Leave Boston behind for a day and embark on a full-day trip to the historic North Shore—site of the Salem witch trials, and one of the most haunting historically-rich spots areas in the country. This tour is scheduled to run Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between June and October.
What will you see on your bus tour of the North Shore? Here’s a look at the highlights:
Marblehead: This North Shore town is famously known as the birthplace of the American Navy, Marine Corps Aviation, and the yachting capital of the nation. Its history dates back to 1630 when it was settled as a plantation annex of nearby Salem village. Marblehead is home to a unique colonial burial ground as well as a scenic lighthouse and a variety of maritime and art museums.
Abbott Hall: This impressive red-brick structure serves as a gallery and museum, as well as the seat of Marblehead’s town government. Its most famous possession is the patriotic painting Spirit of ’76 by Archibald MacNeal Willard, among many other artifacts and works of art.
Salem: This city needs no introduction as the fabled site of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but it offers much more in the way of history and culture than one might expect, and was originally the site of an ancient Native American trading post at the mouth of the Naumkeag River. Salem has historically been one of America’s most important maritime hubs, and is home to the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, which protects the city’s waterfront.
U.S. Custom House: This building was made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne—its most famous employee—who describes it in great detail in the “Custom House” introduction to his novel The Scarlet Letter. The building is significant architecturally (built in the Federal period style). In the 19th century, between 8 and 12 percent of the nation’s revenue was collected at the Salem Custom House.
“The House of the Seven Gables”: This eerie-looking house is the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion and was the inspiration for Hawthorne’s novel “The House of the Seven Gables”. The property was built in 1668 by a Salem sea captain named John Turner, and has been a landmark in the community for hundreds of years.
The Witch Museum: This fascinating attraction presents visitors with the facts behind the 1692 witch trials, as well as the folklore and the cult appeal that have surrounded this rather dark period of American history in the centuries since. Dramatic history lessons using stage sets and re-enactors bring the entire scenario to life before your eyes, and exhibits explore the phenomenon of witch hunts in depth.