Exploring Historic Salem
When: Saturday, Oct 12th. Walking tour begins at 5:30pm sharp.
How to get there: Kick back and relax as you cruise from the Sheraton Wakefield over to Salem aboard our ’land yacht’, one sweet ride. The first shuttle will depart at 3pm, and will ride the loop every 90 minutes. Anyone aboard the 3:00pm or 4:30pm shuttles will arrive in Salem in time to take the walking tour. If you miss those departure times, you can still hop aboard later shuttles and explore Salem on your own!
On this slow paced, easy 90 minute tour you will learn all about the role this quaint town played in American history as well as the infamous witch trials which took place here. The town will be bustling with people and activity leading up to Halloween, the most popular season to visit Salem.
Afterwards, you can take the shuttle back to the hotel, or stick around in Salem for dinner, bar hopping, or to explore other interesting parts of the town like houses from the 1600’s, the Witch Museum, and the House of the Seven Gables. If you’d like to eat dinner in Salem, reservations are a must this time of year! Scroll down for the section on Salem restaurants to get some recommendations.
Please RSVP by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spots are limited so be sure to RSVP early!!!!
Exploring Boston: Warships and Battlefields
When: Sunday, Oct 13th. Bus departs at 9:30am.
A bus will depart from the Sheraton Wakefield at 9:30am, bound for the city of Boston. Todd and his groomsmen will lead participants to the Charlestown Navy Yard, where we will board the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat. Onboard this wooden-hulled ship from the 18th century, we’ll take a hands-on tour by an active-duty sailor.
Afterwards, we will walk around the corner to the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill, an important battle early in the American Revolutionary War. Here, you can visit the museum, people-watch on the hill, or climb the nearly 300 steps to the top of the monument for views out over the harbor and city.
The bus will get everyone back to the Sheraton with plenty of time to get ready for the wedding!
Note: If you’d rather roam Boston on your own, please feel free to use the bus to travel into the city and set out on foot to explore. Boston’s quaint North End neighborhood, its little Italy, is walking distance from the bus drop-off point.
Please RSVP by emailing us at email@example.com. Please RSVP early so we can save you a spot!
Other Suggested Activities:
The Topsfield Fair began in 1818, and is America’s oldest agricultural fair. It boasts a giant pumpkin contest, animals, rides, shows and games. The fairgrounds are at 207 Boston Street in Topsfield, about a 20-minute drive from the Sheraton Colonial Hotel. For information on dates, ticket prices, and events during the fair, please click here.
Note that this fair is very popular and traffic can get quite congested on Route One Northbound leading towards the fair. If you are planning on driving there, we suggest going an alternate route (such as approaching from the north via Route One Southbound).
Apple Picking and Hayrides
There are many great orchards in the area. Here are a few close to the Sheraton Colonial:
Smolak Farms is near Todd’s hometown of Andover, and it’s where he used to go apple picking as a child. During the weekend of our wedding, they are holding their fall festival and trick or treat hayrides. They also have animals, and apple and pumpkin picking. The Farm is about a 30-minute drive from the Sheraton. For more information, click here.
Connors Farm is located in Danvers, about 15 minutes drive from the Sheraton. It charges an admission fee, but has a lot of activities for kids of all ages including pig races, hayrides, sling shots, pumpkin blasters, and a giant corn maze. For more information, click here.
Haunted Corn Maze and Zombie Paintball
After the sun goes down, the Connors Farm (see apple picking above) turns its 7-acre corn maze into a haunted cornfield. They also offer other spooky adventures such as Flashlight Nights, Asylum Burial Grounds, Woods of Horror, and Zombie Safari Paintball. For more information, see the Connors Farm homepage here or visit their website dedicated to the haunted happenings.
Salem’s rich history comes alive at this time of year. This quaint town is best known as the location of the famous witch trials of 1692, the birthplace of the National Guard, and the place where Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his famous novels The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. There are events, performances, museums, and countless other things to do in Salem this time of year. You will see many people in costume walking around, and there is an energy and buzz to the crowds all flocking to this Halloween epicenter.
For some ideas of what might strike your fancy, check out Haunted Happenings and the town of Salem’s web page.
If you plan on visiting on your own, make sure you leave extra time for traffic and have a plan in advance for parking, as it can get quite crowded!
Restaurant recommendations in Salem
If you plan on dining in Salem over the weekend, we strongly suggest making reservations weeks in advance.
Finz Seafood and Grill - Yummy seafood and waterfront dining on Pickering Wharf
Bella Verona – great Italian food in a charming restaurant near the Hawthorne Hotel
Boston is an amazing place to visit year round, and is a very walkable city. There are so many things to do it’s hard to list them all here.
