If you're a lover of all things spooky and Halloween is your favorite holiday, then Salem, MA is the spot for you. This whimsical city is located just an hour outside of Boston. Salem is most famous for the Salem Witch Trials that took place in 1692. It is also a very popular spot because the famous Disney Channel movie, Hocus Pocus, was filmed here!
During our three day trip, my best friend and I stayed at the haunted, Hawthorne Hotel. While charming as it is, rumor has it that guests have frequently reported moving furniture, sightings of ghosts, and unexplained noises.The show Bewitched even filmed an episode here during the 70s, and, in 1990 the hotel held a seance in the Grand Ballroom, trying to contact the famous magician, Harry Houdini. Fortunately for us, nothing too spooky happened, besides them putting us in the room NEXT to the one that's supposed to be the most haunted of them all.
The Hawthorne Hotel is set in the perfect location to be able to walk to just about everything. On our first day of the trip, we arrived around 5pm, checked into the hotel, and went out to dinner. We ate at Ledger, an upscale bar and restaurant serving New England cuisine. Ledger is especially unique because it is set in a 19th century bank vault. Once we finished eating, we headed up the block for The Salem Night Tour. This walking ghost tour takes you through the historical and haunted areas of downtown Salem. What really made the experience was our theatrical tour guide, Sebastian, who painted the perfect vision of Downtown Salem in the late 1600s. I highly recommend putting this on the top of your itinerary. Do you think you're brave enough to walk through the cemetery in the dark?
We started off the second day of our trip by getting breakfast at Gulu Gulu cafe. I had a mocha chocolate coffee and strawberry Nutella crepe, which was delicious. Once we finished eating, we continued down Essex St to start sight seeing. The first place we passed was the Witch house, home of Jonathan Corwin, who was one of the judges during the trials. It is the only standing structure that can still be linked directly back to the Salem Witch Trials. We took a self guided tour through the house to see what life was like living during the 1600s.
Next, we stopped at the Ropes mansion. You may recognize it as Allisons house from Hocus Pocus, but it is more than just a mansion in a Disney movie. There have been many tragic deaths in this house, including the most famous, Abigail Ropes. Rumor has it that this young girls dress ignited in flames from the fireplace. Reports have been made of sightings of her apparition throughout the house.
After that, we walked around the block to the Salem Witch Museum. Here, you can learn some of the history and view a presentation of the 1692 trials. The other museum we had to make sure to visit was the Witch Dungeon Museum. Here, you can watch a short, live, reenactment and then take a guided tour through the dungeon where you will see the terrible conditions of the cells that the witches lived in upon waiting on their trial.
Growing up, Hocus Pocus was one of my FAVORITE childhood Halloween movies, so, of course, we had to see Max and Dani's house. It is now a residential home, but you can quickly pose in front for a photo. Around the corner you can also visit Pioneers Village, a replica of what Salem looked like during the 17th century. The village was used to film the opening scene of the movie as well. Plan accordingly, as it is only open on weekends 12pm-4pm. Unfortunately, we weren't aware of this, so we weren't able to go inside, but we could get a little peak of it over the fence.Pioneers Village is located next to a beautiful river front. We just so happen to get there as the sun was going down and radiating off the colorful autumn tress. If you have time, you have to stop at this park during your trip. New England during the fall is a dream.
On the way to dinner, we stopped for a drink and an appetizer at Opus, a trendy spot for small plates, sushi, cocktails, and live events. Let me tell you, the truffle fries are to DIE for! For dinner, we ate at Sea Level Oyster bar. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating (covered in a heated plastic awning during the winter), so you can have a water view year round. Seafood, especially clam and lobster, are a signature dish to order. The waters of Long Island and the Gulf of Maine offer a large variety of fish and shellfish that are a must when visiting New England.
Jonathan Corwin House
Max and Dani's house
To start the third day, we got breakfast at the Ugly Mug Diner. If you're a coffee lover, you have to try one of their specials. After eating, we made our way back up Essex St for shopping. The stores on Essex St include nothing short of witchy, spiritual, and spooky shops. One of my favorite shops was Wynott wands, inspired by Ollivanders, the wand shop in the Harry Potter Series.
We decided we needed a snack so we headed back to the hotel and sat down at The Tavern. TheTavern offers comfort food, a bar, and fireside dining. Nathaniel's is the other restaurant offered at the Hawthorne Hotel. Here is the perfect spot to start your morning. Enjoy breakfast while sitting by the Grand Piano. In the evening, the restaurant transforms into a lounge.
