Tours of Newburyport
Newburyport is a wonderful place to explore; whether you go on a guided or self-guided walking tour or birding with an expert, you’ll always find something new and interesting in Newburyport. There are other ways to explore the city: view it from the river on a harbor tour, take a whale watch out of Newburyport harbor and see nature up close.
For a variety of self-guided history tours through Clipper Heritage Trail, click here.
A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Newburyport:
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Head up State Street past the 1 Page Insurance Building, home to army militia headquarters during the Civil War.
2 The Newburyport Public Library (1771), at 94 State Street, was a frequent stopover for George Washington, John Quincy Adams, Benedict Arnold, and Aaron Burr.
The 3 Dalton House, 95 State Street, built in 1792, was once home to Tristam Dalton, the first U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.
Turn left onto High Street and walk a block to the corner of Fruit Street to the 4 Cushing House Museum. A National Historic Landmark, this 1808 federalist mansion was the home of Caleb Cushing, Newburyport’s first mayor.
Turn back towards State Street and onto the 5 Bartlet Mall and the 6 Superior Courthouse (1805) was designed by Charles Bulfinch.
Walk around the Frog Pond and the 7 Old Jail (1823) where stocks and pillories once stood in the garden. Now private property.
Many famous sea captains and Revolutionary War veterans are buried in the 8 Old Hill Burying Ground, just beyond the Frog Pond.
Heading down Green Street, past the 9 Clark Currier Inn (1803), an elegant example of a three-story “square house,” was built by shipbuilder Thomas March Clark.
10 Brown Square on the left is home to the 11 Garrison Inn, named for patriot William Lloyd Garrison, a vocal abolitionist whose statue stands in the square across from City Hall.
Proceed down Green Street, cross through the parking lot to the 12 Boardwalk along the Merrimack River, past 13 the public docks, 14 Waterfront Park, and the 15 Firehouse Center for the Arts, originally built as a markethouse and lyceum in 1822.
Note five historic markers along the way: Warehouse Point; Somerby’s Landing; Middle Shipyard; Tracy’s Wharf; and the Custom House Slip. For a sailor’s view, try a harbor tour aboard the 16 Yankee Clipper.
From the Boardwalk, walk toward Water Streetpast the 17 Custom House Maritime Museum, (1835) designed by Robert Mills, who also designed the Washington Monument and the U.S. Treasury building.
Pass the 18 Newburyport Art Association (1815) and the 19 Rangelight, controlled by the U.S. Coast Guard, one of the few lighthouses of its kind still in existence.
20 The Tannery Marketplace, a former mill, is now an indoor mall.
21 The building at the corner of Federal & Liberty Streets was designed as a combination residence/ship’s chandlery and built by Lieut. Aaron Pardee of the Continental Army for his wedding in 1786 (a private residence).
22 Paul Revere cast the bell for the Old South Church (1756) where evangelist Rev. George Whitefield, preached and is buried.
Along Middle Street, 23 the brick row houses are fascinating examples of 19th century middle class homes.
24 The Grog building was once Thompson’s Ladies and Gents Oyster and Eating Room.
25 A tea burning was held in Market Square as Newburyport joined Boston’s revolt in 1773. The “Great Fire” of 1811 leveled hundreds of buildings which were rebuilt with bricks used as ballast in ships returning light of cargo from the orient.
Newburyport resident Ghlee Woodworth offers free Tiptoe through the Tombstones tours of the Oak Hill Cemetery and the Old Hill Burying Ground. Learn about Newburyport's history as you tour the graves of some of its most prominent citizens. To schedule a tour, email: TipToeThroughTheTombstones@yahoo.com.
Newburyport/Plum Island is world-famous as a "natural history" destination. Recognized as the nation’s finest birdwatching area, birders and nature enthusiasts from around the world come to this area to observe a tremendous diversity of habitats and species. A number of factors make Newburyport/Plum Island a four-season natural history destination. The large number of habitat types in close proximity-ocean, salt marshes, mud flats, freshwater ponds, mixed forests-attract a tremendous diversity of species. During the spring and fall migrations, thousands of land and water birds move through this area. The migrant land birds seek sanctuary and food in the thickets of Plum Island and surrounding areas. In mid-May, it is not unusual to see 15-20 species of warblers-those magnificent songbirds so sought after by birders. During spring and summer, large numbers of waterfowl, herons, egrets and land birds nest and feed in the extensive salt marshes. During fall, huge numbers of shorebirds pass through en route from 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 augmented 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 for shelter and food. Snowy owls and rough-legged hawks, species closely associated with northern latitudes, are annual visitors to our area. Self guided tours are available at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge (978) 465-5753 or guided tours are available through the Massachusetts Audubon Society at (978) 462-9998.
Daytime and sunset narrated cruises of Newburyport Harbor aboard the Yankee Clipper. Call 603-682-2293 for more information.
Ninth Wave Sailing Charters, a 48-foot day sailing catamaran is available for daily tours leaving from Newburyport Waterfront with over 900 sq. ft. of deck space, 2 bathrooms, a fast level ride and always a touch of history!
In summer, regularly scheduled whale watching cruises depart from Newburyport to Stellwagen Bank. Here, observers can reliably see humpback, fin, and minke whales. A whale watch cruise is a wonderful family experience. Call Newburyport Whale Watch at (978) 499-0832 for more information.