This weekend’s tour is focused on Salem Willows, for the first time (I think!) in this storied event’s 33-year history. The tour has developed its large following by opening up in the city’s central (McIntire, the , Derby Street), but every once in a while it branches out to showcase an outlying neighborhood: a few years ago and now the Willows. Eight homes are on the tour, all decorated for the season. By the time you are reading this, it’s too late to purchase tickets online, but they will be available at the Bentley School (25 Memorial Drive, Salem) on Saturday and Sunday. Christmas in Salem is the major fundraiser for Salem’s preservation organization, Historic Salem, Incorporated, and as such, it enables HSI to continue its preservation advocacy and outreach.in Salem
In terms of preservation, the Willows (or more formally the Juniper Point, which is adjacent to the historic Willows ) has been a bit vulnerable in recent years, given its desirable coastal location, its lack of historic district restrictions, and the transformation of its summer cottages to year-round residences. There have been some rather aggressive additions and an unfortunate teardown a few years back. But the majority of the neighborhood’s close-knit and early twentieth-century dwellings appear perfectly preserved, and they provide a nice backdrop for a seaside Christmas stroll.
A Craftsman cottage (not sure if this is on the tour–it’s just one of my favorite houses) in Salem Willows, framed by two early 20th century doctored postcards from the archives of Salem State University.