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Monday, September 8, 2014

Newburyport History Museum Tour

 
Newburyport's rich history and prosperous shipbuilding era are showcased inside this elegant federalist period mansion that has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Graceful rooms are appointed with fine collections of silver, furniture, portraits, clocks, needlework and more from New England, the Orient, and far away ports. The garden, including an herb garden, fruit trees, a summer house, cobbled yard and carriage house, has been restored based on  historic documents and a sketch done by Margaret Cushing showing the garden as she remembered it from her childhood in the 1860s and 1870s.
   Tours are given Wednesday-Sunday, May through November.

 
Located in the heart of downtown Newburyport, the Custom House was built in 1835 to facilitate growing overseas trade and tax collection of imported goods on the waterfront. The Museum's vaulted ceilings and cantilevered staircases are hallmarks of architect Robert Mills's work. Today, the Custom House serves as a maritime museum, preserving the regions maritime heritage and its role in American History, including Newburyport's role as the birthplace of the Coast Guard. With permanent and rotating exhibits, the museum features an outstanding collection of model clipper ships as well as shipwreck and salvage items.     
Open through December, Tuesday - Sunday. 
 
 
Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm is a beautiful 230-acre property that includes a manor house built in 1690 that served as the country seat of wealthy Newburyport merchants for most of the twentieth century.  A National Historic Landmark, this family-friendly site will transport you back in time with  activities and insights into life on a farm over the centuries. 
Open Thursday - Sunday, June 1 to October 15.

For Reservations: 
978-465-3148  

Monday, August 11, 2014


Calling All Foodies!

There are many fabulous ways to experience Newburyport! One of the best is to taste your way through town, trying out small bites of the many varied food specialties available. Whether you spend the day exploring on your own, or join in a Taste Newburyport Foodie Tour, your day (or weekend or week!) is sure to give you a true sense of this charming city and culture. To get you salivating, this month's newsletter is dedicated to the many delicious eats and drinks of Newburyport ~ most of which are within walking distance of the Essex Street Inn.
 

Savory Specialities

The Grand Trunk Old World Market on Pleasant Street is a foodies dream, specializing in imported items such as olives, salamis, cheeses, wine, and beer that the owners have discovered on their travels abroad. 
 
At The Tannery Marketplace, check out Newburyport Olive Oil Company which offers tastings of oils and balsamics from all over the world. Rows of shining Italian stainless steel "fustis,'' which block air and light to prevent the oil from turning, are positioned on a wooden shelf above a copper-covered counter and are labeled with the details about each produces contents, year crushed, country, chemicals, and tips for use. 
   
And, the purveyors of Joppa Fine Foods offer all sorts of speciality items, but they are absolutely crazy about cheese! Drop in to Joppa and taste a creamy goat cheese from France, a hardy stilton from Great Britain, and an aromatic, finely aged pecorino from Italy and find what makes you swoon. New cheeses arrive daily and more than one hundred cheeses from around the world on display at any given time.
 

Sweet Treats

Featured on  "Cupcake Wars" in 2011, Eat Cake on Inn Street features five flavors of cupcakes, revealed each morning on Facebook, each day. They also make to-die-for special occasion cakes that will be the talk of your party. Everything is baked fresh in-house.
 
Buttermilk Baking Company offers farm to table fresh back goods from your morning muffins and scones to hand made tarts and fresh fruit pies.
 
Want something to transport you back to your youth? Check it Chococoa Baking Company for its artisanal Whoopie Pies made from premium chocolate and all natural, local ingredients. Chocolate with salted caramel cream anyone?   

Drinks to Die For

Cafe di Siena on Pleasant Street is an Italian style coffee house with authentically delicious pastries, famous hot chocolate, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Lilyput Tea House can be found at Absolute Serenity on Prince Place. Curl up in a cozy corner and choose from more than 20 organic teas, served hot or cold, including specialties such as "Berries on Ice," a naturally fruity and sweet tea -- no need to add anything to it.   
  
Newburyport Brewing Company is Massachusetts' only "keg and can" brewery. Offering tasting/pouring hours on Thursday & Friday from 3-8 and Saturday from 12-8 you'll want to include them in your tour so that you can try out their three ales - Newburyport Pale Ale™, Plum Island Belgian White™, and Green Head IPA™ - the beer that bites you back.  


Are you salivating yet? If so, contact the Essex Street Inn today and make plans for your food adventure in Newburyport! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Yankee Homecoming!

