Newburyport is proud to be a historic seaport and a vibrant community that offers scenic beauty, a variety of accommodations, culture and arts, fine dining, and unique shopping. With a history stretching back to the country's beginnings, Newburyport Harbor offers opportunities for visitors through all seasons. Whether you enjoy cross-country skiing, strolling through streets lined with window boxes and flower baskets, bird-watching on Plum Island, sunning on a beach, or attending free summer concerts, you will find it in Newburyport Harbor.
Newburyport Harbor has a humid continental climate with large seasonal differences. Summers can be hot and humid, and winters can be extremely cold. Rainfall is fairly even throughout the year in Newburyport Harbor, although winter droughts can occur. Temperatures range from an average high of 28°C (83°F) in July to an average low of -4°C (25°F) in January.
Newburyport Harbor's downtown area is proud of its newly-refurbished Mayor Peter J. Matthews Memorial Boardwalk. Running along the harbor, the boardwalk offers great views of the marinas and harbor. The Boardwalk is lined with gardens, seating, historic monuments, and a large common area. The Newburyport Harbor Boardwalk runs parallel with the restored downtown and its restaurants, boutique shops, and the maritime museum.
The Maudslay State Park in Newburyport Harbor is an old family estate on the Merrimack River. The 480-acre Newburyport Harbor park contains the ruins of the 19th Century estate and gardens. It also has beautiful rolling hills, huge trees, and the state's biggest display of mountain laurels. Visitors can walk, bike, ride horses, and enjoy picnics on the grounds. During the summer, the park is the scene of many cultural events like live theater. Part of this Newburyport Harbor park is closed in the winter to protect roosting bald eagles, but the open areas are available for cross-country skiing and wintertime strolls. Restrooms are available on the grounds. Parking is $2, and annual passes to the park are available.
The Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport Harbor was designed by Robert Mills, the architect who designed the US Treasury Building and the Washington Monument. The building was constructed in 1835 to support Newburyport Harbor's increasing trade and to collect taxes on imported goods. After the heydays of Newburyport Harbor as a commercial seaport, the building played many roles from manufacturing to storage.
Newburyport's Maritime Society formed in 1968 to restore and manage the building. Today, it is a wonderful maritime museum that is also a research facility, a center for education, and a meeting place. Devoted to preserving and communicating the maritime heritage of the Merrimack River Valley, the museum offers a collection of maritime art, displays about famous shipwrecks, model clipper ships, and the story of the US Coast Guard. (Newburyport Harbor is considered the birthplace of the Coast Guard.)
The Moseley Gallery with the Hall of Ships has models, half-hulls, and models of clipper ships. The Brown Gallery contains a collection of shipwreck and salvage artifacts. The Custom Collectors Office displays office equipment from the period, a collection of portraits of early Newburyport Harbor sea captains, and artifacts from distant voyages.
The Baker Gallery has a diorama of the 19th Century Currier shipyard, a busy ship-building facility in 19th Century Newburyport Harbor. The Coast Guard Room has models of Coast Guard ships, photographs, and historical artwork related to the Coast Guard. The Marquand Library, named for 18th Century Newburyport Harbor shipping magnate Daniel Marquand, contains furniture and other possessions that the Pulitzer Prize winning author of "The Late George Apley" bequeathed to the Museum.
Newburyport Harbor's Custom House Maritime Museum is open from Tuesday through Saturday from 10am until 4pm and on Sunday, Monday, and holidays from noon until 4pm. Adults pay $7 for admission, and seniors and students pay $5. Active military and children five and under are admitted free.
The early 19th Century Cushing House Museum and Garden in Newburyport Harbor was the home of Caleb Cushing, the US Ambassador to China who negotiated the first treaty between the two countries in 1844. This National Historic Landmark is a four-story brick mansion surrounded by a period garden, fruit trees, a carriage house, and cobbled yard. The house and museum contains collections of furniture, silver, clocks, portraits, needlework, toys, and other items from the 19th Century, including pieces Cushing obtained in the Orient. Tours of the home are offered from May 12th to October 31st.