First, I want to point out the amazing Fort Pickering pictures above taken by local photographer Keith Armstrong. He went out during the full moon and captured some great photos of the Witch City. I have to convince him to come on a cemetery run with me sometime. He has these and other amazing nature photos that he captured in and around New England that are available for purchase at https://keitharmstrong.zenfolio.com/p696361707. Check them out! I just bought a few for our home.
So ghoulies, this week brings us a quick topic of to Salem or not to Salem this October. This has been a hard topic for me. I have to say that I think it all comes down to a few things: if you decide to go, HAVE A PLAN. Know where to park, which stores you are going to and what their operating procedures are right now. Some stores have online shopping where they have videos of their store so you DON'T HAVE TO WAIT TO GO IN, and many have options for you to shop online. You ABSOLUTELY NEED ADVANCE TICKETS for any museums you plan to visit, with some of them selling out FOR THE DAY by 9 am (this morning I got notifications that the Peabody Essex Museum Witch Trials, Witch Museum and House of Seven Gables were sold out for the DAY at 9) and many are operating at reduced capacity so if they aren't sold out their could be a LONG wait. Do yourself a favor and download the free app being offered by Salem.org to help you stay on top of what has sold out and what garages are full. In the end, with so much not operating to full capacity and the City having cancelled so many activities, I just feel like you aren't going to get the full Salem experience and maybe waiting until next year may be better. I definitely would not want you to leave sad or disappointed and given the state of things you may.
Last weekend it was so busy and so many people went without a plan that the Mayor of Salem posted on her Facebook page "Going forward we are advising visitors if they do not have a planned itinerary and/or lodging secured, they should consider deferring their visit to Salem till after October......This is not the year to make a spontaneous visit to Salem and we are not promoting or encouraging more visitors to come visit this October." All I can say is, if you decide to go, plan to wear a mask, even outside as they are mandatory outside in Salem, and be respectful of the shop owners/workers. And please don't remove your masks for selfies in front of store decorations as this defeats the keep your mask on rule.
I am a frequenter of Salem ALL YEAR, but this year have been finding other ways to enjoy the City. Here are a few:
1. Hubie Halloween just started streaming on Netflix which was filmed in and around Salem.
2. Historic Salem, Inc. is offering tours of Salem’s beautiful historic festive Halloween houses "from the comfort of your own home". Tour guide Borah Brewington Snagletooth the 13th ( a well known Salem busker) brings you through some pretty amazingly decorated homes for $13.13. Tickets can be purchased at http://halloweeninsalem.org/ . Well worth the price and you can watch the videos all month.
3.Haunted Happenings brought the Biz Baz online. There is an amazing virtual market. You can even see a few of the buskers there :). https://www.facebook.com/hauntedhappeningsmarket
4. New England Curiosities has done some Virtual tours of Salem and New England Cemeteries. They also did a great Halloween Folklore workshop. Roxie Zwicker is a great story teller and will also send you a handout that goes along with the Slides she shows. It is the best virtual tour I have seen. There are some cheaper tours out there, but hers are the most well prepared and the supplemental materials you get are helpful for you to visit the places after. They have another Salem tour coming up on 10/18 and a Maritime one on the 19th. You can get details at https://newenglandcuriosities.com/
5. Howl-o-ween Virtual Pet Costume Contest Oct 16-23... Can't wait to see the pet costumes, so far they have been sharing a few on Facebook and they are so cute.
Well, whatever you decide, be safe. For us, our trips will be mostly virtual, or to lesser known cemeteries/spots where there won't be tourists. I hope this helps you plan ahead or gives you ideas of how to enjoy Salem virtually this year. Have a spooky day, until I send the Witch Trials blog later this weekend :)