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HERITAGE TOURS

Heritage Tours and Events

2023

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

Events are all free unless otherwise indicated.

 

Saturday, July 29, and Saturday, August 5, 10 am to 6 pm. *Local Citizens and Their Contributions. Oak Hill Cemetery. Brown and State Streets. Over 20 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. Enjoy a stroll through beautiful Oak Hill Cemetery while learning about our local citizens of the past.

 

Sunday, July 30 – Sunday, August 6. *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: http://map.walknewburyport.com or see http://www.walknewburyport.com for details.

 

Saturday, July 29, 10:00 to 11:30 am. *Newburyport Early Black History and the Triangular Trade. Through Senior Community Center, 331 High Street. Through slide shows, Ghlee E. Woodworth and Susan McGregor Harvey will take you on a tour of Newburyport’s Early Black History. Ghlee will discuss the role of the church community and their record keeping, Guinea Village, stories of our Black citizens including former slaves, gravesites, and discuss the findings of ground-penetrating radar in discovering hidden burials. Susan will discuss the results of her past and current research investigating the connections between Newburyport ships and the Triangular Trade. Did our shipbuilders construct ships for the African slave trade? How did local citizens benefit from the Slave Trade and West Indian Plantations? Seats fill up fast!

 

Saturday, July 29 – Saturday, August 5, 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 29 and Sunday, July 31, 11 am – 4 pm, Guided Tours.  (last tour at 4pm); Museum of Old Newbury. 98 High St. Tickets online at www.newburyhistory.org.  Come take a 50-minute tour of this 1808 Federal period house which tells the story of the Cushing family and the greater Newburyport area.  Since 1877, 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.  info@newburyhistory.org; phone: 978-462-2681.

 

Saturday, July 29 – 1:00 – 2:00 pm. *Bacchanalia, Murder, and the Newburyport Waterfront: The Life of Great Watt. Custom House Maritime Museum. Jack Santos: What is “Watt’s Cellar”. Why? Who was “Watt”? What’s a “cellar”? And, most importantly, where is it?  Come to hear a story predating colonization by the Newbury first settlers, where native peoples play a large role. It’s a downtown Newburyport history mystery, with sex, drunkenness, political power struggles, and little-known aspects of our colonial history that no one wants to talk about. Until now. Seats fill up fast!

 

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. *Newburyport Powder House Park and Learning Center, 57 Low Street (across from Nock/Molin Schools). Come and visit the 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 29, 3:00 – 4:00 pm. *Newburyport, The War of 1812, and the USS Wasp. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Plum Island Turnpike. The USS Wasp was built in Newburyport in 1813 and was one of the most successful US Navy ships in that conflict. The topic centers on Wasp, her Captain, the interactions between Wasp and Newburyport, and the prevailing economic and political climate of that age. Join Captain Bob Cronin in this fascinating story about the USS Wasp.

 

Sunday, July 30, and Saturday, August 5th; 10:00 am to 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 30, 11 am. *Uncommon Ground- Pawtucket Spaces and Colonized Places on the Molodemak (Merrimack) River FrontierCustom House Maritime Museum, Water Street. Join public historian Kristine Malpica and sculptor Jeffrey Briggs for an artist talk and walking tour that explores local and regional the Pawtucket-Pennacook-Abenaki Indigenous presence along the Molodemak (Abenaki) River, which served as a vital conduit of socio-economic and political interaction, as well as cross-cultural exchange and conflict with English colonists. The tour begins at 11 am in front of the Custom House, with a special exhibit and conversation about the artistry and history surrounding Briggs’ new sculpture, “Saunkskwa of Survivance,” then continues along the Clipper City Rail Trail to the Firehouse Center for the Arts. The public is invited to return to the Custom House Museum to view Briggs’ exhibition “Legendary Newburyporters.”

 

Sunday, July 30 and August 6, 12-5 pm, Tuesday, August 2 and Wednesday, August 3, 12 pm – 5 pm, Thursday 4th, Friday 5th and Saturday 6th 10 am – 5 pm, Guided Tours. *The Custom House Maritime Museum. Our House is Your Home for Maritime History, 25 Water Street. Our exhibits have a fresh new look with new objects for your education and enjoyment. Docents will be on hand to enhance your experience, should you wish. For more information, visit our website www.thechmm.org or call us at 978-462-8681.

