You likely know Salem, Massachusetts for its witchy past. Walk around the city today and you’ll find plenty of shops devoted to witchcraft, psychic arts and other mystical hobbies. But there’s more to Salem than its Halloween-themed attractions. It’s also a historic seaport with a vibrant waterfront, making it one of the most enjoyable ports for boaters to visit in New England.
Boaters can navigate to Salem by steering toward a large power plant along its waterfront. The waters around Salem are filled with rocks and ledges, and although several marked channels lead into Salem Harbor, Salem Channel, beginning just east of Newcomb Ledge, is the most straightforward approach. No fuel is available in Salem Harbor, but gas and diesel are available in nearby Beverly and Marblehead Harbors.
Once in Salem, you can find dockage and moorings at Pickering Wharf Marina (978-744-2727), located at a lively wharf with shops and restaurants. Also nearby is the Brewer Hawthorne Cove Marine (978-740-9890), a full service marina adjacent to the House of the Seven Gables.
When entering Salem Harbor, you’ll notice Winter Island to starboard. The former military installation is a marine recreational park and features camping, picnic areas and is home to historic Fort Pickering and Fort Pickering Lighthouse. In Salem, visitors will find the Peabody Essex Museum (800-745-4054), the nation’s oldest continuously operated museum. Its collection includes maritime arts and history, plus a wide array of Asian, African, Native American and American arts. The National Park Service’s Salem Maritime Historic Site (978-740-1660) offers tours of historic buildings, a visit to a tall ship and a film about Salem’s history. You can also tour the Salem Custom House, where Nathaniel Hawthorne worked as a surveyor from 1846 to 1849. Salem, of course, also has a large number of witch- and monster-themed attractions. For more information, you can click here.
When you get hungry, Salem has many great restaurants to choose from. Finz Seafood (978-744-8485) offers waterfront dining, a raw bar, and innovative seasonal menus. Victoria Station & Vic’s Boathouse(978-745-3400) also offers waterfront dining, an exceptional menu and live entertainment. And the Sea Level Oyster Bar (978-741-0555) on Pickering Wharf has an indoor/outdoor bar, incredible views and fresh seafood.