Recently there has been a name change to the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway that stretches from Route 95 in Newburyport to Lynn to the South. In cooperation with the North of Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau and the state’s Office of Travel and Tourism (massvacation.com); the Byway has been expanded to include more than just historical sites. Now the roadway will promote architecture, art, beaches, biking, birdwatching, culture, dining, fishing, hiking, history, kayaking, lodging, music, restaurants, shopping & theaters. The new website to promote all things along this most historic roadway is now www.coastalbyway.org.
This 85-mile route linking 13 communities has a fatal flaw – that most traditional New England statement, “You can’t get there from here!” No one with any logistical sense is going to start travelling this route starting in Lynn of all places! (Lynn & Salem in all intent & purposes are difficult to reach – you feel like you’re driving into the bottom of a bowl when visiting these cities!)
So you can sort of start halfway dropping off along Route 128 or you can do the sensible thing and start in Newburyport and work your way down.
Therefore, in all intents and purposes; Newburyport is the official gateway to the Byway. I count it a special privilege that the first ‘adventure’ along this route is the Little River Nature Trail and right next to the trail is the proud Welcome to Newburyport sign proclaiming our city the Birthplace of the Coast Guard.
The advantages of the Byway are great:
Promote the visibility of organizations and businesses along the byway.
Increase the economic benefits from cultural, eco and heritage tourism.
To improve the preservation of heritage resources.
To give communities along the byway a priority status on grant applications.
To increase the region’s pride of place
To improve the roadways through coordinated planning and highway grants.
What is even better has been the efforts of the Essex National Heritage Commission to apply for the Byway to be recognized on the federal level. It is presently in affiliate status which still opens up national marketing support and the best part: more open doors to grant funding. That means infrastructure grants, signage grants and educational & tourism grants – all available to enhance this route.
Why is this important? Because all this effort is to leverage our national heritage resources (if we can stop developers and homeowners from destroying it) to generate increased economic and quality of life benefits for first Newburyport and also for the entire region.
Hate to be selfish but we’re on top of the food chain! It’s up to us not to blow it.