The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, MA Photo Credit: Suzy Guese
The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts may produce more than seven questions for visitors. Some could be the more critical of what the 17th century builder was thinking of putting seven gables on a home or the more ridiculous of whether Hollywood icon Clark Gable ever visited. However, Nathaniel Hawthorne did famously glorify The House of the Seven Gables with his novel bearing the same name, drawing visitors especially around Halloween.
In 1668, Captain John Turner built the home that later Caroline Emmerton, Hawthorne’s cousin, would restore and open up for tours in 1908. Recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, The House of the Seven Gables is easily a tourist favorite in Salem due to its famous visitor Nathaniel Hawthorne, who eventually turned the home into the setting of his novel. It does claim a gable-sized accolade, being the oldest surviving 17th century wooden mansion in New England.
The Home of Nathaniel Hawthorne constructed in 1750, was conveniently moved right next to the House of Seven Gables in 1958. While Hawthorne only lived in the home until he was five, tourists still see the visit as an added bonus to the ticket price.
The price does offer a guided tour through the home. Interestingly enough, they do not warn visitors that they will have to climb up narrow secret-passageway stairs of the home. The claustrophobic may not appreciate this part of the tour. Rather than designed to escape witch persecution, Revolutionary or Civil War activity, Emmerton had the stairs installed for the tourists as an interesting aspect to the home.
However, travelers may need a few more gables to be satisfied with the steep ticket price. While general admission does include a guided tour of the House, a visit to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s childhood home, and a walk through the Colonial Revival Gardens, adult tickets are $12 per person. If you have an AAA card or are a Senior citizen, ticket prices are knocked down a whopping $1. What may have been a hefty discounted dollar back in Hawthorne’s day is somewhat of a drop in the bucket today.
Throughout the month of October, the site features a number of special events. A performance at Nathaniel Hawthorne’s home called the Legacy of the Hanging Judge gets travelers in the mood of the haunting witch trials of Salem. Hosted the remaining Friday and Saturday nights in October, along with Halloween, the event costs $15 a person. The more literary crowd may opt for the Spirits of the Gables hosted the same days, times and at the same price. The play features characters from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famed work.
While the House of the Seven Gables presents several gimmicky aspects for a big price, those looking to feel the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne and admire one of the oldest wooden mansions in the area may glaze over the gable’s flaws.
The Birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne in Salem, MA Photo Credit: Suzy Guese
For more information, visit The House of the Seven Gable’s website and read Salem Massachusetts spooks visitors for Halloween but for historically creepy circumstances.