At the First Friday Friends Social at the Custom House, the Essex National Heritage Commission presented the overview of the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway. When it was first worked on, it was composed chiefly of cultural and historical sites but now working with the regional and local chambers; it has morphed into a comprehensive tourist guide with lodging, restaurants and even conveniences along the route all mixed in for maximum effect.
To me, this is another fantastic nail driven into The Curse’s coffin. First came the adoption of the Cultural District this year for downtown Newburyport and now comes the regional promotion of the Byway.
Our property values and quality of life are all dependent on getting more visitors to Newburyport. Our shops and local businesses like living things must have a constant vein of green running through them. The small regional population can’t support our real estate values or our infrastructure or our parks and certainly not our schools. We must have visitors and in greater numbers.
In addition and quite separate from the semi-governmental entity of the Heritage Commission; Joel Brown has written a dynamic book that will be readily available for tourists that will introduce our city and the Essex Coastal Area.
Let’s face it, no tourist is going to start this route in Lynn. It’s insane and no matter how much political correctness spin is concocted will they ever start there. That means Newburyport will become the natural gateway for any tourist adventure.
And to beat The Curse, we as a community must do everything in our power to welcome them. That means no more giving them wrong directions – and making a gun gesture with your hand pointing it at them and loudly proclaiming it’s ‘tourist season’.
We must put out the red carpet. The Chamber has (without much fanfare and I might add with little ‘thanks’) taken care of the window boxes and street lamp flowers for decades. It is time we help them in any way we can.
In this way, we can finally humble Old Man Whittier!