Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, MA, and you can tour his birthplace. Normally I think the "birthplace" tours are stupid. I mean, what possible influence can a place of birth have on a writer, unless that writer is born, say, on the back seat of a Greyhound bus, or in a royal bed somewhere. What does it matter?
In Hawthorne's case, though, I have to make an exception. His great-great-great grandfather, William Hathorne, was one of the Puritans to come to the Massachusetts Bay Colony after the first wave of colonists. He quickly became a judge in Salem, and if the Puritans had been given to levity at all, his name would have been Hanging Bill. He was widely known for the harsh penalties he doled out. His son, John, was one of the judges in the witch trials, and not surprisingly, given who his father was, the only judge who never repented of his actions. Not a snuggly family.
By the time Nathaniel's father, Nathaniel Sr., came along, the family was in rather reduced circumstances, and Nathaniel Sr. was the captain of a merchant ship. He died in Suriname when his son was quite young, and from then on, the family lived in a variety of places in New England, with a variety of relatives. None of them stuck in Nathaniel's mind quite like Salem.
When he was in his twenties, Hawthorne added the "w" to his name for reasons he declined to specify, at least anywhere we can find them. Most people feel he was trying to distance himself from his Puritan ancestors and their harsh ideas about justice. If this was the case, he certainly didn't avoid the topic of Salem, Puritanical hypocrisy, or injustice masquerading as morality. Most of his short stories and novels deal with some form of those topics.
A lot of high school students have to read The Scarlet Letter, and because they are young and (we hope) haven't had much experience of a.) adultery, b.) Puritans, and c.) subtle psychological torture, they miss most of the fine points. The short story "Young Goodman Brown," also a high school favorite, shares many of these same components, with a large dollop of allegory thrown in for free. Hawthorne was very gifted at subtle plot gestures, which is why people still read him.