1. THE ART
When it comes to works of art, the Peabody Essex Museum is a soul satisfying destination upon itself. With roots dating to the 1799 founding of the East India Marine Society, the PEM collection offers over 1.8 million works from the 1700s to today.
Ocean Liners at the Peabody Essex Museum
From the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century, ocean liners were floating showcases of technology, opulence and social sophistication.
As icons of modernity and aspirational living, artists, engineers, architects and passengers all vied for influence and access in the creation and enjoyment of these man-made islands at sea.
Ocean liners were intricately constructed pieces of culture—in the appearance of their design, the elegance of their engineering and the division of their social space and each with its own distinct personality.
Drawing from international institutions and private collections, the exhibition brings together nearly 200 works including paintings, sculpture, models, furniture, lighting, wall panels, textiles, fashion, photographs, posters and film. The exhibition is co-organized with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
On our way out we came across another exhibit that looked way too good not to pass by. WOW could be one word to describe what we saw next.
For the last 25 years, New Zealand has hosted an annual design competition that challenges sculptors, costume designers, textile artists and makers of all stripes to explore the boundary between fashion and art, and to "get art off the walls and onto the body."
You really need to see this wearable art up close and personal. You won't be disappointed.
2. THE HISTORY
It all started in 1629 as a significant Puritan American seaport made famous for its 1692 witch trials. The trials resulted in the executions of 20 innocent people.
Why? A local physician diagnosed several teenage girls as bewitched, which resulted in the hanging of 19 and one being crushed to death.
When the hysteria had played itself out the following year, everyone was released from prison who had been accused of witchcraft. Numerous original papers from the trials are kept at the Peabody Essex Museum.
Today, Salem is a thriving world-class destination bringing together enticing New England cuisine at bountiful waterfront restaurants, an endless array of museums, new discoveries around every corner and one epic Halloween bash. Did you get in your car yet?
There always seems to be an exciting festival of some sort going on that's worthy a visit. We just so happened to come across the Salem Art Festival in its full glory. There were so many creative vendors to peruse while listening to live music. A perfect New England weekend!
3. THE COCKTAILS
While there are many places to kick back and enjoy a fine cocktail in Salem, we were destined to try out a newcomer.
The Kokeshi Mule blended Deacon Giles spiced rum, local A.J. Stephans ginger beer, lime and cilantro, while the Year of the Rooster was concocted of Privateer rum, lemongrass, lime and cucumber.
4. THE LIGHTHOUSES
Salem is home to not only 1, but 3 historic lighthouses.
Built in 1791 and last reconstructed in 1820, Baker Island Lighthouse is on private Bakers Island in the Salem Sound. Want to explore? Good news! Accessible by guided boat, the lighthouse is open for tours during the summer.
Undoubtedly well-loved on Instagram and the most accessible, Derby Wharf Lighthouse was built in 1871. When strolling Salem Harbor, venturing the 1/2 mile out from Derby Street to this New England icon is a must.
Winter Island Lighthouse was also built in 1871 on the circa 1643 Fort Pickering site. This lighthouse is my favorite. Why? Because the grounds were meant for exploring and there's plenty to see, starting with the 17th century fort remnants, right down to the abandoned Coast Guard barracks—the official site of four executions between 1772 and 1821. Putting that aside, the park-esque grounds are perfect for a summer picnic. Go.
5. THE ARCHITECTURE
My undying love for historic homes came to its fruition on historic Chestnut Street. Salem is outfitted to the brim with fascinating architecture ranging from First Period, Georgian Colonial and Federal-style homes. Most are private, but others are open to the public that give you a glimpse into a bygone era.
Salem is meant for walking and the McIntire Historic District is where you will find over 300 well-preserved examples of everything from historic mansions to humble cottages. The district is a slice of Beacon Hill in Boston's North Shore.
We learned quite a few interesting facts from gables to nail heads and secret stairways to the history of the original families. The tour guides we encountered are full of knowledge and able to answer just about any question you may have.