Newburyport Insider A Guide to Charming Newburyport by Pam Older
Getting Here & Places to Stay
❖ You are 1 hour from Logan International Airport or use the popular C & J Coach line for a relaxing trip (with wi-fi) from the airport, Boston, New York, Portsmouth & other points north and south. It is a stress free way to travel into Newburyport and to Boston for a day of sight seeing. A car will help you explore the towns and rural areas of Amesbury, Newbury, Ipswich and Essex & farther north to historical Portsmouth and “foodie haven” Portland, ME.
❖ Enterprise Car rental has an office in Newburyport at the Route 1 rotary that you might find helpful.
❖ Where you stay in Newburyport is not that important since the town is small & accessible by foot. Most of its stores and restaurants are concentrated downtown, a few blocks east at the Tannery and on Merrimac Street. And a few farther out from the downtown area, but still walkable.
❖ Adjacent Plum Island is a barrier island located 3 miles from downtown. It has a couple of fun restaurants, a nature reservation that is great for bird watching and miles and miles of sandy beach. A new ice cream stand and Bob’s Lobster is on the way for delicious fried clams and more!
❖ Boutique Hotels like Blue (on Plum Island) and downtown’s Garrison Inn are two upscale places that are filled with charm and ambiance. Garrison Inn is located on a grassy square that is very historical. Essex St. Inn is more basic but comfortable and is located one block from State St. Also check out booking.com & airb&b for other places to stay.
❖ A rental house on Plum Island is a wonderful option- but avoid July when the Greenhead flies are biting for almost the entire month. Locals just skip the beach and head north to the Hampton beaches to avoid these pests. Stay in town in July.
❖ A day trip to Portsmouth or Portland ME are easy and worth the ride. Portland, ME is a foodie paradise as is Kittery Foreside in Kittery ME, only 30 mins for Newburyport and well worth the ride!
❖ Another outstanding day trip is up to Cape Neddick for lunch or dinner or their spa at the Cliff House. Ogunquit is also a nice day trip.
❖ Start the day with a walk around our beautiful town and grab coffee at Commune (along with their excellent crepes). Commune is also open at night and features live music on weekends. Tiny Souffles on Merrimac St or Chococoa (home of homemade whoopee pies- even gluten free!) in the Tannery, Bldg.#1 both have great coffee and pastries.
❖ My favorite place for coffee is Plum Island Coffee Roasters located behind my shop (42 Merrimac St) on the Merrimac river. Enjoy it sitting with locals facing the Merrimac River with the perfect view of the docks and Rings Island. In the Winter they usually ave a nice fireplace roaring.
❖ On Pleasant St you have Grand Trunk for wines cheeses and cured meats and nice gifts. Grab some goodies then have a picnic in Waterfront Park, Maudsley State Park or the beach.
❖Bakery and Bread your thing? Anna Rosa Bakery on Rt 110 in Salisbury is not to be missed. Italian and French influenced with organic flour and expert bakers. They bake everything there in a special oven using whole grain flours from VT. Sweets too- beyond what you would expect to find in this strip mall. Cookies, cakes, pizzas- it is all wonderful.
❖One of my favorite dinners is a glass of Prosecco with oysters & grilled swordfish at Plum Island Grille. Get there before sundown. A back booth in the bar room is yours of you can get there before 5:30 or have a drink on the deck with the locals and enjoy the fantastic view of the marshes at sunset! Food is consistently tasty!
❖A more casual choice is Bob Lobster on the turnpike connecting NBPT to Plum Island. Lobster in the rough with great chowder and fried seafood too. You can buy fresh fish, fish pies & chowder there for special take out.
❖If you are cooking at home also consider David’s Fish Market on Rt. 1 (10 mins from town- cash only) and FISH across from that Tannery for great fish, shrimp, oysters and lobster.
❖Loretta is one of my favorite Newburyport’ restaurants. There is something for everyone there- ranging from delicious shrimp scampi over linguini, a burger or a pastrami sandwich! Sit at the bar and enjoy the local ambiance and their delicious Grilled Romaine Salad! Tell the owner Ted I sent you!
❖ My favorite coffee place is Plum Island Coffee Roasters located behind my shop on the Merrimac river. Enjoy a latte sitting facing the Merrimac River with the perfect view of the docks and Rings Island.
❖ If you want an all American Breakfast try Angie’s on Pleasant Street, but my favorite breakfast or lunch is a an outside or communal table at Joppa Fine Foods at the Tannery where you can try their delectable breakfast sandwich or a variety of avocado toasts. They also carry soups, salads, wine, gourmet ice cream, chocolate and cheeses from all over the world - good baguettes too! Grab some goodies then have a picnic in Waterfront Park, Maudsley State Park or the beach.
