A tour of the Salem Witch Museum, where mannequins lining the walls of a dark room light up to tell a dramatic tale of the witch hysteria, left us disappointed. But the famed House of Seven Gables, the site of Nathaniel Hawthornes novel by the same name, put us in a better mood. Overlooking the harbor, the house offered history in small, consumable doses. The highlight was going up one of the narrowest secret staircases in the world in the oldest part of the house. A piece of its 17th century front door is preserved in a glass case, so I had to be content with running my fingers over its shinier modern counterpart.