As a kid, I couldn’t get enough of the hype that surrounded this holiday. It usually started somewhere in the middle of summer with the early arrival of Halloween decorations in Target. Soon to follow was the excitement of picking out that year’s costume at Party City, carving pumpkins in the front yard, then sneaking early pieces of candy from the top shelf of the kitchen pantry. The actual night of Halloween kicked off with a chili-and-cornbread dinner with neighborhood friends that transitioned seamlessly into an evening full of trick-or-treating and excitedly racing from one house to another.
As a teen, Halloween became an excuse to get into a little mischief… maybe hang out with whatever cute boy I had a crush on at the time, and perhaps push my luck and stay out past curfew.
But as an adult, I’ve got to admit that the charm has worn off — almost completely. I no longer find enjoyment in thinking up a creative costume… instead I see dollar signs and a nasty hangover. The only excitement that really remains for me is the anticipation of crisp fall weather and Freeform’s 13 Nights of Halloween.
This year, however, was different.
I was both unlucky and lucky when one of my best friend’s grad-school plans included a big move to the East Coast. Unlucky since she would no longer be a quick 45-minute drive from me; lucky since she was moving to Boston!
Boston is a city full of charm and with a vibrant past. And, when the time comes around, it has gorgeous autumn weather — something we are seriously lacking in Southern California. I couldn’t wait to grab at the first chance I could to fly out and visit. Before she hopped on her flight from Los Angeles, she proposed something that renewed the kid-Marissa excitement of Halloween in me: a spooky Halloweekend spent in Salem!
So last Thursday, after months of anticipation, I jumped onto an early flight to Boston.
Friday in Boston
We opted to sleep in on Friday morning, getting a later start on the day than originally planned. Instead of starting with breakfast, we hit a quick lunch on Newbury Street at a charming cafe called Cafeteria Boston. We each enjoyed a strong and spicy Bloody Mary, and split a fig and goat cheese pizza and chicken Caesar salad.
After, we took to the streets and hit a number of popular tourist stops like the Boston Public Library, the Boston Public Gardens, Acorn Street, and the Boston Commons before getting some coffee and regrouping at Caffe Nero. Along the way, we stopped more times can I can count to admire and take pictures of the decorated stoops throughout the city.
After we rested our tired feet and got a little caffeine in our systems, we were on our way again, aiming for some delicious Italian food in the North End. On our way we saw the Old State House, strolled through Quincy Market, and ventured past the Paul Revere House, deciding immediately after that we were ready for an early dinner and a well-deserved glass of wine (or two).
We settled on a restaurant called Trattoria Il Panino, primarily because it was the first restaurant we stumbled upon that didn’t require a reservation or have an hour-long wait. The food ended up being absolutely delicious. Satisfied and a little sleepy, we headed back to my friend’s place in Medford for a night full of baking, Hocus Pocus (duh), and more wine before getting to bed early since another friend landed early and we had full day planned in Salem.
Saturday in Salem
The last time I was in Salem, I was five, quickly approaching six, and scared of pretty much everything. My brilliant parents (read: sarcasm) didn’t consider how a day spent learning an in-depth history of the famed Salem Witch Trials would leave a lasting impression on me. Safe to say those images definitely stuck with me until this day. However, I was very eager to return this time around and re-learn the history with new eyes and a new interest.
Once we picked up our friend Sabrina from the airport, we immediately hit the road. Salem is only a quick 45 minutes from Boston, but it was supposed to be very busy since it was the Saturday before Halloween. On the way, we drove through some stunning coastal towns and plenty of charming neighborhoods, too. We also made sure to make some important stops as avid Hocus Pocus fans. Our first was at Old Burial Hill, the cemetery where Max meets Jay and Ice for the first time.
We then stopped at Max and Dani’s house (!!!!!!), a beautiful coastal cottage right on the water.
Last on our quick Hocus Pocus tour was Alison’s house, which is only a few houses down from the famed Salem Witch House. Once we found parking, we walked along the street and snapped some pictures of both before getting in line to tour the Witch House.
The rest of our day was spent walking around the city center, popping into different shops, and looking at some historic grounds. Since it got much more crowded as the day went on, we weren’t able to go on any official tours without having to wait for upwards of an hour or two. So after grabbing a quick drink and appetizers at a bar that was once the town’s jail, we got back on the road for dinner at a waterfront restaurant in a small coastal town called Swampscott. We then headed back into Boston to get into our costumes before heading back to Salem for a spooky night out at the bars! Take a peak at our costumes below.
(Corinne was “Pregnant Kylie Jenner”/I was Vivian Ward from Pretty Woman/Sabrina was Samara from The Ring)
My trip was much too short. I’m already looking forward to the next time I can spend an extended amount of time in Boston, getting a better look at the Freedom Trail, and maybe getting a chance to dive into Salem’s dark history once more!
Until next time . . .