The dark side thought they had their bases covered. But what they did not anticipate was the Brigadoon affect. Brigadoon was a Broadway hit in which a magical community appears out of no where every one hundred years only to be discovered accidentally by some wondering sportsmen. In the real life Brigadoon, homeowners and developers, landlords and shopkeepers were working hard to make sure Newburyport was restored. Most had tight budgets but they worked on in the hope of seeing their spirited hard work translate into a great community.
Then it started. Someone stops for gas on their way to Maine and decides to take a quick drive downtown – and they’re blown away by what they see. Another has a flat tire on Route 95 and after making their way to Storey Avenue, decide to stop to eat downtown. They were hooked. I have had many true life stories relayed to me how so many ‘discovered’ Newburyport.
According to National Statistics, 14% of heritage tourists tend to return to actually live in the historic place they visited. And that trend began to take root in Newburyport. More ‘accidental’ visitors began to come, were blown away, and the first thing they thought, “I want to live here,” In fact, if you meet people across New England, and they know about our city, the second thing out of their mouth (after first saying how much they LOVE Newburyport) is to give reasons why they haven’t moved there! I call it rather spooky and have written a post about it.
As the years have passed, more and more of these visitors to Brigadoon have made the decision to move to our city. Most of them have a keen sense of how historical our city really is. They can feel it, and they know it is unique and must be protected. They also have a thirst to enrich the experience and to make our city shine as it should as a heritage site. Thus has spawned the see-saw battle between dark siders and the carpetbaggers (with many townies fortunately joining in with the newcomers). Recently, it has been reflected by the election of historically-minded Mayors such as Mary Ann Clancy and Donna Holaday. Even her competitor for the mayor’s post was an avid historic preservationist! Even Mayor Moak, a dark sider, could see the writing on the wall!
Much improvement to our historic seaport has been brought about by this new wave of historic preservationists.
The city has begun to shine and become the most affluent it has ever been since the heady days of 1760-1807.
But a new threat has come that was not anticipated. It has not come from the Dark Side nor from the historic preservationists.
And it turns out this new group is a greater threat to our future than anything that a dark sider could ever conceive!