The Burying Point

by Kaylah Stroup

Charter Street Cemetery

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!

Charter Street Cemetery

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.

headstone with skull and wings

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.

Pressed to Death

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!

More from this trip –
Three days in New England

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Kaili September 15, 2018 - 5:18 pm

Ooh wow. I loove all of the skulls! So beautiful. Salem is pretty high up on my bucket list. I’m dying to go there in the fall, even though I know it’s the busiest time for Salem.

Dan December 7, 2018 - 2:27 pm

Glad you like your t-shirt. Thanks for the shout out.

Keatyn smith December 31, 2018 - 1:15 pm

You should check out Aaron Mahnke’s podcast Unobscured. The first season dives into the Salem Witch Trials. It’s very good!

three favorite Cleveland cemeteries - THE DAINTY SQUID March 25, 2023 - 1:39 pm

[…] that easy. Unless a city has a wildly popular memorial or is known for their cemeteries (hey there, Salem!) most people don’t necessarily go around posting lots of photos or […]

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