Feb 162017

Valentine’s Day may be a once & done holiday elsewhere, but in Salem it can be a year round experience, and that is not just our opinion. The National Main Street organization annually selects the “Most Romantic Main Streets” from among its nationwide membership and for 2017, Salem Ma and Salem Main Streets made the Top Five!

Emily Wallrath Schmidt, Associate Manager of Communication of National Main Street Center explains “Communities submit a questionnaire about their Main Street’s ‘scene’ (architecture/landscape), dining/lodging options, and popular places for dates, along with 5 photos.”

“We always look for Main Streets that have interesting local businesses or special event to highlight! We loved Salem’s So Sweet Festival, as well as the LGBT and age-friendly initiatives—the photos submitted also captured a sense of romance downtown,” she adds.

Not to mention participating merchants offering sweet deals during the festival and of course the option to explore our cool ice sculptures makes for a great second Valentine date!

Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Manager comments, “I personally think Salem is such a romantic city, and I think a lot of our residents and regular visitors recognize that.”

Why else would so many people look forward to holding and attending weddings throughout the year here?

“From the historic beauty and stroll-ability of the city design, to the natural beauty of our surroundings, the endless community activities every day of the week, to dining options for every palate…it’s really the perfect setting for any love story,” concludes Kylie.

That’s the goal, Schmidt states, “Main Street organizations address all the critical factors that impact quality of life downtown, and align resources to make a difference– enhancing the social, economic, cultural, and environmental sustainability of a community.”

So, February 14th or June 14th or even during October, we, at Salem Main Streets strive to make our city and especially downtown district an anytime destination for fun and romance.

And thanks for the award! We love it!

Jul 132016

Results are in, and the big winners are— all of you that frequent, support, and voted for Salem merchants in the 2016 BONS Survey. Northshore Magazine’s “Best Of North Shore” is a tradition that elicits a great deal of interaction before, during and after votes are submitted and tabulated.

OpusBy far the biggest winner of the year is Opus in Salem, pictured above holding 6 awards across 5 categories! Congratulations!

Here are the results indicating how Salem establishments rated.


Alfresco – Sea Level (Editor), Turner’s (Readers’), Finz (Readers’ Runner-up)

Bacon – Scratch Kitchen (Readers’) and Back Alley Bacon (Insider Tip)

Bakery/Bread – A&J King (Editor AND Readers’)

Breakfast – Ugly Mug (Readers’)

Clam Chowder – Turner’s (Readers’, Tie with Woodmans)

Farmers’ Market – Salem Farmers’ Market (Readers’)

Gluten Free– Life Alive (Readers’)

Indian – Passage to India (Readers’)

Italian – Bella Verona (Readers’), Firenze Trattoria (Neighborhood Notable Nosh)

Lobster Roll– The Lobster Shanty (Readers’), Longboards (Readers’ Runner-up)

Mussels – Sea Level (Readers’)

New Restaurant – Bambolina (Editor)

Pizza – Bambolina (Editor 3-way tie! With Papa Razzi and Short & Main), Flying Saucer (Readers’)

Seafood, Prepared – Turner’s (Editor AND Readers’)

Sushi – Koto (Readers’)

Vegetarian – Life Alive (Editor AND Readers’)

Waterview – Sea Level (Readers’)


After Work Drinks – Opus (Readers’)

Bar – Opus (Readers’)

Beer Menu – Sea Level (Editor), Gulu Gulu (Readers’)

Cocktail – Opus (Readers’)

Distillery – Rumson’s Rum (Readers’)

Hotel Bar – Tavern on the Green at the Hawthorne Hotel (Readers’)

Irish Pub – O’Neill’s (Editor)

Sports Bar – Sidelines (Editor), Tavern in the Square (Readers’)

Winery – Mill River Winery, Rowley-based vendor at Salem Farmers’ Market (Editor AND Readers’), Far from the Tree Hard Cider (Honorable Mention)


Bake Shop, Pastry – Caramel Patisserie (Editor), A&J King (Readers’)

Candies – Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie (Editor), Harbor Sweets (Readers’)

Chocolate – Harbor Sweets (Editor AND Readers’)

