The Journey to Salem

Follow Salem Academy and College alumnae and friends as we recreate the journey undertaken by the Single Sisters from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to North Carolina in 1766. The Journey will cover 500 miles over 29 days and will follow the historic route as outlined in the 1766 journal of Salome Meurer—along the colonial migration trail, which passes through Maryland, continues east of the mountains in Virginia, and turns west in Hillsborough, North Carolina. The Journey began September 28 and will end on October 26, 2021 with the triumphant entry into Salem Square

Check out daily blog posts from walkers taking part in the Journey as well as a short history essay each day, which will offer context for the cultural, political, and physical landscape of 1766. In addition, this website will provide all the logistical details for walkers and volunteers.

On Tuesday, October 26, we also paid tribute to the previous reenactments of this historically significant journey:

  • Dr. Dudley Shearburn, former faculty member at Salem College, walked this 500-mile journey in 1981 mostly on her own. We honor her vision and courage. Her daughter Martha Shearburn A’81, C’86 and Anne Lester Barge C’81 accompanied her on the last week of her journey and joined us on October 26 to celebrate this 2021 re-creation. Read her article, The Walk from Bethlehem.
  • Deana Bass Williams and three classmates from College Class of 1995 followed the Journey as a bike trip in summer of 1994. Three of the four – Deana, Cindie Burnette Reidiger and Emily Estes Shutes – celebrated with us on October 26. The 4th member of the team was Sarah Woody Smith C’95.
  • Erika Barnette C’02 walked this Journey in 2001 as part of her senior communications project.

For more information about Salem’s 250th Celebration, visit

For Salem 250th Anniversary merchandise, check out our new online store.

Learn more about Salem Academy and Salem College.