He who controls the spice controls the universe.. Well Historic Salem harbor anyways. Learn more at the Salem Spice Festival

By Lindsey Roman 


Read more from Lindsey on her blog New England State of Mind

Take a look inside your cabinet at the spices you have lying in wait for your next cooking adventure. You probably got them at the grocery store to jazz up recipes, but have you ever given any further thought into just how these spices originally came into use, long before they could be purchased from a shelf under fluorescent lights? It’s no secret that Salem has a rich history in the international spice trade of the 19th century. However, these spices were being used in culinary and medicinal ways by the early New England colonists and around the world for centuries before they ever arrived on the Massachusetts shores. This weekend, you are invited to experience this unique and intriguing history of spice at the 2nd Annual Salem Spice Festival.

On Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th, head down to Pioneer Village, a perfect replica of a 1600s Salem village, to learn the history of spices, herbs and tea in early Salem, and how they are still used to this day.  Attend a variety of talks and food tastings, which this year include herb talks, history of tea talks, tea reading talks and the history of Pioneer Village gardens being established by horticulturist Dan Foley. Learn historic recipes (“receipts” if you want to use the traditional term) such as “syllabubs” and “nettle puddings” to name a few. You may be able to take a tip or two with you on how to spice up your cooking from these guides straight from the past! 

While you take in all that the festival has to offer you can feel as if you are strolling through a village centuries ago to the lively tune of masterfully played fiddle and mandolin music. For more modern palate pleasers, local Salem vendors will be on hand dishing out deliciousness, including Comida Mexican Taqueria, Coffee Time Bake Shop and Ed’s Popcorn Wagon. Take home your favorite spices and new ones you might have learned about by stopping at the Salem Spice table. Chat with Karen from Salem Food Tours to get more information about taking a tour through Salem’s modern culinary scene and its relation to spice trade history. Please your sweet tooth with a treat from Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, America’s oldest candy company based right here in Salem. 

Other local vendors not to be missed at the festival are Artemesia Botanicals, Salem Trolley, Derby Square Tours, Remember Salem, Wicked Good Books, Mama Kyrie’s Magickal Curiosities, Black Cat Tours, Salem Canvas, Copper Treez, Monarch Gardner, Perceptive Charm, IFarm, Witch City Consignment, Kristin Jay, Quatrous Publishing, Coven Cottage, Desert Rose and SCAM (Salem Collective of Artists and Musicians).  

Last year, about 2,000 people flocked to Pioneer Village for family-friendly fun, interacting with the world of spices, herbs, and history, so mark your calendars to make sure you don’t miss out on the excitement this year. Let’s continue making spice history in Salem into 2015 at the 2nd Annual Salem Spice Festival!

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2015 for Shuttle transportation. 
The Trolley will shuttle guests from NATIONAL PARK
WEST STREET, SALEM, making a continuous loop, starting
at 9:45 AM and ending by 4:15 PM. The Trolley is unable to
shuttle guests during the Ferry runs at approximately 10:15 - 
10:45 am, 12:15 - 12:45 pm, and 3:15 - 3:45 pm.

The charge for the Trolley will be passed along to the guests
at a rate of $5.00 for a round trip or $3.00 for a one-way trip.



Hi! I’m Lindsey. A loyal New Englander for all my twenty-four years, I was born and raised in New Hampshire and now reside in the beautiful, historic city of Salem, Massachusetts. A few years ago while attending college here on the North Shore, I wrote a blog about my adventures in the area. This is where my introduction to local travel blogging began, and my excitement for exploring and writing about this “wicked awesome” region developed. I am excited to start fresh and feature all new places and activities on New England State of Mind.