Monday, February 2, 2015

February Happenings in Newburyport


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Each year we celebrate the return of the bald eagle, our special winter residents, to the greater Newburyport area. Hosted by Mass Audubon at Joppa Flats and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, the tenth annual Merrimack River Eagle Festival will be Saturday, February 7, 2015.  

For more information: Massachusetts Audubon Society

Newburyport Winter Carnival

Newburyport's free Winter Carnival  has been reschedule for this Saturday, February 7 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bartlet Mall. This annual event features sledding, skating, snowboarding, snowshoe demonstrations, human dogsled races (yes, humans pull the sleds), hayrides, music, food and fun for the whole family.

Kids of all ages are invited to bring their decorated sleds and join in a Sled Parade that begins at 11:30 a.m. Costumes are encouraged but not required for a parade around the pond. In addition, horse-drawn hayrides will circle the park throughout the day, the Winter Carnival Sled Race will be at 2 p.m. (register at the Information Booth), and there will be a free hot cocoa and cookie tent, Metzy's Taco truck, Orange Leaf frozen yogurt, and skating on Frog Pond.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Revving up for the Holidays in Newburyport

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's time to start revving up your holiday spirit and embracing those wonderful traditions that come around but once a year.

Newburyport is a quaint New England escape any time of year, but we'd have to admit, the holiday season is our favorite--there's just so much to do!

After enjoying the big game and lots of turkey on Thanksgiving, you're invited keep the celebration going at the Black Friday Holiday Reception and unveiling of this year's, artist-created wreaths at the Custom House Maritime Museum. Bid on your favorites, as the Silent Wreath Auction will continue through Saturday, December 13th at 4:00 pm! Or, head over the the Blue Ocean in Salisbury to check out the The Sea Festival of Trees that runs through the holiday season.
A tradition for more than 25 years, Santa arrives in Market Square by boat on Sunday, November 30 to light the city's Christmas Tree! And, his Workshop opens for the season (weekends) on December 6, so be sure to bring the kids for a visit and a picture.

Of course, shopping for gifts for your loved ones is central to this time of year. The first two Friday's in
December are reserved for "Invitation Nights," when the city's shopkeepers stay open late and welcome friends in to enjoy refreshments while exploring the wares. 
There are many fabulous shops in Newburyport where you can find one of a kind gifts from wooden-ship models at Piel Craftsmen to charming vintage finds at Flukes & Finds & Friends. If you're all about the holiday spirit and the decorations that go with it, you will most definitely want to check out the Partridge in a Bear Tree and Candle Shop in Market Square.  Voted Newburyport's best gift shop, time and again, the Partridge in a Bear Tree is an ever-changing delight of gifts and holiday treasures !
And, if you've ever been curious about the beautiful,  historic
homes lining Newburyport's streets, you won't want to miss this year's Holiday House Tour. This year's tour celebrates the city's 250th anniversary and maritime history by inviting guests into Newburyport's finest homes from the last four centuries--all decorated for the holidays. 
When the shopping is done and it's time to unwind and enjoy the company of friends and family, you'll want to attend the Newburyport Choral Society's holiday concert "Peace on Earth"--Saturday December 13 and Sunday December 14.
Yes, there is so much to do and see! Have fun.

To stay up to date will all that is happening in Newburyport, be sure to like the Essex Street Inn on Facebook and check in with our blog.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Experience: The Sounds of Newburyport

Firehouse Center for the Arts

The Firehouse Center for the Art is a 191-seat intimate theater on the waterfront in beautiful downtown Newburyport. A vibrant cultural center, The Firehouse offers national, regional and local live and has been a hallmark of local culture and arts, drawing patrons from the local communities as well as a large tourist crowd in the spring, summer and fall. Programming is broad-based, but great music is at the center of it all.

Between now and the end of 2014, the Firehouse presents favorites:

Sunday, October 5, 2014
The Crossing ~ Celtic music filled with rich harmonizing vocals.

Friday, October 17, 2014
The Lonely Heartstring Band ~ A fresh take on traditional bluegrass which will engage your mind, heart and soul.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
John Gorka ~ Singer-songwriter shares his music filled with fresh lyrics, stunning baritone, and witty humor.

Sunday, October 26, 2014   
All for Opera ~ Symphony by the Sea. Selections by Rossini, Puccini, Bizet & Mozart.