Since we had some extra time before dinner, we decided to go back to Forrest River Park. We had some much fun walking the trail and shooting some content here! I loved out outfits these days because we matched in our oversized sweatshirts and pleated skirts. We tried going for a Hogwarts house inspired look since we visited the wand sop earlier in the day.
As you may have seen on the top of my travel page, I posted a book called "People We Meet on Vacation" by Emily Henry. During the novel, the main character, Poppy, mentions how important it is to stay "on theme" when traveling. This means things like ordering fish and chips in England, gelato in Italy, ect...soooo we had to our fortunes read! We went to Crow Haven corner, and I'd have to say they are pretty on point. I don't think I really take any of it too seriously, but, like I said, when in Rome (or Salem). 💁🏼♀️ It was a really fun experience and definitely one we will always be able to look back on!
On our way to dinner, we stopped by the Flying Saucer Pizza Company. Another blogger I follow, @Heyydrayy, had posted a Hocus Pocus themed flight from here and I HAD to try! It did not disappoint! Next time I go back to Salem id love to stay and eat at this quirky style pizza place. After out drinks, we headed to Turners Seafood. This is my favorite restaurant we ate at on out trip. Turners offers a fresh fish market and oyster bar. While Turners offers a a historic charm, it is actually one of the most haunted sites in the city. It's said that if you stand at the bottom of the staircase and look up, the apparition of Bridget Bishops can be spotted.The land Turners sits on was once an apple orchard, owned by Bridget Jones herself. She was the first women executed during the Salem Witch Trials.
Overall, Salem was SUCH a great trip. We really enjoyed site seeing and learning the history of the city. I think my favorite activity was the Salem night tour, as it just fit the "theme" of the trip. Salem offers beautiful scenery, cool shops, restaurants, wineries, brewery's, museums, tours, and so much more!
MICKEYS NOT SO SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY OUTFIT
My favorite high waisted bikinis
Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire
I had so much fun visiting New Hampshire over 4th of July weekend! I went to go visit some friends that originally grew up there and got to explore their home town. The first day we rented a boat and cruised around the lake. The lake offers swimming, picnicking, fishing, kayaking, jet skiing, and more. After boating we went to pick up some fireworks and got dinner on the water. The second day we spent cooking and prepping for a a BBQ that night. We had such a good time just blasting music, visiting with each other, and setting off the fireworks. On the last day we got a HUGE breakfast at a local pancake house. My whole breakfast platter costs me under $10 which made me laugh considering small stack of pancakes with a piece of cotton candy on top costs $40 at brunch in New York City. After absolutely stuffing our faces from breakfast...we of course had to stop and get homemade ice cream from Sanctuary dairy farm, a local dairy farm in the area. While they had just about every flavor you could imagine, I highly recommend Cappuccino crunch or mocha chip! Even though where I visited in New Hampshire is definitely a small town, you never know if you might run into Steven Tyler of Aerosmith! Thats right! Some of him and his band members grew up on the lake and still spend their summers there!
My top 10 favorite photo spots in Disney World
Ithaca, New York
Ithaca, you're gorges
Ithaca is a city in New York's Finger Lakes region. It is hometown to Ithaca College and Cornell University. If you're looking for things to do, be sure to check out the botanical gardens, art museum, hiking, waterfalls, famous gorges, farmers market, festivals, and more.
Ithaca, New York is such a gorgeous spot to visit, and I could not have picked a better time of year to go! I went up during peak fall season, and it was like living in a dream. First of all, you could not beat the beautiful scenery. The colors of the trees were SO vibrant, but it gets even better when I tell you my friends live on a horse farm! I highly recommend this spot for a weekend getaway!
The drive was just about 3 1/2 hours outside of New York City, but it wasn't too bad of a ride when you have a good Crime Junkie podcast to listen to. When we arrived, it was pitch black outside, and all you could see were millions and millions of stars in the crystal clear sky. Once we got all settled in, we were just hanging out when my friend asked if we wanted to go visit the horses. I thought he was just kidding, but when he opened the barn door, about 15 horses were standing there waiting for us.
