My family has a very busy schedule, but we still like to explore new places. A weekend getaway is a perfect solution.
Where do you go for a weekend getaway? I grew up in Ohio, so I am not aware of all the wonderful options that exist in New England. I have always been curious about Salem, Massachusetts. It is famous for the witch trials in colonial times and it draws huge crowds of people every October. However, I found that Salem makes a delightful weekend getaway in the summer. Here are my recommendations.
Stay at a bed and breakfast.
Salem is filled with historical homes. Our family stayed in a bed and breakfast and it was wonderful. We were able to park our car and leave it there until the end of the trip. We were close enough to all the attractions that we could walk to them. It is much less stressful to walk around the town instead of trying to figure out unfamiliar traffic patterns and confusing GPS instructions. A huge, delicious breakfast every morning is obviously a great treat. I also like bed and breakfasts because they feel more like home. Many have amenities such as board games or hammocks that allow you to relax in the afternoon or evening.
Visit the Peabody Essex Museum.
Many Vermont families are aware that an Echo membership gets you free admission to several other museums in Boston. The Shelburne Museum now offers a Family Plus membership that will also get you free entry to other museums across the country. One of these is the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. This is a wonderful museum. We spent several hours exploring the various exhibits. There is a special hands-on area for children to explore. If you get hungry, there is also a cafe with plenty of food options.
Take a self-guided walking tour.
The National Park Service offers several different self-guided walking tours. Just download the brochure from their website and you will get directions and information about all the stops along the way. I downloaded the tours right onto my phone. I prefer self-guided tours because there are no crowds of people and I can go on the tour at my own convenience. A weekend getaway can be hard on young children because their routine is broken. However, if you bring along a stroller and take a self-guided tour during their usual naptime, children will often fall asleep on your walk.
Enjoy a sweet treat.
While we were walking around Salem, we passed many spots to get a sweet treat. Everyone enjoys ice cream on a hot day and there are many options out there. Our favorite spot for a sweet treat was Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie. They bill themselves as America’s oldest candy company. The store offers several old-fashioned candies that you don’t find elsewhere. Sampling the colonial-style candy offers a bit of education to go along with the sugar high. If your kids are picky, Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie also offers a huge array of modern treats. I really enjoyed buying a mystery bag of candy. I love surprises, especially sweet ones!
Visit the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.
This historic site is run by the National Park Service and it is amazing. There are many buildings to explore and the guides we encountered were all extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Some of the activities, like the tour of the Custom House and the films at the visitor center are available whenever it is convenient for your family. A tour of the Narbonne House requires a reservation, but it is worth the effort. You will be part of a small group that gets to tour a historic colonial home. Best of all, these activities are all free. A weekend getaway doesn’t have to be expensive!
Tour the House of the Seven Gables.
This house was made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story The House of the Seven Gables. Even if you have never read the book, the House of the Seven Gables is a great example of colonial architecture. A friendly tour guide will lead you through the house and answer your questions. There are some smaller buildings and gardens on the property that you can explore at your own pace. Just be careful in the gift shop. I was tempted to buy a huge selection of the books!
If you are looking for a weekend getaway this summer, head to Salem, Massachusetts!