Friday, October 31, 2014
Livingston Taylor

Monday, December 22, 2014
The Sweetback Sisters ~ Christmas Sing-Along with honeysweet voices backed by a rollicking roadhouse band!


Newburyport Chamber Music Festival

Founded in 2002, the Chamber Music Festival began as a week-long event held every August. Today it has grown from three musicians and three concerts to, twelve artists, thirteen events and six venues.

The Festival's first venue was the 1863 granite Neo-Gothic St. Anna’s Chapel on the campus of St. Paul’s church. With no stage, and seating in the round, the 90-seat chapel provided the degree of intimacy for which chamber music was originally intended. To accommodate larger audiences, however, the Festival has added the larger St. Paul’s Church as their principal venue, and takes advantage of an eclectic collection of spaces, both public and private, indoors and out, historic and modern, which are available in the greater Newburyport community.

Coming Up:
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Ensemble Epomeo with Anne Azéma, soprano
Music of Jay Reise, Krzysztof Penderecki, Thomas Whitman (World Premiere) and Ludwig van Beethoven

This is the fifth annual NCMF collaboration with the Custom House Maritime Museum.


Belleville Roots Music Concert Series 

The Roots Music Series at the Belleville Congregational Church, founded in December of 2010, celebrates music ranging from a cappella to zydeco and includes a diverse range of blues, bluegrass, Cajun, Celtic, country, folk, gospel, Irish, jazz and world music. The Roots Music Series also, importantly, raises funds to restore and maintain the historic 1867 Belleville Meeting House and adjacent Fiske Chapel complex at 300 High Street in Newburyport. The Roots music series helps to maintain the Meeting House and adjacent complex as a gathering place for many generations to come.

Coming Up:
October 11th, 8PM: Doug Seegers
Friday, November 14th, 8PM: New Orleans Suspects
Saturday March 14th, 2015 8PM: Girsa


Newburyport Choral Society

As one of the oldest choral groups in the United States, Newburyport Choral Societ is known for the exceptional quality of its programs. In two concert series each year, NCS presents works from the Renaissance to the 20th century including major works by Vivaldi, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Brahms, and Verdi as well as more contemporary composers. Concert performances are accompanied by professional orchestras and feature up and coming professional soloists.  No two concerts are alike, and they represent musical offerings that span hundreds of years, a multitude of nationalities, and a multitude of musical styles from oratorios to American spirituals.  NCS has also commissioned world premiere performances of new choral works.

Coming Up:
The Newburyport Choral Society will present their annual Winter concert “Peace on Earth” on December 13 and 14, 2014 under the baton of new Music Director, Dr. George Case.


Blue Ocean Music Hall

Opened in November 2009, and heralded as the “best live music venue on Boston’s North Shore,” Blue Ocean Music Hall at The Pavilion on Salisbury Beach is an oceanfront facility showcasing top national and regional bands, solo artists, stand up comedy and more.  Blue Ocean Music Hall presents musicians in a wide range of genres, from rock and R&B, to jazz and country.  With 100+ concerts annually, performers to date have included Peter Wolf, The Little River Band, Todd Rundgren, Blues Traveler, Paula Cole, Eddie Money, Ingrid Michaelson, Little Feat, Martin Sexton, The Wailers, Donavon Frankenreiter, Gomez, Dave Mason, Comedian Lenny Clarke, Marshall Tucker Band, and many more.

Coming Up:
Thursday, October 9, 2014: Kansas
Thursday, November 6, 2014: Todd Rundgren
Saturday, December 13, 2014: Gary Hoey’s Ho Ho Hoey Rockin' Holiday Show
Sunday, December 27, 2014: Jillian Cardarelli


As always, don't forget to make your reservations the Essex Street Inn!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Explore Newburyport History: Museums

Newburyport's rich history and prosperous shipbuilding era are showcased inside this elegant federalist period mansion that has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Graceful rooms are appointed with fine collections of silver, furniture, portraits, clocks, needlework and more from New England, the Orient, and far away ports. The garden, including an herb garden, fruit trees, a summer house, cobbled yard and carriage house, has been restored based on  historic documents and a sketch done by Margaret Cushing showing the garden as she remembered it from her childhood in the 1860s and 1870s.
   Tours are given Wednesday-Sunday, May through November.

