Ip & Audrey. One of my favorite past-times is exploring New England haunts; there's enough rich history and kitsch around here to satisfy both the history buff and antiques shopper, say. So why not highlight a New England haunt that is purportedly haunted? For U.S. history, excellent antique shops and antiquarian bookstores, some of the best coffee shops around, and, for good measure, some truly spooky tales, I make a beeline for Salem, MA.
Front Street Coffehouse, where one of the best drinks, hands down, is the White Rabbit Latte. A little nutty, a little chocolatey, a little minty... honestly I'm not sure what's in the stuff, but if you take a sip you'll sure have a good time falling down the rabbit hole. You'll need to caffeine up to hit the Derby Square Bookstore, a charming used shop where you can score hardcovers for 50% off their list price. Just be sure to have the energy to scan thousands of titles for what you're looking for, or be open to stumbling across random finds... the books tower precariously in sky-high stacks, and selecting your desired title is like a high-stakes game of Jenga. Careful, careful... got it! Score! Do ask for assistance if a stack is especially high; you don't want any of those hardcovers to fall! Trust me, I've seen it happen. But not to me. :)
From there, you might want to wander over to the Old Town Hall and catch a must-see production of Cry Innocent, a play that allows the audience to participate in a Salem Witch Trial, sitting in on the Puritan jury determining the fate of a girl accused of witchcraft. This show is incredible and brings you back to Salem in 1692, where some truly heinous things happened that are now a blight on the American justice system. But I love the play because it was commissioned, produced and written by professors of mine from my alma mater, Gordon College. Nothing else will quite get you into the Salem spirit as much as this.
Maria's Sweet Somethings, close to Town Hall, for some gourmet ice cream treats. Then check out Modern Millie and browse the racks of vintage and consignment clothes and accessories. The last time I was there, I saw some designer steals, including Dooney & Burke bags and Anna Sui dresses, being sold for a song. For fun, wander over to Harrison Comics and indulge your inner geek. You'll pass the bronze statue of "Samantha" from Bewitched, which is pretty much a must photo-op. On your way out of town, swing by Jaho Coffee & Tea for another cup of joe, or an amazing chai... they sell the best I've ever had. Before you leave, you must take a walk down to the harbor and check out the sailboats and the tall ship Friendship... because hanging out at the waterfront in any coastal New England town is simply obligatory. And hey, if you had a great time, consider braving Salem again for Halloween... if you can hang with both the real-life witches and wannabes. But don't say I didn't warn you... Boo!
Thanks, Erin! Can you believe, I've never been to Salem?? I need to go ASAP after reading this post. :)
Pics by Erin.
Pics by Erin.