Dec 022014

People always ask us what we think is the most popular costume seen in Salem Ma. Witch? Ghostbuster? Vampire? We like to say that it depends on the time of year. And for the winter season, without a doubt it is the bright red outfit worn by a certain Kris Kringle during his annual landing atop the Hawthorne Hotel on the first Friday of December.

This year at 6 pm on Dec. 5th, hundreds of on-lookers, children and adults, will be stationed around the Hawthorne on Washington Sq., looking up, up, up to the roof to await Santa’s arrival.

Assisted by the Salem Fire Department, the jolly one will climb down the side of the hotel on a ladder to meet/greet his fans. There will be a procession to the Salem Gazebo for cocoa and caroling, then the parade heads over to the Museum Place Mall for pictures with Santa.

Weather forecast as of today calls for partly cloudy skies on Friday, with temperatures in the mid to low 30s. Perfect weather for reindeer. And kids too, of all ages.

For those of you who have never seen this: here is a Vine video we ran last year (thank you Salem News & Hawthorne Hotel).

Jul 292014

Table display from 2012 ParleyPuzzles to the right, puzzles to the left. It’s a puzzling sight. This Friday through Sunday, Aug. 1-3, the Hawthorne Hotel will be THE meeting place for the 12th annual Puzzle Parley.

What is a Puzzle Parley? Since 1994, the Puzzle Parley has brought together people passionate about jigsaw puzzles. Anyone interested in making, collecting, assembling, displaying, discussing, or buying and selling jigsaw puzzles, whether young or old, new or veteran, is invited to attend and participate. Registration is required, check out their website for full details.

These are the firm, wood-cut puzzles rather than the die-cut cardboard type.

Pasttime Puzzle by Parker BrothersAccording to the National Museum of Play, around 1760, English mapmaker John Spilsbury pasted one of his maps to a board, cut around the borders, and created the first jigsaw puzzle. The first American puzzles appeared around 1850 and in 1908 Parker Brothers introduced its Pastime puzzles, featuring pieces cut as animals, letters, and geometric shapes.

At the 12th Parley, there will be a special workshop for beginner puzzle cutters, as well as plans for a tour of the First Church of Salem, with special attention to the Parker family stained glass window and its game symbolism. Plus, a panel “How to sell puzzles in the Internet Age, ” a session on restoration, and a session on puzzle box repair.

Why hold this popular event at the Hawthorne? Bob Armstrong, one of the founders of the Parley explained “We’ve had several locations over the years. But we liked the ambiance of the Hawthorne Hotel. It is not a modern ultra sterile building. It has an old-fashioned decor that goes well with vintage puzzles.”

New this year, though, is a Sunday Puzzle Fair. Armstrong explains “Traditionally our meetings concluded with table sales. But we added Sunday 1-3 pm segment to the Parley, free of charge and open to the general public,” to open up the viewing potential.

      • See both new and vintage wooden jigsaw puzzles.

      • Peruse the history of jigsaw puzzle cutting.

      • Sit down, relax and try your hand at assembling different types of wooden jigsaw puzzles.

      • Chat with other jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts.

Several puzzle cutters and sellers from all over the country who are attending the Parley will be displaying their works. There will be puzzles for sale and exhibits that show the history and diversity of high-end wooden jigsaw puzzles.

Sounds like a typical, change of pace Salem Ma event.

Dec 072013

Ho Ho Ho! Had you been part of the crowd we had at the Hawthorne on Friday night, you would have been shouting that along with the bright-eyed kids anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus.

There's SantaIt was a great evening and we thank the moms and dads who brought their children out.

We also want to thank all the people and organizations that helped to publicize and share the news about this event so residents and neighbors could participate. There were blogs, Tweets and Facebook postings.

And we especially need to thank all those who participated in this special event: The Hawthorne Hotel, Salem Common Neighborhood Association, 62 Restaurant, Salem YMCA, Arbella Drum & Bugle Corps, Singers in Common, Brian Donnelly, the Museum Place Mall, Salem’s Vintage Photography, Witch Tees, Bewitched in Salem, Glass and Etc., and the Paul Madore Chorale – not to mention the City of Salem and our incredible Fire Department!

For those of you who could not make it there: the Vine video below (thank you Salem News & Hawthorne Hotel).

Dec 062013

Santa arrivesWhile there have been several sightings of Santa Claus in Salem and surrounding communities, Salem Main Streets has been informed by reliable sources that the jolly old fellow will make a full appearance 6pm tonight— at the Hawthorne Hotel.

In what has become an annual event, Santa will suddenly appear atop the roof of the Hawthorne Hotel. Using their truck ladder, Salem fireman will then help him down to the street where awaiting children (…of all ages…) will engage in cheering, smiling and delighting in his presence.

Santa will stop for cocoa and caroling at the Gazebo on Salem Common before continuing on to the Museum Place Mall; there he will sit for autographs and pictures.

Salem Main Streets would like to thank the Salem Fire Department, the Hawthorne Hotel, Salem Common Neighborhood Association, YMCA, Arbella Drum & Bugle Corps, 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar, Museum Place Mall, Brian Donnelly, and Salem’s Vintage Photography for their participation in this special event.

The Hawthorne Hotel is located at 18 Washington Square, Salem, MA