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Salem, Mass


Barenakedfamily first visited Salem a few years ago when we first started RVing but only got to stay for a couple of days.  We loved it so much that we have wanted to come back since and actually put it in our favorite places in frequently asked questions.  This time through, we spent a lot of time checking out Salem and the history here.  The city has everything!  The streets were built several hundred years ago and are tight and narrow, so it is not really RV friendly for driving.  However it does have one of the coolest RV/campgrounds we've been to - Winter Island Park on the water. It used to be an old military fort, then a Coastguard base. It has many old creepy bunkers, a moat, and an old CG headquarters that is abandoned and super creepy.  There is a lot of history here in the park alone!  We have also cruised the beach here in the park and and found lots of cool treasures for the folks back in Texas.  

In downtown Salem, you would think that there is more activity going on, but it is actually pretty quiet.  We think they keep a tight run on things considering it is a popular place for people to ghost hunt.

There's one now.

The Old Burying Point is located in the middle of town and is included in many of the tourist magazines.  There are burial sites of a mayflower pilgrim and John Hathorne, the judge that presided during the witch trials, and officials of the city from long ago. 

It is actually illegal to be in a graveyard at night in Salem, we didn't get caught.

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Or did we? Look closely...

Here Lyeth Buried Body of Cap Richard More Aged 84 Years Died 1692 Mayflower Pilgrim. Do the math, this guy's old! He was not the Captain of the Mayflower.

This house is right next door to the graveyard and is the house that Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The House of Seven Gables, bought for his wife.

Front of her house.

The kids hanging out in Marblehead during one of our drives around town.  It's across the water from where we are staying.

We walked to The House of Seven Gables and learned that it is the oldest mansion in the Northeast.  It was also voted the 9th favorite historic house in America.

A replica of The House of Seven Gables in the museum.  It's much bigger in person.

It has many secret passages that are in the house.  That is really common of the houses in Salem, a lot of them have undocumented tunnels that run from the harbors to the houses under the city.  They used these to avoid the British and their taxes on goods being delivered by boat to the city.

View from the water of  The House of Seven Gables.

The condom parking lot was located across the street from The Bunghole. 

We thought a bunghole was, well, Beavis and Butthead. We learned that a bunghole is actually a hole on a boats deck that is filled with a bung or plug of sorts.

Kes Witch.

Sunny Witch.

Where's a bitch?

There are a couple of churches claiming 'first in America' stuff. Notice this one is 'structure'.

 

Another was 'first congregation'.

This guy shopped for cards in a souvenir shop for a really long time and just made such a great picture. 

The Witch Dungeon was our favorite place to learn about the witch trials of 1692.  They do a reenactment of one of the court sessions accusing one of the women of being a witch and take you on a tour through a recreated dungeon that they were held in. There is a cool ghost story about one of the displays of a devil in a rocker in the dungeon and how it kept rocking and howling. Turned out to be a lost, trapped cat.

This plaque mark the spot that Giles Cory was pressed to death accused of being a witch. Giles was a dude as was many accused of witchcraft in the trials of 1692.

These are Gaols. Game on!

This jail was in use until 1991 when it closed due to inhumane conditions. This jail didn't even have indoor plumbing and the inmates were given a bucket. Somebody told us the bubonic plague was here in 1991 when it was closed!  There was a lot of stories about things that go on here and once you visit this place it's hard not to believe.

Nathaniel Hawthorne is a famous author from Salem that wrote 'The House of Seven Gables' and 'The Scarlet Letter'.

Check out the graveyard next to this church! There was another just like it on the other side. Gravestones from 1600s and 1700s.

Friendship was actually completed and cruised by the park we were staying. Very cool to see sailing by.

 

We learned that Salem was one of Americas busiest seaports and was basically shut down by Boston and New York growth due to the shallow harbor as the ships got bigger.

A lot of the old houses in Salem have these plaques on the side describing who the house used to belong to and what they did. We spent some time walking through town and looking at all these old houses.

Think about this - The guy that built a house in 1876 was next to a historic house built 100 years before in 1775! The 1775 guy was near houses built in the 1660s. Being from Texas and the West coast, 1900 had been really old to us.

This house had a very artistic yard and was full of artwork.  We spent quite a bit of time looking at all the things that were here.  The kids were impressed with the trash that this artist had turned into art and there were lots of cool things that he created and used in his yard. 

Can you see Sunny's face?

Salem is a really fun place to hang out and offers lots of history.  There is plenty to see by taking short drives all around this area.  We have visited many fishing towns along the water and have met many great people.  The water here is beautiful and we have taken a couple of boat rides around the harbor now.  We have loved being here in New England during the fall and are glad that we have learned all kinds of history while we have been here!

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