Spend a day exploring Salem and it will will cast a spell on you

TOWN: Salem
WHAT:Once larger than Boston, this seaside town rewards the curious
WHY:Witchcraft, piracy, a world class museum and enchanting neighborhoods

What do you call a city that took one of the most horrific episodes in early American history and turned it into an enduring icon that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year? Why Witch City, or as it's known more commonly, Salem, Massachusetts. You need look no further than the fire engines and police cars of this historic seafaring community to see evidence of it: the town logo is a witch on a broomstick.

Salem is, of course, much more than the site of a weird and deadly bit of occult hysteria. The city once rivaled Boston in size and prestige as its citizens were busy accumulating vast wealth in the China Trade. 

Today, much remains of the achievements of Salem's maritime trade, evident in its imposing mansions and in the collections of its impressive museums. Modern Salem remains a busy harbor, with pleasure boats and ferries motoring and sailing to and fro. And of course witchery maintains its cartoonish presence in t-shirt shops, fortune tellers and perhaps the most famous Halloween night on the planet. 

Look past the ghosts, goblins and pirates and you'll find neighborhoods with stories to tell, a waterfront with fun places to explore and bars and restaurants that range from funky to sublime.