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A bunch of Go T stuff supplements their Potter stock, although that doesn’t show up on the website. I just realized that I almost forgot to mention the two comic book shops!
Harrison’s has a better selection, and it used to be my go-to, but some unsavory sexist nonsense went down there in 2014 and I no longer give them my business.
It’s best to start with the Salem Athenaeum and the Salem Public Library, which are situated directly across Essex street from one another.
The Salem Athenaeum can trace its roots back before the Revolutionary War, when a group of wealthy merchants decided to upgrade their fancy social club to a fancy library social club.
There’s a small but well-stocked history and genealogy room on the top floor, as well as a handful of computers accessible with a guest pass.
During peak tourist season, SPL is a good place to regroup and take a breather.
Nathaniel Hawthorne and Nathaniel Bowditch were both members.
During the 19th century, Salem was still a super important port and kind of a bigger deal in trade than Boston.
(Locals still mutter that if the harbor were deeper, Salem would eventually have been as important as New York City.) As a muckety-muck port, it was also moneyed and became a prominent cultural spot. That’s not still the case, but there are still plenty of interesting book lenders active in Salem.
There are also charming exhibits and events year-round, some of which are open to the public.
The building itself, which is so small that its attempt at imposing collonades can only be considered adorable, is well worth seeing.