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Salem Willows Park

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Ages:Toddlers, Kids, Teens, Adults
Category:Parks & Nature
Other Ideas: New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill; Garden In The Woods: Native Plant Trust; Arnold Arboretum; Walden Pond State Park; Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area

At the tip of land that juts into Salem Bay is Salem Willows Park, a wonderful destination for an afternoon of picnicking and outdoor activities. Enjoy beautiful shaded seaside grounds, scenic ocean views, public pier for fishing, a bandstand for concerts, picnic areas, beaches, children's rides, activities and many eateries.

Scenic & shaded seaside grounds, ocean views, a bandstand for concerts, picnic areas, beaches, children's rides, public pier, activities and many eateries. One of Salem's treasures, this park has a fascinating history.

Salem Willows is renowned for the European white willow trees planted here in 1801 to form a shaded walk for patients convalescing at the old smallpox hospital.

Later the area became a park. During the first half of the 20th century, Restaurant Row on the park's north shore served fresh seafood favored by locals and visitors alike. The last of these once popular restaurants was closed in the late 1940's.

A carousel with carved flying horses was another special attraction at Salem Willows which then, as now, operated as an entertainment center. Although the entertainment and flying horses are gone, visitors still flock here during the summer to enjoy the sunshine, the arcade and the park's ample picnic grounds and recreational facilities.

Salem Willows provides a seaside promenade popular throughout Essex County, Boston and beyond. The area also possesses residential and historical importance. A 'tenting ground' established in the mid 19th century gave way to summer cottages which are now the center of a distinctive year-round neighborhood.

Winter Island:
Beyond this neighborhood, across a causeway, lies Winter Island. Over the years it has served a multitude of purposes including fish drying, shipbuilding, and public recreation. Since the 1640's a fort there -- now known as Fort Pickering -- has defended the mouth of Salem Harbor. From the Civil War until 1971 most of Winter Island was under Federal authority. It was used most recently as a Coast Guard base.

Fort Lee:
Inland on the high ground in the center of Salem Neck, lies Fort Lee. Fort Lee is a star-shaped mound of earth designed to be used as a lookout to guard against coastal attack. Originally built in the 1740's, Fort Lee protected Salem's sea approaches during the war of 1812 and athe Civil War. In September 2001, Historic Salem, Inc. added Fort Lee to its list of Most Endangered Historic Resources. The fort once had a commanding view of Salem Willows, the harbor entrances and Winter Island, but is now overgrown and neglected. It was also known as Cannon Hill as it had four Civil War cannons on the embankment at one time.

Willow Park Amenities & Eateries:

Sun Line Cruises, (978) 741-1900
(Seasonal - starting this year June 15th, 2002)
Salem's most comprehensive cruise company. Offering service to Misery Island, Gloucester's Rocky Neck Art Colony and Marblehead. Coastal, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Attitude Adjustment and Sunset cruises. All the info is on their web site.

E.W. Hobbs, Inc.:
(Seasonal) (978) 745-7691
Since 1883. Operated over a century by four generations of the Hobbs family. Try their famous popcorn and taffy! Ice Cream, Sodas, frappes, burgers and hot dogs are available, too.

Salem Willows Arcade:
(Seasonal) (978)745-0251
From the latest to the old classics, hundreds of games offering fun for the whole family. Play the Midway and win tickets for prizes. Join the fun!

Willows Variety & Deli - Open Year Round:
153 Fort Avenue, (978)744-1300
Family Variety and lots more! Daily breakfast and luncheon specials. Groceries such as novelty Ice creams, Soda, Juice, Milk, full service Mass State lottery, toys and candy. Feel free to come down to the Salem willows in the winter to treat yourself to the unobstructed ocean views.!
Restaurant Row (Take-out & Fast Foods)

Cappy's Seafood:
(Seasonal) 175 Fort Avenue, (978) 745-8461

Ocean View House of Pizza:
(Seasonal) Fort Avenue,(978) 744-7452

Willow House:
(Seasonal) 177 Fort Avenue, (978) 744-6797



171-185 Fort Avenue, Salem, MA map
Phone: (978) 745-0251


My day at the Salem Willows, Grade 3 Student
I love to come to the Salem Willows, it's one of my favorite things to do in the summer. My mom use to come here when she was a kid so I think it's cool that it's still here. My favorite part of coming here is playing the games in the Casino, my favorite is the knock the clown down game. Then we go over to the Arcade and play a couple of video and pinball games, and even sometimes air hockey. After all the game playing, we usually each pick out a treat of ice cream or popcorn from Hobb's popcorn, yum! We then go eat our treats while sitting on the wall by the beach. I can't wait to go back.
My day at the Salem Willows, Grade 3 Student
As soon as I got out of the car when we pulled into the parking lot at the Salem Willows, I was so excited. I couldn't wait to go to the Casino which if my favorite thing to do there. I played lots of games, but my favorite is Knock down the clown game. I won a lot of tickets on that game, but I like to save all of my tickets until the very end of summer. My mom always takes my sister and I there right before school starts and we like to cash in all of our tickets from all the times that we've gone throughout the summer, they really add up so we can trade them in for good prizes. My mom use to go here when she was a little girl and I love to come here too. Looking forward to coming to the Willows again.
Salem Willows Park, Grade 3 Student
At Salem Willows they have really good ice cream. There are lots of games there and you can win prizes. I like the Chinese food there and their cheeseburgers. I have been saving my tickets and now I have 2,553 tickets.
A Great Day for All, Grade 3 Student
I went to Salem Willows with my grandmother, my sister and my mom. While we were there, I played Fruit Ninja in the arcade with my system and we ate lunch there. After lunch, I played a boat racing game with my sister and I won. We love the Willows and go every year. You should too.
Game adventureland, Grade 2 Student
It's an awesome place because it has games, a pizza place, it has ice cream, a mini-golf course, bumper cars, and a beach to swim. My favorite thing to do at Salem Willows is the bumper cars. I highly recommend it. After that, go get an ice cream and watch the boats sail by.
Lots of great fun, Grade 4 Student
It's a great place! The games are fun. I feel like the games come alive because they are so lifelike. My favorite at the willows is the dog tag maker. I also like the prizes in the Arcade, fried dough, ice cream, and pizza. I think it's cool by the water because there are lots of nice sites and it smells like the ocean. I highly recommend Salem Willows to all kids of all ages. ;)


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