Whoa! There I was, impatiently standing on the Custom House way. I was there waiting to pick up my wife who was in a meeting at the museum. And no one was coming out. Knowing Michael Mroz, the Executive Director; they were enthusiastically and emotionally fevered, working away on plans for yet another dynamic season. I noticed a couple who were gazing at the outside of the museum and then looking with confusion at the opened resort map in their hands.
I inquired if I could help them and the man said rather plaintively, “Where is the history?”
And so it is, “this resort map is designed for shopping – only if you can look very closely can you discover some brief mentioning of museums and sites. And so it is for most of our visitors.
Once they discover our community, their hair is literally blown back by our historic setting – it screams HISTORY everywhere they look. And it is literally a feel in the air. No wonder that so many lucky enough to stumble upon our city speak in breathless tones. And so they run to the visitor’s center or to Richdales and grab a map.
What a let down.
Now don’t get me wrong – many do come to shop and to eat at our restaurants – but these are regular visitors – the history message is like an ambient hum that is ever present but has faded from their consciousness. Others are here to enjoy pleasurable experiences like boating and walking, bird watching, canoeing, kayaking, beach going, etc. More power to them.
And the woman continued, “What can we do in two days to capture what Newburyport is all about?”
Whoa, now it was my turn to get breathless!
Soaked in 400 years of history and knowing Newburyport in its complex entirety – I realized I was ill-equipped to answer. I had “too much” to give and they had too little time.
So after much thought, I have composed the “Quickie” – even then I am assuming a stay at one of our local B&B’s or at a local hotel/motel. It has to be done if you want to “capture” what Newburyport is all about.