Cookies – A&J King (Readers’)


Personal Chef – Fine Food & Cooking by Ricardo Sanchez (Editor)

Personal Training – CrossFit Iron Spider (Readers’)

Tailoring – Alterations by Rosa (Readers’)


Family Hangout, Indoor – Peabody Essex Museum (Editor AND Readers’)

Festival, Fall – Haunted Happenings (Readers’)

Festival, Spring – Salem Film Fest (Readers’)

Festival, Winter – Salem’s So Sweet (Editor AND Readers’)

Golf Course, Private – Kernwood Country Club (Honorable Mention)

Museum – Peabody Essex Museum (Editor AND Readers’)

Park – Salem Willows Park (Readers’)

Tourist Attraction – Peabody Essex Museum (Readers’)


Barbershop – Paxton (Editor)

Hotel – Hawthorne Hotel (Readers’)

Yoga – Yoga Sakti (Editor 3-way tie AND Readers’)


Beauty Products – Rouge Cosmetics (Readers’)

Bike Shop – Salem Cycle (Readers’)

Books – Wicked Good Books (Readers’)

Cheese Shop – The Cheese Shop of Salem (Editor AND Readers’)

Clothing, Women’s Upscale Boutique – J. Mode (Readers’)

Consignment – Modern Millie (Readers’)

Gifts – Peabody Essex Museum Shop (Editor), Roost (Readers’)

Makeup Selection – Rouge Cosmetics (Readers’)

Yoga Apparel – Yoga Sakti (Editor AND Readers’)


Dancing – Rockafellas (Readers’)

Girls’ Night Out – Opus (Editor)

Late Night Nosh – Howling Wolf (Readers’)

Singles’ Night – Opus (Editor AND Readers’)

You can check out the full list at Northshore Magazine.

Jan 282016

Don’t miss Salem’s sweetest event of the year! Salem Main Streets, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Destination Salem, and local retailers, restaurants, and businesses invite you to attend the 14th annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. A decadent tradition of delectable chocolate, sparkling ice sculptures, and Valentine’s Day shopping await you Feb. 5-7th!

For example, in celebration of the chocolate aspect of the Festival, many of Salem’s finest restaurants will feature special chocolate offerings on their menus, including desserts, cocktails, and inventive sauces during the weekend of Feb. 6-7th.

Elsewhere, participating Salem retailers will offer innovative displays and items geared toward chocolate and Valentine’s Day, ranging from a chocolate fondue fountain to discounts on jewelry.

“This year,” reveals Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets, “we are introducing a new in-store promotion called ‘Sweet 10%‘ – make a full-price purchase at one participating downtown business and get 10% off your purchase at next participating business!”

We also have a record-breaking TWENTY-THREE ice sculptures that will be placed all over the downtown and various entry points on Feb. 6th.

Kylie says, “I’m really excited to see some of our new businesses getting involved (Jolie Tea Company, The Bridge at 211, and TBT Post are just a few examples), the return of some traditional favorites (including a replica of The Friendship down near the water, thanks to the National Park Service), and some businesses thinking way outside the box – Rockafellas is actively working on an ice bar that will be built outside on their patio!”

Be sure to make plans for a special evening stroll on Saturday, Feb. 6th, when sculptures will be temporarily illuminated.

A full list of participating businesses and promotions will be available in brochures distributed around town and online at www.salemmainstreets.org.

When asked why she thought the Festival has had such staying power in the community, Kylie offered, “Quite frankly, there’s nothing else like it going on. By the time February rolls around, the “Ice Pikachu & Charizardmagic” of winter has faded away – this event helps brings that magic back, as the ice sculptures truly transform the downtown. People have recovered from the holidays and they’re eager to get outside, walk around, and visit their favorite businesses again. Plus, who can really say no to chocolate?”

But is chocolate beneficial to you? Besides it tasting so good?

Looking across the Internet, we found this description of the redeeming values of chocolate from Hy-Vee, operator of over 230 retail outlets in the Midwest.

