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Cruising Salem Harbor with Reverend William Bentley

July 28, 2023 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Join historian Donald Friary as you travel back in time with Reverend William Bentley to discover Salem Harbor as he saw it in 1800.

During this boat tour follow up to historian Donald Friary’s virtual presentation of Reverend William Bentley’s Salem Harbor, you’ll explore the harbor with Reverend Bentley and learn more about the way he experienced it. According to his diary, Reverend William Bentley seemed to be everywhere.

He saw Salem’s ship captains departing for and returning from voyages around the world to bring exotic goods and new ideas to their home port. Mr. Bentley saw beached whales, shipwrecks, a seven-foot shark, seals and porpoises, lobsters and crabs. He noted ropewalks, shipyards, cooperages, and fish flakes, as well as privateers and smugglers. He was saddened by drownings and marveled at the frozen harbor. He knew all the islands—Bakers, the Miseries, Orne’s, Eagle, Cat, Ram—and impediments to navigation—Half-Way Rock, Kettle Bottom, Abbott’s Rocks, Bowditch’s Ledge.

About Donald Friary

Donald Friary is Director Emeritus of Historic Deerfield, Inc. and past President of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. A Boston native, he first came to Salem on a summer camp day trip in the late 1940s. As an historian, he has been intrigued by the city for decades. Since moving to Salem in 2005, he has immersed himself in its history and can occasionally be seen walking the streets in the guise of the Reverend William Bentley (1759-1819). As Principal of History for Hire Mr. Friary is an independent consultant to museums and historical organizations. He offers walking tours of Salem through the international firm, Tours by Locals .

Boat Departure Location: Naumkeag departs from the Salem Ferry dock at 10 Blaney Street, Salem MA 01970. 


Please read all the information listed below before purchasing your ticket(s).

Adults: $39 Children (4-12 yr): $25 (Essex Heritage Members receive a 20% discount!)

Boat Departure Location: 

Naumkeag departs from the Salem Ferry dock at 10 Blaney Street, Salem MA 01970. 

What You Need To Know Before You Go! Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the trip?

About 2 hours round-trip

Are there restrictions on who can go?

All passengers must be:

  • At least 4 years old (No infants; in arms or baby carriers)
  • Capable of negotiating the boat ramp without assistance.

What if it rains or is stormy?

Boat trips depend on the weather. Naumkeag has no rain or sun cover on it. 

Is there a bathroom onboard?

There are no bathrooms on the boat, but there are restrooms at the Salem Ferry Visitor Center which can be used directly before and after the tour.

What is the Cancellation Policy?

  • If Essex Heritage cancels the boat trip: If it is too rainy or stormy or the seas are too rough, and Essex Heritage has to cancel the boat trip, you will be fully refunded the cost of your ticket
  • If ticket holder cancels: If you cancel because you think it is too sunny, rainy, windy or whatever, but the boat still goes, tickets are non-refundable.

How will I know if my tour has been cancelled?

Essex Heritage staff will do our best to email all ticketed passengers in advance if your trip has been cancelled. We will also keep an updated weather advisory line at 978-998-2188.


Please call (978)212-9227

Essex Heritage does not assume responsibility for any lost or stolen personal property.


July 28, 2023
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


Salem Ferry Dock
10 Blaney St
Salem, MA 01970 United States
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