Sep 27th, 2011 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Colorful, Coastal City Attracts Seniors

Salem goes a long ways back historically. Since 1626, when Roger Conant arrived with the first settlers, Salem, Massachusetts has been attracting senior visitors from all points of the compass. Many come to visit and some decide to stay and make Salem their home.  This colorful, coastal city has much to offer both residents and visitors: a culturally diverse population, a rich maritime heritage, an impressive display of historic architecture and amazing stories that span almost four centuries.

It may be most widely known as the site of the Salem witchcraft trials of 1692.  We visited there many years ago and I still remember a couple of things in spite of the years gone by…one was the floor that was lit up with all kinds of weird symbols as we stood in a circle and the place was explained to us.  The other was the clapboard house that was a dark shade of grey.

Salem has much more to offer seniors who seek good sightseeing attractions. The population was 40,407 at the 2000 census, so it’s not a small city. Take a YouTube tour here to set the stage for your visit.

As you can see by the map, Salem is on the sea and boasts a long history of merchant ships.  At one time Salem was one of the most significant seaports in early America. It has the first National Historic Site designated by Congress, Salem Maritime National Historic Site, which protects Salem’s historic waterfront.

In Salem,  local historic districts are established and administered by a community to protect the distinctive characteristics of important areas, and to encourage new structural designs that are compatible with the area’s historic setting. Tourism is the backbone of Salem’s economy as the witch-related tourism expanded significantly in the 1990s.  The city added an official Haunted Happenings celebration during the October tourist season.

Seniors Find Historic Architecture and Witch Stories in Salem

A little more history on this…”She afflicts me! She comes to me at night and torments me!  She’s a witch!”  Words such as these struck terror into the hearts of Salem townspeople in the early spring of 1692 as hysterical young girls called out names.  By summer, 180 people had been accused and imprisoned – defenseless against accusations of witchcraft in a society driven by superstition and fear. Here senior visitors are given a dramatic history lesson using stage sets with life-size figures, lighting and a narration – an overview of the Witch Trials of 1692.

Salem State University is the largest of the nine schools comprising the state university system in Massachusetts, with 7,500 undergraduates and 2,500 graduate students. For a little more info on the city try the city’s official website.  Over a million visitors from around the globe visit Salem each year. There must be something there that attracts them…more than just the witch-thing. The historic architecture is certainly one of the big draws along with the site location on the water.  Go grab a big broom and fly on in to Salem.  jeb

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