Known as a city of firsts — America’s first lifesaving station, birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard and the first American Revolution Tea Party — Newburyport Massachusetts is also the first choice of many boaters cruising north from Boston. After the Great Fire of 1811 claimed the town’s wooden buildings, this historic port became the first Massachusetts municipality to enact zoning laws that called for less flammable brick construction of replacement structures. Many buildings used materials reclaimed from ships’ ballasts, and the charming brick-and-stone facades remain in place today.
Also known as the Clipper City on the south shore and Salisbury on the north, Newburyport’s harbor offers convenient docking and mooring options. Each vantage point provides a lovely view of the Merrimack River, plus waterfront eateries with al fresco seating and paved recreation trails that flank both shores.
Newburyport’s event calendar is packed with cultural and historic events. Among the most popular is Yankee Homecoming, a nine-day festival from the last weekend in July through the first weekend in August. Activities during the festival range from a paddleboard and kayak race to sidewalk sales and live music at both the Market Square Historic District and Waterfront Park. The festivities wrap up with a fireworks show and parade. Consider booking well in advance to reserve a slip or mooring for this event. Labor Day weekend is also bustling when Newburyport Riverfront Music Festival fills Waterfront Park with the sounds of up-and-coming and big-name performers. But this port is just as pleasant on quieter days when you can find plenty of entertainment. Visit the Custom House Maritime Museum for a look inside Newburyport’s seafaring heritage or stroll down the boardwalk and around town to take in the exquisite revitalized architecture.