For my first post, it seems fitting to introduce you to my favorite place, since I may talk about it a lot. Prior to moving back to live in New Hampshire full-time last year, I was a Salem, Massachusetts regular. I went to college in the Witch City, stayed a little longer, and never really wanted to leave the area. Life circumstances caused me to do so, but that does not mean that I don’t go back to get my fix from time to time! It’s my “happy place”, and I hadn’t gone in months. So, when my friend Shiloh asked me if I wanted to visit with her yesterday, I couldn’t possibly say no!
We parked in my old neighborhood because, well, it’s free parking there, and it’s next to the lovely Salem Common. We walked through the Common already enjoying the day, the sun beaming down on our shoulders. There weren’t as many adorable dogs in the park for me to admire as usual, but you can’t always get what you want I guess.
Our first stop on our walk through the downtown was to go to Pickering Wharf. This part of the city is home to unique waterfront shops and popular restaurants like Finz, Victoria’s Station and Captain’s Waterfront Grill. Someday, I plan on taking my boyfriend, Nick, to Salem and having a date night at one of these.
We stopped in Every Occasion boutique, which has such a pretty collection of jewelry, clothes, bags, wallets and more. Although we didn’t make any purchases this time, there were many items that caught my eye which I’m sure I will be returning for. I’m obsessed with nautical fashion, which they have much of! Anchors? Love ’em.
After leaving the boutique, we decided to walk down the wharf towards the lighthouse. It was the perfect day to do this – while the sun was hot, the ocean breeze made it feel just right. Not to mention the awesome beachy waves in our hair brought upon by the salt air! The Friendship, described by Salem Web as “a reconstruction of a 171-foot three-masted Salem East Indiaman built in 1797”, was docked at the Wharf and available to walk on and tour. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen The Friendship available for free public perusing, so of course I wanted to check it out! It was amazing to discover the ship, laid out and stocked like it would have been in its original days, and imagine what it was like to be a sailor or passenger. I could just picture being mid-ocean, with the waves rocking, attempting to balance as you scuttle across the floorboards.
We were able to go below deck, where a park ranger told us about daily life on the ship. There were bunk beds and hammocks hanging, and I thought that I would definitely choose one of those if I were to have to sleep there. I’m a history buff, so the tour of the ship was the perfect activity for me.
After going back in time on The Friendship, Shiloh and I just sat along a rock wall overlooking the ocean. The sky and the ocean appeared to meet in the distance, with a horizon of boats overlapping it. I truly miss living this close the ocean, where I step out of my apartment with a beach chair and a book, walk 2 minutes and plant myself in the sand. I’m a beach gal for sure. Just the smell of the ocean puts my mind at ease and makes me forget any worries or stresses.
Following our chat session by the water, we were feeling hungry so we ventured on over to Custom House Rotisserie. In all my time living in Salem, I never tried this little place, but I always wondered about it. I had passed by their storefront many times and the Thanksgiving Sandwich on the menu posted outside always caught my eye. Now, I am kicking myself for never eating here before. Delicious! I didn’t care that it was 85 degrees out, I wanted a taste of fall, and I got it. I highly recommend this to any turkey fans out there (or stuffing or cranberry sauce fans).
Shiloh and I ate our food in their outdoor section. A nice breeze was blowing and we were able to cool off after a sweaty walk. Across from where we were sitting was the Old Burying Point, one of the oldest cemeteries in America. In this burial ground, amongst many others, you can find the final resting place of a judge of the Witch Trials, John Hathorne (notable Salem author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s great-great grandfather) and a Mayflower passenger. I have a ghost story about this cemetery, but we can save that for a later date!
After lunch, it was, sadly, nearing time to leave the city as Shiloh and I both had other Sunday Funday commitments. This wasn’t without a couple last stops – we visited Wicked Good Books on the Essex St. pedestrian mall, which newly replaced the former Derby Square Bookstore. It was beautifully renovated since the last shop was in business, with new hardwood floors and shelves surrounded by original brick walls, and soft classical music playing in the background.
The store featured a variety of books, including many used books which you can purchase for 50% off. A great deal for bookworms like Shiloh and I! Again, although we didn’t make any purchases, we will definitely be back to do so. I especially want one of their copies of The Scarlet Letter with awesome cover art – a modern day drawing of Hester Prynne and Pearl.
Lastly, as we were walking down Essex Street, we heard shouting and a man making an announcement amongst a crowd of people. It turned out to be a group of actors and actresses acting out the arrest of Bridget Bishop, one of the more notorious women accused and hanged in the Witch Trials. We watched this street play go on for a bit then made our way back to the Common. We said our goodbyes, and I left to go to my next stop, Nick’s apartment in Boston. I was sad to leave my favorite place, but I know I will be back soon! In August, actually, because my mother rented a hotel room for a girls weekend to include me, her and my sister. I can’t wait for the fun times ahead!
Places Mentioned (in order):
Pickering Wharf Marina – 23 Congress St., Salem, MA 01970
Every Occasion Boutique – 96 Wharf St., Salem, MA 01970
The Friendship of Salem – Derby Wharf, Salem, MA 01970
Custom House Rotisserie – 12 Liberty St., Salem, MA 01970
Wicked Good Books – 215 Essex St., Salem, MA 01970