“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Salem, Massachusetts

We didn’t find any of the Boston excursions offered by Viking all that interesting, so we scheduled something on our own. After clearing Customs, we took the 9:30 ferry from Boston Harbor to Salem.

Salem is a quaint and charming town with dozens of colonial-era residences dating back to the 1600s, often with a plaque that states when it was built and by whom. The day was just picture perfect; after so much cold and rainy and windy weather in Canada we only needed a sweater or light jacket.

We were glad we came to visit now, rather than October when the place is simply mobbed with people from all over who want to celebrate Halloween in Salem because of the witch trials in the 17th century. It seems as if all the shops sell Halloween-themed gifts year round

We had a guided tour of the Witch Museum. We began in a large room where, once we were seated and the lights were dimmed, a round tablet bearing the names of the twenty people executed for witchcraft was lit from below in red. As the narration described the events of 1692, dioramas with animated figures would light up to depict the story. Nineteen convicted witches, mostly women, were hanged, although today we know they were innocent. Also, one farmer, Giles Corey, was crushed to death, because he refused to plead guilty or not guilty. Either answer would have been death and the confiscation of all his property. Heavy stones were piled on his chest to try to force him to answer. He continued to stay silent until he died, meaning that his surviving family retained their lands.

On our way to lunch, we walked through the Howard Street Cemetery one of the very old graveyards of Salem where Giles Corey was taken to be pressed to death. We found some tombstones dating back to the 1700s. We were amazed that the engraving is still legible after more than three centuries of exposure to the elements.

We lunched at Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall, a family owned business located in a lovely old brick building. We were hungry for lobster and got a lobster roll and a clam roll to share, both totally stuffed with meat spilling out of the buns. And the thin-sliced fried onion rings were also delicious.

From there we went to the Witch House, once the home of Jonathan Corwin, who served as one of the judges in the trials. However, the $12 entry fee discouraged us. Instead, we went on to the Elizabeth Montgomery statue, depicting her in the character of Samantha from the 1960s television show Bewitched, and took pictures.  

After that, we strolled back to the dock and waited for the ferry along with several other passengers. When the ferry arrived, and the incoming passengers had disembarked, the captain told us that they had to take the boat out of service due to mechanical problems. What now? Would we have to swim back? They refunded our ticket price and directed us to the train back to Boston. One family was panicked that they would miss the train and miss their cruise ship departure and took off running. We felt so sorry for them. After they left, we had the idea to take an Uber back to our ship.

Overnight, the Viking Sea cruised to New York where she docked the next day around noon. When we left the ship, we got some pizza at our favorite place in New York, Two Brothers at 40th St. and 8th Avenue. Soon Jeannie and I had said our farewells and headed home.

Our ten-day adventure down the St. Lawrence and along the coast of New England was over.