As a local, I can point you to some of the hidden gems others might miss.
1. The Cushing House museum, located on the corner of Fruit and High St, is a wonderful museum run by the Historical society with plenty of artifacts from 17th and 18th century newburyport. If you like maritime history, this is for you.
2. Joppa Flats--if you continue along Water Street from the downtown area for 15 minutes or so you come to this beautiful viewpoint on the Merrimac river, which unlike the ever-popular boardwalk is usually unobstructed by tourists; in fact, it is not uncommon to see locals here, walking their dogs or reading a good book.
3. Oldies Marketplace--located at the end of the boardwalk, this is a large barn converted into a wonderful marketplace of all things old and forgotten. From books to furniture to knick knacks of all kinds, this is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in seeing the true character of Newburyport. There's always something new to discover here.
4. Greta's Great Grains- I actually only discovered this store a few months ago, and I've been loving it ever since. Located a ways down Pleasant street, it is filled with affordable (and delicious!) cookies, cake slices, pastries, and breads. Great stop for a snack and a chat with a good friend, and much more inviting than the better-known Cafe Di Sienna across the street (although it's worth visiting them for their hot chocolate; it is magnificent).
Hope you enjoy your stay at Newburyport, and remember, try not to act like an obnoxious tourist and you'll be fine!
Grab a picnic lunch from one of the many local eateries and enjoy the sights along the Merrimack River. The boardwalk is kept clean and leashed dogs are welcome. There is inexpensive public parking lots available.
This used to be the estate of the Moseley family (along with the Moseley Woods next to it). Now it's been donated to the state. There are a few traces left by which one can tell that it's a former estate, but mostly, it's just a nice park with nice bridges and nice trails, plus some very impressive and well-maintained flowers and ornamental plants. If you prefer just woods with less of a mark of civilization, Maudslay has that, too.
Some days, particularly in the summertime, there are events held at Maudslay, and when you first pull in, you see gigantic crowds and have difficulty parking. Even under such circumstances, if you walk toward the far end of the park, you're likely to quickly find yourself alone.
Newburyport has one of the more extensive lists of birding programs you will find anywhere. Known as the premier bird watching destination and one of the nation's finest birdwatching areas, there are enthusiasts from around the world who come to observe a tremendous diversity of habitats and species.
Programs throughout the seasons have titles such as: Bird Banding For Teens, Spring Bird Walk-The Great Marsh, Friday Morning Focus on Warblers, Celebrate Baltimore Orioles, Birds of Appleton Farms & Grass Rides, Birding Field Trip for Beginners, Nesting Birds of Salt Meadows, In Search of Grasshopper Sparrows.
The July festival at the riverfront is a big draw, but no matter what time of year you go up to Newburyport, you will find that little town bursting with energy. Filled with interesting tours, events, and arts programming.... there will no doubt be something to entertain you while you are there.
THE DOLE LITTLE HOUSE C.1715 was built by a cattleman. The original structure was a 2 room home with central chimney. There was a kitchen shed in the rear. Obviously the house grew over time...fell into decline as all old houses do....and was later restored, eventually coming under the ownership of Historic New England (previously SPNEA). It's a wonderful early example with diamond pane windows and narrow clapboards. It is available for private tours during the summer months (with advance reservations).
Other historic houses to tour include the Cushing House Museum and the Coffin House. For more information on these, contact 978 462 2634
The Waterfront Park overlooks the Merrimack River and is home to summer concerts, boating activities and leisurely walks along the Boardwalk. There are Citywide ArtWalks with evening receptions scheduled throughout the summer months. You can get more information by calling 978 499 8444. This is a town filled with creative ideas for community events scheduling. Also look for the Annual Garden Tour in June. Tickets are available through the Chamber of Commerce.
There are a variety of boat tours available at Newburyport. You could sail in a 48 ft. Catamaran known as the Ninth Wave. It holds up to 48 passengers. Calll 1 866 9th Wave. Or visit their web site at www.9thwave.net.
There are Yankee Clipper Harbor Tours with Captain Bill Taplin...leaving from Waterfront Park daily during the season. Check out the details at 1 978 462 9316 or their web site: www.harbortours.com.
Another exciting option is a Whale Watch ... leaving from the boardwalk at Newburyport. Get the scoop at 1 978 465 7165 or www.welikewhales.com.
How about a guided tour by kayak? Check out Plum Island Kayak at 1 978 462 5510 or www.plumislandkayak.com.
the list is seemingly endless.........
It's very cute to just wander around, stopping to watch people and birds and water every so often. There are several sit-down areas...and once in a while you'll run into locals who are advertising their favorite places...
There's a nice walking area at the city's port. I didn't really get a chance to explore it more fully as it was later in the day and it was very cloudy, so it was dark much earlier than it should be.