Newburyport is chocked full of great deals but only if you have lived here for a long time and just ‘know’ where to look. The local newspapers or the Chamber aren’t going to cut their own throats by alienating one business over another or one event or organization above another.
In other words, for one reason or another, they ain’t gonna tell!
So it leaves a non-commercial site like mine to fill in these important details. And yes, they ARE important. Like lubricants to a motor’s gears, just being aware of these things just makes life more pleasant living here.
I’ll start with the obvious and then move on to the more obscure:
First, it’s the locations of bathrooms. I have already noted these in a separate post. Just being a visitor and having this inside scoop puts you heads and shoulders far above the bewildered and frustrated tourist.
Third, if you are a tootsie roll fanatic, the only place to get them is at Lunt & Kelly’s. Why they are not available in the typical inconvenience store is beyond me. While I am at it; for those who are fanatic over Klondike bars; they are only available downtown at the Black Duck located in the Tannery.
Fourth, if you need a very quick, inexpensive meal; the Richdales is the place to go. They have their famous $.25 hotdogs with all their fixings and they have cashews or mixed nuts for a buck a bag. (buy two and you have the equivalent of an entire jar that could run $5.00 0r more anywhere else!) What a deal.
Fifth, parking of course is a very sensitive issue here in town and anything I might say will get me in trouble. Nevertheless, aside from the often-missed information that parking is free after 6:00; the most likely place to find it is first, the east parking lot at the Waterfront and Prince’s Place, behind Pleasant Street. Rarely will they fail you – one, most visitors are ignorant of Prince’s Place and second, the east parking spot is huge.
Sixth, when the winter is the fiercest or the summer hottest; head for The Tannery. It is really our only indoor mall and they have a lot to offer without feeling like you are cool but bored.
Seventh, speaking of that; if low on cash and you need a drink; the following places have water fountains that actually don’t taste like the high tide on the Merrimack: one is at Brown Square and another is inside The Tannery. City Hall also has one. A word of note: Newburyport water has a ‘funny’ taste to it. This is not New York City water so when visiting our restaurants, ask for bottled water, or if they are amendable; filtered water. Our water is okay by itself, but will not add to a pleasant experience.
Eighth, do not attempt to walk our sidewalks beyond the immediate downtown. Try to mimic the locals by walking in the street. Many a tourist has been seriously harmed trying to do the ‘right’ thing. Here, doing right is simply wrong.
Ninth, if you are a coffee fanatic, then go to Plum Island Coffee Roasters. They are hard to get to since they are on the working end of our port. I’m talking variety – they will have Kona to Ethiopian Yirgasheffe on any given day. (Check website before visiting). No denigrating the other café’s – we’re talking variety.
Tenth, ice cream. If short on money, McDonalds will do – if you are talking quality ice cream then we’re talking Richardsons. No such place in sight? That is because this Middleton dairy provides its highly reputable ice cream to our local creameries. See that name posted behind the counter and you are guaranteed the best. Speaking of a great place, Haley’s Ice Cream is enjoying a renaissance. It used to be reserved for unsuspecting sappy tourists and isolated on a lonely stretch of Route One; now it serves Richardsons and is at the enviable junction of the Clipper City Rail Trail and the Train Station. The only negative part are the now ever present lines but how can you beat a place that is accessible by bicycle, car, foot and rail?
Lastly, I refuse to get involved in the best restaurant wars, burger wars, evening entertainment wars, pizza wars and seafood wars that are ever present here in Newburyport. I have my likes but my choice could be your poison!
To discover your favorite, I’m afraid you’ll have to try them all!
PS. One exception is the only contender here for picnic table seafood in the rough – Bob Lobster. You must try it for authentic New England fishermen’s faire!
Note: I am preparing a post on free things to do in Newburyport – which will make me an unpopular guy at the Chamber. So what else is new?