Out by Day

Work and family & friend commitments have kept me in Salem much more than I care to be this October, so I have assumed the habit of a reverse vampire, hiding myself away during the weekends and nights and coming out by (week)day. I just don’t care for the carnivalesque quality of Halloween in Salem, so it’s best to absent myself until November 1, or thereabouts. Salem is a great walking city, and I take long walks all year long: to work, along the water, in the two “botanical” cemeteries, Greenlawn and Harmony Grove, and around the Common and its neighborhoods. Only the cemeteries are safe on October weekends, but during the weekdays the city is mine! If you are traveling to Salem this October, do yourself a favor and: 1) take the train—our traffic has been horrendous— it’s an old city full of bottlenecks and one-way streets and more recent traffic experiments like the roundabout at the end of my street; 2) come during the week if you can— it’s less crowded, less smoky, and less of a carnival; and 3) step off the beaten track just a bit, and this is the city you will see.















20191015_105404The Old Burying Point on Charter Street is closed (thankfully) all month long; if you do come during the week you can ride a scooter around town—but not on the weekend as they have been banned because of the crowds.

9 responses to “Out by Day

  • Helen Breen

    Hi Donna, thanks for the great pics of Salem in lovely weather this month. Love the ghosts “dancing” around the tree. You always capture Salem at its best…

  • Rick Ouellette

    I was there on Saturday to see a special film screening, so I took a walk among the crowds. Was happy to see that the Charter St. cemetery was off limits, at least when I was there. Great photos!

    • daseger

      Did you enjoy the spectacle of it all, Rick? I get all anxious–not just because of the crowds–I just can’t connect the Salem Witch Trials and Halloween the way everyone else obviously can.

  • Mary Jane Kelley

    Wonderful pictures, as usual.
    Thank you.

  • Nancy

    Beautiful photos! Thank you! Daughter and I visited Salem last Friday…when the Nor’easter blew through. We dressed appropriately, used umbrellas (which, with the wind, often turned inside out!), and enjoyed the city. We felt extra blessed in that the rain and wind deflected a lot of would-be revelers. A lovely city.

  • Nathanielle Sean Crawford

    I don’t blame you for avoiding the chaos. When I moved back to my hometown a few years ago, the first thing I noticed in October was… nothing. Just dead silence. After seven years in Salem I had forgotten what the rest of the world is like when Halloween is not a month long affair and a glorified crafts fair.

    But these photos remind me of the town I truly fell in love with. I’ll return some day.

  • Laura

    I’m not sure why, but Halloween is a relatively big deal here in Washington DC and surrounding urban areas. Especially in Georgetown. And in Old Town, Alexandria in Virginia they have trick or treat night for dogs.

    It used to be startling to see outlandishly huge inflatable black widow spiders attached to the side of urban brownstones, houses or adventuresome apartment buildings. Now inflatable multi-legged things have become de rigueur, and I’m curious to see the next step up this year. Someone will do something that points the way to the next level.

    But none of this has that infernal witch-history-commericialization that you have so well described here in your blog. So it’s more bearable.

    It’s more like comic competition. The funniest instance of that I saw was a sole house on a street that wasn’t doing decorations, and you could almost feel the peer pressure on that house, walking down the street. Finally, couple days before Halloween, the house owner scattered little peaked squares of white cloth all over the bushes in front–almost as if saying, OK, you people, here are my ghosts! Leave me alone!

    Some people dress up at the Library of Congress too, believe it or not. And, of course, last year, they had a Frankenstein read-a-thon in the Main Reading Room that you could stream on your computer, and we all did while working away.

    • Laura

      P.S. My favorite among your photos are the ghosts dancing around the tree hand-in-hand. Much prefer the home-made like that to the big inflated insects! 🙂

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