Jan 172018

Hard to believe that such a simple idea 16 years ago, to have a gathering in Salem in the cold of winter that would warm the hearts of residents, friends, and local merchants, has blossomed into a major North Shore event. It is with a happy heart that Salem Main Streets, along with the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Destination Salem, and local businesses invite you to attend the 16th annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival, Feb. 9-11, 2018.

It is indeed a decadent tradition of delectable chocolate, sparkling ice sculptures, and Valentine’s Day shopping… you won’t want to miss Salem’s sweetest event of the year! It is a great date option!

The Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival officially kicks off with a Chocolate and Wine Tasting, on Friday, February 9th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, at Colonial Hall at Rockafellas, 231 Essex Street.

Did you know that:

  • Americans consume 8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, or over 11 pounds per person. (FranchiseHelp.com)
  • The United States drinks more wine than any other nation on earth. Americans consumed 329 million cases in 2013 (Impact Databank)

Our luscious tasting event features wine and chocolate samplings from premier Salem restaurants, stores, and sweet shops.  Music by local favorite Molly Pinto Madigan will set a sweet mood. This event is the highlight of the season and sells out quickly!

(Tickets are $30 a person and can now be purchased over the phone by calling 978-744-0004, online at www.salemsosweet.com, or in person at the Salem Chamber of Commerce, 265 Essex Street, Suite 101.)

Starting the morning of Saturday, February 10th, ice sculptures will begin appearing all around downtown Salem. It has become a tradition that some locals will run around the downtown district to be the first to post sculpture pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

Last year, we had a record-breaking 25 beautiful ice sculptures, including the Queen of Hearts, Cinderella’s Carriage, a goat named Bella, and more – including actual ice bars at Rockafellas’ and the Regatta Pub. Be sure to make pre-Valentine Day plans for a special evening stroll on Saturday, Feb. 10, when the sculptures will be illuminated by Retonica! More information about this year’s sculptures will be available online at www.salemsosweet.com as we get closer to the event.

The Salem Trolley will offer trolley rides around the festival route (weather permitting) on February 10 & 11 from 12 pm to 4 pm for only $2 an adult (free for children).

Many downtown businesses will offer chocolate samplings and sweet discounts all weekend in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Check to see who is participating in the “Golden Ticket” – make a full-price purchase at one participating downtown business and get 10% off your purchase at the next participating business!  Offer is good Feb. 10 and 11 only, some restrictions may apply. In addition, many of Salem’s finest restaurants and retailers will be offering their own luscious chocolate and love-inspired specials and events.

Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival is organized by Salem Main Streets and the Salem Chamber of Commerce, and supported by Creative Salem, Destination Salem, Retonica, Scarlet Letter Press, and Rockafellas. Visit our website for more events and details as they become available – www.salemsosweet.com – or follow our Facebook page for all the latest updates – https://www.facebook.com/salemsosweet.

Nov 112017

Now that the Haunted Happenings crowds have passed, our local businesses are looking forward to seeing more of their neighbors and regulars. From Election Day on Nov. 7 through Tuesday, Nov. 14, Salem Main Streets will be giving one lucky winner some extra parking money via the City’s Passport parking app as a thank you for supporting our local businesses! Here’s all you have to do:

– Take a picture of yourself, a storeowner, or an item you are purchasing at a downtown shop or service (dentist, salon, etc.) this week. Service and retail only, no restaurants for this challenge!
– Post the picture in the Facebook event here or on Instagram with the tag #localslovenovember

That’s it! Get out there and show us why you love November!

And if you needed a little reminder about why our local businesses love being here….

Salem Retail Spotlight- Pedestrian Mall FINAL from Salem Main Streets on Vimeo.

Oct 222017

We had the pleasure of participating in The Salem Takeover on Instagram this weekend. If you missed it, we’re reposting here so you get a glimpse of an October weekend with Salem Main Streets.

