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Salem, MassachusettsSalem, Massachusetts is one of the country’s oldest towns, founded in 1626.
Best-known as the site of the harrowing Salem Witch Trials of 1692, Salem is a must-visit for autumn aficionados due to its spectacular foliage and its Haunted Happenings Festival, which takes place each October.
While witches and magic certainly capture much of any visitor’s imagination, Salem is also home to spectacular historic architecture, beautiful green spaces, and world-class museums.
Its long legacy as a maritime heavyweight is showcased in opulent seaside mansions and exhibits at the fantastic Peabody Essex Museum.
You should absolutely plan an October visit in order to take advantage of the Haunted Happenings Festival.
There is no shortage of fun for all ages, from elaborate costumes and street performers to small businesses selling witch-themed apparel, homemade soaps and candles, and beyond.
There are different activities each day and you will have a wonderful time exploring the various goings-on under a canopy of gorgeous fall leaves.
However, keep in mind that this is the most popular time of the year to visit, and it gets very crowded.
If you’re staying in Boston, consider taking the commuter rail to Salem, which only takes 40 minutes and leaves from Boston’s North Station multiple times each hour.
This way, you won’t have to find parking in Salem, which is challenging.
You should also be sure to request tickets for the must-see Salem Witch Museum when you first arrive, as you will likely get a zoned entry time for several hours later.
While the museum is certainly a bit dated, it’s the best way to learn all about the history of the Witch Trials.
Plus, you can pair it with a visit to the Witch House, the only remaining house from the Witch Trials period, and the Burying Point, where the victims of the witch trials are buried, afterwards.
Where to stay near Salem: Stay at the Harbor Light Inn in the historic center of nearby Marblehead. Your stay includes a free cocktail at the bar.
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