To the editor:
In searching for interesting opportunities for visitors from Salem during the Halloween season, let’s not forget Abbot Hall.
My husband was a docent in the Select Board’s room for many years sharing the wonderful history of our town and the “Spirit of ‘76” painting. He often volunteered his own time during October as the seasonal docent program and gift shop volunteers ended well before Halloween.
Year after year, September visitors mentioned staying in Salem but deliberately coming to Marblehead because of its history and Salem being too crowded. Several mentioned it was suggested by their B&B or hotelier hosts. The number of visitors always increased after Labor Day. Visitors to the gift shop often mentioned the same. It was also said that they came on a weekend but were very surprised and disappointed to find it closed. As Siobhan Phelan mentioned, Salem visitors continue to want to be here.
We have history galore in Abbot Hall; its own unique story, its wonderful auditorium/ballroom, its very own “cranks,” the beautiful woodwork on the stairways, the marvelous interactive marine room, excellent variety of Marblehead-centered, books, cards, posters, mugs, hats and much, much, more in the gift shop. Glass cases in the main hallways are filled with a plethora of objects telling past tales of our town. And of course, “our painting” and all that is contained in that room.
The cost of utilities to open Abbot Hall on weekends is a valid concern. Could it somehow be contributed to by a small fee or good-will offering for tours by volunteers of the hall itself, ending with all the treasures of the main floor? Are there any financial gifts to the town that would be appropriate?
I feel certain there are folks who love history and our town who would willingly do their homework and give a few hours each week to share all that we have. I certainly would. How about combining it with a walking tour, ending or beginning there?
Why not “movies on the green,” bring your own chair and blanket, or upstairs in Abbot Hall? Should there be a fee? Do you suppose a wraith of some sort would appear? Perhaps MLT could be of assistance.
A walking scavenger hunt around town for families, with simple paper numbers or letters, or Halloween shapes, to collect from outside shops and buildings. Several participants might decide to go back later for lunch, or buy a particular bracelet seen in a window, or a sign for their kitchen wall, a jacket, a lamp, all spotted during the hunt. Endless possibilities for shopping.
Xhazzie Kindle is right. This is such a missed opportunity.
Evans Rd. Extension