
What to read before visiting Salem:
The most important book about The Witch Trials is I Tituba: Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé. Period.
Brunonia Barry’s The Lace Reader is one of my favorites. It’s not about the trials, but Salem features heavily in the plot!
I think people feel a little lost once they get here because downtown is very touristy, but the actual sites are pretty scattered. We created a zine called Walking the Witch Trials: A DIY Tour of Salem History with a little map and some witch-trials related points of interest for people who may not have enough time, money or wherewithal for a full walking tour. So many people would come to the shop and say, “So what should I see now that I’m here?” so this was our answer to that question.
What to know before visiting Salem:
Visitors who come Nov-March should make sure the things they plan on doing are open because a lot of things close down that time of year. I think the ideal time to come is actually late May-August. We have beautiful trees and gardens that are all in full bloom by then and of course the weather is more temperate than in the winter months. If you’re a big fan of Halloween then come in October, but be warned, it’s pretty crazy here the whole month. Especially on weekends. Be prepared for long lines, crowded streets, and tough parking.
A big misconception people have about Salem is that actual witches were burned at the stake here. None of the victims of the trials participated in witchcraft practices and were mostly poor and marginalized women that were persecuted because they could be easily victimized. None of them were actually burned. Witches are highly commercialized here now, but I think it’s important for people to know the facts!
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