We are back at our hotel after a wonderful day in Salem, Massachusetts with Raven Grimassi, Stephanie Taylor and Christopher Penczak.
Stephanie had arranged for us to meet at the Visitor’s Center in the morning. As we greeted each other, Stephanie introduced Christopher Penczak to us. Kaliyah recognized the name, but wasn’t sure from what and I fixated on how similar his last name was to my birth name.
We started the day with Breakfast at Red’s Sandwich Shop, to plan our day in Salem. The restaurant is a local treasure; it has reasonable prices and good food. Make sure you bring cash – they don’t accept check (duh) or credit cards.
While we waited for our food at Red’s there was plenty of conversation in the group. It was then that I asked Christopher about his involvement with publishing and their books.
Christopher explained that he has written several books and that’s when Kaliyah realized who he was. We owned copies of a couple of his books. I felt a bit foolish about not realizing who he was until he told us.
Conversation continued throughout breakfast. We told them about geocaching and stopping for a 15-year-old cache on our way to Salem. The oldest cache we have found to date – hidden October 2000; this geolocation game started a couple of months earlier in August 2000.
Stephanie was excited about the idea of geocaching, so we looked up some caches in Salem to possibly find together. There weren’t many caches in the immediate vicinity, but we would be sure to visit the Salem Witch Trials Memorial cache.
After breakfast, Raven was kind enough to sign the books he wrote which we owned copies of and brought with us. That brought up more conversation. Apparently he hadn’t seen the edition we had for one of his books and the publisher changed the graphics throughout, including the cover.
A trolley tour with Salem Trolley was our next adventure. We stayed on the trolley for both segments of the tour allowing us to see Salem’s waterfront, including Waikiki Beach and Dead Horse Cove, learn a lot about Salem in general and a bit more. The tour guide referenced that there are several witch museums and other attractions throughout Salem and they all give an accurate depiction of the witch-trials, hysteria.
The Salem Witch Museum is an old Gothic-style stone church that was converted into the museum following a second devastating fire in 19691The first fire was in 1902 – Salem Patch, Then & Now.. Although the figures and sets are showing their age, the program was well-organized and educational.
After the witch museum, we walked to the Witch House. Though it has been restored and moved a short distance to allow road widening, this is the last remaining building in Salem with ties to the witch trials. The museum is small with various relics from the era, including some replicas and educational information plaques. Evidence of its age, the whole building has a noticeable slant with exposed architectural components inside.
Kitty corner to the Witch House was a large thrift shop that had gained Stephanie’s attention. We all ventured in to look around. This store was packed with an eclectic array of vintage items from books and camera equipment to sewing machines and tools. Christopher found a few magickal treasures that are good for travel; Stephanie purchased a three-tine pitch fork for ritual use. This pitchfork was about seven-foot tall; Raven couldn’t quite reach the top of it so I offered to carry the pitchfork, being the tallest person in the group. You can see in the picture at top my size compared to the rest of the group.
It is a shame no one thought to take a picture of me carrying that pitchfork. Apparently, seeing unusual characters and items is no big deal in Salem, but I drew a lot of attention walking around with the pitchfork. Stephanie was having fun introducing me as her bodyguard.
We stopped in several of the shops along Essex Street. Excluding the shop where Stephanie waited outside, I took that pitchfork into every one. Kaliyah commented about the trolley shop where one of the patrons made sure to keep a safe distance from me.
While Kaliyah and I were in another store, Stephanie and Raven waited outside with the pitchfork. Stephanie was approached by a woman doing a year of giving program. They spoke for a while about witchcraft and the “Year of Giving” the woman was promoting. The woman parted when we came out of the store. Stephanie then payed it forward and gave the gift to the homeless woman with whom she was sitting.
We dropped our purchases at the cars and then had a lovely dinner at Nathaniel’s Restaurant in the Hawthorne hotel. Good conversation and good food followed by The Salem Witch Walk.
Kaliyah and I went into the walk expecting it to be more like a ghost tour, just about the Salem Witch Trials. To be fair many parts of the Witch Trials were referenced at throughout the walk, but the primary focus of the walk was to educate the guests about what witchcraft is truly.
Tom was delightful and knowledgeable. He spoke from the heart and provide detail on being a witch in Salem and practicing witchcraft. He didn’t speak about it when he did it, but I noticed that Tom burned some sage while we were at Charter Street Cemetery, the oldest burial grounds in the city of Salem. You can follow Tom’s witchcraft story at Salem Witch Wiles.
We ended the long day at Maria’s Sweet Somethings for ice cream; a lovely confectionery gift shop. A perfect way to end a great Salem experience.