Friday, October 30, 2009

Public Safety Advisory for Halloween night in Salem

Since Halloween is on a Saturday, and since the weather forecast for the weekend is looking pretty darn nice, the City of Salem is prepared for nearly 100,000 people to celebrate Halloween in bewitching Salem.

If you are planning to celebrate in Salem, please help us keep Halloween safe and fun by bringing your common sense and heeding the following advice:
  • Take public transportation. The MBTA has added extra train service from the North and South. The Salem Ferry is connects Blaney Street, Salem, with Long Wharf North, Boston. We anticipate considerable motor vehicle traffic coming into the city, and parking will be at a premium. Thus, public transportation is strongly encouraged.
  • Plan to depart after the Halloween Fireworks. Halloween is a great street festival in Salem. In addition to bands and DJs performing on five stages around the downtown, Radio 92.9 is producing a Main Stage Concert featuring Dick N Jane, playing at 7:30 PM, and the Dancing Nancy Band, a Dave Matthews Band cover band, playing at 9:30 PM, . Dancing Nancy will perform on a temporary stage at the top of Washington Street (between Federal and Bridge Streets) from 9:15 - 10:45 PM followed by fireworks over the North River at 10:45.
The fireworks are the conclusion of the public Halloween celebration and the end to the evening. Police and Public Works Departments will begin clearing streets and moving crowds out of the city immediately following the fireworks. Visitors should expect to depart Salem after the fireworks (approx. 11pm), which is timed to coordinate with the last trains out of Salem.
  • Visitors coming to Salem should be on their best behavior. Given the larger numbers, the City has adopted tougher sanctions for disorderly behavior. Uniformed police officers will be brought in from eight other communities to support Salem Police in their efforts ensure the safety of all Halloween revelers.
Fines for any disorderly conduct during Halloween evening, such as drinking in public, vandalism, littering, disorderly behavior, have been tripled up to $300 per offense, the maximum amount allowed under the law.

Surveillance Cameras are installed throughout the downtown and will be monitored by Police officials throughout the evening. These cameras will aid downtown enforcement efforts.
  • Leave weapons - real or fake - at home. Police will be confiscating these items.
  • Public drinking will not be tolerated. Public consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Salem.
Salem, Massachusetts is recognized internationally as one of the best destinations to celebrate Halloween and the month-long Haunted Happenings festival. Salem is pleased to present live music throughout the downtown on Halloween night, as well as a carnival and food vendors.

We encourage our guests and visitors to bring their common sense to the celebration, and respect the City of Salem, and its 42,000 residents. Through public cooperation the city will maintain a fun and safe downtown environment for all.

For more information on Salem Haunted Happenings visit hauntedhappenings.org.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Salem Ferry Adds Trips for Saturday

The Salem Ferry has added the following trips between Boston and Salem on Saturday, October 31st:

9:00 PM Boston to Salem


10:00 PM Salem to Boston

The Salem Ferry provides high-speed catamaran ferry service between Long Wharf North in Boston and Blaney Street (near the House of the Seven Gables) in Salem. The enclosed ferry provides a comfortable 55 minute ride between the two cities. The fare is $10.00 one way, $20.00 round trip for all passengers. There is a snack bar on board for purchasing beverages and snacks.

Visit SalemFerry.com for the complete schedule and more information.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Samhain, A Sacred Time of Reflection!

Halloween in Salem is a grand time for all ages, and filled with many cultural traditions entwined with the holiday. However, did you ever wonder where those traditions came from?

Halloween comes from the Old English word hallow meaning saint. Originally, the holiday was called All Hallows Eve, and then shortened to Hallowe’en and finally the contemporary version of the word we use today.

In ancient Celtic traditions the holiday Samhain was celebrated. Samhain (pronounced Sow-when) was a time when it was believed that the line between the world of the living and the world of the dying was thin. The word simply meant Summer’s End. Crops in the fields had been harvested, and the hunt was about to begin. Leaves were falling from trees, animals were starting to hide, the ground got cold and hard. People had the illusion the earth was dying too. It was a time to honor the true end of summer.

It was a time to honor the earth’s cycle in to winter, the ancestors of one’s family, and friends who had died throughout the year. Many villages and clans honored their loved ones with feasts, teas and special suppers. Burial places were cleaned and flowers, food and drink were left for the dead. It was both solemn and celebratory of the legacies they left behind. Samhain and feasts to the ancestors are still celebrated by many Wiccan and Earth-centered spiritual people in Salem meaning and around the world today.

Many of our contemporary Halloween traditions have come directly from the celebration of Samhain. For example, young people traditionally went door to door to collect food and wood to build fires to honor the dead. Gifts were left in the fields for the gods and goddesses of the year in thanks for the harvest. These children would dress up so the spirits of the night would not know them. In some places in Europe today, there is a tradition of going from home to home on All Soul’s Day for soul cakes, a type of currant bun. In return, the recipient prays for the household’s family. These traditions are thought to have been the beginnings of trick or treating.

