Fall Break: Salem


Fun Fact: I've always been obsessed with witches and vampires...even before the Twilight phase...even before the Harry Potter phase. I have always loved dark, magical characters, and I've always wanted to be one. I want it to be real life so bad that sometimes I think it might be. But I digress. The fan girl cometh out in me.

So, Salem. Witch Trials and the like. So weirdly, morbidly interested in them, my whole life.
The night before we went, I looked up a city guide from Design Sponge on the best local places to go in Salem. Food, Occult stores, activities to do. I had a list the length of my arm, and I was determined we were going to get it all done.

And then the government shutdown deterred us a bit.
And so did money.
And so did that toddler we own.

Things never go how you want them to go on vacation. Towards the middle of our Salem day after a kind of crappy lunch (I mean, food totally sets the standard for my day), I started feeling forlorn and let down. This is Salem? This is what I was so excited about? I was going into a mini depression, because everything seemed so touristy and I still had yet to meet a real witch and hear a legit story about the trials, let alone feel spooked and Halloweenie and mysteriously bewitched.

We pressed on and took a trolley tour, which semi-saved the day, because we started hearing some great town history, and most of it was creepy. Like kids going to school on Gallows Hill where accused witches were hung (19 of them). And dead horses buried on the shore of the ocean only to appear again. Haunted houses and WICCA and all that cool stuff.

We headed to a graveyard memorial of the 20 men and women hanged/crushed as a result of the witch hysteria. We also found a grave of an original Mayflower Pilgrim! I love these old graveyards. They are so intensely creepy. The one we went to was eerily quiet and I was getting a little nervous. I mean, if I was a witch who was wronged in 1692, I would definitely haunt the place.

Anyway, when Viv woke up and was having a breakdown (maybe a witch cast a spell on her?), Dale let me go to the witch museum by myself, so I fangirled over that while I was in there and learned that girls back then were just as heartless and catty as they are now, Puritan or not. Weird right? Such an interesting time in history. I've read three books on it since I've been home.

Anyway, we salvaged the day by finding the most amazing bakery in the history of ever:
A&J King Artisan Bakers. Please go to Salem just to eat there. (they have a cookbooooook!!!!!. I want.)

The smell of the place was intoxicating and the desserts were the most curiously curated treats I've ever tasted. I grabbed a maple pecan tart and a cinnamon caramel cookie just on a whim. And then I inhaled them and hardly shared.

Later, I made Dale go back and get seconds for us (I'm not kidding; food really does set the precedent for my days). As luck would have it, we got the very last maple tart and I didn't share it at all with Dale (I don't even like maple!). But look how happy they made me! I'm a freaking smiling fool!

As the day faded, we wandered down Derby Square, walking past vendors and fake witches and crystal talismans. Some kids were dressed in Halloween costumes and running around the streets, and one such kid was dressed in a skeleton costume. Now, ever since October started, Viv has been obsessed with a book called Skeleton Hiccups. We had to read it 5 million times a day...she looooves skeletons! We've bought her a skull and an entire skeleton to play with because she loves them so much. What a weirdo, right?

Anyway, this little boy was dressed up in a skeleton costume with a scary skull mask. Viv saw him and was instantly enthralled. She had a look of wonder on her face and followed him around everywhere, every once in a while pretending to hiccup. T
he little boy noticed and bent down to give her his little skeleton balloon. I like skeletons too! he told her...and it basically made my entire day. Viv was ecstatic and kept following her little skeleton friend around as long as she could.

And then....we happened upon (purposely) a magical bookstore. Lined floor to ceiling with books! My dream come true. I took my big camera in to snap a picture and the owner snapped at me....so I snuck one with my phone instead. I couldn't pass up an opportunity like this, you know?

Isn't it amazing? It was so picturesque. I could have spent all day in there, but instead I bought a witch trial book as a souvenir and catalogued this day as the best day ever.


Salem has that quintessential New England charm. Beautiful doorways and perfect colonial mansions with intriguing history and lighthouses that make your ovaries want a New England baby. And the soup. THE SOUP!

On our way home to our freezing hotel for the night, we stopped at a New England Soup Factory. On a whim (again! witchcraft!). I got a pumpkin bisque with roasted onions.....and OH MY GOSH. Dead. Dead from a taste explosion. I've never had soup so good in my life. And their clam chowder? It OWNS all the other clam chowders of the world. San Fran ain't got nothin' on New England.
(AND THEY HAVE A COOKBOOK TOO! FATE!). It was a perfect ending to a perfectly fall-weathered New England day. I could live that day over and over again, toddler tantrums and all. Salem redeemed itself.

OH, and on our way home, we went out of our way to hit up an IKEA....and that was the perfect ending to a perfect fall break. Ikea=christmas shopping done.

So far, Massachusetts has my heart. Let's all move there and live happily on maple tarts and witch history with a big steaming bowl of New England chowder sitting in Ikea furniture....I mean, YOU HAVEN'T LIVED! Can fall break just be here again already? You'll come out next year, yes?


  1. I'm also a fan of the witch trials. Just enthralls me that something like that can happen. And that book store. Heaven.

  2. sometimes reading your blog about your new england adventures makes me loathe the fact that I live in the boring ass desert.
    but also I'm happy for you that you are getting out and going on fun adventures and enjoying it so much out there ;)



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