Meet the Past

Take a walk with Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Rob Velella takes on the role of Nathaniel Hawthorne, leading tours through Salem using Hawthorne's own words.


See what Nathaniel Hawthorne saw as he strode through the streets of Salem in the early 1800s and experience Salem as he did, in his own words. All are invited to take a walk with native son Nathaniel Hawthorne on Saturday, April 14.

Educator and guide Rob Velella, who portrays Hawthorne, says he likes to bring writers of yesterday to readers of today in a way that’s comfortable and enjoyable. For the past 10 years, this scholar with two degrees in literature has been channeling 19th century writers.

“One of the reasons I do this is because I see so many people struggling with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing. He’s not just text on a page. He was a living, breathing human being — with a family, friends, and work,” says Velella. Velella will read from Hawthorne’s letters and fiction on the one-hour tour that weaves through the places the author knew and visited.

The tours take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost for the general public is $15 and $10 for members. The tours start at The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby Street, Salem.

“There really isn’t an equivalent to Hawthorne and his relationship to Salem,” says Velella. “Hawthorne and Salem go together so well. I don’t think there’s any other author so deeply rooted in place, so permanently etched.”

Those who take the walk will hear excerpts from Hawthorne’s writing as he meant his work to be understood. The dramatic interpretation of literature can lift it off the page and infuse it with dimension and meaning for readers of all ages.

 Support for this walking tour comes from Mass Humanities.

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