There’s a special feel in the air as Halloween approaches in New England a place whose history involved the beliefs and practices that conspired to form our version of what’s now considered an annual holiday. Let’s take a road trip north straight into the heart of witchcraft country to experience an authentic feel of the Halloween season as we visit places that have seen firsthand accounts of the infamous Witch Trials.
We’ll delve into American Spiritualism and the culture created around it including spirit photography, seances, and ESP at the extravagant Hammond Castle and take a merry walk through the beautiful property of Long Hill that has been transformed into a celebration of the season.
At the Ocean House at Bass Rocks we will be among nature and the peaceful sounds of the Atlantic Ocean, and we’ll walk in the beauty of the gardens and trails surround the beautiful former summer home at Long Hill. Much fun will be had along the way and definitely on our “Hike For Boos”, so why not join us on our fun Halloween Adventure!
Day One: Wethersfield Witch Trial
Today the spirit of Halloween is with us as we visit Wethersfield, Connecticut. You may be surprised to learn that witch trials here predate those in Salem by nearly thirty years. In particular, Mary Johnson’s confession of witchcraft in 1648 in Wethersfield was the first of its kind in the colonies.
The Wethersfield Historical Society will provide more details of this witchcraft history while we all take part in an interactive mock trial for the accused witch Katherine Harrison. Will she be found guilty or innocent? It will be up to you and YOU may be the one on trial!
After the sentencing, there will be time to stroll the authentic, historic New England streets, find lunch on your own, and browse in the shops or wander through the ancient burying ground.
Ocean House at Bass Rocks:
Before you know it, we’ll be among the soothing sounds of the Atlantic as we check into our comfy rooms at the Ocean House at Bass Rocks.
Take some time to relax and breathe in the ocean air before our included, fun pizza dinner at the hotel where we can just sit back and relax and enjoy the evening.
Day Two: Relax Among the Atlantic
This morning wake up to the sound of the ocean as you enjoy a leisurely morning at the hotel where you can just sit with a book and relax, take a seaside stroll, or find a scenic spot to sit on the rocks.
We’ll enjoy an included lunch here catered by a local deli.
It’s time to head out for a stroll in the beautiful, serene gardens at Long Hill in nearby Beverly. In 1916, this 114-acre hillside property attracted the Sedgwicks who then built their elegant Federal style summer retreat on this lovely scenic spot.
As an accomplished gardener and horticulturist, Mabel Cabot Sedgwick designed the enchanting gardens and landscape that are still renowned a century later.
Take your time to wander and explore the main house and woodland trails or just relax in a quiet, scenic spot to take it all in.
Hike For Boos:
This evening we’ll take a spooky hike into the woods at Appleton Farms where a special boos surprise awaits those who are brave enough to make the trek through the woods.
After, find a spot for a delicious dinner on your own in the festive town of Gloucester.
Day Three: Rebecca Nurse Homestead
Welcome to the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, the traditional saltbox home lived in by the Nurse family from 1678-1798. This is the only home of a person executed during the witch trials that is open to the public for tours.
Also located on the grounds is a reproduction of the 1672 Salem Village Meeting House where many of the early hearings took place along with the Nurse Family Cemetery that harbors a unique secret.
Lunch Downtown Gloucester:
After our exploration, find a good lunch spot in downtown Gloucester and enjoy the charming atmosphere.
Hammond Castle Spiritualism:
Tonight we visit Hammond Castle for a special Spiritualism tour. Among the castle walls, we’ll delve into the history of the American Spiritualism Movement and culture that formed around it as well as the contributions of the Hammonds who both took an active role in the movement.
We’ll discuss psychic phenomenons such as spiritual photography, seances, and Hammond’s research in ESP. Get ready for an interesting night!
Day Four: Food and Books!
We wave goodbye to our seaside surroundings and make our way towards home but there’s still more to see along the way. We’ll break up the drive with a stop for lunch at the small town Connecticut restaurant, The Traveler.
You can’t miss the large sign saying “Food and Books” which you’ll get both of here. Take your pick of any book you choose from the vast collection surrounding you.
Ancient Burying Ground:
Onto Hartford’s oldest historic site, the Ancient Burying Ground where people from all classes and ethnic backgrounds now reside from 1640 to the early 1800s. One of those residents, Nathanial Willet born 1698, was a member of the jury from 1662 who found a husband and wife guilty of charges of witchcraft and sent them to the gallows.
Let’s wander this ancient place to see what other interesting things we may find!
Pricing & Departures:
Departs South Plainfield High School at the end of Lane Avenue at 7:00 AM and returns at approximately 7:00 PM
Departs Madison’s Kings Road Parking Lot, 62 Kings Rd. at 7:45 AM and returns at approximately 6:15 PM
Departs Ridgewood’s Graydon Pool at the corner of Linwood Ave & Northern Parkway at 8:30 AM and returns at approximately 5:30 PM
Price per person is $1,625 Twin & $1,995 Single. No reservations accepted without a deposit of $150 per person. Make checks payable to Group Tours & Travel and mail to the above address. Final payment is due August 1, 2023. Deposits are fully refundable if cancellation occurs on or before August 1, 2023. There are no refunds if cancellation occurs after August 1, 2023. Travel protection/cancellation coverage is available and highly recommended (cost is approximately 10% of the total cost of the tour) but not included. One piece of luggage per person and one small carry-on is permitted. Group Tours is not responsible for any delays, cancellations, injuries or circumstances beyond its control and reserves the right to change this itinerary. All trip components are subject to change in accordance with Government, State and Local guidelines and/or mandates. This tour will run rain or shine.
Upon submitting final payment you are agreeing to our new policy.
Wet Blanket Policy:
– a person who makes it difficult for other people to enjoy themselves by complaining, acting negatively, creating drama, etc.
– one that quenches or dampens enthusiasm or pleasure
- Our philosophy of travel involves getting out of the ordinary to experience other cultures and places with an open minded attitude and flexibility. Since as in daily life, anything can and will happen, let’s embrace these situations with acceptance and understanding because they will either lead to an unexpected, amazing experience or positive learning experience.
- If anyone brings along excess baggage such as incessant complaining, under the breath rude comments, outward negativity or other such behaviors that infect the entire group or individuals, we have the exclusive right to remove them from the tour at their own cost with no refunds. (yes, this means you)
- If any major concerns arise during a tour, please just come talk to us and we’ll work it out!
The Educated Wanderer
Group Tours & Travel
PO Box 632 Berwyn, PA 19312