Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus

"Sisters, we've been gone 300 years."  Ok, so it hasn't exactly been 300 years since I last went to Salem... but it's been at least 13 years!

This past Sunday, Eliot and I took a day off to travel down to Massachusetts.  We had a few reasons to be down there, and one of them was to visit Salem after we ditched those plans during our last visit to MA on his EASTEC expo trip for work.  We knew it wasn't going to be a long visit, but we wanted to take a few hours to explore!

Sunday morning, we slept in a bit since we both knew we'd need our rest.  Sunday was also the time change for Daylight Savings, so we knew that would totally mess our schedule up.  We didn't get on the road as early as we'd planned to, but it all worked out!  After picking up a quick lunch at the Kennebunk rest stop, we were on our way!

Eliot and I arrived in Salem around 2:30.  After we downloaded the parking app and paid for our parking, we went into the Witch City Mall next to our parking lot.  As soon as we went in, I felt a wave of nostalgia.  (I've been there a few times during trips to Salem.)  Eliot immediately spotted the comic book store so we took a quick peek.

At that point, I needed to use the restroom so we went to the one in the mall next... and it wasn't open due to flooding.  The next 15-20 minutes, we walked down Essex Street and over to Washington Street searching for a bathroom we could use.  We passed by a lot of fun stores and restaurants, but no one had a public bathroom.  Eventually, we came across a map of Salem and spotted the restrooms.  After a bit more walking, we finally found Artists' Row and the public bathrooms.

After that, we were both ready to start exploring so we started our mission to visit a few of the Hocus Pocus filming locations.  I gave Eliot my phone (his was dead) and together we used it to navigate ourselves to our first location a few blocks away.

We weren't even there when I knew we'd found it.  The Ropes Mansion, aka "Allison's House" was at the end of the street we had turned on to and it was perfectly aligned at the end.  Plus, there was another group of people outside taking photos of it.  (That, and it's familiar appearance were giveaways!)  We crossed the street and took it in.

Eliot offered to help the other group (a younger group of adults... maybe even college kids on their first trip to Salem) take a group photo for them.  They were so excited and happily handed their phone over.  After, they offered to take a few photos for us.  Then, they moved down the road and I took a few more photos without people in them.  Eliot also took a few photos of me before we continued on our adventure as well.

We wandered back in the direction of the center of Salem.  When we reached the Witch House, I realized that we'd caught up to the painted red line trail.  I didn't realize Salem had one, but it's like the Freedom Trail in Boston that I've walked so many times.  (Salem's is called the Salem Heritage Trail.)  Eliot and I decided to follow that since it would likely bring us back into town.

Along the way, we passed stores that perked Eliot's interest so we went in to check them out.  First, we came across a video game store that had a bunch of games from past gaming systems.  The shop also had a display of all the old game consoles on the wall.  It was really cool to see how they have progressed over time.

We also came across another store called Harrison's.  They had a huge store full of merchandise.  Eliot looked through the Pokemon cards while I wandered around.  They had a little Harry Potter section that I enjoyed looking at.  There were Funko Pop Vinyls and other action figures.  Jeremy would have loved it too.  (I took a few photos to show him.)  We didn't purchase anything, but it was good to know it was there!

Eventually, Eliot and I made our way back over to the inner part of town and Essex Street.  We headed toward the Town Hall building (which we had passed when we were looking for a restroom) to take a few photos.  The Town Hall building is where the adult Halloween costume party took place in Hocus Pocus.  Only the outside was used in the film, but it was still fun to see it.  (I believe the indoor footage of the Halloween party and "I Put A Spell On You" was filmed on a soundstage.)

As we continued down the road, we passed by the Witch City Mall, where we had initially come from, and kept walking.  We still had a bit of time before our two hours of pre-paid parking expired.  I also thought Eliot should see the other part of touristy Salem.  We passed right by the Peabody Essex Museum.  I also spotted a Harry Potter themed store on the way by, but we didn't stop.  (I'll have to go back sometime!)

We turned the corner and walked over to the Salem Witch Museum.  That's the museum I remember going into during one of my trips to Salem.  It's across from the Salem Common where some of the outdoor scenes were filmed in Hocus Pocus.  Max and Allison's school was also around the corner, but we didn't walk down that far. 

We sat on a park bench while I told Eliot about the other filming locations.  Then, we made our plan of attack for the rest of our day as our time in Salem was drawing to a close.  Eliot guided us back to our car and we prepared for the next half of our adventure.  But before leaving Salem, we had one more quick stop to make... 

I really wanted to see the Dennison House (Max and Dani's house) before leaving Salem.  The house is someone's actual house and it's a bit farther away from the in town stuff.  Eliot used my phone to direct us there.  We weren't sure what the parking situation was like, so we decided to drive by it instead of getting out to take pictures.

When we arrived, we realized that we could have pulled over to take pictures, but we were still kind of in a hurry.  I took a few photos of the house on our first trip by.  Then, I took a few photos of the water and the gorgeous sunset.  Eliot then helped direct me in driving back down by the house one more time.  The second time, it was on Eliot's side of the car and we were driving up the road.  Eliot got a few good shots from the more traditional view of the house.  While we were going by the second time, another car of people had stopped to take pictures too.  (We'll know for next time!)

Eliot and I decided we'd come back again to take photos with both us and the house in them.  Plus, we want to see the Pioneer Village right around the corner.  The village is a living history museum inside of the Forest River Park.  It's also where the opening scenes of Hocus Pocus were filmed when Thackery Binx was a human in the 1600's.

After our second look at the Dennison House, Eliot used my phone to direct us out of Salem and to take us back onto the highway for the second part of our Massachusetts adventure.  (I'll tell you more about that later this week!)

It was a quick trip, but we were really happy with everything we got accomplished during it!  Eliot loved exploring somewhere new and I was happy to get reacquainted with Salem.  We're definitely planning to go back sometime soon so we can visit the rest of the Hocus Pocus locations and take more pictures!

Salem, you put a spell on us, and now we're yours.  °o°

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