Dressing up at this sacred time of year became a way of inviting the spirits to help you reach your dreams. Ghosts, skeletons, and goblin type characters were ways of dressing to confuse the evil spirits. Dressing like death took away the fear of it. It became a way to honor death as part of the process of life.

Embers and coals from the sacred village fires would be taken to homes to light and bless the household’s hearth fires for the winter. To carry these hot coals – squashes, turnips, pumpkins and gourds were carved out with funny faces and glowing chunks of hot coals were placed inside for safe carrying home. The lit faces scared others in the forests and it was seen as a way to protect ones self in the dark of the night. This is thought to have been the early renditions of the lighting of pumpkins.

In nature religious traditions like Wicca, people gather together to honor those who have died in many ways even in Salem. Special meals sometimes called dumb suppers to honor the memories of those who have passed are held. These silent meals are opportunities to remember our connections to our ancestors. Worship circles are held for congregations to come together, honoring not just ancestors, but world leaders and community members who have passed on. It is a time also to look at habits and life patterns we need to let go of in our lives that do not work for us. Samhain is a deeply reflective holiday filled with reverence for the changing earth our connections while on it.

There are many congregation and groups who welcome visitors to their celebrations of the holy day of Samhain amidst the secular celebrations of Halloween on October 31. Listings for special events can be found at HauntedHappenings.org.

Photo © KishgraphicsWritten by Rev. J. Hildebrand

Monday, October 26, 2009

Zombie Winners from Saturday

Salem State College's 2nd annual zombie event drew participants of all ages last Saturday, October 24. The group learned Michael Jackson's Thriller dance in a workshop prior to taking to Salem Common, where they danced for all to see.

Glen Diamond (shown above with wife Cindy) won "Best Adult Zombie," and Andre dos Santos (below) was the winner of "Best Young Zombie."


Congratulations! Salem State College's Zombie Dance is becoming a perennial favorite at Haunted Happenings. Hope to see you next year!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Treasures at the Trolley Depot

I was in The Trolley Depot at 191 Essex Street in Salem on Friday, and I fell in love with these little Day of the Dead characters.

The Trolley Depot also has great Salem t-shirts, Harry Potter paraphernalia (if you're looking for a Gryffindor tie, the Trolley Depot is your place), great bumper stickers, visitor information, and Christmas ornaments. (See photo below.)


Admittedly, I was drawn in by the incredible statue person who has been posing outside The Trolley Depot for the past couple of weeks. She is one of the best photo ops in Salem during these Haunted Happenings. She is one of the many street performers we welcome in Salem during October, and she is unrelated to the Trolley Depot, but she's still wicked cool to watch!


If you can't make it to The Trolley Depot this October, don't fret. They have an online store. Check them out at TrolleyDepot.com.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Useful Directions

Don't laugh, but one of the questions we hear in the visitor center is "How do I get out of Salem?" I suppose roads north of Boston may not always be marked, routes may be convoluted, and streets may be one-way the way you don't want to go.

So, here's a cheat-sheet for you. Directions to get out of Salem back to I-95, Route 128, and the Mass Pike.

If you are still trying to get into Salem, use the address 2 New Liberty Street, Salem, MA 01970. That is the address for the Salem Regional Visitor Center. Or visit the map & directions pages on HauntedHappenings.org and Salem.org.

Directions to I – 95


From the parking garage across from the Salem National Park Service Visitors Center:

  1. When exiting the parking garage, turn left on New Liberty St.
  2. At the stop sign, take a left onto Brown St.
  3. At the stop sign, take a right onto St. Peters St. Follow down the hill to the light.
  4. At that corner, take a left onto Bridge St. and get into the right lane.
  5. After the next light, you will merge onto 114 West.

For I-95 South:

  1. Follow 114 West through Peabody to MA 128 South. (Watch the signs: There will be two left turns and one right turn.)
  2. Take MA 128 south and it will merge into I-95 South.

For I-95 North:

  1. Follow 114 West through Peabody and Danvers. (Watch the signs: There will be two left turns and one right turn.)
  2. Stay on 114 West until meeting I-95 North.

Directions to Logan Airport, Boston

From the parking garage across from the Salem National Park Service Visitors Center:

  1. When exiting the parking garage, turn left on New Liberty St.
  2. At the stop sign, take a right onto Brown St.
  3. At the stop sign, take a right onto Hawthorne Blvd. Proceed through the traffic light to stop sign at Derby St. Take a right.
  4. Follow Derby St. to traffic light at Lafayette St.
  5. Take a left onto Lafayette St.
  6. Follow Lafayette St. through third stop light. Bear right onto Loring Ave. (Rte 114 will bear to your left.)
  7. At next stop light, take a left. Continue to follow signs for 1A.
  8. Follow Rte 1A through Swampscott, Lynn, Revere, and East Boston.
  9. You will encounter two traffic circles/rotaries on the way.
  10. Watch signs for the airport.
  11. The exit to the airport will be on your right.

