Saturday, November 28, 2009


Some Salem visitors found themselves stranded when looking for accommodations and parking.

Whew!! Halloween is over for another year. I’m always astounded at the hoards of people who descend on Salem, Massachusetts to commemorate the burning of the Salem witches. This year Hovey House had a young couple who came all the way from Ireland for five days to spend October 31st in Salem, plus a man who flew in from Florida (it’s his 17th year in a row), plus a couple who flew from Chicago for two days!! Halloween is certainly NOT just for kids.

Salem closed many of the city’s parking lots to non-residents this year. The reports I’m hearing are that there is absolutely no place to park in Salem on the busiest days around the 31st. Which is why so many Salem-bound people ended up here in Gloucester. The Hovey House is walking distance to the commuter rail, which will deposit revelers in Salem in less than half an hour. Hooray!! No parking problems. The last train back is around midnight. You can find the schedules on

You get an extra benefit from staying here in Gloucester: in addition to seeing Salem you also get a chance to visit America’s oldest seaport and oldest art colony, lobster capital of Massachusetts, and one of the five best whale-watching areas in the world.

I must admit, my aversion to crowds has kept me away from Salem during the busiest season, but my guests always seem to have a fabulous time. It’s kinda like New England’s answer to Mardi Gras. One year I had a married couple from Texas who were going to a costume party, he dressed as a big, puffy teddy bear, she as a clown with huge feet turned up at the toes. In their real lives, he was a tax attorney and she was a prosecutor. They asked me to take their picture as they left for the evening. I asked them, kiddingly, if they would mind if I sent a copy of the photo to the local newspaper back home so folks could see this other dimension of their personalities.

Salem has very few B&Bs. The tourism people in Salem tell me that visitors book their accommodations a year ahead to get the nicest spots.

If anyone wants to give a Christmas gift certificate for a terrific Halloween experience in Salem, Hovey House is taking bookings now.