❖ Two other very good breakfast spots- off the beaten path are Pat’s Diner in Salisbury on rt 110 Bridge St. over the Gillis Bridge(1Open breakfast and lunch only.)
❖ FM Station at the Rotary on Rt 1 South. FM also has a limited Brazilian menu that is delicious. Open breakfast and lunch only.
❖ One of my favorite dinners is champagne or Prosecco, oysters & grilled swordfish at Plum Island Grille. Get there before sundown and sit in the bar room. Reserve a back booth, get there early and have a drink on the deck with the locals and enjoy the fantastic view of the marshes at sunset!
❖ A more casual choice is Bob Lobster on the turnpike connecting NBPT to Plum Island. Lobster in the rough with great chowder and fried seafood too. You can buy fresh fish & chowder there too.
❖ If you are cooking at home also consider David’s Fish Market on Rt. 1 (10 mins from town- cash only) and FISH across from that Tannery for great fish, shrimp, oysters and lobster.
❖ The Deck and Portside restaurants are great places to view Newburyport’s skyline! Go over the Gillis bridge on Rt 1 - you can walk it too! Portside is quieter than the deck. Valet parking is necessary due to the shortage of spaces but don’t let that discourage you.
❖ We have great Pizza in Newburyport! My favorite is Anchor Pizza- ask for it crispy- it always tastes better when the cheese is brown and bubbly! No atmosphere - great pizza. Stone Crust- on Pleasant Street, and their California and Greek salads and Patty Melt are also big and delicious. The ambiance is “fast food”- but clean and new. On Pleasant St.
❖ Take out at Otto’s is gourmet pizza. Located in Leary’s liquor shop is pizza and a fantastic Cheese and gourmet shop. It’s one stop shopping for a party. Located on Merrimac St. Going north out of town or they deliver.
❖ The old time town people hang out at informal Park lunch for good fried fish and clams, comfort food and a local bar scene.
❖ The Grog is an institution in NBPT. Everything from burgers to Ahi Tuna. Sit at the bar for the best experience. They also have music, check their schedule online.
❖ I love the atmosphere of Brine on State street. Portions are small and it is expensive but the food is well curated. It’s trendy in a good way. Fresh oysters are available all the time. Same thing with its sister restaurant Ceia across the street where you can get things that are a bit different from normal Newburyport fare.
❖ For the best views for lunch or dinner go across the river on Rt 1 and view beautiful NBPT from across the river. The Deck and Portside offer good drinks and food. The deck gets busy & valet parking is a nuisance but worth the outside dining & the view for lunch, drinks or dinner.
❖ For the best Thai food- try a little hole in the wall on 110 in Salisbury try Mali's Thai Zap. It is the authentic & great for takeout.
❖ One of the most wonderful establishments is Middle Street Foods- just 2 blocks off State St. on Middle Street. Homemade breads and pastries, great salads and sandwiches, things to go too. Very casual New England style. Closed Sundays.
❖ Try the view in back of Sea Level or sit in front and people watch. Lovely place to see the water obstructed only by a beautiful green lawn. Oysters and seafood, but something for everyone.
❖ For a fun dinner or lunch go across the river on Rt 100 and view beautiful NBPT from across the river. The Deck and Portside offer good drinks and lunch and dinner. The deck gets busy and valet parking is a nuisance but it’s worth the outside dining and the view on a nice night.
❖ I love a little stretch of shops that begins with my shop- Pam Older Designs (at 42 Merrimac St. corner of Green Street). I will welcome you with lots more info on my favorite spots in Newburyport & you can see my jewelry! Pam Older Designs started in NY in 2004 out of my home & is now represented by galleries and shops in the USA & carried by the Sundance and the Peruvian Connection Catalogs. Most of my pieces are crafted in the shop. You will find us hard at work making jewelry or designing custom engagement rings, restoring old jewelry. There is something for everyone here! For a preview, see www.pamolderdesigns.com.
❖ Continue North to the luxury spa & hair salon called Interlocks, with a vast collection of beautiful lingerie, and fantastic cosmetics & bath & skin care products. They have a complete spa & midi-spa with world class treatments.
❖ Next door to Interlocks is Sage, a California inspired plant & home decor shop. They also offer interior design & styling for your patio and home. Great gifts and plants that will appeal to your modern sensibility.
❖ The Tannery has a Farmers Market on Most Sundays from 10-1pm. Fig Tree (also on Liberty St.) serves great breakfast treats, there are flowers and local produce, scarves and gifts, locally produced smoked meats & fish, and a great guacamole stand! There is also an Ukraine vendor serving her native home cooked items. All worth a try! Something new all the time with music and fun for everyone. Grab a table and have breakfast or lunch.
