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Thank you to everyone that attended our 2019 Yankee Homecoming Festival.  We hope you enjoyed our many events.  Please check back early next year to see our updates for next years event.  In the mean time below is information on this past festival.

Heritage Tours and Events

Discover history: <> Free downloadable tours, brochures, maps and free smart phone tours. An American Association of State and Local History Merit Award Winner.

 Events are all free unless otherwise indicated.

Saturday, July 27 and Saturday, August 3 – 10 am to 6 pm. *Can You Find Us – Oak Hill Cemetery Scavenger Hunt. Brown and State Streets. Over 50 gravesites will be labeled – ministers, benefactors, sea captains including Francis B. Todd who was buried in a rum barrel, artists, and the burial site of Anna Jaques, the benefactor of our local hospital. Stop at the Ellen T. Brown Chapel for a list of names (bring a pen or pencil). Great activity for families and children! Free drawing – win Ghlee’s award winning book Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, Oak Hill Cemetery.

Saturday, July 27 – Saturday, August 3, 10:00 – 5:00 PM. *Merrimack Valley Ship Model Club Exhibition. Unitarian Universalist Church, Lower Level, 28 Pleasant Street. The Merrimack Valley Ship Model Club will exhibit a wide range and variety of ship models displaying tiny miniatures, and modest rowing craft in contrast with ocean going vessels. MVSMC members will be at the exhibit demonstrating modeling techniques and sharing background stories about the models on display.

Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28, Noon – 4 pm; July 31, Wed. – Aug. 2, Fri.; 10 am – 4 pm; Sat. Aug., 3, 12 pm – 4 pm. *Museum of Old Newbury. 98 High St. Free tours. For the past 140 years, the Museum of Old Newbury has been collecting, preserving, and presenting the history of Newburyport, Newbury, West Newbury, Byfield, and Plum Island. With objects and documents, we tell the stories of local people from the past four centuries.; phone: 978-462-2681.

Saturday, July 27 – Sunday, August 4 *“If This House Could Talk” neighborhood stroll.
City residents will be displaying posters with stories about their homes. Stroll Newburyport neighborhoods and look for house stories prominently displayed.  Online map: or see for details.

Saturday, July 27, 10:00 to 11:30 am. *Newburyport’s French Canadian Community. People’s United Methodist Church, Purchase Street. Newburyport’s French Canadian community took root in the 1890s, when farmers from Quebec arrived to work in Newburyport’s mills and factories during the winter months. Although some workers stayed only seasonally, many felt they had better opportunities in Newburyport than in Canada, and decided to stay. Learn about the lives of Newburyport’s French Canadiens in Jean Foley Doyle’s latest documentary film.

Saturday, July 27, 1:00 – 3:00 pm *Newburyport Powder House Park and Learning Center, 57 Low Street (across from Nock/Molin Schools). Come and visit the newly restored Powder House built in 1822 on Godfrey’s Hill. View the exterior and interior restoration and original cobblestone wagon path. Members of the Acton Minutemen will be there to talk about the importance of the early militias in all the towns of the Mass Bay Colony, and to demonstrate the use and firing of the flintlock musket, and various marching maneuvers from the Revolutionary War. The Powder House is an American Association of State and Local History merit award winner.

Saturday July 27, 2:30 – 3:30. *Newburyport’s Shipbuilding and Shipyards. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, 6 Plum Island Turnpike. Join Ghlee Woodworth for a visual tour of shipbuilding and shipyards from Joppa to upper Merrimack Street. From the 1700s to the mid-1800s, Newburyport rivaled that of Salem and Boston. Vessels built in Newburyport were known for their expert workmanship around the world and out-of-state and foreign investors eagerly bought interests in Newburyport vessels.

Sunday July 28, 10 – 11:00 am. *Essex County: New England’s Cradle of Aviation. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, 6 Plum Island Turnpike. Join Ted Russell to hear about New England’s first flying field on The Great Marsh in Newbury, and the intrepid pilots who perfected their aircraft and skills in the spring and summer of 1910. Hear about how the 1910 flights in Newbury gave birth to the North Shore as a prominent center of early aviation, and about the history of the current Plum Island Airport that dates from 1933. Visit the Burgess Aviation Museum at the Plum Island Airport, 24 Plum Island Turnpike, Newbury.

Sunday, July 28, 10:00 am – Noon *Superior Courthouse Open House, Bartlet Mall. Visit the 1805 courthouse, designed by Charles Bullfinch, and learn about its history and beautiful interior and exterior architecture including the courtroom where President John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster tried cases. Presented by Essex County Clerk of Courts Tom Driscoll and the Greater Newburyport Bar Association.

