Say what you want about the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore – the real characters are found in Salem, Massachusetts. This is the town that embraces all things bewitching year round (at least, they have since the Puritans left), but especially comes alive during Halloween. Nowhere else in the world, I imagine, would you see – in broad daylight, no less – a witch (cloak, hat, heels and all) walking through a graveyard. It’s spooky and quirky in the best possible way.
It’s also only about a half hour outside of Boston, and when I told Boyfriend that I wanted to do something “Halloween-y” (English major be damned, I make up words sometimes, too) during my visit this weekend, he didn’t have to do much research to find the ideal venue.
And not to toot his lovable little horn too too much, but it was pretty much perfect. The weather, which dropped a wintry mix all over New England the following day (when I was trying to board a plane and Tom Brady was trying to single-handedly crush the spirits of the entire Tennessee Titans franchise) even cooperated fully. It was sunny and crisp outside, cool enough for the gloves that happened to be stuffed, forgotten, in my pea coat from last year, but mild enough for an afternoon of walking through this quaint, eccentric little town. We sipped cups of hot apple cider (75 cents from a beautiful store called Pamplemousse) and marveled at the full face paint and costumes worn by some of our fellow explorers. We also took an hour-long narrated trolley tour around the city, learning about the history of one of the oldest towns in America and giggling like children at the tiny voodoo dolls and foam gravestones dangling from the trolley car’s ceiling.
We ate lunch at a bar that proclaims to be haunted, and is part of the afterdark, ghost-story-ridden Salem pub crawl (unfortunately, this event sells out in the summer months, so we weren’t able to participate), and stopped later in the afternoon for beers at the Salem Beer Works, where we sampled everything from their Black Rider brew to their much lighter (and full of tiny fresh blueberries!) Blueberry beer.
Hours after we arrived, we ambled back to the train station and crammed ourselves into a car full of other Salem tourists, our cheeks pink and windblown, peeled off our gloves and hats, and promptly fell asleep, wholly content with our tour, our day, and each other.