Yankee Homecoming

July 27 ~ August 3, 2014

Newburyport's  charm and character are on display year-round, but if you want to be here when the city really comes alive, you'll want to visit during "Yankee Homecoming" week. The second oldest homecoming festival in the United States, this 8-day event,  July 27-August 3, hosts endless activities to take part in throughout the city.  Free Waterfront Concerts take place nightly in Waterfront Park behind the Firehouse Center for the Arts. A craft fair and highly anticipated sidewalk sales offer lots of great bargains from Newburyport's many unique shops. And, a plethora of other activities fill the days including a road race, bed race, Art on Bartlett Mall, Family Day at Maudslay State Park, Kid's Talent Show, Greek Food Festival and more!


This year brings back the popular Lighted Boat Parade down the Merrimack River on Friday, August 1, and, as always, the celebration culminates with a grand parade down High Street on Sunday, August 3 beginning at 12:30pm. Be sure to bring the kids and grab a spot along the parade route and take in this spirited event complete with floats, fire engines and lots of fun!

 

Something fun for everyone! Here's a sampling:
Saturday, July 26: Brewfest
Sunday, July 27: Olde Fashioned Sunday
Tuesday, July 29: Craft Show in Market Square
Thursday, July 31: Sidewalk Sales
Friday, August 1: Lighted Boat Parade
Saturday, August 2: Family Day at Maudslay State Park
Sunday, August 3: Yankee Homecoming Parade


For more information and a detailed calendar of events, visit the Yankee Homecoming website at www.yankeehomecoming.com

Contact the Essex Street Inn today for reservations: 

978-465-3148  

A Little Bit of Yankee Homecoming History

The brainchild of New England artist, Jack Frost, the Yankee Homecoming celebration of New England heritage got off the ground in earnest in 1958 when more than 30 communities planned homecoming celebrations.

Newburyport residents and members of the city's Economic Development Commission, George Cashman and Nappy Vigeant, petitioned Mayor "Bossy" Gillis for money to fund a homecoming celebration who, in turn, famously responded that they would receive "not one damn cent."


Not to be deterred, Cashman, who became Yankee Homecoming’s first chairman, pressed on. He garnered editorial support at the Newburyport Daily News from Editor Bill Plante and he raised $1,000 from the Newburyport Businessman’s Association, the precursor to the Chamber of Commerce.
 

Cashman found his "hook" when he discovered that Newburyport had a claim as the birthplace of the Coast Guard. In 1791 the United States Revenue Cutter Massachusetts was built and launched the banks of the Merrimac River.

Cashman planned a dedication ceremony where a monument would be erected proclaiming Newburyport as the birthplace of the Coast Guard. Towle Silver donated the monument, Bill Plante wrote the inscription, and on August 4, 1958 Assistant Secretary A. Gilmore Flues dedicated the monument. Newburyport continued to celebrate Coast Guard Day during its Yankee Homecoming celebration for many years.

Newburyport is the only community out of the original 30 to continue the Yankee Homecoming celebration and make an annual tradition. Doing so laid some of the groundwork for the city’s revitalization in the 1970s.

More than fifty years after its inception, Yankee Homecoming is part of the fabric of the city. It has fulfilled Jack Frost’s promise of showcasing all that is good in New England.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May Flowers (and Events)
Kick Off Summer Fun in Newburyport

Spring Invitation Night ~ May 9, 2014


We always look forward to Invitation Nights in Newburyport! This Friday, May 9 from 6 to 9 pm is the final Invitation night of the Spring. The shops downtown and at the Tannery Marketplace will be open late and merchant hospitality will on display as  shopkeepers welcome visitors to browse and enjoy light refreshments as we kick of the summer season.

Spring Fest, Memorial Day Weekend 


Spring Fest is held annually on the Sunday & Monday of Memorial Day Weekend and brings out great live music, art, fine crafts, and food from Newburyport's best restaurants.

Jump start the Summer season in style with some shopping and dining in Newburyport. And, to make it a complete weekend get away, stay over night at the Essex Street Inn.
Event Description:
Sunday & Monday, May 25 & 26
Downtown Newburyport
10 AM to 5 PM
Rain or Shine

Held Sunday & Monday of Memorial Day Weekend. Celebrate the season in downtown Newburyport! Enjoy great live music, art, fine crafts, and food from Newburyport's best restaurants.

Schedule of Events

Sunday
Kids Entertainment from 10:30-11:30am in Market Square with Lindsay and Her Puppet Pals

Live Music in Market Square by Oncoming Traffic Blues from 1-4pm

Monday
Kids Entertainment from 10:30-11:30am in Market Square with Brian Doser

Live Music in Market Square by The Bridge Band from 1-4pm

  

Newburyport Preservation Week ~ May 14 –18, 2014

The signature event of the Newburyport Preservation Trust is Newburyport Preservation Week. Each spring, the Trust features a varied program of illustrated lectures, architectural tours, social events, and a closing reception to present the Newburyport Preservation Trust's annual Preservation  Awards.
 
