SALEM — You won’t need long to discover why people on the North Shore relish this city year-round (not just in October). In one weekend my family and I ate well, shopped, enjoyed frighteningly good coffee, and browsed great art. Our 5-year-old’s obsession with trains meant we could have turned back for home after our short trip up on the commuter rail, but even he enjoyed much of what Old Salem has to offer. Whether you go by train or car, be sure to get a room downtown. A number of self-guided walking tours are available for downloading at www.nps.gov/sama.