Oct 5 – Salem, Massachusetts, is a very popular town for the month of October.  It really plays up the witch hunt theme.  But first, we have to get there!  We get on the wrong highway heading into downtown Boston and have to backtrack, as the tunnels in this area forbid the transport of propane.  A nerve-wracking morning!

Salem is very busy with tourists and your choice of activities – plays and musicals about witches, psychic readings, tours, displays, magic shops, and merchandise.  The streets are narrow with brick sidewalks and lots of historical buildings associated with the witch hunt of Salem.  We visit the Witch Museum and enjoy a presentation explaining the events of 1692.

This was a puritan society at that time with little amusement or outlets for fun for children.  The people believed in spirits that brought evil and disaster to their lives.   Some young girls started to gather and tell stories about spirits and witchcraft. They began acting out hysterically, feigning illnesses.  When pressed by their families to tell who was responsible for their ‘illness’, they blamed fellow citizens who were labeled as “witches”.  19 people were hanged who would not admit guilt to being a witch and 1 person was pressed to death under heavy stones.  Others died in prison awaiting trial or by drowning after being thrown bound into the water.  The thought was that witches would drown, and if you were not a witch you would float.  The Salem witch hunt was not an isolated incident – in Europe, millions of so-called witches were killed (for example Joan of Arc).

Oct 6 and 7 – We take the subway into Boston.  Our first stop is the busy and popular Cheers bar from the TV show of years gone by.  We spend our time walking The Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile tour past historic sites and buildings.  We pass by churches and their burying grounds, as well as meeting halls where people met to rebel and protest British rule.  One protest had Bostonians dumping $1M worth of tea in the harbor – The Boston Tea Party.  This was to protest British taxes imposed without representation by Bostonians.  We see the site of the Boston Massacre where soldiers shot and killed 5 Bostonians.  This incident was called the “Unhappy Disturbance at Boston” by the British.  Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution were also stops on the Trail.

Along the way, we also discovered the famous Mr. Mike’s Pastry shop (great cannoli) and the Holocaust Memorial – thought-provoking glass towers inscribed with the numbers assigned to prisoners, complete with vents providing steam from under the street like a fog around the memorial.

Day 2 we spent at the Boston Children’s Museum for Maker Faire.  This fair showcases 3D printers, robots, Battlebots, prosthetics made on 3D printers, laser printers, etc.  Lots of geeky ideas and displays by some very smart people!  The Children’s Museum itself is great – would be an excellent place to bring kids with lots of water play, construction play, climbing walls, bubble making etc.  The museum also contains a 100-year old Japanese house brought from Kyoto Japan.

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