Located 35 miles north of the city of Boston, is the coastal town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Located along the Merrimack River where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean, Newburyport was once part of the town of Newbury and became an important fishing and trading port in the 1600s. Goods came into the US thru the port in Newbury from all over the world. The port was also well known for ship building.
In 1851, the port area split from the town of Newbury to form the town of Newburyport. At this time, mills were built which brought more industry and economic means to the city. After up and down economic years, the city has been revitalized while preserving the history of the city, which makes it a wonderful place for a day trip from Boston.
Getting to Newburyport: Newburyport is easily accessible by train. From North Station in downtown Boston, you can take the Newburyport line of the MBTA’s commuter rail to the very last stop, Newburyport. On the weekend, the train runs every couple of hours, with more frequent service on weekdays, especially during prime commute hours. Tickets cost $24.50 roundtrip. They often sell a $10 unlimited rides weekend pass which is a great deal to head to Newburyport for the day. Check the mbta website to see if this special is running and for the train schedule.
The train takes a little over an hour and the stop is 1.1 miles from downtown Newburyport. Getting to downtown from the train is very easy, the Clipper City Rail Trail makes the walk from the train to downtown an enjoyable and scenic walk.
Clipper City Rail Trail: Newburyport is known as the Clipper City due to the Clipper ships that were built there. The Clipper City Rail Trail was built to connect the train station with the harborwalk downtown. The trail is great for walkers, runners and bikers. Along the scenic trail, you will see works of art, sculptures, murals and signs with history of the railroad in Newburyport. If you’re hungry or thirsty on your way back to the train, right off the trail you will find Haley’s ice cream as well as Riverwalk Brewing Co., both places are definitely worth a stop.
Harborwalk and Waterfront Park: Once you reach downtown the Clipper City Rail Trail turns into the Harborwalk. This walkway spans the Merrimack River and had beautiful waterviews, the harbor, a boardwalk and the Waterfront Park. The park is home to music festivals, theater performances, exercise classes and is a great location for a summer wedding ceremony.
Boating and Fishing: A visit to a coastal town isn’t complete without some time on the water. Newburyport offers plenty of harbor cruises, river cruises and fishing trips for all ages. You can also charter a boat if you would like a more private experience on the water.
Custom House Maritime Museum: Newburyport is full of maritime history.
The port in Newbury wasn’t just known for the goods that were transported into the port but it was also where many ships were built. One of the famous ships built there was the U.S. Revenue Cutter Massachusetts which was built in 1791. This was the first cutter in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service which was put in place to enforce the collection of customs tonnage duties. In 1915, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life-Saving Service combined to form the U.S. Coast Guard. Newburyport is known as the birthplace of the Coast Guard due to it’s start in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service.
At the Custom House Maritime Museum, you can learn all about the history of the clipper ships and the US Coast Guard. The museum is located in the Custom House that has been in Newburyport since 1835.
Walking Tour of Newburyport: There is so much history in Newburyport and what better way to discover it than to take a walking tour of town. One of the more popular tours in town is Untapped History. Knowledgable tour guides will lead you on a 75 tour of Newburyport with 16 historic stops. The tour also includes drinks and appetizers.
Shopping in Newburyport: There is plenty of great shops to check out in Newburyport including a great antique shop that will have you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time to your grandparents house. The shops downtown are located in some of the oldest and most historical buildings in town. The brick buildings and walkways will have you feeling like you have stepped back in time. From gift shops to galleries to clothing and apparel stores, there is something for everyone. The stores in Newburyport are a great way to support small business instead of the big chain stores.
Dining In Newburyport: Like the shops of Newburyport, you won’t find the big chain restaurants here, but you will find some absolutely amazing local, independent restaurants. The seafood restaurants are the stars of the show in this coastal community. While there are plenty of seafood restaurants, there are also many other cuisines to choose from such as Mexican, Italian, Indian and Japanese.
While I was in Newburyport I had lunch at Michael’s Harborside. They had great food and the atmosphere on the outdoor patio by the river was what we dream about all winter long in Massachusetts.
If you are like me and love checking out local coffee shops, make sure to visit The Coffee Factory and I highly recommend the Frozen Reese’s Coffee, it was probably the best coffee treat I’ve ever had!
Newuburyport is one of the many perfect day trips that you can take from Boston by train. If you are looking for another great day trip, check out my post on Manchester-by-the-Sea.
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