Located in the heart of downtown Newburyport, the Custom House was built in 1835 to facilitate growing overseas trade and tax collection of imported goods on the waterfront. The Museum's vaulted ceilings and cantilevered staircases are hallmarks of architect Robert Mills's work. Today, the Custom House serves as a maritime museum, preserving the regions maritime heritage and its role in American History, including Newburyport's role as the birthplace of the Coast Guard. With permanent and rotating exhibits, the museum features an outstanding collection of model clipper ships as well as shipwreck and salvage items.     
Open through December, Tuesday - Sunday. 
Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm is a beautiful 230-acre property that includes a manor house built in 1690 that served as the country seat of wealthy Newburyport merchants for most of the twentieth century.  A National Historic Landmark, this family-friendly site will transport you back in time with  activities and insights into life on a farm over the centuries. 
Open Thursday - Sunday, June 1 to October 15.

For Reservations: 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Calling All Foodies!

There are many fabulous ways to experience Newburyport! One of the best is to taste your way through town, trying out small bites of the many varied food specialties available. Whether you spend the day exploring on your own, or join in a Taste Newburyport Foodie Tour, your day (or weekend or week!) is sure to give you a true sense of this charming city and culture. To get you salivating, this month's newsletter is dedicated to the many delicious eats and drinks of Newburyport ~ most of which are within walking distance of the Essex Street Inn.


Savory Specialities

The Grand Trunk Old World Market on Pleasant Street is a foodies dream, specializing in imported items such as olives, salamis, cheeses, wine, and beer that the owners have discovered on their travels abroad. 
At The Tannery Marketplace, check out Newburyport Olive Oil Company which offers tastings of oils and balsamics from all over the world. Rows of shining Italian stainless steel "fustis,'' which block air and light to prevent the oil from turning, are positioned on a wooden shelf above a copper-covered counter and are labeled with the details about each produces contents, year crushed, country, chemicals, and tips for use. 
And, the purveyors of Joppa Fine Foods offer all sorts of speciality items, but they are absolutely crazy about cheese! Drop in to Joppa and taste a creamy goat cheese from France, a hardy stilton from Great Britain, and an aromatic, finely aged pecorino from Italy and find what makes you swoon. New cheeses arrive daily and more than one hundred cheeses from around the world on display at any given time.

Sweet Treats

Featured on  "Cupcake Wars" in 2011, Eat Cake on Inn Street features five flavors of cupcakes, revealed each morning on Facebook, each day. They also make to-die-for special occasion cakes that will be the talk of your party. Everything is baked fresh in-house.
Buttermilk Baking Company offers farm to table fresh back goods from your morning muffins and scones to hand made tarts and fresh fruit pies.
Want something to transport you back to your youth? Check it Chococoa Baking Company for its artisanal Whoopie Pies made from premium chocolate and all natural, local ingredients. Chocolate with salted caramel cream anyone?   

Drinks to Die For

Cafe di Siena on Pleasant Street is an Italian style coffee house with authentically delicious pastries, famous hot chocolate, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Lilyput Tea House can be found at Absolute Serenity on Prince Place. Curl up in a cozy corner and choose from more than 20 organic teas, served hot or cold, including specialties such as "Berries on Ice," a naturally fruity and sweet tea -- no need to add anything to it.   
Newburyport Brewing Company is Massachusetts' only "keg and can" brewery. Offering tasting/pouring hours on Thursday & Friday from 3-8 and Saturday from 12-8 you'll want to include them in your tour so that you can try out their three ales - Newburyport Pale Ale™, Plum Island Belgian White™, and Green Head IPA™ - the beer that bites you back.  

Are you salivating yet? If so, contact the Essex Street Inn today and make plans for your food adventure in Newburyport! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Yankee Homecoming

July 27 ~ August 3, 2014

Newburyport's  charm and character are on display year-round, but if you want to be here when the city really comes alive, you'll want to visit during "Yankee Homecoming" week. The second oldest homecoming festival in the United States, this 8-day event,  July 27-August 3, hosts endless activities to take part in throughout the city.  Free Waterfront Concerts take place nightly in Waterfront Park behind the Firehouse Center for the Arts. A craft fair and highly anticipated sidewalk sales offer lots of great bargains from Newburyport's many unique shops. And, a plethora of other activities fill the days including a road race, bed race, Art on Bartlett Mall, Family Day at Maudslay State Park, Kid's Talent Show, Greek Food Festival and more!

