The late lamented Eerie Events at the Peabody Essex Museum circa 2002. The author is on the right.

The late lamented Eerie Events at the Peabody Essex Museum circa 2002. The author is on the right.

Every October I get a mailbox full of requests for travel advice from friends, family, and readers who want to know what to see when they visit Salem. I’ve always meant to compile my recommendations into a Richard Saul Wurman style guide to The Witch City, a sort of ACCESS: SALEM for the 21st century, organized by neighborhood, mobile friendly and complete with interactive maps. That will happen someday, but right now I’m busy getting ready to return to Los Angeles to write for another season of WGN’s drama SALEM, so I’m putting all of my travel advice up on the blog to make it available in time for Halloween. Eventually I’ll make it pretty. And interactive. Until then, it’s going to be a series of posts indexed here.

This guide won’t be an exhaustive listing of Salem’s offerings. You can download that from Destination Salem or pick up a copy free when you get here. This guide is how I make sense of my adopted home town, where four centuries of history are written layer on layer like a palimpsest, where you can be looking at traces of the earliest settlement in the colony, the golden age of piracy, and the industrial revolution, all on one corner.

It’s impossible to see everything Salem has to offer in a single day, so I’m going to break my posts down into themes. If you’ve got limited time in town and want to focus on the real 1692, I’ll tell you how to do that. If you want to take in the broad sweep of Salem’s entire history from 1626 to the present, I’ll be posting a list of the “highlights” I share with family and friends. Want the Great Age of Sail and pirates? Literary Salem from Mather to Lovecraft? Eventually it will be on the blog, along with ice cream, coffee, shopping, dining, and drinking recommendations.

I’ll return to this post to update and index the topics I’ve covered as I go along. Since this guide is a work in progress, feel free to leave feedback–and requests–in the comments!

Go to:

What to see in Salem, Massachusetts: Life and Death During the Witchcraft Trials of 1692

The Best Coffee Houses in Salem

The Best Ice Cream in Salem