Sure -- you can take the boring train or bus (or, heavens, even drive) to Salem from Boston. But, isn't a nice water trip enticing. The catamaran leaves from the Long Wharf in Boston and drops you at the Salem Ferry terminal, about a 15 minutes walk from downtown (with signs to see on you way there). The catamaran is pleasant, with plenty of seats and tables indoors and outdoors, on two decks. There is a snack bar (with free ginger candies if the rolling seas get to you) and less than an hour after leaving you're in Salem. A nice bonus is a tourist narration of the sights in and history of Boston Harbor at the Boston end of the trip, and a similar narration about the area from Marblehead to Salem at the Salem end of the trip. The middle of the trip does take you on what can be somewhat rough waters (the remains of hurricane Maria were churning the seas when I went on the trip). But even though I am not a strong fan of water based transportation, I found it pleasant.
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