Derby Wharf

Salem embraces its past - both the good and the bad

From Ottawa Citizen

Time stands still in Salem, Mass. Dusk falls rapidly, and a creeping fog drifts in from the sea across Derby Wharf.

The tall ship, Friendship, a replica of a 1797 merchant vessel, is anchored nearby, silhouetted by the fading light.

As footsteps of people hurrying home echo off the stately brick and wooden buildings, you can easily imagine yourself in the busy streets of a colonial town hundreds of years ago.

Like the sturdy immigrants who settled here four centuries ago, Salem is a survivor.

Still known best for the 1692 witch trial hysteria, the town embraces its tarnished past.

In October, the streets are bustling with visitors. Haunted Happenings, a monthlong celebration of costume balls, parades, story telling events, and ghost tours, attracts large crowds eager to soak up the one-of-a-kind history and atmosphere.

If you prefer a quieter visit, come a little later in autumn or even winter, when many historic sites and museums remain open for tours.