Salem, a quaint city located just an hour outside of bustling Boston, has earned fame for its captivating yet infamous history. It’s best known for the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Today, the town of Salem in Massachusetts has evolved into one of New England’s premier fall vacation destinations, particularly around Halloween, with over 900,000 visitors a year.
The Grand Celebration
The Haunted Happenings festival in Salem, held every October, stands out as one of the world’s largest Halloween celebrations. It’s a colossal celebration that allows visitors to explore the history of the Salem Witch Trials, partake in costume balls, and peruse the witch shops. The event’s highlights include the Howl-o-ween Pet Parade, psychic readings, and séances, along with The Salem Psychic Fair & Witches’ Market. Consider exploring the city on foot through one of the thematic walking tours, offering insights into Salem’s history and the Salem Witch Trials. Additionally, guided ghost tours are a popular choice. You can also hop aboard a trolley for an equally enjoyable experience. For the daring, Salem offers haunted house attractions such as the Haunted Witch Village at The Salem Wax Museum, reputedly Salem’s largest and longest-running haunted attraction.
Immersing in Witchcraft
Downtown Salem is replete with witch shops, most within easy walking distance of each other. During Halloween, The Witchery offers broom-making sessions, bookbinding workshops, and tarot readings. At The Cauldron Black, visitors can partake in spiritual consultations, readings, and rituals, including sessions for evil eye removal. Stardust Salem, Omen, Pentagram, and Hex all stock a wide array of witchcraft supplies like candles, incense, and spell kits.
Exploring Witch Museums
Given its historical significance, Salem houses several witch museums. The Witch Museum offers immersive Halloween-special exhibitions. The Witch Dungeon Museum showcases reenactments of the witch trials based on actual 1692 transcripts. No Salem trip is complete without touring the Witch House, the former residence of Judge Jonathan Corwin, where some examinations of the alleged witches purportedly occurred.
Tips for a Halloween Visit
Savvy planning is key when visiting Salem in October. Accommodations are booked up a year in advance for Halloween, and restaurants often have long waits. So, to ensure a smooth visit, book hotels, activities, and dining reservations well in advance. Staying downtown is ideal, given its proximity to Salem’s popular attractions. Public transportation is recommended, as parking is scarce, and traffic can be heavy. While October is the prime Halloween season, Salem offers festivals year-round, making it a compelling destination anytime.
Saratoga Springs, also known as the Queen of the Spas, is renowned for its carbonated mineral springs that heal people. This city of New York dates back to the 18th century when people from the Northeast began visiting it, and by the mid-90s, the place started flooding with health resorts. Apart from the soothing water, the town also provides scenic nature views, a racetrack for horseback riding, and historical places.
When and How to Visit?
The best way to get here is to take a flight to Albany, followed by a cab. It’s only half an hour’s drive, or you can opt for a train from New York to Amtrak Station. You can explore the city all year long. Still, summer is when the tourist season begins, especially from July to September. If you want to enjoy less crowds and cooler weather, going in Autumn would be considered best. When it comes to Fall, all the best hiking trails open up in and outside of the city. Winters are quiet in Saratoga, New York, but you can still take up skiing or snowshoeing for the best experience.
Where to Stay?
According to your liking, you can stay in a prime location on Broadway or try modern motels or inns. The lavish Adelphi Hotel is the town’s gem with four restaurants and is situated at the city’s heart. You can also stay in Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Spa State Park, which embraces the heritage of the city of New York. For going budget-friendly, explore Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge on Broadway or Brentwood Hotel, five minutes outside the town. The Batcheller Mansion Inn has a Victorian Mansion feel, while Inn at Saratoga has been in the game since 1843. You can also experience a Bed-and-Breakfast like Circular Manor, Union Gables Inn, and Springwater Bed & Breakfast.
Walking in the streets of Saratoga Springs and seeing all the hotels, historic buildings, restaurants, and art galleries, is an excellent idea. You can explore the Saratoga Springs History Museum, National Racing Museum, and Hall of Fame. There’s a cultural Saratoga Race Course of 350-acre grounds that opened in the 1800s, that offers a walking tour. If you wish to participate in outdoor activities, you should visit Saratoga Spa State Park, outside of downtown Saratoga. It is a 2,400-acre National Historic Landmark hosting spas, art centers, museums, and hiking and skiing trails. Another must-visit and beautiful hiking place is Saratoga National Historical Park.