As we wound our way northward up the eastern seaboard, I was on the lookout for two things: lighthouses and seafood. I can happily say we found more of both in Massachusetts.
Yes, that infamous Salem. Around 1692, mass hysteria took hold and led to the deaths of 20 individuals accused of witchcraft. Today, people theorize that the finger pointing and so-called outing of witches was likely to settle personal scores or for personal gain.
There are different companies that provide walking tours where you can learn more about the sad history. I went on one myself but wish the tour was a little less campy and provided more historical context rather than simply pointing out the few surviving locales associated with the Salem witches and witch trials. You may have better luck with other companies.
Nonetheless, if you’re interested in learning about modern day witchcraft, paganism or wicca, Salem is the place to be. There are stores that offer various plants, crystals, spells, fortune telling, etc. This would be a fun place to visit during Halloween! 🎃
Some interesting stops around Salem:
- Bird’s nest art installation
- Burial ground & memorial for those unfortunate souls accused of witchcraft
- Saturday Farmer’s market
RV/Oversized vehicle parking: We camped at Winter Island Park, located a 10-15 min bike ride from the activities of downtown Salem. While the spots were a tad cozy, the campsite started growing on me. I especially enjoyed the sunset views of the boats bobbing on the water and the Fort Pickering Lighthouse. During low tide, you could walk among the rocks at Waikiki Beach and poke around the tide pools.
This beach destination, located in southeastern MA is known for its pretty, little towns, seafood shacks and picturesque views.
From the Cape Cod Visitor’s Center, hop on a 2 mile cycling trail – the Nauset trail – that winds through coastal forests, marshland and then ends at the ocean. It’s a great activity to get your heart rate up with scenic payoffs. The visitor’s center also offers a ranger-led kayak tour that seemed fun. You would need to book in advance.
RV/Oversized Vehicle parking: The visitor’s center has ample parking. If you want to drive to the Nauset Lighthouse, as we did after the bike ride, there’s space to park away from the crowds (see photo above), in the lighthouse parking lot.
For overnight stays, we reserved a couple of nights at Nickerson State Park. While ideally we’d have loved a slightly larger site, we couldn’t complain about the easy access to the lovely, quiet pond.
We boarded the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard from Falmouth, MA. Round-trip fare was $22/person and parking was a whopping $15! It took approximately 45 min each way and was uneventful save for the damp weather. From the ferry disembarkation point, it’s only a short walk to Circuit Ave and the main shopping/dining area and to the gingerbread homes of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association:
Plymouth Rock itself was a little underwhelming – I think I was envisioning more of a behemoth boulder. Apparently, the rock owes its diminished size to a time when people were allowed to take pieces of it home with them. 😕
The town of Plymouth itself proved a fun and entertaining walk. History buffs would enjoy the Pilgrim Hall museum, which was a good place to learn more about our country’s first immigrants. Admission was only $10.