The Salem Inn * 7 Summer Street * Salem, MA 01970 * (978)-741-0680
March 19, 2011
Irony: I was supposed to attend an event in Caritas, Alabama on March 19, 2011 celebrating the apparitions of “The Blessed Mother” occurring in a small village in Bosnia called Medjugorje. No. Seriously. Instead, I found myself staying at a haunted inn, in one of the most haunted cities in the world, Salem, Massachusetts.
I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.
Ah, yes, Salem, MA. A place where 375 years of American history comes alive (literally). America’s “Bewitching Seaport”. The place of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but most importantly, the setting for one of the best Halloween movies, ever, Hocus Pocus!
Salem is like a perpetual heavy metal song mixed with classic Stevie Nicks in all her “fairy finest” with a touch of Enya.
A destination where 80′s “hair band” lovers, Dungeon & Dragons roll players, incense sniffers, Stevie Nicks skirt twirlers, video game obsessed, comic book collecting fanatics coexist with modern day witches, warlocks, tarot readers, psychics, mediums, ghosts and probably a friggin gargoyle or two! (just saying…)
The style is black trench coats, purple robes, long black skirts, combat boots, pentagrams, goatees, walking sticks, pirate shirts, and, of course, leather & lace (love you, Stevie!) I think you get the idea.
Not that Salem is all Hogwart’s School of Witchery & Wizardry! Not at all! There is a very refined side to this seaport town. Salem has some of the most beautiful, restored Federal & Colonial era homes I have ever seen.
Essex Street, one of the main arteries, is comprised of modern, hip, restaurants, cafes, shops, psychic parlors, witch shops & museums.
The Salem Inn was kind enough to host Melanie & I for the night. The three houses that make up Salem Inn; The West House, The Curwen House & The Peabody House, are within walking distance to Essex street and an impressive array of attractions. All three houses are lovingly restored and listed on The National Register of Historic Places.
The West House, the largest of the three houses, with 23 rooms, reflects the craftsmanship of the Federal period.
It is said that the 3rd floor of The West House is the extremely haunted, especially room # 17. Reports of loud, unexplained bangs have been reported as well as slamming doors and apparitions.
It is not uncommon for guests to switch rooms or leave early. It is that scary!
Luckily we were assigned room # 12 at The Curwen House (c.1854), however, I was still a bit (okay, a lot) nervous!
The Curwan House is a beautiful Italiante Revial building with 11 guest rooms, many with fireplaces, antiques and claw foot tubs.
I absolutely loved the mustard yellow color exterior and felt both intrigued & unsettled knowing that The Witch House was located across the street, as well as Salem’s First Church (c. 1629). Also across the street is one of the houses used in the movie Hocus Pocus.
The first thought that entered my mind as Melanie and I walked up the steps of The Curwen House, was that the door knocker reminded me of the door knocker in the movie ‘A Christmas Carol’. I then wondered if we’d be visited by three ghosts!? (gulp!)
This was both our first time staying in such an old, historic inn.
Of course the door CREAKED LOUDLY as we opened it. You couldn’t stage something more perfectly.
I felt like I was stepping into a funeral home. Seriously. I mean that in a good way! Very atmospheric.
To the right was a winding staircase that lead to the 2nd floor guestrooms and to the left, an antique table with complimentary Sherry.
The lighting was dim and soothing and the floor screamed with each step.
Our room was off of the living room area. It was average in decor, less for the beautiful, wood burning fireplace and high ceilings.
The furniture was basic and just right for the room we were in.
As you can tell, the bed was very comfortable!
The tiny glass table wobbled and the chair didn’t feel sturdy enough to sit on. The TV was tiny and extremely old, but at least we had cable!
Personally, I found the decor added to the ambiance. There was an opulent feeling to the room. This is exactly how I expect an historic, haunted, inn to look. Everything added to the “hair standing up on the back of my neck” sensation.
