How do traditions start? In the case of the very old Historical Society of Old Newbury, you would think that their biggest fundraiser was something that had been done for time immemorial.
In 1979, the curator of the Historical Society of Old Newbury, Wilhelmina V. Lunt was mulling ideas for a fundraiser for the organization. Tossing suggestions back and forth with her sister, Sylvia Lunt, she came up with the idea of a garden tour.
House and garden tours have a rich history in Newburyport. Some of the most celebrated gardens in Newburyport would stretch as far as a city block and in fact some would extend for many blocks. Today, the combined efforts of homeowners and volunteers has made our city one of the most beautiful and alluring in all of New England. Ms. Lunt was an avid gardener and the hobby was dear to her heart at her Newbury home, after all.
The tours started that year and then began to expand and grow into an annual event on the second weekend of June.
She finally handed over the reigns in 1986 when she retired but not before making it a solid tradition for the Historical Society of Old Newbury.
Each year, different gardens are showcased in the ‘Newbury’s” and in Amesbury. The only thing that stays the same is the garden at the Cushing House and the annual plant sale on the grounds.
Historic gardens, gardens with unique plants, gardens with singular designs and newly planted gardens often mix it up yearly. Often the clientele that come every year is roughly divided between those who just want to enjoy the garden views and those who are seeking ideas for their own gardens.
I met Ms. Lunt that fateful day in 1974 at the Museum the very first day I had ever visited Newburyport. As a teenager, her passion for history was deep and her stories about the City and the Area were infectious.
I fancy that her dedication were one of the factors that caused me to return to this city and since that time, many others have been ‘caught’ by the allure of our fascinating history and our beautiful landscapes.
Be sure to attend the garden tours on June 9th or on June 10th. I for one, will be checking out the plants for sale!
GARDENS ON THE TOUR
1 – Cushing House Garden / Historical Society of Old Newbury, 98 High Street, Newburyport
2 – The Lloyd Garden, 27 Fair Street, Newburyport
3 – The William Bartlet House Garden, 19 Federal Street
4 – The Corvinus Garden, 274 Water Street, Newburyport
5 – The Wilkinson Garden, 67 High Road, Newbury
6 – The Welch-Christiansen Garden, 69 High Road, Newbury
7 – The YMCA of Greater Newburyport Garden, 13 Market Street, Newburyport
8 – The St. Paul’s Church Garden, 166 High Street, Newburyport
9 – The Johnson House Garden, 203 High Street, Newburyport
10 – The Burciaga Garden, 18 Hoyt’s Lane, Newburyport
11 – The Cleveland Garden, 914 Main Street, West Newbury
12 – The Pitman Garden, 71 Stewart Street, West Newbury
More information and where to buy tickets can be found here.