Getting to Boston
If you’re staying at the Sheraton Colonial, there is a shuttle from the hotel that takes you to the Wakefield train station. Here you can hop on the Haverhill commuter rail to downtown Boston (North Station). The train doesn’t run that frequently on weekends, so check the schedule to see if it will work for you.
If you prefer to drive, there is almost always parking available at the Boston Common underground parking garage, which is convenient to many of Boston’s landmarks, as well as the start of the Freedom Trail. Rates are reasonable on the weekends.
Here are some of our favorite activities in Boston:
Walk the Freedom Trail
This 2.5 mile brick-lined route takes you to 16 historical sites and covers two and a half centuries of America's most significant past. A red brick or painted line connects the sites on the Trail and serves as a guide. You can take a self-guided tour of the trail, or join a guided tour with The Freedom Trail Foundation. You can download a free map of the freedom trail here.
The starting point of the Freedom Trail, Boston Common is the oldest park in the country. The park is almost 50 acres in size. Today, Boston Common is the anchor for the Emerald Necklace, a system of connected parks that winds through many of Boston's neighborhoods. The "Common" has been used for many different purposes throughout its long history. Until 1830, cattle grazed the Common, and until 1817, public hangings took place here. British troops camped on Boston Common prior to the Revolution and left from here to face colonial resistance at Lexington and Concord in April, 1775.
Boston Duck Tours
See Boston by land and by sea in a World War II amphibious landing vehicle. Cruise by all the places that make Boston the birthplace of freedom. For more information, visit the Duck Tours website.
Tour Fenway Park
Take a tour of historic Fenway Park, where you can visit Pesky’s Pole and sit atop the famous Green Monster. For more information, visit the Fenway Park website.
Visit the USS Constitution
The USS Constitution is the world's oldest commissioned warship afloat. This time of year, the ship is open for free guided tours from Tues -Sunday 10am – 4pm. For more information, visit their webpage.
Boston Harbor Cruise
See the city from the water through multiple cruise options that will bring you a totally different perspective of Boston.
Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market
Proclaimed "The Cradle of Liberty" in 1742, Faneuil Hall has been a marketplace and a meeting hall ever since. It was the site of several speeches by Samuel Adams, James Otis, and others encouraging independence from Great Britain. This is a very popular place to visit and happens to be on the Freedom Trail.
Bell in Hand
Stop by for a pint in America’s Oldest Tavern. The Bell in Hand is near Quincy Market (see above), a fun place to shop, and a stone’s throw from the Freedom Trail. It’s also not far from the harbor and the North End, Boston’s answer to Little Italy. A pint of Sam Adams and a cannoli…mmm perfection.
Union Oyster House
A designated national historic landmark, the Union Oyster House is America’s oldest restaurant. It’s located on the Freedom Trail and one block from the Quincy Market / Faneuil Hall shopping area. Stop by the Oyster Bar and try their Oyster Shooter…this bar is where Daniel Webster used to saddle up daily and enjoy oysters and brandy. Right next door to the Bell in Hand Tavern!
New England Aquarium
Recently renovated, this aquarium on Boston’s waterfront boasts a giant ocean tank and a shark and ray touch tank. For information on visiting hours and ticket prices, see their webpage.
Boston’s Little Italy! Walk the narrow streets, stop in a café, grab a cannoli. There’s great ambience in this quaint little part of Boston. Check out this website for recommendations. There’s an ongoing debate on whether the cannolis are better at Mike’s Pastry or Modern Pastry. Maybe you should try them both just to be thorough…
A great place for people watching, shopping, and grabbing a bite to eat. Close to the Public Garden, where you can see the Swan Boats and the famous Make Way for Ducklings statue.
Harvard Square is the commercial center of of Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Near Harvard University, MIT and other schools this place is always bustling. Take the red line light rail on the "T" from downtown to get there. Oktoberfest is happening in Harvard Square Sunday October, 13th (just make sure you are in Ipswich by 4:30!)
The South End
Hip and quaint restaurants and bars are aplenty in this neighborhood of brownstones and history. If you are looking for restaurant or bar recommendations, there are so many, but here are a few of our favorites:
Stephi’s on Tremont
PS: Plan on making reservations a few weeks in advance if you want to dine on a weekend!
Rockport & Gloucester
Gloucester is the oldest seaport in the United States, and it is where the 2000 movie The Perfect Storm was filmed. Once an important shipbuilding center, the first schooner was reportedly built there in 1716. In its over 350-year history, Gloucester has lost over 10,000 men to the sea. For things to do in the area, check out the town’s website.
Rockport is a quaint waterside town with shopping, art galleries, and the “most photographed and painted building in America”, a quaint red lobster shack. If you go to Rockport, parking can be tricky, but we think it’s worth it to stop by Roy Moore’s Lobster Company for some fresh lobster and chowdah…. (call for exact hours as they often close early…and go to the shack, not the restaurant, for the real experience).