HausWitch at Home: Salem Staycation!
Hey witches! Has Gemini season seemed like a total whirlwind to anyone else? It certainly was for us as we navigated our first home renovation project and took the whole fam on a Salem Staycation while it was happening. We had such a great time staying at the Hawthorne Hotel and getting to know Witch City from a slightly different angle that I wanted to tell ya’ll about it!
If you’re an out-of-towner you should def check out the "A Perfectly HausWitch Day in Salem" post I wrote a couple of years ago for Here Magazine. If you only have one or two days here, those are all my best ideas! But if you're a local, this one's for you!
First off, and this is a big one for anyone who has pets, you and your furry familiars are all welcome at the Hawthorne Hotel! So whether you're doing home renovations or have pets with separation anxiety, (or both! like me!) this is your place. For weeks leading up to our stay I fantasized about Salem (the cat) being brought up to our room on a luggage cart by a bellhop. It didn't happen, but wouldn't that have been cute?!
I've lived in Salem for the better part of 11 years so I really thought I'd seen it all here. And I have. BUT, I haven't experienced it in the same way as I did last week and that was pretty surprising to me! Even though we were a less than 10 minute walk down Essex st. from our Penthaus it really felt like we were in a different place! It was almost weird how much!
Even though I'd been to all of the restaurants we ate at, and seen all the sights I still truly felt like I was on vacation! So all you locals who are trying to ease back into a post-Covid lifestyle and need to get the fuck out of your own haus for a minute I think the Hawthorne is really a great place to do it.
For example, the hotel itself is a whole thing. Having never stayed there I was super into how much it really felt like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. The old-school lobby always had people coming and going with a quaint amount of "hustle and bustle" and the whole place has a nicely updated but still very traditional New England aesthetic.
Our room was super nice. The hotel has 6 floors and the pet friendly floor is the 6th so the hauscats just went from one Penthaus to another. The room was very spacious and well appointed, but I have to say that the view was what really won us over. Our room was facing the front and so we got the whole skyline of Salem. Which sounds kind of funny, but Salem really does have a skyline! My one regret about our stay is that since the windows have screens on them I couldn't fully capture it with photos. But I tried!
They also say that some of the rooms in the Hawthorne are haunted. I don't think ours was, but if you want to pretend I recommend unlocking the windows without opening them. That will create just enough airflow to make it sound like there are several screaming ghosts living in the walls! Trust me, I learned this the hard way!
In any case, the cats settled in nicely after hiding behind one of the beds for a while, and the bathroom was so nice we were worried that even our renovated bathroom couldn't compete! (That turned out not to be true, but I will forever pine for the natural light that the bathroom at the hotel got.) There is food available all day from the two restaurants inside the hotel with a great selection of stuff. We're major food snobs and we really liked everything we ate here. Especially the night we ate in our room like a cute little slumber party. Due to Covid there's no full-on room service, but you can bring food to your room and they are very accommodating about that. We watched "Friends" in bed every single night. What it is about staying in hotels that makes me want to binge watch "Friends" every night?
Other things we enjoyed, walking to Brew Box (which is right across the street) for coffee and breakfast each morning, an alfresco meal at the adorbs Bella Verona which is basically 10 feet from the hotel, and a perfect summer evening walk through the Derby garden to the wharf, where the Friendship is back in action! Well, there's no real action, but you know what I mean!
Having Salem Common so close was also a treat. One night I went for a run and made Melissa watch me from a picnic mat. My midheaven is in Leo and I really enjoyed having her cheer my on every time I did a lap. I have a couple other spots around town that I like to jog, but my heart will always belong to the Common at golden hour. If you haven't experienced that, I highly recommend. The way the light moves through the trees is pure magic.
That night we split a pizza and some sangria at Bambolina, enjoying their nice covid-related outdoor seating. I know it makes it more annoying to park or whatever, but honestly I LOVE all the outdoor seating that we've got going on around town these days.
The last night we ate at Olde Main Street Pub, which I actually hadn't eaten before and really enjoyed. Our server was really great and all we ordered were apps and it was the perfect amount of food.
I think the main take away for me was just how much Salem has to offer. I mean, that's a big part of why I love it here so much, but it's always nice to have a reminder. Most downtown districts I've been to have a "main drag" and then not much else happening outside of that. In Salem we have that main drag (Essex St.) but also the McIntyre District, the Wharf, the Common, Washington St., Front St. and the PEM. Not to mention beautiful gardens and parks, the waterfront, the beach and tons of amazing small businesses and restaurants to support. Oh, and it's all within an extremely walkable 1 mile radius! And as I found out, just by shifting your perspective slightly, Salem can still feel like a whole new place. 10/10 recommend for a staycation!
HUGE thanks to the Hawthorne for accommodating us and to Dwell October for making the bathroom reno happen! Next up will be all the juicy "After" photos!
The Moon is in Libra and the Witches say, "Revel in the wind".
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