Directions to Logan Airport, Boston via Rte 1

From the parking garage across from the Salem National Park Service Visitors Center:

  1. When exiting the parking garage, turn left on New Liberty St.
  2. At the stop sign, take a left onto Brown St.
  3. At the stop sign, take a right onto St. Peters St. Follow down the hill to the light.
  4. At that corner, take a left onto Bridge St. and get into the right lane.
  5. After the next light, you will merge onto 114 West.
  6. Follow 114 West through Peabody to MA 128 South. (Watch the signs: There will be two left turns and one right turn.)
  7. Take MA 128 south and it will merge into I-95 South. Take Route 1 south to Boston.
  8. Follow Route 1 south to Route 60 East. Follow Route 60 through multiple traffic lights, one traffic circle, and more traffic lights to Route 1A South.
  9. Watch for the signs for the airport.
  10. The exit to the airport will be on your right.

And here are directions to three other spots that are not within Salem's walkable downtown area. Pioneer Village is located in Forest River Park and is the location of Folkways (daytime) and Spiritways (Saturday nights in October). For ticket information for both events, contact Gordon College, call (978) 867-4767 or visit the box office at Old Town Hall.

From the parking garage across from the Salem National Park Service Visitors Center:

  1. When exiting the parking garage, turn left on New Liberty St.
  2. At the stop sign, take a right onto Brown St.
  3. At the stop sign, take a right onto Hawthorne Blvd. Proceed through the traffic light to stop sign at Derby St. Take a right.
  4. Follow Derby St. to traffic light at Lafayette St.
  5. Take a left onto Lafayette St.
  6. Follow Lafayette St. to third stop light. (Salem State College will be in front of you; Rte 114 goes straight to Marblehead; Rte 1A bears right on Loring Ave.)
  7. Take a left at this stop light onto West Ave. This will lead you to Pioneer Village.

Many, many people ask for directions to Gallows Hill Park. Because of its name, visitors often assume this is where the victims of the Witch Trials in 1692 were hung. Before you drive to Gallows Hill Park, which is in a residential neighborhood and features soccer fields and a playground, you should know that we do not know if this is actually where the Witchcraft Trial victims were hanged.

The Salem Witchcraft Trial Memorial on Liberty Street between Derby and Charter Streets, behind the Old Burying Point is a very appropriate place to reflect on the tragedies of 1692.

From the parking garage across from the Salem National Park Service Visitors Center

  1. When exiting the parking garage, turn left on New Liberty St.
  2. At the stop sign, take a left onto Brown St.
  3. At the stop sign, take a right onto St. Peters St. Take the first left onto Federal St. (other side of parking lots).
  4. At the next corner, take a right onto Washington St. and get into the left lane which is a left-turn lane going onto Rte 107.
  5. Follow Bridge St./Rte 107. After going past the first stop light (Flint St.), get in the left lane.
  6. At the second stop light (Boston St.), you will be going straight; do not turn left. (You will see a storage facility and Dunkin Donuts on your right and Walgreens on your left across the street.)
  7. Go straight onto Proctor St. (past the Walgreens, keeping it to your left).
  8. Follow Proctor St. up the hill and to the left. At the stop sign you will take a right to Gallows Hill Park.

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers was the home of one of the victims of the Salem Witch Trials. There is more information about sites from the Witchcraft Trials outside of Salem on the Salem Witch Museum's web site.

  1. When exiting the parking garage, turn left on New Liberty St.
  2. At the stop sign, take a left onto Brown St.
  3. At the stop sign, take a right onto St. Peters St. and follow to the end.
  4. At the light, take a left onto Bridge St.
  5. At the next light, stay in the right lane and merge onto 114 West.
  6. Follow 114 West through Peabody.
  7. When directed to turn left onto 114 West, instead stay in the right lane
  8. and continue straight to Rte 35 (Margin St.).
  9. Continue on Rte 35. Proceed through the first set of lights, and over a bridge. When the road widens into two lanes, stay in the left lane.
  10. Take a left at the lights onto Endicott St.
Continue to the end of Endicott St. Take a right onto Sylvan St. and then a left onto Pine St. The Rebecca Nurse Homestead is at 149 Pine St.

Continue down Pine St. to Hobart St. Take a left. The Salem Village Witchcraft Victims’ Memorial is located at 176 Hobart St.

Please drive carefully and have a safe trip!



