Skip to main content
witch_history_vacation_ideas_new_england

Ultimate New England Witch History Vacation Ideas

History buffs looking to explore witches and witchcraft in North America usually start in Salem, Massachusetts, home of the infamous Salem witch trials in 1692 and 1693. But the hysteria surrounding witchcraft in the late 17th Century spread rampantly across all of New England, including other Colonial towns in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  Today, there's plenty of witch history for fans to explore all across the region. Below, we break down everything you should add to your list for the ultimate New England witch history vacation. We have recommendations on where to go, what to do and where to stay. 

Where to Go: Wethersfield, Connecticut

Decades before the Salem witch trials, several people were tried for witchcraft in Connecticut, including what became known as the "Wethersfield Witches." The town was home to Mary Johnson, the first person to openly confess to witchcraft in 1648. In 1651, town locals John and Joan Carrington were executed for witchcraft.  In total, there were 43 "confirmed" cases of witchcraft in Connecticut with 11 of them ending in execution. 

What to Do: Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum

Take the Witches and Tombstones Tour at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield.  The guided tour includes admission to the Buttolph-Williams House and tales of the local witch trials that pre-dated the Salem witch trials by 30 years.  The tour also includes a stop at the Wethersfield Ancient Burying Ground and Village Cemetery, as well as the 19th-Century Isaac Stevens House. The 90-minute tour is the ultimate deep-dive into the macabre. 

Where to Stay: Connecticut River Valley Inn

The Connecticut River Valley Inn in the town of Glastonbury is only 4.1 miles from the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. The 18th-Century bed and breakfast features uniquely appointed rooms with comfortable countryside feel. Guests love the relaxing atmosphere, contemporary amenities, and country charm. The hotel is a popular destination for weddings, romantic getaways, and other special events. The conveniently located inn is only 10 minutes from downtown Hartford. 

witch_history_vacation_ideas_connecticut

Where to Go: Hartford, Connecticut

In the early 1660s, hysteria over witches made its way to Hartford, and a series of accusations made its way through town. Accusations ranged from the use of magic to people transforming into animals at night. By the time the panic subsided, four townsfolk had been executed for the crime of witchcraft: Mary Sanford, Mary Barnes, and Nathaniel and Rebecca Greensmith. 

What to Do: Hartford Ancient Burying Ground 

The Hartford Ancient Burying Ground has gravestones dating back to 1648, and is the oldest historic site in Hartford. The site allows an informal walking tour of the grounds and has several special events throughout the year. The "In the Shadow of the Great Hartford Witch Hunt" events featuring author Dick Ross ("Before Salem") offer visitors a guided tour of the grounds and an informative slide show.   While in Hartford, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum is about 5 miles away.

Where to Stay:  Delamar West Hartford

After your visit to the Connecticut River Valley Inn, give the Delamar West Hartford a closer look. The elegant downtown hotel is brand new has 114 luxurious rooms in the heart of the Capital Region. The hotel has everything you need for complete urban relaxation, including in-house fine dining and a full-service luxury spa. Conveniently located in chic West Hartford, the hotel is only a 10-minute drive to the Hartford Ancient Burying Grounds. 

witch_history_vacation_ideas_ delamar_west_hartford.jpg

Where to Go: Boston, Massachusetts

Believe it or not, Boston Common in downtown Boston was the chosen site for public hangings until the mid 18th Century. Originally, an old elm tree on the west side of Boston Common was used to hang those accused of a variety of crimes, including witchcraft. During the witch hysteria in the Boston area, three people were executed for witchcraft-related "crimes": Goody Glover, Anne Hobbins, and Margaret Jones.  Today, an Irish tavern in the historic North End is named in honor of Glover, a well-known Catholic martyr. 

What to Do: Boston Common

There's lots of history to see at Boston Common. There's a plaque where the Great Elm used to be on the western side of the Common. (The tree was destroyed in 1876.) There's a bronze statue of Mary Dyer in front of the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill. Dyer was a Quaker persecuted by the Boston Puritans for her religious beliefs.  Rumor has it that several parts of Boston Common are haunted if you're into the paranormal. 

Where to Stay:  Omni Parker House Hotel

The Omni Parker House offers old-world charm and elegance in the heart of Bean Town. The world-class hotel is the perfect destination for those who want to explore the historic city from a central location. The luxury hotel offers convenient access to everything in Beacon Hill, Boston Common, Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Quincy Market. At the hotel, guests can get a drink at the famed whiskey bar, or belly up at Parker's Restaurant, the birthplace of the Boston Cream Pie. 

witch_history_vacation_ideas_boston.jpg

Where to Go: Danvers, Massachusetts

Originally known as Salem Village, Danvers is located 25 miles northeast of Boston and only about five miles from Salem.  In the late 17th Century, resident Rebecca Nurse was convicted and executed at the height of the hysteria.  

What to Do: Rebecca Nurse Homestead

The Rebecca Nurse Homestead is the only home of a person executed during the Salem witch trials that is open to the public. The original saltbox home sits on the original acreage occupied by Nurse and her family from 1678-1798. The grounds include a reproduction of the 1672 meeting house in Salem Village where many of the witch hearings were held. The Nurse-Family Cemetery contains the supposed remains of Nurse, along with George Jacobs, another victim of the hysteria. The non-profit homestead offers several special events throughout the year, including reenactments.  

Where to Stay:  Hawthorne Hotel

The historic Hawthorne Hotel in downtown Salem is less than five miles from the Rebecca Nurse Homestead.  The hotel offers 93 total guest rooms: 89 rooms in the main building and an additional four rooms in the Fidelia Bridges Guest House. A member of the Historic Hotels of America, the destination is close to 100 years old and more than a million guests have experienced the grandeur of the luxury hotel.  From weddings and special occasions to weekend romantic getaways, the hotel provides luxury getaways with an unending attention to detail. 

witch_history_vacation_ideas_danvers

Where to Go: Salem, Massachusetts

The Salem witch trials in 1962 and 1693 accused more than 200 people of witchcraft. It was the deadliest witch hunt in the history of Colonial America. In the end, 19 were found guilty and executed by hanging (14 women and five men).  Today, the town has embraced its controversial past and is a popular tourist stop for history buffs. 

What to Do: Downtown Salem

The hub of witch history, Salem has a long list of to-dos for enthusiasts. Downtown Salem is a great walking adventure of all things witch-related. The Salem Witch Museum highlights the history of the hysteria and offers several staged sets, exhibits and tours. The Witch House at Salem is the only structure in town with direct ties to the Salem witch trials and has guided museum tours.  The Witch Dungeon Museum presents live reenactments and a replica dungeon. Other attractions of note include Gallows Hill, the House of the Seven Gables, Salem Witch Village, Salem Pioneer Village, and the Peabody Essex Museum.  

Where to Stay:  The Hotel Salem

The Hotel Salem offers 44 rooms, suites, and lofts at a convenient downtown location.  The luxury boutique hotel has a newly renovated midcentury vibe and is centrally located for exploring Salem and the North Shore. The hotel is less than a half-mile from the Salem Witch Museum. Walk to museums, cute downtown shops, and boutiques, or kick back at the hotel guest lounge, seasonal rooftop bar or on-site restaurant. Guests rave about the luxury accommodations, convenience and unending attention to detail. 

witch_history_vacation_ideas_salem