Exploring Salem’s Heritage: Hawthorne, Haunts and Historic Masterpieces
With a local historian, explore the artistic legacy, maritime history, Colonial Era architecture and notorious witch trials that make Salem, Mass. one of America’s most unique cities.
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Program No. 1571RJ
5 days
Starts at
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5 days
4 nights
11 meals
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Registration, Orientation, & Salem History
Salem, Massachusetts
Hawthorne Hotel

Activity note: Check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. Scheduled free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, known for its Continental cuisine, we’ll have plated meals with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Enjoy an evening lecture by a local expert on why Salem’s history is so remarkable. This fast-paced and profusely illustrated presentation provides the perfect introduction to important people, places and events in Salem's long and storied history.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Events of 1692
Salem, Massachusetts
Hawthorne Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile throughout the day, uneven ground, cobblestones, grass. Depending on group size, different houses and locations may be visited at the Salem Maritime Historic Site.

Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a breakfast buffet with coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: We will start our day by learning about Salem’s odds and ends with a local expert. Entertaining anecdotes relate to Parker Brothers game company, Bell and Watson and the telephone, famous visitors, the historic Hawthorne Hotel, Salem Willows amusement park, and more. Next, enjoy a walking field trip to the 9-acre Salem Maritime National Historic Site. See the stately Federal-style Custom House, where Nathaniel Hawthorne worked for three years and whose employees he describes in unflattering terms in the opening chapter of “The Scarlet Letter” after his firing. Hawthorne's office in the Customs House is restored to look exactly as it did when he worked there as Surveyor of the Port of Salem. Walking down Derby street and along Derby Wharf, we picture ourselves in Hawthorne’s Salem. We will visit the elegant Georgian style Derby House, built in 1767 as a wedding present for Elias Haskett and Elizabeth Crowninshield Derby, who lived here for 20 years, raising their seven children during the years leading up to and throughout the Revolutionary War.

Lunch: At a local sandwich shop; soda and water included.

Afternoon: While continuing to walk through the streets of Salem, listen to a local historian speak about the events of 1692. This tightly-woven narrative chronicles the events of the infamous Salem Witch Trials and examines the social, legal, and economic forces that led to the executions — for witchcraft — of 20 innocent people. Our expert will then lead a leisurely walk to historic sites connected with the witch trials. We will see the Salem's Witch Memorial and a 17th century burial ground that guarantees goosebumps.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: On your own

Peabody Essex Museum, Free Time, Architecture Lecture
Salem, Massachusetts
Hawthorne Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile; Salem streets, uneven ground, cobblestones. Limited wheelchair accessibility at Yin Yu Tang.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will start our day walking over to the Peabody Essex Museum. The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) houses an extraordinary collection of more than 840,000 works of art and culture featuring maritime art and history, American art, Asian, Oceanic, and African art, Asian export art; two large libraries with more than 400,000 books, manuscripts, and documents, and 22 historic buildings. Led by a docent, enjoy a private exploration. We will learn about the beginnings of this museum dating back to the 1799 founding of the East India Marine Society, an organization of Salem ship captains who had sailed beyond either the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. Society members brought home to Salem a diverse collections of objects from the northwest coast of America, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and India. Among the exhibits is the Yin Yu Tang house, the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside of China. Generations of the same family lived in this house for more than two centuries. Originally located in a small village some 250 miles southwest of Shanghai, it was dismantled there and reassembled at PEM, a landmark in the history of international cooperation for historic preservation.

Lunch: At the Peabody Essex Museum, vouchers will be provided.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a presentation on architecture and preservation in Salem. This heavily illustrated talk showcases many of Salem's nationally known homes, public buildings, and historic districts, and chronicles efforts over the past century to save them for future generations.

Hawthorne, House of Seven Gables, Salem Witch Museum
Salem, Massachusetts
Hawthorne Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile; uneven cobblestones and grass. Steep, narrow staircases at House of Seven Gables; ground level does not require any steps.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today, travel back to the times of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Salem's most famous native son. In the morning, hear an entertaining lecture by a local expert on Hawthorne's life and times, his writings, and his relationships with Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Elizabeth Peabody, and poet Jones Very. Next, we will go on a walking field trip with our expert and trace Hawthorne's footsteps on his first date with Sophia Peabody, followed by their courtship and marriage. See the houses where Hawthorne lived and wrote, where he courted Sophia, and the cemetery where his ancestors are buried. Visit sites that appear in or are otherwise related to his writings, including the House of the Seven Gables. Also called the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, it was built in 1668 and was owned by Hawthorne’s cousin, whom he frequently visited, and where he was inspired to write his famous novel. Our expert will point out all the nooks and crannies that appear in Hawthorne’s best-selling mystery. If you haven’t read this novel recently, you will want to by the end of our visit! Also on the property are lovely seaside gardens and the original house where Hawthorne was born, transported to this site. The House of the Seven Gables’ campus constitutes its own national historic district on The National Register of Historic Places. The museum contains more than 2,000 artifacts and objects, more than 40 framed works, 500 photographs and glass plate negatives, and more than 650 volumes in the research and rare-book library.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in downtown Salem.

Afternoon: Next, head out to the Salem Witch Museum for a very different, entertaining view of the Witch Trials. This program is a sound and light interactive show and is surprisingly authentic. Museum consultants will give their view of some current theories on the origins of the superstitions about witches and why the early Christian religious leaders came to persecute many innocent victims.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: We will be joined by a local historian for an engaging presentation on Salem witchcraft, Quakers, and Thomas Maule's fight for freedom of the press.

Art & Artists of Boston’s North Shore, Program Concludes
Salem, Massachusetts

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: With a local expert, survey the lively art scene that existed in Salem and neighboring communities in the late 19th and early 20th century, along with many examples of the works produced by famous artists who lived in or visited the area. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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