On our way up to Maine, we love to hug the east coast so we get to smell the salt air and hear the waves crashing. After spending a couple of months in the mid-west, we were looking for the sea, lobster, and New England's charm. We bypassed bustling Boston due to traffic and not having a desire to land in big cities and skirted 35 miles to the north where we found the charming little coastal town of Newburyport. Friends had told us how much they loved the sea town permeated with salt air and historic charm so we were eager to see what was so special.
Newburyport’s history dates back to the 1600’s when shipping and shipbuilding kept the town bustling. Fast forward to today where a rich maritime history is celebrated with museums and relics scattered amongst a restored and vibrant downtown. It’s easy to see why this town is so charming with appealing store fronts, eclectic shops, art galleries, and wonderful eateries, flanked by beautiful parks and a calming riverfront. The city’s past melts perfectly into the present and we had a wonderful time exploring this city which we quickly dubbed “the Mayberry of New England.”
We were only in town for a few days as we needed to get to our camp hosting jobs in Maine so we set out to make the best of it. The RV park we chose was Beach Rose RV Park located a short distance across the river from downtown and just a short walk to Salisbury Beach. This has to be one of the most friendly RV parks we have ever stayed at. Most of the guests are seasonal and have been coming back for years generating a camaraderie and friendly spirit that they extend quite readily to transients like us.
After talking to fellow campers and the camp ground owners, we quickly realized that here is plenty to do in Newburyport from shopping downtown, taking a guided city tour, gazing at historical homes, and enjoying outdoor activities and the water.
We elected to spend our time exploring the downtown and historic neighborhoods where sea captains homes dot the hillsides. Strolling downtown’s cobblestone streets and popping in and out of nautical themed gift shops, art galleries, clothing stores, and home décor (none of which we needed in the RV, of course but it is fun to look) was a perfect afternoon for us.
With some shopping done, we felt the lure of the riverfront pulling us to its banks. After all, this town is about water. On a nice spring day, which happened to be when we found ourselves there, the riverfront was alive with blooming spring flowers, bright sunshine, and a litmus of people walking along its shore. Newburyport lies safely inland upriver from the confluence of the Merrimack River and Atlantic Ocean making this the reason why it is rich in maritime history. Newburyport is recognized as the official birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard and the first major commercial seaport on the eastern seaboard. Today, the Merrimack River is painted with a myriad of boats seeking pleasure and performing commerce.
Our time in Newburyport was too short. We fell in love with this little coastal town and vowed to come back so we could really get to know its soul.