Thursday, October 22, 2009

MBTA Adds Trains to October Weekend Schedule

The MBTA Commuter Rail is pleased to provide increased train service to and from the annual Haunted Happenings celebration in Salem, Massachusetts.

Special Event round trip tickets for the extra trains to and from Salem, MA will be available at North Station and will be sold on the extra trains. Schedules of the extra trains are displayed below.

Weekend of October 24-25: The extra Inbound Trains and Outbound Trains will be operated in addition to the regularly scheduled trains shown in black on the designated weekend dates.

Halloween: Here are the schedules for extra Inbound trains to Boston to be operated on Halloween (Saturday October 31).

Here are the schedules for the Outbound Trains to Rockport and Newburyport to be operated on Halloween (Saturday October 31).

Additional information on Salem Haunted Happenings is available at HauntedHappenings.org.

Additional information on the MBTA and additional service for Haunted Happenings is availalble at MBTA.com.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lonely Planet Insider Ranks Salem #3 for Halloween!

Lonely Planet Insider

Asked their global community of staff and authors “Where is your favorite place to celebrate Halloween?” Here are the results:

#1 At home, wherever that is!

“I like to see the little kids who ring my bell for free candy and their expressions when I give them sugary treats.” –Sabrina Dalbesio, Lonely Planet Staff

“Nothing replaces the experience of going out in costume, getting cold, and bringing home a bag full of mysterious treats!” –Tim Hornyak, Lonely Planet Author


#2 Tie between New York City and San Francisco

“While San Francisco is a costume kind of town all year round, people really go all out at Halloween and everyone dresses up! The humor and individualism of Halloween costumes always bring a smile to my face and make me think "God I love this town".” –Aimee Goggins, Lonely Planet Staff


“During the day it's all about the kids' parades in Central Park - darling mini-Manhattanites, all under the age of 10, marching about in their costumes while leaves fall from the trees - it's enough to make your heart melt. The freaks come out at night - all of NYC turns into one huge bacchanalian event on Halloween.” –Jennye Garibaldi, Lonely Planet Staff


#3 Salem, MA

“The celebration lasts all month long, with spooky walking tours, haunted houses, witches balls, pumpkin carving parties and costume parades. On Halloween night, there is a huge outdoor costume party with live music and DJs playing music all around town.” –Mara Vorhees, Lonely Planet Author


Monday, October 19, 2009

Accommodations Availability

As of 10:00 AM this morning, Monday, October 19th, the following accommodations have availability on the following nights... What are you waiting for? Book your reservations now!

SALEM HOTELS & INNS:

Amelia Payson House, 978-744-8304, Rooms available 10/21, 22, 26-28

Coach House Inn, 978-744-4092, Rooms available 10/19-21, 25-28

Henry Derby House, 978-745-1080, Rooms Available 10/19-21, 25-29

Northey Street House, 978-397-1582, Rooms available 10/20-15, 27-20

Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites, 978-740-8788, Rooms available 10/19-22, 25-29

Stepping Stone Inn, 978-741-8900, Rooms available 10/19-22, 10/25-28

The Daniels House, 978-744-5709, Rooms available 10/20-22

The Hawthorne Hotel, 978-744-4080, Rooms available 10/19-29

The Salem Inn, 978-741-0680, Rooms available 10-19-22, 25-28


REGIONAL HOTELS & INNS:


DANVERS: Comfort Inn North Shore, 978-977-1700, Rooms available 10/19-22, 25-29

MARBLEHEAD: Darci's Parkside Inn, 781-631-5733, Rooms available 10/19-22, 26-29

MARBLEHEAD: Harbor Light Inn, 781-631-2186, Rooms available 10/19-30

ROCKPORT: Emerson Inn by the Sea, 978-546-6321, Rooms available 10/19-31 (Note: The Emerson Inn has a great package with the Hawthorne Hotel's Costume Ball.)

ROCKPORT: Tuck Inn, 978-546-7260, 10/19-31.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pictures from this weekend

Here are a few pictures from around Salem this weekend (before the rain arrived...)  More than 8,000 people walked through the doors of the Salem Regional Visitor Center on Saturday.  Those of you who walked down the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall found this delightful street performer in front of The Trolley Depot... 

 

The Carnival opened on Derby Street yesterday.  Come ride on the Ferris Wheel and the Carousel!






The Today Show's Sara Haines was in town on Saturday. Here she is at the HalloWharf Pumpkin Festival, where she was the judge of the best decorated pumpkins in various age groups.


These lovely ladies were celebrating a Bachelorette Party. I ran into them outside of Rouge, and then again at Rockafellas.  I hope the wedding is as much fun as the bachelorette party!


 

And here is the pedestrian mall today... in the rain.  Thanks to all of the visitors who toughed it out, put on their ponchos, and enjoyed Salem despite the weather!  It was a dreary day, but the museums and attractions were dry and welcoming.