I figured that January was the time to curl up with a good book by the fire and forget getting out but not in Newburyport!
For example, the brainchild of Trish and Jim Robinson, the First Friday Friends Night at the Custom House has been smokin’ hot!
Every first Friday of each month, there is an open house at the Museum. The condition is that you must be invited by an existing member of the Maritime Society. In other words, you can’t just walk in off the street. And it is well worth pressuring your friends who are members to invite you!*
They make sure that interesting speakers, exhibits and presentations are made available. This month was a model of a Liberty Ship and a fascinating author who has written in great detail about their role in World War II. It was also thrilling to find a former crew member of one of the ships was in the audience. It was spell-binding and what was even more enjoyable was the question and answer period afterward – almost a second presentation in itself.
Before that, the museum is open for viewing to members and guests. Then on the second floor, there is wine and Harpoon Beer and soda available. There is friendly interesting conversations with those attending. One person wrote me saying,
“Thanks for inviting me to the Customs House. I enjoyed it a lot. I also found the “regulars” to be an enjoyable group.”
Sheila Mullins, who is a personal cook; has volunteered her talents in presenting a “Journey around the World”. She highlights every month, another port of call that our merchants and ship captains visited in the 18th and 19th centuries. This month was Chilean. Most everyone was reticent until they had a bite! Then it was all gone by the end of the night. Next month is the Port of Smyrna (Turkish food).
Newburyport used to have a reputation for rolling up its sidewalks, boarding up the place and then waiting for spring and the eventual tourist season.
Not anymore! We’ve got Eagle Festivals and Winter Carnivals. Events at the Audubon Center, Firehouse, Library and at the Museums. We’ve got rip-roaring times at all our quality restaurants. We’ve got exhibits at the Newburyport Art Association, seminars by the Preservation Trust, public school events and the wild times at City Hall public hearings.
It’s time to roll out the sidewalks, turn on the street lamps and see what our City has to offer!
* If you join, you too will have a host of friends being nice to you hoping you will invite them to a First Friday Friends Night!