Eco-tourism and Heritage Tourism, directly or indirectly, are our bread and butter. These types of tourists tend to spend more and stay longer than the average day-visitor. These are the types that want to go on our walking tours, self-appointed or with a guide. These want to go beyond our restaurants and shops and ‘see’ Newburyport. They are the ones that want to linger more than a day or two. And as they explore;, our area benefits as they fan out to experience more.
Eco-tourism is strong here but our heritage tourism needs to be strengthened even more.
The difficulty has been the historic subject matter.
Let’s face it, the Old Newburyport is slowly being replaced by the Cambridge-of-the-North Newburyport. Our beauty has attracted many who do not share the old New England traditions of the ‘Newbury’s”. We have so many who come from a left-leaning, liberal background that consider many traditional American values as being suspect. In fact, many attack even the constitution of our country as needing to be replaced or simply irrelevant!
They are also supplemented by an every growing population who, though they are more centrist in their lifestyle and views – are nevertheless firmly secularists. There is no spiritual aspect to their life and many frankly, reject the Judaea-Christian values that most Americans still hold true.
And yet, Newburyport is very much foundationally rooted in patriotic America: the America of the majority of our country. Many things that patriotic Americans firmly hold sacred received their start here.
The first, is the firm belief that the government can not be trusted and must constantly be framed with checks and balances to ensure personal liberties. While we have many who want to take the President seriously in ‘trusting’ the government, traditional liberals, clearly represented by the ACLU; know all too well the capability of government to crush our rights. The latter organization is simply continuing in the tradition that Jonathan Parsons blazed when he wrote the Essex Result, and in which he championed the concept of the Bill of Rights and made sure it was part of the American and Massachusetts constitutions. It was in this same document that he proposed checks and balances. Believe me, anyone from the First Religious Society of Newburyport (in which he was a member) knows he was no conservative. If he was alive today, he would be considered a liberal. We should be intensely proud of what he accomplished and champion his achievements that has made Newburyport the birthplace of political rights!
The second is the call for liberty and the rejection of tyranny in all its forms. Many weeks before the famous Boston Tea Party occurred, Newburyport was the first to hold its own form of party. (We prefer to hold bonfires!) Then just two weeks before Boston’s dunking, one of our very enthusiastic patriotic ladies led a group to dump the tea in our very own harbor! People come from all over the world to see Boston where the Tea Party occurred. We beat them out twice and we should promote this act of rebellion proudly and those who hate the modern-day Tea Party aught to put a zipper on it! The world needs to know of our achievements.
The Third significance of Newburyport is the Evangelist George Whitefield. Through his enthusiastic preaching from Georgia to Maine; he woke up a submissive America and made them realize that a personal relationship with God gave them a right to exercise personal liberty as God led them. People from all over the world come to the Old South to see where the seeds of American exceptionalism started and they come in goodly numbers. Those who now exercise their liberty through their own vanity need to put a zipper on it also! Remember, these people need to be welcomed not given a scowl – there is a reason why our town has many church spires proudly thrust into the sky.
In fact, I pity those who now live in Newburyport. Many often look confused and slightly bit worried when our visitors get off a tour bus or drive into the city; and get so excited! When people start pointing at our buildings and are filled with wide eyes. As if a frenzied mob has formed; the locals wonder what the excitement is all about!
Is someone hurt? Is there a fire – some terrible event has occurred!?!
No, as you continue to sip your coffee; or walk your dog – just keep in mind – it’s the rest of the world realizing the important contributions that our city has provided not just to America but to the entire world!