Monday, April 2, 2012

Newburyport, Massachusetts



Newburyport can be described by some general terms that fit at least a dozen other regional spots. The architecture is beautiful; there is a maritime history and the town is in great shape.  But the downtown area is shaped by and for tourists.  Buildings are obscured by the throngs of humanity.  Parking is a blood sport.  Advice to anyone who wanted to go would be to arrive far off season or to stroll the streets between 5 am and 7. It is more more resort than village.  In short, Newburyport is a "Black Dog" town.


Still, it has been revitalized and is a good place to walk.







The Custom House Maritime Museum is definitely worth visiting, very striking and interesting, but does not allow photos to be taken that will be published.






Boats were being readied.





The best part of Newburyport is the architecture, both on some of the side streets, and especially on Rt. 1A (High Road) going toward Newbury, where there is a seemingly endless line of truly beautiful, historic houses.




 

 
The array of doors is wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

At least fifteen of the first settlers listed here are direct ancestors. (There is no inbreeding like New England inbreeding!
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22 comments:

Ben said...

Muppy,

Is that a Marion to Bermuda bag? I love it!

Marie said...

My husband shares ancestry also with that vp-and it really burns him! Loved your Newport post-Black Pearl is one of my favorites.

WRJ said...

I was confused, until I realized there's a Plum Island, MA. (I wouldn't recommend anyone go birding at Plum Island, NY!)

While I have to admit that my hometown of Mystic is now a "Black Dog" town, I prefer to think of it as an exception. Black Dog is one of, or the only, national chain downtown. And most of the businesses are still by townies, for townies (though there are a few other junky tourist shops).

I like to think we have maintained a half-block long charred crater in the middle of town--there since I was in 7th grade!!--precisely to avoid becoming a resort. (But it's actually because Yankees are terrified of change.)

Anonymous said...

Great photos! I love looking at the photos.

I managed to avoid having any ancestor in common with that VP. My colonial ancestors lived in Boston, southeastern Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. I don't think any of them lived north of Boston.
--John

Anonymous said...

If you want another perspective of Newburyport you might want to read Andre Dubous III's recent account in Townie. All of these port towns that have been Yuppified are resembling each other with few particular characteristics. I was in Portsmouth last week, sorry no photos, which has loads of inherent charm, but if I woke up there one morning I couldn't tell you if I was in Portland, Newburyport, Rockport, or any of the other towns that the Muffster has presented us with. I think that is is preferable to have nice town centers rather than the decay that infested these towns three decades back. By the way, there are several other old mill towns that seem to be dying for rehabilitation, i.e., Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill, Biddeford,with lovely old brick warehouses, surrounded by poverty and crime. Tant pis, as we say in France.

Joyce N said...

Having never been farther north that Washington, DC, I do so enjoy your sharing your travels in New England.
I also like your green jacket/parka. It is such a cheerful color. Would you please let us know the brand, type, etc.?

Greenfield said...

"There is no inbreeding like New England inbreeding!" made me smile. Our clan braided the same strands without variation until 1910, when my great-grandmother married the first non-Yankee. Surprised I'm not more eccentric than I am. Aaron Burr lurks in our "notoriety" locker . . . but history's shown he had his reasons! ;)

Mary said...

I found your comment about New England inbreeding interesting. In my genealogical research, I found that my great great grandmother who was 100% descended from Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard original founders, was 8 times (25%) descended from Tristram Coffin and his wife, 8 times descended from Thomas Gardner and his wife (25%), 3 times descended from the Starbucks, 3 times descended from the Macys, 3 times descended from the Bunkers. I found that amazing. I've since seen the inbreeding in other branches of my New England - New York background, but not to that extent.

Mary said...

PS -

Thank you for showing the memorial. I see two of my ancestors Tristram Coffin and Edward Rawson listed. We may share some common ancestors. I understand that the house that belonged to Tristram Coffin's son which was built in the 1600's still stands in Newburyport and is owned by the historical society. It was owned by the Coffin Family for 300 years and was relatively little changed over that time compared with other historic homes.