Oct 112017

If you’re a local, you know that Salem enjoys FIVE seasons – winter, spring, summer, fall, and October. Don’t let horror stories keep you away from the downtown! Contrary to popular belief, there are many ways for residents to continue enjoying your city throughout the month of October, even after the Grand Parade and Mayor’s Night Out. Here are a few of the many ways:

  • (Trick or) Treat Yourself Tuesdays – Believe it or not, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings are notoriously quiet downtown! The tourists don’t stick around, the locals are afraid it’s going to be too busy… and as a result, the restaurants have empty nights equivalent to the middle of winter. To show some love, we’ve started (Trick or) Treat Yourself Tuesdays – post a picture of yourself (or your meal) at a local eatery any Tuesday this month in our FB event or on Instagram with the hashtag #treatyourselfsalem. We will pick a winner each week. The prize is a roll of quarters – to be used for parking, for the arcades at Bit Bar Salem, for the skeeball at Notch Brewing, as a musical instrument, whatever floats your boat.
  • Wicked Wednesdays – New for 2017, Salem Haunted Happenings include Wicked Wednesdays that will be chock full of programming for kids (specifically with locals in mind!). Bring the family for mid-week entertainment, musicians, family-friendly walking tours, and interactive events geared for the 12 and under crowd. For more information, check out – https://hauntedhappenings.org/wickedwednesdays
  • Final Salem Farmers’ Market – October 12th – THIS THURSDAY! It’s hard to believe, but the season is already wrapping up. Don’t miss your last chance to grab all your favorite local produce and products!!  Then save the date for our Salem Winter Market on Nov. 18 and Dec. 16, locations TBD.
  • Wicked Bikes – Looking to get around this month with ease and style? Two wheels are often faster than four during October. The City’s Zagster bike share program has expanded for the month and has some spook-tacular contests going on to boot!
  • Get Thru October  – If you’re a tweeter, don’t forget to follow @GetThruOctober for the latest updates on traffic, parking, and road closings.
  • Ask Me, I’m Local – be an ambassador!  Whether you volunteer for the Information Booth, sport one of those fantastic “Ask Me, I’m Local” pins, or just take pity on the poor confused couple on the corner by helping them turn their map right-side up… you’ll get a lot more satisfaction out of October if you take a little time to help our visitors. Many of our Info Booth volunteers have told us how much they love October in Salem since they’ve become ambassadors – it challenges you to know your city better, meet new people, and learn a little more about the world outside of Salem in the bargain.

October comes but once a year, don’t forget to take time to celebrate!

Jul 252017

We’re wrapping up our spotlight on the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall businesses today, and we have learned SO MUCH!  For Round 2, we featured Tibet Arts and Healing, The Magic Parlor, The Peabody Essex Museum, The Coven’s Cottage, Flying Monkey, Coon’s Cards and Gift Shop and Penelope’s Pet Boutique, the Witch History Museum, Fountain Place Restaurant, Witch Tee’s, History Alive’s Cry Innocent, Angelica of the Angels, Witch City Ink, Witch Pix, and the Salem Trolley.

Over the past 10 days, we managed to highlight 28 storefront businesses currently operating on Pedestrian Mall – that’s still only 84%! Shout outs must go to Cabot Wealth Management, Dragonfly, For Kids Only Afterschool, Mass Bay Dental, and the Witch Mansion; the only locally-owned storefronts we didn’t manage to capture with an image that we thought did them justice. Not to mention the businesses in the Museum Place Mall that don’t externally face the Pedestrian Mall (your time will come!), or all the tour companies that operate on the Pedestrian Mall, or the second floor businesses, or Salem Five’s multiple offices , or all the offices surrounding Old Town Hall, or….PHEW!  The moral of the story is that the Pedestrian Mall is more than open for business.

See everything we hit in Round 1 here.  Have we missed your favorite “best kept secret” on the Pedestrian Mall? Let us know!

Here’s what we’ve learned during Round 2 of our #pedmallspotlight: