Did you know there were no witches burned at the stake in Salem? Or that it is the birthplace of both the National Guard and Parker Brothers Games? Or that it is the home of the oldest pear tree in America?
Uncover the little-known stories of Salem, her tragic and fascinating legacy, and the captivating tales that make this New England coastal town one of the most mysterious and significant places in America. Immerse yourself in this historical community that mixes small-town charm with an otherwordly atmosphere.
You're invited to enjoy our Junket Salem Experience to explore the famous (and infamous) history and character of this charming seaside town- her unsung heroes, untold stories, and secret local hotspots.
Junket's expert guides will reveal the real Salem through unforgettable experiences and unique adventures, where you will gain a new perspective on a popular destination through its local cuisine, interactive presentations of art and culture, and enthralling historic tales. Experience this enchanting town in a new light and take your pick from these fascinating tours:
Join us for an unforgettable experience as we explore the mystery and magic that is Salem like never before.
Situated north of Boston along the winding Massachusetts coastline, a charming seaside town stands as a testimony to the devastating effects of collective hysteria. Salem is one of New England's most alluring coastal cities, with an illustrious maritime history and fascinating cultural attractions, despite how it has become synonymous with a series of tragic events that occurred over 300 years ago.
The quaint waterfront town of Salem sits on the northeast coast of Massachusetts on a stretch of land arcing into the Atlantic Ocean. The first known inhabitants of Salem were nomadic Naumkeag people, who lived in the area for at least 8,000 years before Europeans arrived in the early 17th century. The Naumkeag tribe was part of the Algonquian-speaking peoples who referred to the area around what is now Salem as "the fishing place."
The first European settlement in the area was established in 1626 on the land that would become known as Salem Village (now modern-day Danvers), to be followed by the construction of an adjacent Salem Town. Founded by Puritans seeking religious freedom from the Church of England, the town quickly grew into an important center of trade and commerce, one that clung steadfastly to strict religious doctrine.
The town was named in honor of Jerusalem, which stems from a Hebrew word meaning "peace". The colonists believed that naming their new colony after a holy place would ensure its success.
Salem's first industry was fishing; however, the city soon began to prosper from its advantageous location at the mouth of the North River and its proximity to Boston. The city grew rapidly and became known for its shipbuilding, shipping, and trade industries. Over time, Salem became and important port town for colonial America; in addition to being a trade hub for goods like fish, furs, and lumber, Salem also gained prominence as a center for shipping out livestock such as horses to European markets- a practice that continued into modern times.
In 1692, Salem was gripped with fear when several young girls began acting strangely: convulsing, chanting unintelligibly, and making accusations against local residents or witchcraft. These accusations led to a mass hysteria that grew throughout the area, with over 150 people being put on trial for practicing witchcraft. After a series of trials that lasted over a year, 19 people were hanged as a result of these accusations, and one man was crushed to death.
"...I never complied, but prayed against [Satan] all my days... I will say it, if it was my last time, I am clear of this sin."
from Mary Easty's trial transcript
The trials finally ended when other judges overturned those convictions and freed those who were still imprisoned on suspicion of being witches. The hysteria had played itself out- but Salem would be forever marked by the impact of the collective injustice that changed the legacy of the town forever.
Today, Salem is known as "The Witch City" and has transformed the trauma of its past into power for its people, becoming a premiere travel destination for those interested in learning more about the history of this fascinating town.
A city that embraces rather than eschews its notorious past, Salem is a charming seaside town that has evolved into a popular tourist destination with many historic sites related to the witch trials. Several local museums are dedicated to this notorious time in our nation's history as well as the Witch House (the oldest house in Salem) and The House of the Seven Gables, which inspired native writer Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel of the same name.
With its eclectic mix of colonial architecture, a prominent Wiccan community, rich maritime traditions, and quirky elements (like the statue of Samantha from Bewitched), Salem has embraced its legacy and is redefining itself with world-class museums, waterfront shops and restaurants, and unique shopping experiences.
"We do indeed live in a fair city- pleasantly situated- with beautiful environs... Nowhere is there a greater degree of comfort."
Salem Mayor Leverett Saltonstall, 1836
The center of town features Washington Square, an eight-acre greenspace surrounded by magnificent 18th century homes and historic mansions. With meticulously-preserved buildings lining cobblestone streets, downtown Salem is walkable and enchanting, with an array of histoic attractions and recreational activities.
Although the thought of Salem often brings to mind autumnal weather and a haunting Halloween atmosphere, this vibrant coastal community is beautiful at any time of year. Between its unique history, natural attractions, and maritime traditions, there is much to emjoy while visiting Salem.
You will find an abundance of enjoyable things to see and do in Salem. Here is a list of some of our favorites.
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