Grace said...

Such a fun little town! Love your outfit, too!

Katahdin said...

Re: "And yes, one of us shares a slew of ancestors with a certain Vice President." At least now he has a heart! (Just kidding - I am a huge fan)

Dytex said...

Hi, Muffy,

I am a frequent reader who has never contributed- love the blog. I live in Newburyport, work in Portsmouth, NH and when I was growing up in RI, I spent a great deal of time in Newport. I would echo some of Anonymous' comments- the story of the Inn St. pedestrian walkway in the center of Newburyport- which facilitates in part those throngs of people, is the centerpiece of a fascinating story of urban renewal. It was before my time here, but Newburyport, like many port cities, was a very tough, very run-down city.
I would say that the Black Dog aside, Newburyport actualy has a hardly any chains, outlets, etc. Nearly all shops and restaurants are locally based. There are a lot (a lot) of tourists when the weather is nice, but most of the time, it feels small and sleepy. Many people from Portsmouth, a city which I also love, bemoan it's development and "corporatization" and admire Newburyport's restraint. And I was shocked to see factory outlets in the Newport that I frequented in the '70's and '80's.

Just my observations- thanks for all of the great work you do!

Charlie

HillaryPearl said...

I have never heard of "Black Dog", but I assuming it is the "Ron Jon's" of New England?

j.mosby said...

Muffy,
In your future travels, make it a point to stop and see the New Bedford Whaling Museum and the Seaman's Bethel on Johnny Cake Hill in New Bedford, Ma. The museum has the Lagoda room which showcases the world's largest ship model a half scale whaling bark! It's very impressive!
I was fortunate to work there in my college days.

Mary said...

I have found the history inseparable from the genealogy - fascinating, humbling and culturally enriching. I see repeatedly that family members were in business with their in-laws. I have grouped my ancestors by geographical locations where they came together and stayed for a time. The areas for my mother’s family are Nantucket, Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield Counties CT, and Columbia County NY. The revolution led the Nantucketers to found Hudson in Columbia County NY and land granted for service in the revolution allowed the CT branches to move westward into NY. My father’s paternal line originated in Kent County RI but business took one member to Baltimore MD where he married someone from a York County Pennsylvania German family. His descendants married people from Eastern Shore plantation families and from Ireland. So I’m a combination of northern and southern influences. I find it interesting to look down both paths, a little conflicted. Through my dad’s RI background, my parents share 10-12 ancestors who are original founders. My dad’s family vacationed on Mt Desert when he was growing up (they lived in New Jersey). I find it interesting to encounter people with whom I share common ancestors. Pre-internet, it was not as easy to know. I love your blog.

Mary

oxford cloth button down said...

Muffy,

You have the best day trips! I am going out to see my sister in Portland, ME this summer and I will definitely be looking to you for some good travel recommendations!

Howie said...

I love these walking tour posts! There are countless picturesque villages and hamlets throughout New England, but one in particular I think you would enjoy is Wickford, RI. Next time you are heading to Jamestown or Newport it is worth a quick stop and not far out of the way. Thanks Muffy.

Rachel said...

I thought only we Southerners were inbreed? At least that's the going joke.

Anonymous said...

Fear not, every family has a relative they would rather not discuss.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Can't believe you were in Newburyport! A long time reader here, I enjoy your blog and live in Newburyport. I have to say we only recently got a "Black Dog" store and as Charlie stated above there are hardly any chain stores here, there was actually quite a bit of ferver over Talbots opening here.

Klaudia said...

such a fun post! I actually live in Newburyport and its so interesting to see the town from an outside perspective. I admire your style and I would love if you could check out my blog sometime... it's all about classic NE style. I look forward to reading more!

www.blazersbuoysandbeantown.blogspot.com

Thornproof said...

Ah, I lived in Newburyport from the 7th grade until college. My old house is in one of the pictures of Essex Street. I need to plan a trip to head back up there soon! Thanks for the pictures!