3.31.2016

The Merchant | Salem, Massachusetts

Entry view into the lounge of The Merchant

When the Joshua Ward house in Salem, Massachusetts came on the market in 2014, I was captivated. You see, the Joshua Ward house is one of those intriguing Salem properties surrounded in legend and myth. Whispers of its lineage has attracted curious sightseers, tour groups, and ghost hunters for years. At the time the property came on the market, I was searching for my own Salem property, and I entertained fantasies of snatching it up and taking on the renovation project. I knew it wasn't realistic, but I dreamed.

At the bar in The Merchant lounge

Then I heard the Joshua Ward house would become The Merchant, one of The Lark boutique hotels, and I was pleased. It would no longer be used for business offices, but would now be open for the public to see and explore; and it would be renovated and decorated to perfection. I have been a fan of Lark Hotels for awhile now. They have proven to be expert at taking historic properties and creating jaw-dropping spaces. They honor the history, but bring such a fresh and exciting take to each property.

One of the suites


Another shot from the same suite

In the lounge

The Merchant began life in 1784 as the home of sea captain and merchant, Joshua Ward. Honoring the history and occupation of the first owner with its name, The Merchant's respect for its unique place in Salem history is seen in many details throughout the property. Perhaps its most unique and prestigious claim to fame is that George Washington once slept here.

Nod to Georgie in the entry hall

During our stay, my best friend, Emily, and I were actually able to sleep in the room where George Washington laid his perfectly-coifed head of hair, and dreamed his commander-in-chief dreams. The room welcomed us in with its cozy bed, roaring fire, and attention to detail and decor that elevated it to true presidential status.

The George Washington suite

The George Washington suite is gorgeous!

But it wasn't just Washington's room that was given special attention. During our 3-night stay, we tried out another suite and loved it equally. Truly, each suite in The Merchant is exquisite!

In our other suite

Our suite


Our suite's fireplace

More suites at The Merchant:





The Merchant isn't just a place to sleep while you're in Salem, Massachusetts. It's a destination. It's the sort of place that calls you to relax in the lounge, while enjoying a glass of wine and good conversation. It's the kind of place you don't want to leave. In fact, we added nights to our stay after our arrival because the place truly enchanted us. I already look forward to returning.


Emily and I enjoying a night of wine


The original staircase, built by famous Salem builder, Samuel Mcintire, still stands.

Second fireplace and seating area in the lounge



Robert Frost quote on bar mirror

Lounge and bar

What would a Salem property be, however, without some tie to the infamous witch trials of 1692? The Merchant is no exception. Before Joshua Ward built the federal mansion which would become The Merchant, the land once belonged to George Corwin, Salem's sheriff during the witch trials. After his untimely death, he was buried in his cellar for a time because there was a lien placed on his corpse by Phillip English. English had been accused of witchcraft and he wanted the property back that Corwin had seized during the witch trials. Rumors and legend surround this tale and, of course, some say Corwin haunts the land where The Merchant now stands. 

But don't let thoughts of ghosts keep you away. I felt nothing but warmness and happiness at The Merchant, and left with no evidence of a haunting. So, lay back, kick up your feet, and enjoy the warmth of a fire while you dream in a home where Washington once slept.

In the George Washington suite

Thank you,  Lark Hotels and The Merchant for a truly perfect stay!


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