On our first full day in Ithaca, we woke up early and went to a hike at the gorges. Once we were done with that, we hit up a local sandwich place and brought our lunch down to the docks. Next up on our agenda was apple picking. Ithaca has quite a few orchards you can choose from. The one we went to was unique because you could drive from spot to spot for different types of apples. The best part was the last stop, though, because they were serving apple cider and hot donuts (which are obviously the best)! When we finally had our bags filled to the brim with apples, we went back the house and started making apple pie! Here is a super simple and easy recipe from Pinterest we followed.
After baking out yummy apple pie, we changed our clothes and went out onto the farm. Our friends showed us the daily routine and all of the chores that must be done. We took out the quad and riled all of the horses up to bring them back into the stable for the night. Then we checked each of their charts and prepared their dinner (depending on their special dietary needs). I know these seem like such simple tasks, but it actually takes a pretty decent amount of time and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. My friends and I were joking that we felt a little bit like Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie on The Simple Life. After all our hard work, we went back to house for the night and just enjoyed our time catching up eating our delicious apple pie!
On our second day, we woke up early, got bagels & coffee, and hopped in the car for a little scenic ride around the area. We drove past Cornell and took a tour of Ithaca College (well, what we could see from the outside--sadly there were not students on campus due to Covid). On our way back, we stopped at the farmers market for some shopping. There's something for everyone as they sell a lot of custom artwork, local grown flowers + veggies, wine, honey, and food ( I got Nutella crepes 😋)!
Finally, for our last activity on the trip, we headed back to the farm to take a private horse riding lesson. The horses are huge so it is a bit intimidating at first but once you get the hang of it, its such a cool experience! This trip was such so much fun! I'd highly recommend checking this spot out ASAP!
Royal Caribbean: Independence of the Seas
I don't know about you, but cruises are one of my FAVORITE ways to travel! Sailing from Fort Lauderdale, my best friend and I enjoyed every single minute of this 5-day western Caribbean cruise. On day 1, we climbed aboard and explored the ship! There's so much to do: the Perfect Storm waterslide (that goes over the edge of the ship 😱), the trampoline Sky Pad, the Playmakers arcade & sports bar, sushi classes with the chef, broadway at sea, unlimited pizza and ice cream, and my personal favorite - the nightly game shows!
On day 2, we got up and grabbed breakfast at the buffet! There's just about anything you can imagine being served for breakfast. When we finished eating, we hit the pool and made sure to grab good seats for The Sexiest Man competition. We could not have gone on this cruise at a better time. It was college spring break, so there was A LOT of cheering and excitement for the competition. I think the best part, though, was that everyone started cheering for the young men, but by the end, everyone wanted the men with "dad bods" to win. 😂
After chilling in the hot tub for a bit, we went back to the room, got ready for dinner, and headed to the dining room! When we finished, we strolled through the Promenade and checked out the nightlife. While the silent disco went on, we checked out karaoke at the bar and boyband trivia in the lounge. On our way back to the room, we made sure to pick up some pizza and get ready for out day in Haiti to follow!
Day 3: Labadee Haiti - We woke up bright and early for our first adventure of the day, the Dragon Coaster! The coaster takes you to the top of the island, where you then twist and turn down the slide, catching glimpses of the BEAUTIFUL sights of Haiti. Wasting no time, we then headed over to our next excursion. My favorite part was the thrilling speed boat ride, where we saw breathtaking views of the mountains and Tortuga Islands. The locals told us that Johnny Depp would often stay there while filming Pirate of the Caribbean.
We put on our snorkeling gear and jumped off the side of the speedboat for a guided tour around the reef. Not gonna lie, it was QUITE scary jumping into the middle of the ocean! However, once I got over that, it was sooo cool seeing all the colorful marine life.
Day 4 : Jamaica - Another early one, as we were off to Ochos Rios, Jamaica! We took a two-hour bus ride from Falmouth to Dunns River Falls. Here, visitors walk hand in hand through the waterfalls. Once you climb to the top, you can stop for a refreshing break to swim in the lagoons or opt to slide down the natural stone water slide! Once the waterfall tour ends, we headed over to a private beach, where relaxed a little and jumped the waves in the crystal clear water. Entertainers performed reggae and then brought over rum punch and Jamaican dishes including jerk chicken, rice, and more. Dinner on the ship that night was also Jamaican themed, and it was my favorite dinner of all the nights.
After dinner, we went to the Love and Marriage game show. Make sure to grab a seat early, as this is one of the most popular shows on the cruise! Whether you're single, newlywed, or have been married for a while, this game show will have you laughing all night long!