All the room needs is a canopy bed, candles, long nightgowns (like the one Scrooge wore) and tattered slippers.The setting was prime for a ghostly encounter!
Good to know: The room had free Wi-Fi, ironing board, iron, extra pillows, blankets, a free log for the fire, matches, phone, alarm clock, shampoo and body soap. The resort also provides all its guests with free continental breakfast and free parking.
Feeling a bit antsy, and like I was being “watched”, I decided to go out into the (::cough cough::) “living” room and observe the decor a bit further.
The more I wandered around, the more heavy feeling I felt. There was definitely a presence there. I never felt threatened, just – uneasy.
Fact: Melanie and I were in Salem during a full moon event called “Super Perigee Moon”, when the moon is at it’s closest to earth. The last time this occurred was in March of 1993. Paranormal activity is allegedly at a PEAK during this phenomenon. What are the odds, I ask? What. Are. The. Odds? A’hem.
Funny, I always thought if I had the chance to stay in a “haunted” inn, I would be calm, cool and collected, especially since I am a paranormal junkie. No. It reached the stage where my partner couldn’t stop laughing and teasing me. She literally fell asleep in a raucous, rage of cackling laughter! Lovely…lol.
We did hear our doorknob rattle on several occasions and a loud, unexplainable thud around midnight, but that was it (whew). I eventually fell asleep from exhaustion and woke up more tired than I’ve been in ages. Melanie? She slept like an angel.
Dining: Mel and I stopped for lunch at Fresh Taste Of Asia (118 Washington Street), next to Gulu-Gulu Cafe. The Chinese food was some of the best we’ve ever had. Light. Fresh. Savory. We shared chicken fried rice and scallion pancakes and later, we went back for dinner (after Melanie was approached by a strange man at Gulu Gulu cafe). For dinner we shared the fried rice again and their delicious sesame chicken.
After dinner we stopped to listen to live music at the very atmospheric, inviting, O’Neill’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. I ordered the bread pudding which was sinfully delicious!
We finally were able to enjoy Gulu Gulu Cafe (247 Essex Street) the next morning for breakfast!
Melanie had the “spinwich” (Boursin cheese, onions, spinach and egg). I had a Belgian waffle with nutella. It was reasonably priced and very good.
Shopping: What is a trip to Salem without stopping in some of the Witch shops? I think Melanie and I hit them all up! Our favorite, by far, was Crow Haven Corner. I did not like the vibe I got in Hex: Old World Witchery (I’ll leave it at that). Omen Psychic Parlor & Witchcraft Emporium is known as the “world premiere psychic destination” and is worth a visit. They even offer classes and workshops.
We also loved Pyramid Books, which is a haven for spiritual growth.
You can get your cards read or spend hours looking at their huge selection of new age books, jewelry, CD’s, crystals and divination tools.
Another fun stop was Jerry’s Army & Navy Store which was full of antiques and oddities!
Attractions: Mel and I drove to Pioneer Village (Forest River Park), which was closed, but worth checking out. It is a three acre, recreated Puritan village.
We didn’t have time to check out the more popular attractions such as House of the Seven Gables, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem Witch Museum, The Witch House or Witch Dungeon Museum.
Halloween: Salem is one of the BEST destinations to celebrate Halloween (New Orleans being another favorite). They celebrate the entire month of October. Everything from parades, costume balls, haunted houses, paranormal tours, psychic festivals and more. Be sure to check out www.hauntedhappenings.org for more information.
Gay & Lesbian Scene: Salem is extremely gay & lesbian friendly. As a matter of fact they have a special link on their main tourism web site, www.salem.org, dedicated to the LGBT community! You can also check out www.gaysalem.com for more information.
Overall I enjoyed our stay at The Salem Inn. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
Nonetheless, I am officially “OUTING” The Salem Inn as gay & lesbian friendly and worthy of our business, but only for the brave of heart!
In conclusion, let me say that I absolutely love the eccentricity of Salem. I can’t wait for my next visit!