When people think of Salem (MA), they often conjure thoughts of the witch hysteria, ghosts or a litany of other things that may go bump in the night. But, this isn’t fair nor accurate. No, Salem is more than “haunted houses” and stores that sell kitschy souvenirs. Nor is it only fun to visit during the Halloween season. Still, it did feel a little odd wandering around Salem without a Fall chill in the air or leaves crunching beneath my feet. But, it wasn’t any less fun.
Salem, being an important port for trade in early colonial days, is rich with tradition and history. One of the main ports of trade is at Pickering Wharf in Salem Harbor.
Anchored in the wharf is The Friendship. The Friendship is a reconstruction of a 1700’s trading ship. Tours are available, except today as they were renovating the ship.
Stately, rustic buildings dot the coast line. The ornate building with the dome atop it is the Custom House. It is sandwiched in between the Salem Maritime National Historic Site (to the left) and the Simon Forrester House.
There is also a lighthouse located at the end of the pier.
Ducks and other birds frequent the harbor.
Pickering Wharf has a variety of restaurants where you can enjoy fish, lobster and, well, fish. It is also a hub for tour groups (whose favorite past time seems to be getting into my photos) and the occasional dog walker. I found this dog who is all black, except for her front left paw.
I could spend all day at Pickering Wharf. But, in the interest of time, I began my journey to some of the other attractions in Salem. The best part of visiting Salem is noticing the attractions and sites while you’re walking to each destination.
There was this house that caught my eye.
There was this display outside the Salem Witch Museum.
Irzyk Park, named after Brigadier General Albin F. Irzyk, has this retired Army tank in the park.
I also bumped into Aida
As well as Simba and Jasmin
Eventually, I found my way to Winter Island.
Winter Island is a hidden jewel within the outskirts of Salem. A mile from the downtown Salem area, it is used as a RV/trailer park as well as a place to launch boats and hold functions. I walked the mile to Winter Island from downtown Salem. It is pretty much a straight walk or drive from tge downtown area. But, if you choose to drive. there is ample parking outside of Winter Island. There are an array of flowers and a pond (more like a reservoir) with a power plant adjacent which gives a nice touch. Geese and ducks are abundant there.
There is also a beach and an area for bird watching on Winter Island (it’s not really an “island” (it is more like a peninsula) but I will let it slide. It was the beach, Waikiki Beach, that was most impressive. Rocks are scattered along the beach and make shift trails on the hills behind the beach offer private views of the beach. Since it was low tide, I was able to walk along the rocks for better views of the harbor. A lighthouse gives a nice touch and birds and flowers are abundant.
A closeup of one of the many flowers on Waikiki Beach.
A bee pollinating.
The rocks at Waikiki Beach give the beach a unique landscape and offer a chance to get better views. It also attracts a variety of bird life.
There is also an area for bird watching at Winter Island. Although they are easily scared away, I did capture these images of a Robin and a Red Winged Black Bird.
There is also an old ammunition bunker in the bird watching area at Fort Pickering on Winter Island.
It’s a shame that Salem is only remembered for the more commercial aspects and urban legends. It isn’t all about being scared in Salem. In fact, this is the scariest thing I saw all day.
Of course, no visit to Salem would be complete without a photo of Roger Conant, the founder of Salem, and a visit to the World War II Memorial at Salem Commons.
You can keep yourself quite busy just visiting the parks, beaches and assortment of other attractions in Salem all year round, not just during Halloween. But, of course, I’ll be back in October anyways.