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Witch Trials, Ice Sculpture Festival & Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts

Best things to do in Salem Massachusetts - Kate Wallinga - cemetery headstones

Take a haunted tour during your visit. Will you get scared?

I’m really excited to interview Kate Wallinga of the Ignorance Was Bliss podcast about Salem, Massachusetts. Kate’s tips for the best things to do in Salem are awesome because she moved to Salem while attending grad school in Boston. The rent was cheaper and she was drawn to the dark, emo-vibe of Salem’s reputation. She’s stayed because the small town is safe and it’s convenient to Boston.

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Best things to do in Salem Massachusetts - Kate Wallinga - House of Seven Gables by David Mark on Pixabay

The House of Seven Gables. Photo by David Mark on Pixabay.

Salem, Massachusetts

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Destination Salem, the local visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best things to do in Salem Massachusetts - Kate Wallinga - Cove near Salem Willows

A cove near Salem Willows

Getting around Salem

The local airport is Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), which is about ten miles from downtown. Depending on when you arrive, it can be anywhere from a 20-minute drive to more than an hour due to traffic. To get to Salem, you can take the 450 Line bus from Congress & Haymarket Station or you can take the Newbury/Rockport commuter rail from North Station. The train takes about 30 minutes and $8 per person each way (or $10 for unlimited rides on Saturday and Sunday). Use our Expedia tool below to find flight, hotel, and rental car options.

Boston Harbor Cruises offers a ferry from Long Wharf to Salem during the summer and fall. It’s $8 one-way or $16 for a round-trip on the commuter ferries (7 am to Boston and 5:30 pm to Salem). Otherwise, it’s $25 per person each way.

Kate says that it’s a good idea to rent a car if you’re traveling for vacation. For the best offers, visit Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around.

When you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.

Best things to do in Salem Massachusetts - Kate Wallinga - Pedrick Store House aka Old Sail Loft by Robert McClurg on Pixabay

Pedrick Store House (aka Old Sail Loft) is owned by the National Park Service. Photo by Robert McClurg on Pixabay.

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Kate Wallinga about Salem, Massachusetts. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Salem, Massachusetts
  • Green dots = best things to do in Salem, Massachusetts
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Salem, Massachusetts

Who is Kate Wallinga?

Having worked in the fields of forensic and correctional psychology, as well as crisis assessment, podcasting seems like the natural next step. Ignorance Was Bliss is a show about how we become who we are — about making just about anything sound normal, from PTSD to podcasting to serial murder. It’s about people’s stories. Are you sure you really want to know?

Kate lives in Salem, MA, with her husband and four kids. She is a storyteller, a story-collector, and misses traveling like crazy.

Best things to do in Salem Massachusetts - Kate Wallinga

Here are a few podcast episodes that feature Kate:

You can connect with Kate on her website and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Click here to download our one-page guide of Kate’s tips for Salem.

Big thanks to today’s affiliate partner – CLEAR

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Best things to do in Salem Massachusetts - Kate Wallinga - Gallows Hill Park playground

A playground at Gallows Hill Park. The University of Virginia determined that 19 “witches” had been hanged at Gallows Hill.

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best things to do in Napier New Zealand - Paul and Sandra from Minimalist JourneysListen to the next episode when Paul Ryken and Sandra Rosenau of Minimalist Journeys share the best things to do in Napier, New Zealand. In this episode, we talk about attending the Art Deco Festival, exploring the National Aquarium, and tastings at the local wineries. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Salem? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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To see which cities we’ve interviewed and scheduled, please visit If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please submit an application at

Related episodes

For more tips about the New England area, listen to these episodes:

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