It boasts a marina, boutique shops selling everything from the obligatory witch kitsch to bags made from recycled sails, and lots of restaurants featuring an array of fabulous fresh seafood. Here are my favorites:
Sea Level Oyster Bar offers so much more than oysters. A stand-out dish is the Baked Seafood Pie, which is less like a pie and more like an indulgent version of bouillabaisse, with tender lobster, scallops, shrimp, and mussels swimming in a rich sherry cream sauce atop a bed of mashed potatoes. If you’re looking for creatively prepared seafood classics, Sea Level is a great choice.
Finz Seafood & Grill‘s extensive menu covers everything from Maki Rolls to Paella. I veer toward the grilled sword, with a simple lemon beurre blanc sauce, but you can choose from fresh options like salmon, scallops, cod, tuna, and shrimp, prepared with seasonings like Caribbean Jerk or Basil Oregano Gremolata. They also have several non-seafood items, making Finz a good place if you have a large group including fussy kids or land-lubbers.
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Regatta Pub at the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites offers standards like clam chowder and shrimp cocktail, but my favorite item on the menu is the Lobster Caprese Salad, with the expected tomato and mozzarella, drizzled with a rich balsamic reduction, alongside greens topped with a generous portion of claw and tail meat. Regatta Pub is a comfy spot after a day of shopping and site-seeing.
bonus: If you’re looking for something sweet to top off your meal, head over to Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, for some Black Jacks, which are molasses sticks, or Salem Gibraltars, the first candy to be commercially sold in the United States. Both are still made according to the shop’s forebears’ 19th-century recipes. But don’t worry if you prefer the more modern; the shop has plenty of fudge, salt-water taffy, and other contemporary treats.
And by all means, enjoy walking your meals off along Salem’s spectacular waterfront.
Resources to help plan your trip to Salem
Search vacation-rental homes. If you prefer a private house or apartment, VRBO lists several in Salem.
Book tours. Viator offers dozens in Salem, if you like having a local guide.
Join Priority Pass. The program allows members access to lounges and discounts on restaurants at airports. At Logan, you may visit:
- Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club in Terminal B
- The Lounge in Terminal C
- Air France Lounge in Terminal E
Buy Air Tags. Always know where your bags are.
Join Uber. It’s convenient ground transportation.
Join Rakuten. It’s a program that pays you cash-back for booking through its portal. As of this writing, Rakuten is offering up to 6 percent cash back at Booking, TripAdvisor, VRBO, and Viator.
Use the right rewards credit cards. Some good options that pay you cash-back or travel points:
- Bilt pays 3 points/dollar on dining and 2 points/dollar on travel.
- Capital One Quicksilver pays 1.5 percent cash-back on all spending.
- Capital One Savor pays 4 percent cash-back on dining and entertainment.
- Capital One Venture X pays 2 miles/dollar on purchases.
- Discover pays 5 percent cash-back on categories that rotate quarterly and 1 percent cash-back on other spending.
Read reviews. Not sure about something? TripAdvisor has lots of real-people reviews for things to do in Salem.
Continue your Massachusetts adventure:
I fell in love with travel on a trip to Mexico when I was nine years old. Since then, I’ve travelled the globe from Israel to El Salvador. I’ve skied the Swiss Alps and hiked national parks like Acadia, Zion, Shenandoah, and Virgin Islands. I’ve marvelled at masterpieces in the Prado, the Uffizi, the Huntington, and the National Gallery of Art. I’ve stayed in a cabin on a mountaintop in Norway and on a kibbutz along the Sea of Galilee, and been kicked out of the Ritz at the Place Vendôme. I’ve taken cooking classes from New England to the Caribbean, and watched a chef prepare traditional shakshuka in the kitchen of his restaurant in Tel Aviv. I weave historical research and my personal experiences together in writing this blog. I hope you find it helpful. Read more …