There are tours a plenty in the night to give you a fright here in Salem, especially during Haunted Happenings, but there are more than a few by day that serve to put on display the architectural and social history of the great seaport town of Salem. For example among the tours today are:
Ropes Mansion Tours
Recognized as one of New England’s most significant and thoroughly documented historic houses, the Ropes Mansion, located at 318 Essex Street, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This Georgian Colonial, built around 1727, was home to four generations of the Ropes family. Filled with original furnishings, the Ropes Mansion contains superb examples of 18th and 19th-century furniture, ceramics and glass, silver, kitchenwares, textiles and personal objects. You can tour the house from noon to 4pm.
U.S. Custom House Tour
Take a self-guided tour through the U.S. Custom House that was built in 1819 to house the offices of the U.S. Customs Service. During the height of Salem’s East Indies trade, the Customs Service in Salem collected millions of dollars in taxes on incoming cargo. These taxes provided vital financial support for the new United States government. For three years this building was the workplace of the famous American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne’s experiences during his stint in the Custom House inspired his most famous novel, The Scarlet Letter.
While the 1-2pm tour is free, reservations are required. Please call 978-740-1650 or visit the Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty Street on the day of your visit to make a reservation
Derby and Narbonne House Tour
This tour, presented by the National Park Service, is a ranger-led program that leads visitors through two distinct historic homes. The Derby House, constructed in 1762 was the first home of Elias Hasket and Elizabeth Crowninshield Derby. It is an exemplary example of a wealthy merchant’s Georgian home and is furnished to reflect the Derbys’ 20-year long residence in the house. The Narbonne House, built in 1675, spans nearly 300 years of history as a home of successful businessmen and their families. The Narbonne House is unfurnished and contains displays of some of the nearly 150,000 archaeological artifacts excavated from the home’s backyard.
While the 2:30-3:30pm tour is free, reservations are required. Please call 978-740-1650 or visit the Visitor Center at 2 New Liberty Street on the day of your visit to make a reservation.