There are a few things where size does matter but when it comes to tourism, there are other times when having something large is unworkable, unruly and when it comes to tourism, downright unpleasant.
To give you an extreme worse-case scenario – Australia.
Why everyone wants to go to the continent down under! To see the kangaroos, the wallabies’, the koala bears – to tour the cities and to see the outback and the Great Barrier Reef.
But to get a good idea of the place, think of the vast stretches of territory – and the long tedious drives to get to each spot and the hot, dusty stretches of lonely road or the hassle of puddle-jumpers. And most of us don’t have the time to get a month off, or even three weeks – which is about what you would need to do Australia right.
What about Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana and Texas – or big cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and New York?
Big, big, big – causing you to have to visit multiple times to finally get a grasp of any of these locales.
But there is one thing that Newburyport has over all other places – and we even triumph over Boston, Gloucester, Portland and Portsmouth.
We are at a comfortable scale – not too small and not too large. If you bike, everything is within easy reach, if you walk, it may take you a little more time but you won’t be exhausted. The lovely neighborhoods will give you pause to enjoy the stroll.
Restaurants and the Shops are within reach and historic sites are barely a city block away. Though it appears as an optical illusion, the beaches and Plum Island are very close. Even our neighboring towns are, well, right next door.
Even the scale of our infrastructure is small. I just came from Newport for a visit. They have a huge bridge, we have our little Gillis. They have a vast bay, we have Joppa Flats. They have huge hotels and outrageously expensive restaurants* and shops. We have mostly small franchises, small inns and hotels and lots of unique shops. Their ocean expanse is wide and deep with container ships and huge cruise lines, while we have the sandy banks off our shores with masts and sales on small boats bobbing on the horizon. Newport has a huge “Storey Avenue” outside the historic town while ours is wedged comfortably manageable between Route 95 and the historic district.
What we do have that is comparable to these other places is a huge resource of cultural experiences: art, entertainment, history, ecological sites and marine activities. We have festivals one after another and even our Yankee Homecoming list of events fits the scale of our city.
Where else but Newburyport allows you to park downtown and then walk all over three short stretches of State, Inn and Pleasant – shops are here, restaurants and coffee shops, historic museums one near the water and one at the top of High are easy to walk to, parks are beautifully within reach and if you are a little more adventurous – you have the option of a whale boat excursion, harbor boat excursion, other charter boats available and easy access to cemeteries, historic neighborhoods, nature trails and rail trails. You can even stroll to our in-town lighthouse, Tannery mall and the famous Old South.
If you’re a well-practiced tourist and you have grown weary looking for a place where you can spend most of your time with cultural enrichment, fun and pleasure. You’ve become tired of sitting in a bus or car, sitting in an airport lobby or sitting in traffic trying to get to the next site.
Where else can you park the car, get out and start enjoying immediately without all that hassle?
You’ve travelled here and had to endure much longsuffering just to arrive.
How nice to leave it all behind with the close of a car door, take a deep breath and begin immediately to relax.
That’s Newburyport – a very pleasant place!
* what can I say?