The theme in 2014 is one of multiple anniversary celebration. The year 2014 is the 250th anniversary of the town of Newbury’s “Waterside” separating into the new town of Newburyport in 1754. 2014 also happens to be the 30th anniversary of Newburyport’s designation as a National Register Historic District by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The District is comprised of over 2500 buildings and extends from the Joppa area of the city’s South End to Atkinson Common at the city’s North End. Within the 7500-acre district are 10 neighborhood districts.
  

Schedule of Events

Tuesday - Sunday, May 13-18
Vanishing Treasures: Preservation Challenges
Custom House Maritime Museum, 25 Water Street, Newburyport
A week long display of Newburyport’s vanishing treasures features five
architectural styles traced through the city’s history, and a survey map
showing Newburyport’s changes over the last 50 years.
   Thursday, May 15
Separation Anxiety - 1764: An Interactive Debate
Custom House Maritime Museum, 25 Water Street, Newburyport
7:00 p.m. Reception follows.
Join the Theater in the Open for a spirited historical debate that will
decide the fate of Newbury.
Donation: $10
   
Friday, May 16
Lecture: “What Style is My House and Why Should I Care?”
Custom House Maritime Museum, 25 Water Street, Newburyport
7:00 p.m. Reception follows.
Learn the different styles of domestic architecture in Newburyport, and
why understanding them matters.
Donation: $10

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Newburyport Nature: Bird Watching for all Seasons

Newburyport's unspoiled estuary, formed by the Merrimack River and Plum Island, offers some of the finest birdwatching in the nation.  A wonderfully diverse number of habitats and species can be enjoyed in close proximity to one another and to downtown Newburyport and the Essex Street Inn.
  
According to the professionals at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, it is not unusual to see 15-20 species of warblers in the area in mid-May. And, during spring and summer, large numbers of waterfowl, herons, egrets and land birds nest and feed in the extensive salt marshes in the area.


Purple Martin

   
During fall, huge numbers of shorebirds pass through the area en route from their Arctic nesting grounds to Central and South America. These birds stop to rest and feed on the mud flats and salt meadows of the Merrimack River estuary. The shorebirds are joined by vast numbers of land birds also moving to their southern wintering grounds. During the winter, large flocks of loons, grebes, and ducks seek the ice-free waters of the Merrimack River for shelter and food. Snowy Owls and Rough-Legged Hawks, species closely associated with northern latitudes, are annual visitors to our area.
   

Piping Plover

The Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge attract thousands of visitors each year and are a wonderful resource for bird-watching enthusiasts, offering information and programs for all levels of skill and interest. 
  
For more information on birdwatching in Newburyport, please check out the following sites:
  
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
  
Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center
  
Massbird.org
 
Make your reservations at the Essex Street Inn and have easy access to all the natural beauty in the area and our quaint downtown that features unique shops and restaurants.

Essex Street Inn


Saturday, March 29, 2014

                                          Newburyport Public Library
 
 

     The architectural history of the Newburyport Public Library building spans three centuries: the Tracey Mansion, (1771), the Simpson Annex,(1881), and the Molin Wing, (2001). Several citizens calling themselves the Newburyport Library Association,  established a circulation library in 1794. However, the idea of a free public library was created by Josiah Little, Charles Jackson, and Samuel Swett in September 1854. These gentlemen began the library in Ward Room 4 of the new city hall.
    

 The collection began with over 5,000 books. At first, the operational budget depended on the generosity of private citizens as well as with fees paid by benefactors and the city. Additionally, Little personally contributed $5,000.00. Following Little, Jackson and Swett followed suit contributing additional money and books. Due to the successful operationation that was created, in November 1854, the mayor ordered the foundation of the, “Public Library of the City of Newburyport,” and the City Council approved this ordinance. As a result, the Newburyport Public Library officially began in November 1855. By 1865, the library had become so large and popular that benefactors began looking for a new location. 

     When the Tracey Mansion on State Street went up for sale, it was enthusiastically purchased as the new home for the library. The building then needed to be modified and redesigned both internally and externally. Arthur Gilman, a Newburyport native turned Boston resident, revamped the building at no charge. Gilman placed a time capsule in the cornerstone of the building stating that the building was a, “free gift to the city”. The date was April 6, 1865. 

