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. Supplies are readily available, thanks to an array of convenience stores and specialty food shops. At the Tannery Marketplace, experience Newburyport’s finest shopping and dining along the picturesque water- front. Be sure to visit the gorgeous spans of beach on both sides of the Merrimack River entrance. Marina staff can give information on the transportation options.
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.
Where to Dock
Newburyport Harbor Marina
This 70-slip marina is part of the Newburyport Marinas’ quartet and the
closest marina to the Merrimack River entrance offering a ship’s store, fuel and an easy walk to downtown.
Newburyport Municipal Docks
The recently upgraded municipal docks feature 850 feet of floating docks and a new boater lounge with showers and laundry.
Ring’s Island Marina
Transient slips and moorings are available on the Salisbury side of the harbor, where two on-site restaurants offer views of Newburyport.
Where to Dine
Glenn’s Food & Libations
(50 Water St.)
Beautifully presented fare and craft cocktails in an upscale setting, featuring local live music weekly.
Michael’s Harborside Restaurant & Bar
(1 Tournament Wharf)
Outdoor deck dining on both levels and live music on weekends, this local institution boasts spectacular waterfront views and fresh seafood.
(13 Middle St.)
A Newburyport favorite, it hosts Sunday night jazz while offering classic
American comfort food and spirits. VASA Waterfront Kitchen & Bar
VASA Waterfront Kitchen & Bar
(175 Bridge Road)
This raw bar and waterfront kitchen features fresh, locally sourced cuisine and a modern ambiance.