Thursday, October 8, 2020

Celebrating my 24th birthday in Salem, MA

In February 1692, two young girls from Salem Village started acting bizarre. After a local doctor diagnosed them as being bewitched and other girls in the village also started acting strangely, the original girls accused their slave and two other women of being witches. And thus began the Salem Witch Trials. From February 1962 to May 1963, over two hundred people were accused of witchcraft, and thirty were found guilty. 
Today, Salem is sometimes called the Witch City, and the month of October is usually filled with events and people walking around dressed up as witches and other scary characters. If you've seen the movie Hocus Pocus: it took place and was partly filmed in Salem. Due to COVID, most of the festivities were canceled this year, but there is still plenty to see and do.

My friend, Erin, and I talked a few weeks ago, and she brought up how none of us have ever visited Salem at Halloweentime. I looked into it and decided that for my birthday, I wanted to spend a day in Salem with Erin and our two friends Megan and Carli. So we organized our schedules and spent the day wandering around the city. 

The first thing we did was make our way into a shop called Witch City Wicks, where I (obviously) bought a candle called "Sleepy Hollow," since that was the short story I wrote my Senior Thesis on in college.
We then ate a morning snack at Gulu Gulu Cafe. I can't think of a better way to start the day then Mimosas, French75s (for Gin lovers a.k.a. not me), a soft pretzel, and a charcuterie board. Can you? It was delicious, and it was the first time in a while since the four of us had all been together to talk instead of just texting. 
When we had first arrived in Salem, I said to my friends that I had spent the morning talking myself out of buying a witches hat because I simply did not need one. Famous last words, right? While we were sitting at the Cafe, I saw a woman walk by wearing a cute, subtle witches hat and new I wanted it. So we found them at Coon's Card & Gift Shop and it's actually called "Modern Witch Hat." I'm in love with it, even if it's only practical one month a year. I bought the gray one, and Megan, whose birthday is also in October, bought the red.
We were in and out of plenty of stores, all located in one area, so it's not like we were wasting time walking all over the place. At one point, Erin pointed out that the Hotel Salem has a Rooftop Bar, so we made our way up there. We all ended up getting specialty cocktails because 'tis the season. Erin got the Cramble, Carli the Autumn Mule, Megan the Orange Blossom Rita, and I had the Maple Smash. We also had to order nachos because of the new COVID guidelines that don't allow people to get drinks without food, but there were zero complaints all around.
From The Roof, we slightly rushed to make our appointment for the Witch House. Formerly the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin (1640–1718), the Witch House is the only structure you can visit in Salem with direct ties to the Salem witch trials of 1692. It was a quick, self-guided tour that let us learn about how the Corwin family lived and their involvement in the Witch Trials.
We left Salem after the tour, but not without ticking off some Hocus Pocus boxes. Unfortunately, the Sanderson Sister's house isn't real, although I like to believe that if Disney had known how big that movie would be, they would have built an actual structure in Salem. However, Allison's house is the real-life Rope's Mansion, which we walked through the gardens of, and Max Dennison's house is someone's actual home.
I could have spent more time in Salem, but I had to get back to Carli and Megan's apartment to jump on a Google Meet call. When I was done, we ordered pizza, and my friends sang Happy Birthday to me. While picking up the pizza, they also stopped and grabbed some Hostess Cupcakes to put candles in. The funniest part was that they didn't have a 4 candle, so it was 22 + 2. 
It's crazy that I am officially in my mid-twenties. My 23rd year was pretty crazy: going from living in Edinburgh to spending most of my time with my dog. Plus the whole start-of-a-worldwide-pandemic thing. Nonetheless, it was a pretty great year, and I can't wait to see what 24 brings!


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