If I were to ever live in New England again, I’ve always said I would live in a small town somewhere on the coast in between Boston and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It seems that Newburyport, Massachusetts would be the perfect location and I was lucky enough to be able to visit this lovely town.
Located in Essex County, 35 miles northeast of Boston, with a population of 17,416 (2010), and nestled on the shores where the Merrimack River and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Newburyport is a vibrant town that includes part of Plum Island. It is a diverse area filled with rich history, unique charm, and breathtaking scenic beauty.
Take a walking tour of the downtown area and soak in the Victorian architecture, cobblestone sidewalks, classic lamp posts with hanging flower baskets, and even the wooden flower boxes that adorn the windows of shops.
Head off of Main Street and tour the back alleys where you’ll find even more shops, restaurants, and other hidden treasures.
Newburyport offers a variety of activities for its residents and visitors. There’s a year-round ice skating rink and a breathtaking view of the harbor and boardwalk area, where Newburyporters are known for their love of all kinds of water-based activities.
The Yankee Homecoming is an annual festival that celebrates the natives coming home to Newburyport. It lasts for one whole week and features many more activities, including art shows, parades, street vendors, and concerts held every night at Martket Landing Park. There is even a 10-mile and 5k road race that runs through the downtown streets and neighborhoods.
Once a well-known fishing village, Newburyport has now been cultivated as a popular tourist destination. There are many local businesses and restaurants that surround Market Square and along State Street. During festivals throughout the year, visitors are invited to enjoy concerts, food, and entertainment. An old mill building on Liberty Street is home to other small businesses and a local farmers market during the summer season. For you book lovers out there, Newburyport also hosts an annual Literary Festival, where many authors are invited to sign and chat about their books. Yes, it’s hard to miss that charming feel and upbeat atmosphere this historic area provides.
Along the right bank of the Merrimac River lies the landscaped and decorative Maudslay State Park, which features rolling meadows and small arched bridges made from local stone.
The most striking feature of the park is the white pines nestled along the slopes of the river. There is also laurel that forms a thicket around the forest ground around the pines and can become so tall, they create a canopy where nesting sites for bald eagles have previously been noted.
Don’t forget to visit Plum Island, a barrier island that is 11 miles long, and also a part of Newburyport, which has become an extremely popular vacation destination. It’s located off the northeast coast, north of Cape Ann.
The island is named for the wild beach plum shrub that grows on the dunes.
The main reason for the islands popularity is due to the fact that it is a migratory route for a many variety of birds. The National Wildlife Refuge is also located on the island and serves to protect the area wildlife, which includes the red fox and white-tailed deer.
Newburyport is everything you can imagine, plus more. It’s rich with history, charm, friendly people, and activities to make everyone from all age groups smile. When you imagine a quaint New England seaside village, it’s Newburyport you are looking for.
I never wanted to leave, but I know I’ll find my way back. Somehow. Some way. Until then, Newburyport.