OK, you got me. I live on the North Shore of Boston, but I don't spend a lot of time visiting the local attractions. It’s not that I don’t want to spend a Saturday at the New England Pirate Museum, it’s just that … OK, I don’t want to.
But one place I have actually gone, and enjoyed, is the House of the Seven Gables. Why? Could be the big fireplace. The Colonial gardens. The desk where Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote about how much he hated Salem. All those gables. But my favorite thing has to be the secret staircase, because if you’re really lucky, you might be there the day a fat guy gets stuck in it.
An even better reason to visit the house is the fact that its "Legacy of the Hanging Judge" has been listed as one of the top 100 events in North America for 2005 by the American Bus Association. That means when you spot a deluxe motor coach anywhere in North America, there’s probably at least a 1 in 100 chance it’s headed to the House of the Seven Gables. Or Foxwoods. One of those two.
"Legacy of the Hanging Judge," which runs every Friday and Saturday in October, apparently centers on Hawthorne’s great-great grandfather, John Hathorne, the man infamous for his role as the hanging judge during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. And I plan to see it this fall, to find out if it finally puts to rest the rumor that when asked why he didn’t just step down from the bench and spare all those innocent lives, Hathorne replied, "What, and leaveth show business?"