It's no secret that October is prime time for visiting Salem, Mass. The city is full of history, art, and incredible local food. Salem is the perfect day-long getaway from Boston because it is a quick 20 minute train ride away and the best sites are all an easy walking distance from the station.
what to do
Peabody Essex Museum
The PEM is truly a gem of the North Shore. They have an extensive collection of fine art from around the globe and they also host some incredible traveling exhibits. PEM is one of our favorite places to take guests from out-of-town (especially during the holidays or school breaks when the MFA might be too crowded). Our favorite exhibit is the Yin Yu Tang house - an entire historic Chinese home rebuilt inside the museum. A tour of the house is like traveling back in time and halfway around the world at once!
Salem Witch Museum
OK, this museum is a bit cheesy, okay, maybe A LOT cheesy, but it is still the best way to hear about the Salem Witch Trials and what really happened across the north shore in 1692. Though tickets are a bit pricey for what the show really offers, the ticket does come with a bunch of coupons to other museums and restaurants in the area, so you end up getting your money's worth afterall! (True confession: this museum used to creep the hell out of me when I was a kid! Great halloweeny activity).
Looking for a way to wind down after an afternoon of museum-hopping? Head to Notch Brewery. The large open space is great for groups, especially in good weather when folks are free to enjoy the outdoor seating along the canal. There are also fun pub games like skee ball and delicious soft pretzels.
Where to EAT
Red's Sandwich Shop
Red's is our fav for casual diner-style grub. A visit to Red's is a great way to escape the sometimes touristy vibe of Salem and enjoy some local flavors. The prices are great for day-trippers on a budget with wraps and sandwiches from $4.50 - $8.50 and local seafood entrees for under $20....not bad at all!
There is nothing not to love about Sea Level; they have great local food, creative cocktails and an amazing beer list, plus the restaurant has a great view of the water. We highly suggest the fried clams for a classic seafood appetizer and for you adventurous types, try the lobster quesadilla or the chowder fries. Yes, chowder fries are a poutine-like invention of crispy, thick-cut fries, covered in house-made clam chowder, cheese, chives and a few littlenecks in there for good measure. The dish sounds absurd, and it is, but it is also delish and a must-try (but be pace yourself, it is really rich and the portion is hugeeee).