Autumn in New England blows in with a sort of magic I never quite got back home. The air, the breeze, the leaves - everything - buzzes with a magic, eerie electricity as Halloween and fall draws nearer.
Along with that wonderful nip in the air comes the inevitable, much predictable but always endearing Halloween/October traditions. Freeform has their "13 Nights of Halloween", Trader Joe's sells their irresistable fall-inspired foods, and Costco puts up their Halloween decorations along with Thanksgiving and Christmas (because it's never too early to plan).
And, to be completely fair, while all of America might be preparing for the spookiest, eeriest night of the year, it's really Salem, Massachusetts that takes the cake for getting in the proper Halloween spirit.
Home to the infamous Salem Witch Trials and the iconic setting to the beloved Halloween-classic Hocus Pocus, Salem is your go-to destination when October rolls around.
Basically as picturesque as a small, East Coast town can get, Salem is the whole package wrapped up into one - its iconic New England houses, the small streets, the changing leaves and trees, quaint boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants.
However, while Salem may be on the smaller side when it comes to towns, it may be quite daunting when you first arrive - what do you do first? Where do you go? What's to do?
All very good questions and all very fair. Here the best, Halloween-approved spots I popped by on my perfectly autumnal day-trip to Salem:
1. Mr. Crepe | Creperie and Cafe
Originally, my friend and I wanted to grab breakfast at The Ugly Mug Diner. However, it was, in fact, filled to max and we were quite hungry after the train ride into Salem. So, we popped by Mr. Crepe Creperie and Cafe, a small chain restaurant offering every crepe dish imaginable. Perfect.
Mr. Crepe was small and cozy - a very typical small town setting restaurant. Their menu was very expansive, offering both savory and sweet crepes along with other breakfast dishes, hot drinks (both seasonal and year-round), as well as pastries.
I decided to go for the ham, swiss, and egg crepe as I did want somewhat of a more hearty, breakfast type of a crepe. Although on the larger side, I definitely scarfed it down way too quickly as I was very hungry. The crepe itself was perfectly thin and browned on the outside; it had a great texture, avoiding the typical chewy crepe texture one generally experiences. The ham, egg, and cheese combination was fairly simple and straightforward, with no extra spices or twists added to it. The breakfast crepe definitely filled me up for the rest of the day and it was a wonderful breakfast for long walks I had ahead of me.
On the other hand, my friend decided to go for a sweet crepe, ordering the chocolate, ceanut cutter, and marshmallow crepe. The spreads looked fairly well distributed as they oozed out once she cut into it. The sweet crepe was filled to the brim with spreads but was perfectly folded over to avoid spilling before she dove into it. Topped off with powdered sugar, this sweet crepe is definitely moreso a dessert treat than breakfast but can be thoroughly enjoyed no matter what time of day you decide to order it.
2. Burying Point Cemetery
Burying Point Cemetery is one of Salem's more iconic, traditional cemetries, with gravestones dating back to the Witch Trials. Unfortunately, on our visit, the cemetery was closed and guests were only able to read and see the tombstones from afar. However, the supernatural ambience remained.
3. Salem Farmer's Market and the Witch Village
A year-round staple for Salem residents and tourists, the Salem Farmer's Market is filled to the brim with artisans, shows, and entertainment wherever you look. With Halloween right around the corner, a majority of stands and kiosks donned a Halloween theme with their decorations and their products.
Several shows and entertainers lined the streets alongside the Market for all those shopping and browsing, including a magic show and a women dressed as a statue!
Adjacent to the Farmer's Market, the Witch Village is Salem's tourist hot-spot in October. Seasonal treats, including apple cider and cinnamon roles, are freshly baked and served, with lines trailing all the way out of the Village. Tourists can also buy amusement tickets to several local entertainment, including 2 haunted houses and Salem's signature gravestone tour.
3. Salem Neighborhoods
For those wanting a more low-key Salem visit, strolling the quaint neighborhoods that are so often overlooked during this time of year is always a perfect option. As one would expect when visiting a stereotypical holiday town, nearly every house paraded some sort of Halloween decorations. No matter which street you went down, there wasn't a door or windowsill without a pop of orange or a fake spider attached.
Salem in October is definitely considered somewhat of a tourist trap in New England but one that is definitely worthwhile. My friend and I didn't stay long (probably 3-4 hours) as the town is quite small and is much more suited to walking around and simply taking in. However, the seasonal entertainment and activities were definitely ones not to miss.