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Okay, you guys. I have seen tons of talk lately regarding the October chaos in Salem, possibly closing the Charter street cemetery during October and overall issues with handling the volume of tourists who come into our lovely city. It has also come up a few different ways in my Facebook group recently. Today on the blog I wanted to use my platform to talk about a few things that should be kept in mind during your visit.

Salem is historic and people do live here.

First topic I want to touch on is Salem’s history. The city is full of landmarks, buildings and homes that have been around for a very, very long. There are some that are on national historic landmark registries, some are historic homes (many privately owned) that have been researched and dated back to the original owners, some areas that are landmarks based on the witch trials. Please, please keep this in mind. I have seen people visiting our city during October disrespecting the landmarks, climbing into areas they are not supposed to be, flicking lit cigarette butts, sitting on headstones in cemeteries, throwing litter and more. Please respect and keep our city safe and clean so it can be here to be enjoyed in the future as well. We need everyone to cooperate, especially on this one.

As I just mentioned, Salem is full of actual residents who are around during October. Please respect their homes. Don’t trespass, don’t peek into windows and respect their property. This goes extra for 4 Ocean Ave. You might recognize this as the Dennison’s home from the movie Hocus Pocus and yes, it is an actual home. Please don’t go onto the porch or into the yard for a picture. It’s a private residence.

If you are visiting a cemetery

If you plan to visit one of Salem’s cemeteries, please keep a few things in mind. First is to not sit on or touch the grave markers or headstones. Many of them need repairs or have gone under repair to preserve them. If we want to have them here for future generations, they need to be respected. Next, please note that grave rubbings are illegal…using any tools to make a copy, etching or rubbing of a grave marker is forbidden. Last, please do not leave candles or other items on or near the graves. Some of them can cause damage or pose a hazard to the area. I understand these items are left with good intention, however please refrain. Salem’s cemeteries are the final resting places of historic figures, loved ones and family members so please behave respectfully.

Patience, please.

If you are in Salem during peak season and plan to dine in our restaurants, please have patience. The lines will be long, the wait will be long and the servers will be busy and tired. Please know they are doing their best and are super busy with long days and crowds. Give them the extra patience, tip properly and leave good reviews online. All too often we see visitors posting nasty words online about wait times and lines on the Facebook or Yelp of the restaurant they visited. These times are the exception, not the rule. The city sees hundreds of thousands and people in October. Have empathy for the servers, baristas and staff who are running their tails off trying to take care of everyone.

Respect the rules

Many attractions have rules or signs posted. Please make note of them and behave accordingly. For example, if you go into Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery you will see signs posted saying that photographs aren’t permitted once you’re inside the gallery. You might have a tour guide that asks you to silence your cell phones so it does not disrupt the group. You might be asked to check or leave large bags and items before entering an attraction. The Coven’s Cottage limits the number of people allowed into the store at one time during the fall. Please go along with these requests and respect the rules of wherever you are.

Wicca, Paganism and Witchcraft are very real

Salem has a large number of New Age shops that cater to a Wiccan, Pagan or Witchcraft based audience. Please be respectful and mindful that this is a religious or spiritual path, just like any other. Most shop owners are very kind and more than willing to answer genuine questions.

I hope this blog post is well received…none of this is meant to be read in an aggressive tone. I am simply trying to bring a little more awareness to the areas we see trouble here in Salem. Please treat the witch city like you would your own home because it’s our home. If you want to continue to enjoy it and want future generations to enjoy it as well, we need everyone on the same page. <3

A special thanks

A special thanks goes to Jen Ratliff who helped me bounce around ideas for this post and contributed to its final layout. If you want to read about some of Jen’s favorite historic locations in Salem, click here. She was gracious enough to share them with me last year. She can also be found over at History by the Sea.

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  1. Thank you so much for this! My daughter and I are visiting Salem in October (so excited), and I am loving getting these tips from your blog!

    1. Yay how exciting!! I hope you have a great visit. You’ll love Salem. <3

  2. What’s it like in November? LoL

    1. November is way more quiet…the city dies down a lot. Some businesses take a small break from the October chaos and close for a few days but largely there is still stuff to do. 🙂

  3. Wonderful post! Respectful tourism is so important.

    1. Super important. Thanks for your feedback with this post!

  4. thank you so much for this pointers, I´m traveling from another country this October. Now reading this blog, it was probably a mistake (due to big crowds) but I´m gonna make the best of it !

    1. It wasn’t a mistake…Salem in October is crowded but so much fun. I hope you have a great visit!

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