Oct 012014

Ghostly MusiciansStep right up, though this may not be the “greatest show on Earth,” Salem Ma does try its best to give residents, North Shore neighbors and visitors the most for their time & money spent here during the month of October. Just this week we are opening our Info Booth to be staffed with ambassadors of goodwill to assist fun-seekers and officially kicking off festivities with the Chamber of Commerce 19th Annual Haunted Happenings Grand Parade, as well as once again launching the Mayor’s Night Out and Trick or Treat with the Mayor events.

Practically speaking there are more activities scheduled for the first three days of October than we have room for in this blog. We suggest you look at the calendar information supplied by at least these three great community websites. Mix and match the information.

Specifically we would like to point out that:

The 19th Annual Haunted Happenings Grand Parade, presented by the Salem Chamber of Commerce steps off Thursday, Oct. 2nd at 6:30pm. This year’s parade theme is “Fantasy.” Children from grade school through high school and perhaps a big kid or two from college will march through our streets in costume as a tip of the hat to all the activities to follow this month. The spotlight, though, is where it should be, on the young people who keep Halloween alive with their imagination.

The Mayor’s Night Out is Oct. 3rd and that Friday Mayor Kimberly Driscoll, in partnership with Salem’s attractions and museums, encourages Salem residents to leave their homes to sample attractions, museums and even parking (at East India Mall garage after 4 pm) free of charge! Just bring your Salem ID and be on the look-out from 3 – 10 pm for “Mayor’s Night Out” signs at participating businesses.

Trick-or-Treating with Mayor Kim Driscoll at the East India Fountain takes place from 5:30 – 6:30 pm. Bring the kids, join the Mayor as the procession will Trick-or-Treat along the Essex Street Pedestrian Mall, The Museum Place Mall Shops, and beyond. Trick-or-Treat Bags provided. Costumes encouraged. And of course, it is another free of charge event.

Salem’s Downtown District is prepared to show you a good time this month, this 5th season of our calendar year. We welcome “kids of all ages,” to explore and be entertained.

Sep 292014

It waitsHauntingly standing in and out of the shadows, the Salem Main Streets Haunted Happenings Information Booth waits patiently on the corner of Essex and Washington Streets. It waits for you.

For resident and tourist alike, young and old, American and foreign traveler, it does not discriminate in its need to feed— you information. Now that it has been dropped into place, the booth sits day and night awaiting the launch of our season of service. Volunteers will start staffing Thursday from 4:30 – 6:30 pm to coincide with the Haunted Happenings kick-off Grand Parade.

Stephanie Hagyard, a volunteer since 2008, and coordinator of this year’s SMS info team says “Our shift schedule will be 2 – 6 pm on Fridays (noon – 8 pm on Halloween), 10 am – 6 pm on Saturdays and noon – 5 pm on Sundays (might vary to 11 am on Sundays depending on staffing). The only holiday is Columbus day which will be a 10 am- 4 pm effort.”

She adds, “Most shifts are filled but there are a few dates/shifts that I would like to get a third/fourth person on- and November 1st is a new addition this year that needs people.” If you would like to volunteer, contact Stephanie at shagyard@yahoo.com.

Stephanie at boothYou would become part of a community of ‘community volunteers’ who have provided direction and support to nearly 140,000 visitors since 2008. And this year with Halloween on a Friday, we can expect record numbers to cross Washington Street at Essex Street (which is the location of our booth).

Asked for advance advice to offer 10/31 visitors, Stephanie offered “Park once, wear comfy shoes, walk around, dress in layers, pay attention to your surroundings; if you are at an establishment getting lunch/dinner/coffee use the bathroom even if you don’t think you need to because who knows how long lines will be at other restrooms that are public.”

That’s the kind of straightforward, we believe useful info, you need from the booth volunteers, along with where the “witch this” and “witch that” are located.

The Info Booth beckons you….

Sep 112014

Eggplant varieties at Long Hill Orchard

Playing With Your Food” is a weekly post highlighting a few of the many great uses for the wide range of produce and artisan food at the Salem Farmers’ Market, a Salem Main Streets project.  The Salem Farmers’ Market takes place every Thursday from June 12 to October 23 from 3 pm to 7 pm on Derby Square.  While we can never predict exactly what our farms will be able to bring each week, we do our best to reflect some of the fun items we’ve found recently and what’s likely to be available for the upcoming week.  Hopefully this will give you a few new ideas to play with, and inspire you to try some new things at the market.

