I burst out in laughter when the local city reporter stated in the ‘paper’; that the new Harbormaster facility was all part of the drive for more cultural tourism in Newburyport.
Is this how things progress in Newburyport? We obtain the Community Preservation Act funding and now we assign everything under the kitchen sink to be eligible for the money; and now, cultural tourism is any entertaining and recreational activity that can be devised by local merchants and organizations?
Just to remind those who want to corrupt our new Cultural District; the true definition of culture is ‘the arts’ and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. Havin’ a beer on the back of your boat not included. Synonyms for culture include as mentioned before, ‘the arts’, architecture, ‘the humanities’, ‘intellectual achievement’; literature, music, painting, philosophy and the performing arts. Wolfing down a sweet potato burrito at The Grog is not culture. On the other hand, listening to live music at The Grog (while wolfing down that fantastic burrito) is.
The Harbormaster facility will provide services for boaters who will moor their boats; for the express reason of enjoying the many cultural events going on in town.
Why is it important to make these distinctions?
Because funding, grants and loans are very particular in their requirements. Also, If we callously blur the distinction, we lose focus as to what cultural tourism is, and in all probability will end up killing the golden goose. Many people may not sit down and analyze why they come to Newburyport; but they will instinctually know what draws them, and what repels them.
We may end up for the sake of our tourism economy to become a large glorified mall food court; but if that is all that we are; we will soon see a drop in cultural tourism; for that is where the big spenders are – they far outspend the ice cream eaters and the ‘shoppers’.
Our prosperity will come from our cultural tourism – whether an art venue, heritage tourism, music or theatrical venues; these reflect real value.
And our docks and our parking lots will be packed as a result of them.
PS. I swear Dyke Hendrickson puts these zinger in, just to get our juices flowing, increase readership and make us think!