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Friends Having Breakfast

Salem, MA | A Day Away

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

Welcome to another installment of 4Squares A Day Away in MA, where we feature day trips throughout Massachusetts. Experience different scenery, culture, and (of course!) food as a way to love the way you live beyond your own backyard, all while keeping socially-distant and safe.

Valentine's Day is certainly going to look a lot different than years past. Visions of romantic dinners or spa getaways may not be an option, so how about a day away in Salem, Massachusetts with the one(s) you love? Ready? Let's gas up and go!

Salem, Massachusetts

Most folks associate Salem with Halloween or the infamous Salem Witch Trials, but the magic of Salem is there is something to do year-round!

Salem's So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival

Salem is kicking off Valentine celebrations with their annual Salem's So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival, which runs from February 1 - February 14th. Sponsored by Salem Main Streets, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, and Destination Salem, the event features local retailers, restaurants, and businesses in a decadent tradition of delectable chocolate, sparkling ice sculptures, and Valentine’s Day shopping! The organizers are promoting takeout options from participating restaurants over the course of the two-week festival, but this year there will be no chocolate & wine event. Of course, there is also the possibility of other changes, so be sure to follow Salem's So Sweet on Facebook for the most current information so you can plan your trip accordingly.

Take a Stroll Outside or Inside

Whether you attend the festival or not, one of the many joys of Salem is that it's pedestrian-friendly and walkable. Once you've made the 30-minute drive from Medford, park your car, don your mask, and venture through Salem Center to take in the architectural sights, including the Hawthorne Hotel, the grand mansions of Chestnut Street, and the charming Victorian cottages near the Salem Common. Literary buffs will want to meander to the Salem Waterfront to take in the view of the The House of the Seven Gables, which, although closed to visitors, is a majestic sight to behold. (The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, 978-744-0991,

If blustery winds mean an outdoor walk isn't an option, consider ordering timed tickets for the Peabody Essex Museum and get some "cultchah." While some exhibits are temporarily closed to the public, the Maritime Art and Fashion and Design exhibits offer a peek into the days of yore. Craving an opportunity for quiet and stillness? Then don't miss the Breath exhibit, which features an animation and soundscape that slows visitors down to activate an awareness and deeper connection to the breath.

As expected, social-distancing restrictions apply while in the PEM, which you can read more about here. (Peabody Essex Museum, East India Square, 161 Essex Street, 978-745-9500 or Toll Free 866-745-1876)

Treat Yourself (okay, and your loved ones too)

Whether you've been indoors or out in the fresh air, no Valentine's venture is complete without something sweet! Stop in at Kakawa Chocolate House and warm up with a decadent Chocolate Elixir (their signature hot chocolate beverage) or pick up a variety of sweet treats! Kakawa's chocolatiers are passionate about chocolate, and enthusiastically answer questions about the history of chocolate and the craft behind their unique and exquisitely bold creations. Everything is made right on site (for you to see too!) and their chocolate offerings include classic European-style truffles as well as a variety of contemporary flavors (including dairy-free and vegan confections), such as Pomegranate, Cherry-Chili, and Kakawa's specialty truffle, Goat Cheese & Sage. Also available are creamy caramels, ice cream and sweet offerings for all your Valentines! All items are to-go (or curb pickup) at this time, but you can call ahead and create a custom selection of treats for your loved ones to enjoy. (Kakawa Chocolate House, 173 Essex Street (adjacent to the Peabody Essex Museum) 617-548-4567, If you're craving something savory as well as sweet, then stop in to Caramel Patisserie, Salem's French Artesian bakery. Choose from sinfully decadent desserts or their classic macarons, which come in a variety of flavors. Don't forget to grab a baguette (or two!) that, if you time it right, could be coming straight out of the piping-hot oven! Caramel also takes call-ahead orders if you find you're strapped for time. (Caramel Patisserie, 281 Essex St. Salem, MA 01970, 978-594-0244,

Find the Perfect Gift for Your Valentine(s)

Hive and Forge Looking to surprise your sweetheart with a gift or a memento of your day away? Discover a treasure trove of expertly-crafted goods, eclectic finery, unique antiques and peculiar oddities at Hive & Forge. This artisanal haven houses more than 50 artists and curators from New England, selling a wild collection of wares. You'll find handmade jewelry, small batch candles, fashion designers, printmakers, an apothecary an apothecary, and much, much more! There is an option for curbside pickup when checking out on their website as well as USPS delivery! (Hive & Forge, 30 Church Street, Salem, 978-726-7749,

What's your favorite Day Away in MA? Sharing Massachusetts hot-spots for socially-distanced sightseeing is one of the many ways I help residents love the way they live in Medford and beyond! Reach out and share the local day trips that bring you joy!

Photo Credits: Ice Heart, Creative Collective via Salem So Sweet. Hot Cocoa, Kawaka Chocolate House; Gifts, Hive & Forge; Ice Snow Man, Creative Collective via Salem So Sweet, 18th C Fashion, Peabody Essex Museum.

Social Media Photo Credits also include: Ice Cat at the House of the Seven Gables, Creative Collective via Salem So Sweet.

For more monthly updates on the Middlesex County Housing Market, and great info on living in the Boston area - sign up for the 4Squares Newsletter.

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