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My Town: Brooke's Salem

Paul Costello

Photo: Paul Costello

WHEN YOU'VE HAD ENOUGH HOUSE TOURS
Go hiking in a huge nature preserve [Salem Conservation Area; 978/741-7900]. Trails start behind the high school on Wilson Street and lead to woods, a meadow, a marsh. Once we saw an owl, but he didn't say, "Whoo"—he was probably asleep.

BACK TO THE 17TH CENTURY
Last summer I went to history camp at the House of the Seven Gables, and we spent a day at Pioneer Village [Forest River Park; 978/745-0525; open April—November], which looks like Salem in the 1630's. We got to cook stew and johnnycake over an open fire.

SPEAKING OF FOOD
One of my favorite restaurants is the Lyceum [43 Church St.; 978/745-7665], in the building where Alexander Graham Bell made the first long-distance phone call. We have brunch here. For clam chowder and lobster rolls, try Finz [76 Wharf St.; 978/744-8485], on Pickering Wharf. A new Irish pub called O'Neill's [120 Washington St.; 978/740-8811] is fun for dinner (fish and chips!). A singer and a fiddler do sea chanteys; they sing the verses, we sing the choruses.

YE OLDE SOUVENIRS
The East India Goods Store [at Salem Maritime National Historic Site, 174 Derby St.; 978/740-1667] is filled with replicas of cool old stuff. There's a learn-to-knit kit, and one that lets you make a wooden jumping man. I'd get everything here if I could. Buy a barley-sugar witch pop or some gibraltars [lemon and peppermint drops] at Ye Olde Pepper Companie [122 Derby St.; 978/745-2744], the oldest candy store in the country. You can look through a kitchen window and see everything being made.

IT'S PRONOUNCED HA-BA
I love the boats in Salem Harbor, especially the new tall ship Friendship [for tours, call 978/740-1680; www.nps.gov/sama/]. Salem Sailing Cruises [74 Wharf St.; 978/526-7839; adults $20 per hour, kids $10] takes people out on a schooner. At low tide, it's fun to walk out to the lighthouse on Derby Wharf—a half-mile there and back.

WHERE TO SLEEP
I like two hotels. The Hawthorne [18 Washington Square W.; 978/744-4080; doubles from $145] is right on the common and has a fancy dining room where I went to a birthday tea once. The Salem Inn [7 Summer St.; 800/446-2995 or 978/741-0680; doubles from $180] is in three Federal houses next to the Witch House. You can sign up to take a night walk by lantern light and hear stories about Salem's spooky past.

For an update on Salem goings-on, call 877/725-3662 or check www.salemweb.org.

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