Good morning everyone, happy Monday and welcome back to the blog. I had the pleasure of joining in on a house tour at the Daniels House a few weeks ago and today’s blog post is going to be a review of my experience. First, let’s go over some history of the Daniels House.
The Daniels House, Salem, MA
“Undoubtedly one of the oldest houses in Salem, The Daniels House was constructed by Stephen Daniels I or Stephen Daniels II between 1667 and 1693. It is a largely original First Period structure of great historic importance. For the first century and a half of its history, the house was occupied by shipbuilders and carpenters, as is reflected in the fine paneling and interior detail of various generations. Daniels and his son were both shipbuilders and mariners. In the mid-1700s, Stephen Daniels II’s daughter Mary married into the Silsbee family and lived in the house until 1803. Her son, Samuel Silsbee, was a carpenter who remodeled and enlarged the house around the time of his marriage to Martha Prince in 1756.
Silsbee’s heirs divided the house into two properties, listed as numbers 1 and 3 Daniels Street in the mid-1800s. When his daughters died in 1860s, the properties were sold to other families.
For about a century, the house endured what Samuel Chamberlain called in 1950 “many vicissitudes.” It was subdivided into a double house of at least four apartments, served as a “day nursery” and a boarding house, and had an ever rotating group of widows, laborers, railroad and shoe workers living in it for the better part of fifty years. The house was vacant after a foreclosure in the Great Depression for almost 20 years.
Afterwards it was lovingly cared for and filled with antiques by Theodore Perry and Winifred Haller, who operated the first floor as a historic tea room. In 1962, the Hallers sold the house to Thomas and Catherine Gill. Catherine “Kay” Gill collected a new treasury of antiques and operated the house first as a bed and breakfast and then as an inn for 55 years until her death in 2018.
In 2019, new owners Patrick Bentivegna and Adele Lee purchased the property and completed a full restoration. They opened their home once again as a bed and breakfast offering unique accommodations and tours to the public.” [Source]
My review and experience
Since purchasing the Daniels House in 2019, Patrick Bentivegna and Adele Lee have been super busy restoring it, adding on amenities, house tours, a gift shop and more. They offer several tours that run at various times, some seasonal and some year round. These options include “Inside the Daniels House”, “Lore of the Land”, “Terror Next Door”, “Local Lore by Candlelight”, “Christmas Fireside Tales” and “Winter Fireside Tales”.
The tour I took was “Inside the Daniels House”, run by Vijay Joyce. Vijay is a licensed Salem, MA tour guide who holds degrees in historic preservation and architectural history. We began inside of the old parlor which is home to a large dining table and sitting area plus a massive fireplace. This is the main area where family and friends would have gathered. While Vijay does the introduction to the tour and discusses the focal points of this room, tour guests are able to sip on hot tea that was selected specifically to enhance the experience. The flavor notes and elements are chosen to add to the tour and give you more of an immersive experience.
After some time in the old parlor, you move through the main entrance way and into the kitchen. Inside the kitchen you will continue to learn about how this room was primarily used, the unique fireplace, other notable features of this space, a bit of the Salem witch trials and more.
After the kitchen, Vijay will take you outside and offer comments on features of the structure of the house, the entrance points and more. I don’t want to give away details of this tour and spoil it for you, however I will say that Vijay did an absolutely fantastic job. He is a very talented tour guide, clearly very passionate about history and preservation. He goes into amazing detail about all of the facets of the Daniels House that indicate its history and story. I have walked by the Daniels House many, many times and its red door and entrance (pictured at the top of this blog post) is my favorite in Salem. It was a pleasure learning more about this house, how it was used and what those walls have seen over the years.
Owners Patrick and Adele have been busy making the Daniels House an immersive experience where you can enjoy Salem and its history all together. Staying at the Daniels House, sipping tea in the parlor, enjoying one of their many tours and walking the property is a fantastic way to truly get a glimpse into Salem’s unique history and story. Salem is known for the witch trials, of course. The two go hand in hand in most people’s minds. Vijay does touch on the trials, however I loved that the focus was mainly on the other aspects of Salem’s history such as the sea and trade with countries such as India. Salem is so much more than the trials and I enjoyed the emphasis on other aspects.
To book a room or check availability with the Daniels House, click here. To read more about the tours the Daniels House offers, click here. Please also note you do not need to be a guest and staying at the Daniels House to enjoy a tour. These are available to any and everyone and I highly recommend grabbing tickets to one while you are visiting Salem.
I hope you all enjoyed this peak into the Daniels House! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me or to the Daniels House with any questions and if you do book a room or tour with them, be sure to let them know I sent you!
Please note this blog post is sponsored by The Daniels House. To read more about that, click here. If you are a Salem, MA or north shore based business interested in working with me, please click here. Please note all images included in this blog post are copyright ThingstodoinSalem.com, part of Miss Alyse Nicole Media, LLC, and may not be used without permission.