     On September 4, 1865 the final deed of conveyance specified among other conditions that this building was to be used exclusively for the city library, and that it, “shall not be open for public use on the Lord’s Day." The Board of Alderman accepted the gift by vote and the appropriate ordinance was passed. In 1870, the first public newspaper reading room was established by the Newburyport Public Library. Then in 1881, a new two-story addition, known as the Simpson Annex was built. simultaneously, renovations were also made in the Victorian Style to the exterior and portions of the interior.



   In 1900 , the stacks were opened allowing patrons to browse and receive books independently. The 1920's brought creation of a separate reference department and a children's room. Then in 1939, the foundation of, "The Friends of the Newburyport Public Library ". This organization is still a very important benefactor of the library. By 1985, public computers had been introduced and it became a member of the Merrimack Valley Consortium (MVLC), a network of 35 other area libraries. Through resource sharing Newburyport library card holders have access to over 3 million items today. In October 1999 the library was moved to a temporary location , the Anvil Rock Farm in the industrial park, while the library underwent construction . 

     This newly expanded and renovated faculty re-opened in May 2001 and is known as the Edward G. Molin Wing. As of September 2010 the library had a circulation of approximately 102,000 books and served about 19,750 Newburyport residents.


Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newburyport_Public_Library http://www.wickedlocal.com/newburyport/fun/entertainment/books/x390633361/Speaking-Volumes-A-Prince-of-a-man www.wickedlocal.com/newburyport/news/education/x1059361014 http://www.newburyportpl.org/index

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Newburyport ~ A Seaport for all Seasons

Plum Island Lighthouse
Once a thriving shipbuilding and trading center, Newburyport's maritime history reaches back farther than the city's 250 years.
   
Shipyards built brigs, frigates, fishing schooners, sloops, and full rigged ships for both the American and European markets.  And, during the Revolutionary war and  War of 1812, Shipwrights built privateers used to capture British supply vessels and merchant ships. 
  
After the Revolutionary war, shipbuilding declined and nearly one-half of the shipyards were idle by 1786.  Newburyport, in turn, depended heavily on the fishing industry and world-wide Maritime trade that also included China.  The first Revenue Cutter was commissioned in 1790 by the Federal Government.
  
The first Clipper Ship, the city's iconic symbol, was built and launched in 1844 by Naval Architect, Donald McKay. These sleek and swift sailing ships were designed for speed and built for International Commerce and the expanding American economy.
  
Newburyport Harbor Light on Plum Island is one of America’s oldest. Established in 1788 (and rebuilt in 1898), this beacon guided ships into the Merrimack River and to Newburyport’s shipyards.  In 1873, two Range Lights were built by the Federal Government in the same position as private Lights had been used to guide shipping from the mouth of the Merrimack River into Newburyport Harbor.  The range lights also helped vessels avoid dangerous underwater rocks. As is typical of range lights, Newburyport has of a pair of towers, a low, wider tower in the front and a much higher tower located a distance away.
  
The Range Lights were first lit on June 1, 1873.  The front Range Light “was a 14.5-feet high conical iron Tower located on Bayley's new wharf and exhibited a fixed red light 25-feet above sea level.”  The rear Range Light “was a 32-feet high pyramidal-base brick tower located 350-feet behind the front Range Light and exhibiting a fixed green light 47-feet above sea level.”
  
Front Range Light

In 1950s, the iron lantern room of the Front Range Light was replaced by a 20-foot shingled wooden lantern.  Later, the Tower was damaged by fire and the Tower was renovated with a traditional iron lantern room in 1990.
   
Rear Range Light
In 1961, both Range Lights were deactivated and the Front Range Light was relocated to the grounds of a Coast Guard Station in 1964.  The Rear Range Light was sold to a a private party and the attached Keeper’s house is a private business.
   
Newburyport continues to be one of the few seaports in Massachusetts with beautifully preserved and diverse early American architecture that captures the maritime heritage of the Bay state. 
   
For those interested in the areas maritime history, The Custom House, where vessels from Europe and the West Indies registered their cargoes, is a wonderful Maritime Museum that exhibits the history of maritime Massachusetts and is not to be missed on your trip to Newburyport. Additionally, Lowell’s Boat Shop across the river in Amesbury, is a national historic landmark and working museum. Established in 1783 and the oldest continuously operating boat shop in America, Lowell’s Boat Shop is the birthplace of the fishing dory and worth the short trip across the Chain Bridge to check on during your visit to Newburyport.
  
Information compiled in this piece was provided by: The National Parks ServiceThe Lighthouse Preservation Society, and the Custom House Maritime Museum.