Sunday, July 28, Noon – 1:00 pm *Old South Church Tour, 29 Federal Street,; 978 465 9666. Meet at the Federal Street front doors. Step right in and experience the way the church used to be in the 1700’s! Your tour will be steeped in history as you learn of Paul Revere’s bell, see spittoons in the sanctuary, descend into the crypt and discover a forgotten Founding Father buried directly under the pulpit!

Sunday, July 28, 2:30 – 4:00 pm and Tuesday, July 30, 11:00 – 12:30 pm. *Clipper Heritage Trail’s “Along the Water’s Edge” Waterfront Harbor Tour. Boardwalk near Black Cow restaurant. Tickets go fast! Make reservations online at Join historian Ghlee Woodworth and marine ecologist Captain Paul Aziz aboard the Yankee Clipper and enjoy a 90 minute cruise along the beautiful Merrimack River. Step back in time and hear about shipyards, Caldwell’s Rum, and a castle as we cruise upriver to Amesbury. On the return leg, the Yankee Clipper takes us along the shores of Joppa, home of clammers, fishermen, and hunters, as we discover the time less significance of our local estuary.

Monday, July 29, 5:00 to 6:00 pm. * Newburyport: Then and Now. Public Library Program Room. Newburyport historian Ghlee Woodworth will discuss the past and present of many favorite spots around town. This presentation will include photos and stories from the late 19th century and downtown’s transformation in the 1970’s and 80’s will also be featured. Seats fill up fast!

Monday, July 29, 7:00 to 8:00 pm. *Urban Renewal: Demolition or Restoration. Newburyport’s Story. Public Library Program Room. Back by popular demand! Like many communities in the early 1960s, Newburyport was at an economic crossroads. Factories closed, storefronts were boarded up, and the new wave of shopping malls swept through the country. Only one official signature away, urban renewal threatened to demolish our historic downtown. Ghlee Woodworth will take you through a visual journey to learn how the community and its citizens came together to save the charm and character of our historic downtown. Seats fill up quickly!

Tuesday, July 30 thru Saturday, August 3, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. *Piel Craftsmen: 3 1/2 Center Street. Established over 68 years ago. Piel Craftsmen have produced over 35,000 hand crafted wooden ship models and restored thousands of ship model wrecks to their original condition. Come in and see models being made and restored and nautical gifts of the time honored sailors art of Ships in Bottles, Scrimshaw, Nautical prints, books, and many other nautical gifts.

Wednesday, July 31, 7:00 to 8:00 pm. *The Wheelwright Family. Public Library Program Room. Jack Santos will take you on a visual journey: the Wheelwright name was well known in the American colonies because of the controversy with Anne Hutchinson and her brother-in-law, the Reverend John Wheelwright. A branch of the family settles in Newburyport, and becomes a huge influence on shipping and the mercantile trade from 1790-1830. Even today, the Wheelwright family continues to affect Newburyport, through the prestigious William Wheelwright Scientific School high school scholarship and the Newburyport Society for Relief of Aged Women, which benefited from Martha Wheelwright bequest.

Thursday, August 1, 10:00 to 11:30 am *Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, Oak Hill Cemetery,
State and Brown Streets, Brown Chapel. Join Ghlee Woodworth and take a walk through beautiful Oak Hill Cemetery and visit some of the gravesites featured in Ghlee’s award winning book, Tiptoe Through the Tombstones, Oak Hill Cemetery. Also hear about the successful gravestone restoration and tree planting project and visit Brown Chapel, now open for events.

Saturday, August 3, 10:00 to 11:00 am.
*Walking Tour of the Industrialized Waterfront. Join Skip and Marge Motes in front of the Firehouse Center for the Arts for an illustrated hour-long walking tour of the densely industrialized waterfront of the past down to the Coast Guard Station. Imagine trains carrying thousands of tons of coal loaded from 60 foot high coal storage pockets rolling down the tracks where you are now walking on the new Clipper City Rail Trail.

Saturday August 3 – 11:30 – 12:30. Newburyport’s Clipper Heritage Trail, A Series of Self-Guided History Tours. Public Library Program Room. Join author Ghlee Woodworth and take a visual tour of her upcoming book Newburyport’s Clipper Heritage Trail that will include 15 self-guided tours, over 150 locations, 200 images and 25 maps. The Clipper Heritage Trail is an American Association of State and Local History merit award winner. Seats fill up fast!


BONS 2014