“Chocolate contains iron, potassium, fiber and some of our favorite antioxidants, flavonoids. The flavonoids found in chocolate may be able to do things like relax blood vessels and promote healthy circulation, both of which may lead to healthier blood pressure levels. Chocolate also contains polyphenols, antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage. Of course, the darker the chocolate, the healthier it is. Start with 57% cacao dark chocolate, or even semi-sweet, and work your way up until you find the perfect dark chocolate fit for you.”

It’s almost as if they were also inviting you to attend the Salem’s So Sweet kick-off event, a Chocolate and Wine Tasting, on Friday, Feb. 5th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, at Colonial Hall at Rockafellas, 227 Essex St., where you can indeed sample all levels of chocolate and find your perfect shade and taste.

This luscious tasting event features wine and chocolate samplings from premier Salem restaurants, stores, and sweet shops. Tickets can now be purchased over the phone by calling 978-744-0004, online at http://salemmainstreets.org/festivals/salem-so-sweet/, or in person at the Salem Chamber of Commerce, 265 Essex Street, Suite 101. This event is the highlight of the season and sells out quickly!

Other activities include:

  • The Salem Trolley offers trolley rides around the festival route (weather permitting) during the day on Feb. 6th and 7th for a discounted price. Pick-up locations will be at the Visitor Center, Pickering Wharf, and near Rockafellas on Washington Street.
  • New this year, Salem Parks Recreation and Community Services will operate a small skating rink at the Museum Place Mall Fountain. Come out for hot cocoa and family fun on Feb. 6th from 5 to 8 pm and Feb. 7th from noon to 4 pm!

Visit our website for more events and details about the festival as they become available: www.salemmainstreets.org – or follow our Facebook page for all the latest updates https://www.facebook.com/salemsosweet.

And, of course don’t forget to post pictures as you visit Salem MA with your loved ones for a sweet experience during Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival.

Jan 162016

What is ahead for Salem Main Streets and 2016? Please join us for a night of celebration and information Tuesday, January 26th as we conduct the Salem Main Streets Annual Meeting.

SAF VolsKylie Sullivan, SMS Executive Director says, “Come cheer with us over last year’s accomplishments and look ahead to see what’s coming in 2016. Learn more about Salem Main Streets’ mission and purpose, and how you can benefit and get more involved.”

This gathering is free and open to all who live, work, or play in downtown Salem – residents, volunteers, business owners, community partners, and government officials.

Stephanie at boothIn other words, we want you there if you have anything to say about how the Downtown District was promoted by us in the past and —

Kylie emphasizes, “We are especially looking for feedback to help improve our work going forward.”

The meeting will run from 5:30 – 7:30pm at Ames Hall in the Salem YMCA, 1 Sewall Street (enter from the Essex Street entrance).

Free appetizers and cash bar!

Please invite your neighbors, associates, and friends! This is you chance to have an impact on how Salem is seen by the local community and the world.

Please RSVP to Kylie at kylie@salemmainstreets.org or 978-744-0004 x15.

Salem Main Streets’ mission is the continued revitalization of downtown Salem as a vibrant, year-round, retail, dining and cultural destination through business retention, recruitment, and promotion of the Downtown District.

Feb 102015

Salem loves a Festival. It’s our tradition to REALLY celebrate a holiday. So, it is no surprise that Valentine’s Day has been the recipient of our special magical treatment with this year’s (Feb. 6-15) Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. Saturday is Valentine’s Day and neither snow nor sleet nor ice will deny the event and the on-going Golden Ticket promotion.

Many downtown businesses are offering discounts and special offerings throughout the festival on items that will bring a special smile to your loved ones! By also picking up your Golden Ticket at any of the participating businesses during the festival, you will have a chance to win a Salem’s So Sweet gift basket. Just have the Golden Ticket validated at a minimum of 8 participating businesses (no purchase necessary) to enter.

A full list of participating businesses and promotions are available below or by stopping by the Salem Main Streets office at 265 Essex Street for a brochure. Please also check our Facebook page for updates.

SALEM304_Salem_So_Sweet_2015_Brochure_V3_Inside_001Who’s afraid of snow? Shop early. Shop late. Shop Salem!

(“Golden Ticket” image courtesy of Social Palates via Instagram)