This past October, just a week before Halloween, Freeform’s new upcoming series Motherland: Fort Salem invited BGN and a handful of influencers to Salem, Massachusetts, to dive into the Wiccan culture and learn what we could about the show and see where some of the ideas came from.
There was no convincing needed. Once told where the group was staying, it was a no brainer. Our lodgings for the four days was the gorgeous Stoneacre Mansion in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
Motherland: Fort Salem is set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution over 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the government to fight for their country. The show follows three young women as they go from basic training in combat magic to early deployment. The traditional roles of gender and power are flipped. The more dominant women are on the front lines fighting terrorist threats with supernatural tactics and weapons. The new cadets are all housed in the same camp and with roommates. We were all new cadets with Stoneacre as our training ground.
Stoneacre is truly a beautiful place. At close to 10,000 square feet, the entire waterfront property was ours to roam. Upon arrival, a large turquoise wooden gate accompanied by a high, fortified stone wall is all that stands between you and the property. The large stone driveway leads you to a door that opens to a vision right out of a movie with a large green courtyard and an abundance of classic sculptures. It’s quite the picturesque setting before you even walk into the house. There are loggias and porticos arched with intricate carvings strategically placed amidst the stone walls. The estate’s grounds include a jacuzzi overlooking the ocean, direct waterfront access with a deep water dock, and two moorings. The wrap-around porch provides tranquil views of the ocean, while the sound of the waves and moving water make the location perfect for finding your inner…everything.
With a current sticker price of $8 million, Stoneacre was built in 1912 for Mr. and Mrs. Hall. Frederick Hall was a prominent artist while his wife Evelyn was an accomplished pianist and the eldest daughter of Massachusetts Governor Oliver Ames. The house has nine bedrooms, six full bathrooms, and three half bathrooms. The interior of the house features eight fireplaces, a wood-paneled sauna, a large steam room, and the original wine cellar that gives all the right treat-yourself vibes. Every room had so many rich details. The high ceilings, the perfect hardwood floors, everything was breathtaking. With four levels, there was something to see on every floor. The lower level includes a wet bar and billiards room. The mid-level includes a spacious chef’s kitchen with views of the glorious courtyard. The top two levels house a gym, bedrooms, bathrooms, long hallways, and maze-like corridors. At first glance, it all looked very creepy. Gigantic. I was sure it was haunted. But, I slept like a baby that first night and every night thereafter.
The Sea Room was by far my favorite room. The lighting that came through the ocean view windows gave a calming effect. There are mirror wall panels that are secret doors. Forgive the pun, but it truly is a magical room. The first night we were treated in that room to warm mulled wine and dinner prepared by our private chef. We ate all our prepared meals including breakfast and lunch on some days. The decor was done especially for us, with candles everywhere. A United States flag hung in the room with the witch’s pentagram instead of the regular stars with stripes. We had a medium do a group reading in this room. It was a very emotional and powerful experience. We did yoga and meditation facing the ocean in that room. It truly was the space that provided the most release and positive energy.
Other rooms we used in this glorious place were the movie room where we watched the first episode of Motherland: Fort Salem and took part in some amazing practices and our bedrooms, of course, which provided lovely views of the ocean and nice breezes in the evenings. Every morning there would be something new on my bed after breakfast. Some of the gifts we received included a workout outfit, a duffle bag, a yoga mat, and a sweatshirt. We used the porticos to conduct our regular morning Boot Camp sessions. That circuit training was ridiculous, but I felt so good about myself right after. There was something about this place that brought so much positive energy into my life for the few days we were all there.
The trip to Salem really showed me a world that I’ve always been fascinated by but never really wandered into on my own. I am so thankful for the opportunity to travel, stay in such an amazing space, and meet women who taught me so many things. I came out with new friends and memories to last a lifetime. I imagine the same will go for the ladies in the new series.
BGN cannot wait for everyone to see Motherland: Fort Salem. It truly is a show like no other. Motherland: Fort Salem will premiere March 18.