❖ While you are visiting the Tannery visit owner Pat and floral designer Lisa at Beach Plum Flower Shop. Inside you will also fine local treasure Piper & Chloe decor & gifts and a gourmet chocolate shop. The flowers at Beach Plum (real and silks) are very special as is the chocolate! Put together a gift basket and bring it home!
❖ Across the way at the Tannery is Port Plums Olive Oil with a wide offering of fine olive oils and balsamic vinegars, cook wear & things for the cook. They also offer classes that are a MUST for your visit. Meet the locals! Karen & her daughter Katie are the mother-daughter proprietors and they do an awesome job.
❖ Nauti Pearl on State has great brands and moderate prices. All the stuff you need to go out in Newburyport & back home!
❖ Amy Williams on Pleasant St. is the place to go for the coolest bags by Jack Gomme & classic clothing that is on the luxury preppy side. For men & young men try Farleys on State Street. Classic well made clothing & a mainstay of Newburyport.
❖ Inspired by California’s surf culture, Vaalbara Designs specializes in unique, vibrant and environmentally conscious bags handcrafted in the USA.`
❖ Valeries Gallery on State St. is well curated with jewelry and art and glass. Also Paula Esty Gallery on Harris St. has wonderful art and events. Call for a schedule. The Newburyport Art Assoc. across from the Tannery always has nice exhibits and an outdoor sculpture garden.
❖ For the best gifts to bring home- get NBPT and Plum Islands sweat shirts for everyone at Richdales (and a .25 hot dog too while you are there).They are colorful and cheap! A good convenience store that includes a Dunkin Donuts.
❖ Marshalls on Storey Ave. is where the locals shop. It happens to be well stocked & good finds are there to be discovered.
❖ We recently discovered the Trading Post in Kittery, ME (outlet section) for shoes and sportswear, work out stuff and even dresses and swimsuits. Extensive collection for men, women and children. All the sports & walking shoes, flip flops and sneaks you could wish for. Probably the closest “Department Store” near by. The Barbour Outlet, Tumi, Lucky Brand, Eileen Fisher, Crate and Barrel, Clark, Coach outlets are all on the strip. If you get a rainy day & love to shop this will be up your alley.
❖ Vintage Chic (Pleasant ST.), Mill 77 (Scotland Rd- out of town in the industrial Park) & Coastal Finds Marketplace (Rt 1 over the Bridge toward Salisbury) are all great vintage & gift shops for eclectic browsing.
Parks & Farms
❖ Waterfront Park on the river in the center of town is home of many outdoor concerts. It is also part of Newburyport’s rail trail that circles the town and is great for walking, jogging or cycling. You can’t cycle on the boardwalk but you can walk your bike till you get out of the congested area.
❖ Maudsley State Park is home for dog walkers and nature enthusiasts. It is also the Summer home for music and theater. Find the Italian Rose Garden!
❖ The Reservation on Plum Island is on the South side of the Island. It is beautiful natural beach with the protected plovers. You will have plenty of sand to yourself, especially if the farthest parking lots are open- ask the Park Ranger.
❖ On your way out to Plum Island you will find the Parker River Nature Reserve and the abandoned Pink House a favorite muse of artists. Locals are banding together to save it. It is across from Bob Lobster which, at sunset, has one of the prettiest views- bring your cameras).
❖ Other parks are Joppa Flats on the river, Hale Park a tiny pocket park, Cashman Park on the river with tennis court a walking trail & baseball field. Moseley Woods has wooded trails and views of the Merrimac River, a playground and a covered pavilion for a picnic looking over the river. Dog friendly- off leash allowed.
❖ Tendercrop Farm is a draw for families with its petting zoo and fields of flowers. Shop for local produce, excellent chicken & meats. It is located on historic RT. 1A (otherwise known as High Street going east toward Rowley). Pies and baked goods, flowers and plants are also sold there. Upstairs is a gift shop. Don’t miss it.
❖ Everyone loves the beautiful Cider Hill Farms in neighboring Amesbury famous for their pies and cider donuts. Take the kids. Nice views and berry picking! Fresh corn in season.
❖ In Kensington NH you will find another farm stand and restaurant owned by neighboring Alnoba, an art park and event center. Check for their event schedule, is not far out of town and walking the art park at Alnoba is fun.
❖ Sunflowers are in full bloom at Colby Farm on Scotland Rd. It is a huge installation usually at the end of August.
❖ There are many local breweries that deserve your attention.
❖ Newburyport: Brewing Company, River Walk Brewing
❖ Amesbury: Craft Beer Cellar, Brewery Silvaticus, Bare Wolf Brewing
❖ Hampton: Smuttynose Brewing Company
❖ Mill River Winery, a delightful small stop just few miles south on Rt.1, 498 Newburyport Tpke.