Boating, Fishing, and Travel Information for Newburyport (Merrimack River), MA
Newburyport is a small coastal, scenic, and historic city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, 35 miles northeast of Boston. A historic seaport with a vibrant tourism industry, Newburyport includes part of Plum Island. The mooring, winter storage and maintenance of recreational boats, motor and sail, still contribute a large part of the city’s income. A Coast Guard station oversees boating activity, especially in the sometimes dangerous tidal currents of the Merrimack River.
The city is part of Massachusetts’ North Shore. Newburyport was laid out on the elevated south bank of the Merrimack River between the river and Newbury marshes. The shipyards, now boatyards (and still vigorously active), extended along the bank at the edge of the river. They were connected by Merrimac Street, which ends upriver where the bank merges into bluffs covered with pine forest. Colonial residences extend up the bank from Merrimac Street to High Street running parallel to it near the top of the ridge. The homes of the seafaring entrepreneurs line High Street. Many feature widow’s walks, structures on the roof where the residents could watch for the return of sailing vessels.
The river bank gradually descends to marshes at Joppa Flats beyond downtown Newburyport. The Plum Island Turnpike was pushed out over the marsh on a causeway to a narrow part of the Plum Island River just to the south of where it connects to the mouth of the Merrimack. A drawbridge was built there, the only access to the island by road. On the Newburyport side a small airport, Plum Island Airport, was built at the edge of the marsh. The portion of Plum Island that is in the city has no direct access to the rest of the city; similarly, there is no access between the mainland and Woodbridge Island or Seal Island, west of Plum Island (the latter being shared between Newburyport and Newbury). Several parks and beaches dot the city, including Plum Island Point Beach, Simmons Beach, Joppa Park, Waterfront Park, Woodman Park, Cashman Park, Moseley Pines Park, Atkinson Common and March’s Hill Park. Newburyport Forest is located in the southwest corner of the city, and Maudslay State Park lies along the northwest part of the city, along the banks of the Merrimack.
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