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Mysterious Salem and Beautiful Cape Ann

A city and a cape in the US state of Massachusetts

By Rasma RaistersPublished 26 days ago 4 min read

You’ll find the city of Salem on the north coast of Massachusetts above the capital of the state Boston. Salem is mysterious because it is famous for its 1692 witch trials during which time some locals were executed for supposedly practicing witchcraft.

The Peabody Essex Museum exhibits a collection of maritime art, American decorative arts, and historical and contemporary arts from China, Japan, Korea, India, Africa, North America, and the Pacific Islands. It is interesting to explore the Huang family’s two-century-old ancestral home which was brought here and reassembled from the Huizhou region in China. There are several historic houses open to visitors among them the 1684 John Ward House, the 1727 Crowninshield-Bentley House, and the brick Gardner-Pingree House.

The Salem Maritime National Historic Site consists of about nine acres along the waterfront and twelve historic buildings that helped preserve Salem’s late 18th and 19th-century maritime history, which helped establish economic independence in the emerging U.S.

It is also the permanent home of the tall ship Friendship, a reconstructed 18th-century commercial sailing vessel that can be toured in the summertime. At the historic site, visitors can view exhibits, watch two free orientation films, and take a look at the lives of author Nathaniel Hawthorne and America’s first millionaire, Elias Hasket Derby, during hour-long free guided tours.

Also open to visitors is Derby’s 1762 home.

The House of Seven Gables site is a collection of colonial homes among them one of the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansions in New England, built in 1668. Author Nathaniel Hawthorne used the House of Seven Gables as the setting for his famous novel of the same name. Guides will lead you about and recount the history of its former occupants. You can view period artifacts, photos, and paintings.

The Nathaniel Hawthorne 1804 birthplace was restored at this site to its 1808 appearance. There are four other houses as well, all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Phillips House is a Federal-style home featuring Chinese porcelains, Persian carpets, paintings, and early American furniture. The collections span five generations of the Phillip family and highlight African woodcarvings and Native American pottery.

Witch House is the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, one of the magistrates in the witch trials. It was built in 1642 and is the only structure still standing in Salem with direct ties to the Witchcraft Trials of 1692, It has been preserved in its original appearance. Guided tours will give you information about lifestyles, furnishings, and architecture.

Beautiful Cape Ann

Let’s take a trip to Cape Ann, a rocky cape in northeastern Massachusetts on the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 30 miles northeast of Boston and it marks the northern limit of Massachusetts Bay. It includes the city of Gloucester and the towns of Essex, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport.

Just north of Salem, you’ll find Beverly, founded in 1626. The brick Cabot House was built in 1781 by John Cabot and was the site of the Beverly Bank, the nation’s oldest community bank from 1802 to 1868. Permanent exhibits include dolls, portraits, art, and military and maritime artifacts.

Balch House was built in 1636 and is one of the oldest in the country.

Hale Farm was built in 1692 and owned by Reverend John Hale who was involved in the witch trials when his wife was accused of being a witch.

In Rockport, the red fishing shack with its lobster buoys has been painted and photographed so often in the iconic New England fishing harbor that it has become known as Motif #1. There are art galleries and studios along the streets of this lovely little fishing town. Stop to take a look at the Sandy Bay Historical Society and Museum, the Old Castle, and the James Babson Cooperage Shop which are all full of history.

Of great interest is the Paper House, built in 1922 and made entirely of newspaper as well as the furniture inside.

Gloucester is a charming fishing harbor commemorated by the bronze statue of the Gloucester Fisherman on the waterfront. In late June, the Italian American community organizes the five-day St. Peter’s Festival.

Take a look at the picturesque artists’ colony in Rocky Neck.

Henry Davis Sleeper built the Sleeper-McCann House as a summer home in Beauport in 1907. Through the years it was expanded and now has 40 rooms. It is filled with his collections of American and European art, curiosities, folk art, china, and colored glass. There are entire room interiors with collections. As you tour the house you’ll hear about Sleeper and his friends.

Hammond Castle was built between 1926 and 1929 by inventor John Hays Hammond, Jr. It was built to look like a medieval castle and is home to his private collection of Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance artifacts. They were gathered from his European trips.

Leaving Gloucester we now go to the town of Essex from where in the 19th century more two-masted vessels were launched than from any other town in the world. The Essex Shipbuilding Museum has found its home in an 1835 schoolhouse and a shipyard on the riverfront. Here you’ll find a collection of some 8,000 tools and other items relating to the shipping industry. On display, you'll find over 3,000 photos of vessels, landscapes, history, and architecture.

Essex River Cruises will take you on narrated tours past estates, farms, and historic shipyards all in a landscape of salt marshes, islands, barrier beaches, dunes, winding rivers, and abundant wildlife.

Ipswich is a popular town with antique lovers who enjoy the shops and galleries along High Street. Castle Hill the shore estate is a wonderful example of the houses built by wealthy families in the early 20th century.

On its grounds are walking trails and the long shore of Crane Beach.

Visitors can tour the Great House from late May to mid-October. The John Heard House is a Federal-style mansion built around 1800, with Asian and American furnishings, art, and a collection of carriages and sleighs.

The John Whipple House has period furnishings and other antiques.


About the Creator

Rasma Raisters

My passions are writing and creating poetry. I write for several sites online and have four themed blogs on Wordpress. Please follow me on Twitter.

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