Exploring Massachusetts: Salem and Plymouth

As my time in Boston slowly edges to a close, I really wanted to take some time to explore all of the historical and/or touristy sites that this state has to offer. Despite living here for nearly two years, there's a ton that I haven't seen, either because time hasn't allowed, or because access to a motor vehicle has been scarce. This past weekend, though, my college friend and sorority sister Melissa came to town and since she is brave enough to drive in this crazy state, we rented a car for three days and spent some time in two of Massachusetts' most famous areas: Salem and Plymouth.

Our trip to Salem consisted of a visit to the Salem Witch Museum (apparently Salem's most visited museum), where they gave a 30-minute panorama-type retelling of the 1692 Witch Trials. Something like 19 innocent people were killed due mostly to false testimony and scapegoating -- one poor man was pressed to death.

We also spent a lot of time walking around the cute town where there are lots of witch-related and even normal shops. Of course, we both bought cute Salem t-shirts (mine says "Stop in For a Spell," so cute) and took lots of fun pictures, including this one memorializing Elizabeth Montgomery, an actress best known for her role as Samantha in Bewitched:

We also visited the earliest burial grounds in the town, although none of the convicted witches were buried here. There was a Pilgrim in this graveyard and the wife of one of the "witches." There was also a Witch Memorial with benches laid out for each of the people that were killed -- each bench had a name engraved with their death date and the way they were murdered. Lots of people laid flowers on top of the stones.

Also while in Salem, we ate lunch on the Pickering Wharf harbor and took photos in front of the Witch House, which is the oldest standing structure in Salem. Apparently it was once the home of the Judge that convicted the witches, and eerily enough, both Melissa and I had orbs/ghosts floating in our photos of the house (look near the sign on the right side)!

Our trip to Plymouth was also fun. We got to tour a replica of the Mayflower, which is docked at Plymouth Harbor and is actually still seaworthy. Man, it was a small ship for 100 people! I think we saw a total of like 6 "beds" on the whole ship, so I can't even imagine where they put everyone unless they were a whole lot shorter and thinner than people are today!

We also went and saw the actual rock, which truth be told, was just a rock with a big 1620 carved into it. I was even more disappointed when I found out that the rock wasn't even claimed as the landing place of the Pilgrims until 120 years later in 1741! I wonder then how anyone KNEW that this particular rock was THE rock considering all of the pilgrims would have been long dead by then...Is one of our country's historic sites thus a scam??

We also went and visited Plimoth Plantation, which was a site I had been wanting to see since arriving in Boston in the fall of 2008. Basically, there are several parts: A crafts center where modern-day artisans build clothes and household items that would have been used in the 17th century, a replica 1627 English village with role-players who try to convey what life was like for the Pilgrims when they first arrived and an Indian village where modern-day Native Americans wear traditional clothing and just talk with people about their culture.

The plantation itself was really cool as there were lots of farm animals roaming about and we got to watch "Pilgrims" baking bread, engaging in metalworking, farming and tending to the animals. It was also interesting again to note how small all of the quarters were!

Overall, it was a lot of fun taking a trip back in time over the weekend and I feel like I got to see a lot of the state while we took the scenic routes (aka got lost) several times! And here's a fun fact: apparently there are a million Dunkin' Donuts in Boston. We saw 15 of them on the 30-minute route from HBS to Salem....crazy!
'Til next time!

3 Responses to "Exploring Massachusetts: Salem and Plymouth"

Anonymous responded on April 6, 2010 at 5:19 PM #

Woah...sounds like a lot of history packed in three days....

Melissa responded on April 9, 2010 at 9:46 PM #

Hey now! My GPS "Ben" did a pretty good job! He just wanted us to take the scenic routes so we could count dunkin donut stores, hehe

Gabrielle responded on April 10, 2010 at 9:41 AM #

Hahaha, Melissa, I am so glad that you finally decided to check out my blog! And I DID enjoy counting Dunkin Donuts!