Ouija boards, spell kits, herbs, talismans, pentacles. These are not the normal items one sees when they go souvenir shopping. However, Salem, Massachusetts (or Witch City, as it is also called) is not a normal type of town. It is for sure a touristy place and many establishments (hotels immediately come to mind) seem to take advantage of this. On my last trip I learned that Salem virtually shuts down most of its witchy/supernatural attractions for the winter and reopens around St. Patrick’s Day, so I guess they have to make their yearly income from only 3/4 of the year – with October being their main moneymaker month.
Since I’ve visited a few times now, I’ve found some favorite shops to find bargains and places that I always turn to. These are my favorite shops and things I bought on my last trip.
Besides a wonderful array of books on all metaphysical subjects, they also carry jewelry, crystals and other stones, candles, bags, athames, crystal balls, candle holders, incense, etc. This store, located on Derby Street, has the best prices in town for these items and all regulars know it. I also bought 2 books: “Witches Spell-A-Day Almanac” and “Witch in the Kitchen” by Cait Johnson. This second book is especially fun – it details the different seasons of the year with crafts and recipes to go along with that time.
Located on Hawthorne Blvd., this shop stocks every type of herb and tea you can think of. They also have capes, candles, fragrances, soaps, etc.
A gift shop on the pedestrial mall of Essex Street, Bewitched no doubt owes its name to Samantha Stevens and the cast of Bewitched who filmed in the town in 1970 (be sure to take a photo with the statue of Samantha in Lappin Park). This store has many wonderful items; it is a virtual treasure trove of the unusual. The owners are very knowledgeable and friendly. I love looking and shopping here.
Also located on Essex Street, Hex is an smorgasbord of oddities. Encompassing not only Wiccan items, but also Voodoo and Hoodoo products, potions, herbs, ouija boards (anyone notice Dave Navarro‘s necklace on Ink Master? It looks like the planchette of a ouija board). They also carry the most delicious garlic flavored oil for dipping bread – Cucina Aurora by Dawn, the Kitchen Witch.
Also on Derby Street, this is the must-see historic home of writer Nathaniel Hawthorne and there is a guided tour. They also have a great gift shop where you can purchase shirts, bags, teabag holders, books, teapots, toys, etc.
Also on Essex Street, this is your typical Army Navy store, but it comes in really handy around Halloween. I’ve bought parts of costumes, along with an ammo box for geocaching. Their selection is very good and you can even find furry tails, funny t shirts and paintball supplies.
If all of this shopping is wearing you out, step on over to Washington Street and the Boston Hot Dog Company. This is an inexpensive place to sit down and have a snack or meal. They have a wide selection of dogs and toppings. I tried the Vegan dog and it was really good; I was pleasantly surprised. You can’t go wrong here – try it!
On my next trip to Salem in October I’ll be on the lookout for a Witch Ball. FYI a witch ball is a hollow blown glass ball, usually in a variety of colors and in a swirly pattern. In the 1700’s balls of this type were hung in windows to protect the occupants from evil spirits. If a witch or evil spirit approached, it became entranced with the ball and their energy was captured in the glass orb. Today they are mainly decorative, as I don’t think most people are worrying about evil spirits peeking in their windows. Or are they?