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Five Top Things You’ll See on your Salem Cruise!

  1. You’ll see the sails go up… and the captain turn off the motor!

Yes, we really do sail our traditional wooden schooner, and we love the reaction we get when our guests realize that the wind alone is powering our progress through Salem Sound! One of our skippers calls out “Welcome to the 19th century!” as he cuts the motor.

As long as the weather is reasonable, guests are welcome to take a turn at the tiller and feel the pressure of the water on the rudder as FAME sails along. The schooner’s eight-foot-long locust tiller is a thing of beauty, handcrafted especially for FAME at the local boatyard where she was launched in 2003.

a man sitting on a rock next to a body of water

2.  You’ll see lighthouses — lots of them!

We generally can see five or six lighthouses on a typical trip. The Derby Wharf and Hospital Point lighthouses we usually see quite close up, as they are right in Salem Harbor. But after that it depends on where the wind is coming from, because the wind determines our route for each trip.

If the wind carries us to Beverly, you get a good look at the Hospital Point lighthouse. If we end up sailing to Marblehead, you’ll see the hundred-year-old steel tower of the Chandler Hovey Light. Either way, off in the distance you’ll see the lighthouse at Baker’s Island, once an important landmark. And if you’re joining us for a sunset cruise, you’ll see all these lights come on as the sun nears the horizon. You may even sight the distant blink of the Eastern Point Light, 12 miles away in Gloucester. See our other blog entries for more on each light!

3. You’ll see islands — and each island has its own story.

Misery Island was named by a stranded, miserable boatbuilder; Children’s Island has had at least two other names and got its current one because it hosts the Marblehead YMCA camp. Winter Island is no longer an island, but archeology has shown that it was the site of indigenous settlements for thousands of years before European settlers arrived here.

Misery, Bakers, and Children’s Islands all hosted resorts back in the heyday of the “Gold Coast” when wealthy Bostonians flocked to the shores of Salem Sound each summer. See our other blog entries for more on each island!

a small boat in a large body of water

4. You’ll see over a thousand boats, in the marinas and on the moorings of Salem and Marblehead Harbors.

Between Salem, Marblehead and Beverly nearly 2000 private yachts are kept here each summer, making the North Shore one of the boating capitals of the East Coast. Most of these boats rest quietly at the dock during the week, but on a sunny summer day you can see dozens and maybe over a hundred vessels “underway, making way.” Marblehead boasts some gorgeous private boats. It is also the site of six yacht clubs and a sailing regatta seemingly every weekend all summer, featuring everything from small dinghies to large cruisers!

a couple of people that are wearing glasses and smiling at the camera

5. You’ll see our competent, experienced, personable crew, who are there to answer your questions, make sure you’re comfortable, and tell you more about lighthouses, islands, forts and beautiful waterfront homes we are passing.

They’ll be looking for volunteers to raise the sails and take the tiller. They’ll explain how our vessel works and how our ancestors used wooden sailing ships to explore the known world, trade with distant lands, chase the valuable shoals of codfish and mackerel, and in FAME’s case, hunt down and capture enemy vessels in times of war! Our crew are wonderful sources of historical information and local knowledge — don’t hesitate to ask them questions. They may even explain how the cannon works — and give you a live-firing demonstration!

a small boat in a body of water