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To Plan A Trip

March 2023
1min read

Contact the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (1-800-742-5306) for material on Salem and the nearby seafaring communities that make up the North Shore. The Salem Chamber of Commerce (508-744-0004) will provide maps, a calender of local events, and lists of accommodations. I found the Salem Inn comfortable and well located (1-800-446-2995).

In Salem twenty-five museums and historical houses are open to the public, lending color to the dual stories of witchcraft and maritime adventure. The world-renowned Peabody Museum holds some three hundred thousand items—treasure either brought back by the mariners from their journeys or relating to their craft. The greatest draw in town is the House of the Seven Gables, believed to be the inspiration for Hawthorne’s novel by the same name. It’s the one place you’re likely to feel rushed and crowded. More relaxing is the tour of three houses owned by the Essex Institute, which includes a look at the GardnerPingree House, a newly restored Federal masterpiece by the local architect and craftsman Samuel McIntire.

In the early 180Os Salem’s wealthy citizens took to building away from the noisy, malodorous waterfront, and it is on Federal, Essex, and especially Chestnut streets that you’ll find their splendid houses. Drawn to this peaceful neighborhood again and again, each time I found perfect respite in the garden of the Ropes Mansion on Essex Street. This is a mellow brick-walled enclosure, open to the public without charge, and maintained in its Colonial Revival design by the same devoted gardener for more than fifty years.

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