Salem Massachusetts, a place where history and present day collide.
My mother and her family settled in New England about an hour away from Salem. I was lucky enough to spend some of my childhood on the Coast, and got to experience some of the flavor that comes with the area.
Salem, is as you know a place where the famous Witch Trials have occurred. Back in the 1600s some girls made an allegation, that spurned on the largest witch hunt on record. Two hundred people were accused, and twenty executions were held. The area was amiss with witchcraft hysteria.
When you walk around there are constant reminders of what happened there. The only thing that was off putting to me, was how on the left you have to cemetery where the accused where buried. It looks like what you might expect, old, spooky, with gnarly trees. Across the street is a Dunkin Donuts and a Barbecue place. Almost seems like two worlds mashed together. In fact there are examples of this all over. The House of Seven Gables, sits next to a quick mart. Many of the historical houses sit right next to a modern build, say a Starbucks. While I do not mind this, it is really not the vision I had, of creepy, old , mysterious Salem of my imagination
That being said, the place has still become a mecca for the occult. Even having people openly identifiable as "witches". There are lots of little quirky shops and places to buy every kind of occult goody you could want. From candles, to cauldrons. From potions to hexes it runs the gambit. You can eve stop and get a reading tarot, aura or otherwise from one of the many readers who work there.
The best time to go is definitely October. As you can imagine the whole places goes crazy at Halloween. The whole town lights up into a daily festival. You can see a live show about the witch trials, or get some fry cakes. People on the street with stands selling all sorts of things. It has a real carnival feel, which gets crowded, but the energy is good. Follow the painted red line on the street to walk the Heritage trail.
The whole place is buzzing, and if you are inclined you can attend the Morning Tea with the Witches, or the Vampires Ball which happens near Halloween. There is plenty to do and last time I was there, a convention for Harry Potter happened to be in town and running around. Nothing like seeing Snape, drink a pumpkin lager, or twenty kids with lightning bolts on their heads running down the street.