My family took a stay-cation day trip to Salem last Thursday, visiting the Peabody Essex Museum, our favorite place in a city that we go to once or twice a year. I’d never seen the Yin Yu Tang house, but my wife had been inside several times. This 200-year-old house from southeastern China was dismantled and shipped east to the Museum where it was rebuilt exactly as it stood in the village of Huang Cun, near Shanghai. Eight generations of the Huang family lived in the house. The house came to Salem through a cultural partnership formed between regional officials in China and the Peabody Essex, which is a world-class museum less than an hour from Lowell. Here’s the link for more information about the house.
The whole Museum experience there is an exercise in obtaining perspective on our daily experience. You have to work your mind around the notion that the Massachusetts coast was a gateway to the Pacific and Asia. The Museum was established in 1799 by wealthy merchants from Salem’s maritime trade. The PEM is “the country’s oldest continuously operating museum.” Lucky for downtown Salem to have such a draw. Still, I wouldn’t trade downtown Lowell for Salem’s even though the ocean is right there.
The PEM, Salem National Park sites, and Witch Trials Memorial are well worth the drive to the North Shore. While you are there, make time for breakfast or lunch at Brothers Restaurant & Deli at 283 Derby St.