It’s true – the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler, and some of those trees are starting to look suspiciously….not green.  But don’t worry, we still have almost 2 months of market days left!  In my opinion, this is really the best time for produce at the market because you can get almost anything.  If you love the summer produce, we’re still swimming in summer squash, peppers, melons, and greens and herbs of all sorts, but those who can’t wait for fall are already seeing apples, parsnips, and a few winter squash.

That said, now is the time to continue celebrating the summer produce while we still have it!  If you liked our first post about corn, tomatoes, and eggplant, get ready for a few more ideas.

Clark Farm 3 - Week 4

Corn at Clark Farm




And even better….


Pretty eggplant varieties at Heavens Harvest Farm

Aug 282014
Mill River - Week 4

The lineup at Mill River Winery

“Playing With Your Food” is a weekly post highlighting a few of the many great uses for the wide range of produce and artisan food at the Salem Farmers’ Market, a Salem Main Streets project.  While we can never predict exactly what our farms will be able to bring each week, we do our best to reflect some of the fun items we’ve found recently and what’s likely to be available for the upcoming week.  Hopefully this will give you a few new ideas to play with, and inspire you to try some new things at the market.

Of course, as hard as it is to admit with the delicious baked goods you can get at the market, man does not live on bread alone.   Sometimes, you need something to drink with that bread, too!  Thankfully, we have you covered at the Salem Farmers’ Market.

Mill River Winery is a main stay of the market.  Based in Rowley, Rick and Donna and their team are always happy to introduce you to their wide array of wines.  If you’re at all suspicious of New England wines, a few sips will quickly change your mind.  From their “Naked Chardonnay” to “Plum Island Red Dory”, Mill River has a wine for every palate.  Don’t forget that a splash of wine is also a great way to liven up your pasta dish with fresh produce from the market!

FFTT Cider - Week 1

Far From the Tree Cider – Photo Credit Social Palates

We were thrilled this year to introduce newcomers Far From the Tree Hard Cider.  Salem locals Al and Denise Snape have only been in business for a few months now, but you would never know it from the strength of their product and their devoted following.  A quick sampling of their three primary varietals – Roots (dry cider), Spring (with hops and mint), and Rind (Saison-style with coriander and orange rind) – will change everything you thought you knew about cider.


Raspberry Acetosa Mojito

Of course, making your own is always the most satisfying!  Whether you use them as an alcoholic aperitif, as a mixer for cocktails, or even as maple syrup alternative on pancakes (Yes.  Do this.), cordials and fruit syrups are a great way to make your seasonal market produce last longer.  Here are a few ideas:

Jun 072014
Things are looking up

Photo Credit – Karen Scalia

You are now joining our program already in progress— if you are coming to Salem Ma. this Saturday or Sunday to participate in our annual Salem Arts Festival. But that’s ok. There are more than enough events and creative arts presenters to satisfy your viewing interests.

Now in its sixth year, the Salem Arts Festival boasts attendance numbers in the thousands and celebrates all the arts: painting, photography, sculpture, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theatre, poetry, culinary, and more.

This year’s event also includes a street fair, plus live entertainment on two performance stages (located in Derby Square and on Artists’ Row).

One of the more colorful events, which already took place, but you can join in progress is

the HulaArt project. “Re-use of recycled materials to create diverse art expressions” is one way used to describe what essentially was the presence of “over four hundred hula hoops, a fifth of which were transformed into HulaArt, form a colorful canopy above Salem’s Artist Row.”

But true to this being a part of an Arts Festival, even the delivery and installation of the hoops to create the canopy was performance art. You can walk under the canopy of hoops. You can look up and marvel at the circles and shapes. And you can even try your hand (or waist) at hooping yourself.

What you will seeWe feel this is a great representation of our hopes for the Arts Festival, it is something you can participate in as well as just view.

Kylie Sullivan, Manager of Salem Main Streets comments “The amount of love, imagination, and hard work that has gone into the HulaArt is absolutely incredible, especially on the part of our partners at the Salem Public Space Project and the Phoenix School, in addition to our sponsors and the support of the City of Salem.

Waiting for youShe adds “This project exemplifies so much of what we’re trying to accomplish with this year’s Arts Festival – collaboration, community, and transformation of space.”

No need to bring your own hoop, we have plenty to spare and share.