This year brings back the popular Lighted Boat Parade down the Merrimack River on Friday, August 1, and, as always, the celebration culminates with a grand parade down High Street on Sunday, August 3 beginning at 12:30pm. Be sure to bring the kids and grab a spot along the parade route and take in this spirited event complete with floats, fire engines and lots of fun!


Something fun for everyone! Here's a sampling:

Saturday, July 26: Brewfest
Sunday, July 27: Olde Fashioned Sunday
Tuesday, July 29: Craft Show in Market Square
Thursday, July 31: Sidewalk Sales
Friday, August 1: Lighted Boat Parade
Saturday, August 2: Family Day at Maudslay State Park
Sunday, August 3: Yankee Homecoming Parade

For more information and a detailed calendar of events, visit the Yankee Homecoming website at

Contact the Essex Street Inn today for reservations: 


A Little Bit of Yankee Homecoming History

The brainchild of New England artist, Jack Frost, the Yankee Homecoming celebration of New England heritage got off the ground in earnest in 1958 when more than 30 communities planned homecoming celebrations.

Newburyport residents and members of the city's Economic Development Commission, George Cashman and Nappy Vigeant, petitioned Mayor "Bossy" Gillis for money to fund a homecoming celebration who, in turn, famously responded that they would receive "not one damn cent."

Not to be deterred, Cashman, who became Yankee Homecoming’s first chairman, pressed on. He garnered editorial support at the Newburyport Daily News from Editor Bill Plante and he raised $1,000 from the Newburyport Businessman’s Association, the precursor to the Chamber of Commerce.

Cashman found his "hook" when he discovered that Newburyport had a claim as the birthplace of the Coast Guard. In 1791 the United States Revenue Cutter Massachusetts was built and launched the banks of the Merrimac River.

Cashman planned a dedication ceremony where a monument would be erected proclaiming Newburyport as the birthplace of the Coast Guard. Towle Silver donated the monument, Bill Plante wrote the inscription, and on August 4, 1958 Assistant Secretary A. Gilmore Flues dedicated the monument. Newburyport continued to celebrate Coast Guard Day during its Yankee Homecoming celebration for many years.

Newburyport is the only community out of the original 30 to continue the Yankee Homecoming celebration and make an annual tradition. Doing so laid some of the groundwork for the city’s revitalization in the 1970s.

More than fifty years after its inception, Yankee Homecoming is part of the fabric of the city. It has fulfilled Jack Frost’s promise of showcasing all that is good in New England.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Merrimack River Eagle Festival 

February 8, 2014 

Now in it ninth year, the annual Merrimack River Eagle Festival celebrates the pristine and restored habitat for the Bald Eagle. In 2005 the first pair of Bald Eagles returned to the lower Merrimack River Valley and built their nest known in the lower Merrimack River Valley; now there are four known nesting pairs in the region. The past few weeks has offered prime viewing of the eagles. Bill Gette, sanctuary director at the Joppa Flats Education Center, reported to The Newburyport Daily News that both adult and immature birds have been spotted all along the lower Merrimack River in the past two weeks. The mature males and females are unmistakable with their white heads and tails, while the young ones are primarily brown.

Gette reports that, “The Merrimack River in winter really sucks in eagles. I would predict that this is a big year for them on the Merrimack, and the reason for that is the polar vortex. You get all that really cold weather, and it freezes everything up north.”

The Festival is presented by Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center and the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge and includes a full day of great activities, including:

Visit Eagle Hotspots    9:00 am–4:00 pm

Go on an Eagle Tour    9:00 am–2:00 pm

See a Raptor Show    10:00 am–11:00 am or 1:30 pm–2:30 pm

Pose for a Photo with a Raptor  11:15 am–11:45 am or 12:30 pm–1:00 pm


On February 8th, Eagle Festival information will be available at all festival headquarter sites from 8:30–4pm.
  • Mass Audubon's Joppa Flats Education Center: 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport 978-462-9998
  • Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters: 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport 978-465-5753
  • The Newburyport Chamber of Commerce: 38R Merrimac Street, Newburyport 978-462-6680
  • Newburyport City Hall: 60 Pleasant Street, Newburyport
  • Lowell’s Boat Shop: 459 Main Street, Amesbury 978-834-0050

Additional details about the Eagle Festival can be found on the Mass Audubon website.