 

Sunday, July 30, 1:00 to 3:00 pm. *Old South Church Tour, 29 Federal Street. 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! Call 978 465-9666 for more information.

 

Sunday, July 30th, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm *Plum Island Clam Plant Open House and Tours.

Location – past the lighthouse towards the boat wharves on the left. The Shellfish Purification Plant is the oldest operating depuration plant in the world and one of five existing in the United States. Built-in 1930 by the City of Newburyport to treat shellfish from the Merrimac River, today the plant is managed by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

 

Sunday, July 30, 2:00 – 3:30 pm, Tuesday, August 1, 11:00 – 12:30 pm, and Wednesday, August 2, 6:00 – 7:30 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 www.harbortours.com. 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 timeless significance of our local estuary.

 

Monday, July 31st, 9:00 to 10:30 am. *Feathered Friends and Long Forgotten Friends,

Oak Hill Cemetery, main gates, Brown and State Streets. Join Sue McGrath of Newburyport Birders and local historian Ghlee Woodworth for an exciting outing at Oak Hill Cemetery. Many different species are attracted to the diverse habitat of Oak Hill and while learning to identify birds, see the graves of Newburyport benefactors, sea captains, early American photographers, and abolitionists.

 

Tuesday, August 1st, 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 www.harbortours.com. 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 timeless significance of our local estuary.

 

Wednesday, August 2nd, 10 to 11:30 am. *Early Black History and Cemetery Tour. Old Hill Burying Ground entrance opposite # 20 Auburn Street. Wander through Newburyport’s historic Old Hill Burying Ground and Highland Cemetery with guide–noted author and historian Ghlee Woodworth, a 12th-generation Newburyport native. Woodworth will discuss Early Black History, Newburyport’s Black neighborhood – Guinea Village and the memorials of our once-thriving Black community of the 1800s. Ghlee will also reveal the results of our ground-penetrating radar project results of the Old Hill African American section.

Wednesday, August 2, 6:00 – 7:30 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 www.harbortours.com. 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 timeless significance of our local estuary.

 

Thursday, August 3rd, 2:30 to 3:30 pm. *Early Plum Island Aviation. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Plum Island Turnpike. In 1910, just seven years after the Wright Brothers’ first successful flight at Kitty Hawk, Newbury’s Great Marsh became the site of New England’s first flying field. W. Starling Burgess built a hangar and wooden runway where the dunes meet the marsh, near the current location of Parking Lot #2 in the Parker River NWR, and conducted numerous test flights with early aircraft here. Join historian Ted Russell and learn about our local aviation history through a slideshow.

 

Friday, August 4th and Saturday, August 5, 10:30 am. Organ Recitals and Tours. First Religious Society, Unitarian Universalist, 26 Pleasant Street. Organ Recital 10:30 am; Tours run 11 am-2 pm on every half hour. Meet at the front door of the church. Experience nearly 300 years of history at the First Religious Society. Tours will reveal the architectural beauty and social history of the church, a cornerstone of Newburyport since 1723. The historic 1834 organ will be played at 10:30 am before tours begin at 11. FRS merchandise will be for sale, along with free refreshments. Make sure to head downstairs after the tour to see the Merrimack Valley Ship Model Club display.

 

Saturday, August 5, 1:00 – 2:00 pm. *Reclaiming the Merrimack , Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Plum Island Turnpike. Join Author Dyke Hendrickson on a visual trip along the Merrimack River.  His most recent book is “Plum Island: A Vulnerable Gem.” It includes 75 color photos, and focuses on the dual nature of the barrier island. The northern sector is inhabited by homes and small enterprises, and the southern portion is occupied by the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Both face major challenges because of climate change. Hendrickson is the author of “Merrimack: The Resilient River” (2021), and hosts a weekly podcast titled, “Life Along the Merrimack.”

 

 

Awards

BONS 2014