In the past few years, I’ve crossed off more than a few bucket list travel spots. Two bigs ones being Roswell and most recently, Salem. Both places, although very different, I love for the same reason. They’ve embraced their pasts and in turn, become kitschy as all heck. Roswell is covered in aliens, even places like the local furniture store have alien decor. Similarly, Salem has something witch-related every way you turn! Witches don’t interest me the way that aliens do but it still ranked pretty high on my list of must-visit cities.
Salem was just as lovely as I imagined. Witches everywhere! It was such a sweet, little walkable city. We left our hotel early in the morning and explored Salem before it really got busy for the day. We wandered the streets, peeking in storefronts that weren’t open yet, grabbed a coffee and headed toward the one thing I really wanted to check out on our short visit – The Burying Point. One of the oldest cemeteries in the US and the oldest one in Salem!
I was a little nervous about the small cemetery being busy. Even if you’re not the kind of person who visits cemeteries while on vacation, The Burying Point would probably still be somewhere you’d visit while in Salem. Being an earlier riser certainly has its perks though! We were the only people around aside from some construction workers across the street.
Each headstone was more beautiful than the last! It killed me to have to stay on the path (although I do understand the reasoning in such a high traffic cemetery.) Being from the midwest, where our cemeteries aren’t that old and definitely don’t have as interesting headstones, I still freak out over headstones with skulls. I enjoyed every second of our visit.
Beside the main cemetery is the Salem Witch Trials Memorial. Built in 1992, the memorial consists of 20 granite benches dedicated to the victims of the Salem witch trials. Each states the victim’s name, the date of their death, and how they died. We visited these a little bit later in the day when the city was much busier. People filed through the memorial, briefly glancing at each inscription. There were flowers on each of the benches and other small trinkets throughout (including a Reese’s Cup! Why a Reese’s Cup!?) There was a much more somber vibe here than in the cemetery, despite only being a few feet away.
So hard to believe the Salem Witch Trials were something that really happened. Giles Corey, whose memorial is pictured below, is especially hard to fathom. Retelling history isn’t exactly my forte, so instead, I’ll point you to his Wiki page. Yikes.
I wish we had spent more time in Salem. I certainly wouldn’t mind going back and actually checking out all the museums and shops. I definitely still consider our visit a success though. Coffee, a beautiful cemetery, a souvenir t-shirt from a bike shop (it has a witch on a bike!!!) and some of the most delicious macarons I’ve ever eaten.
Until next time, Salem!