I was thinking about adding a store on my blog. But then I started to realize that having something to see that was “concrete” and unique to Newburyport would be difficult. I can’t offer Towle Silver, they’re gone; I can’t offer Caldwell’s Rum, they’re gone. And no one in their right mind would want to buy this Newburyport’s original: Hard Tack!
Of course, if I offered cards, I’d be intruding into areas that Newburyport Card & Gift and the Newburyport Printmaker have well mastered. If I did tourist stuff, I’d be intruding into areas that Brass Lyon and other shops specialize in doing.
If I did, I’d call it by an original name, The Newburyport Store. But again, I am thinking what is unique to Newburyport that I could put in there? I know that when I have travelled the world from Hawaii to Paris, Quebec to Costa Rica I usually end up taking nothing away but memories and photos and perhaps a T-shirt.
That is the trouble with Newburyport. How can you bottle the atmosphere or the magnificent architectural and ecological views? A Federalist mansion paperweight? I don’t think so. A clipper ship key chain? Seems rather inadequate in capturing our magnificent history.
I suppose the best I could offer would be T-shirts and coffee mugs. But even there, it cheats the purpose. If you stood in a crowded street in Spokane, Washington and sported a T-shirt with the Black Dog emblem on it; many in the crowd would be impressed. “Wow, I wonder if he flew his private jet to Martha’s Vineyard?” they would ponder.
Have the same guy put on a Newburyport T-shirt, sipping his Newburyport coffee mug and hardly any one would notice. Might as well put on a Budweiser emblem. Alas, The Curse!
Let’s just say, I would be hard pressed to find some unique products. I’ll be thinking long and hard on this one.
That is probably why Bill Harris is working to make Newburyport a National Historic Landmark park. You’re supposed to come and experience a park, take out any trash you brought in with you. (One can only hope) and leave with nothing but special memories.
Newburyport is very hard to package for "take out" – you must be here to experience it. But the memories of this place will last a lifetime Look at Donald McKay, the famed clipper ship builder. He got his start here but made his money in East Boston and eventually lived most of his life in Hamilton. But he willed to be buried in Newburyport not his native New Brunswick. His fond memories of this place stuck with him for his entire life.
That is why Yankee Homecoming works so well here. It is suppose to be for anyone who has ever lived here or visited here. And sure enough, great numbers gleefully come back every year. Once you visit Newburyport, the memories will stick with you and you’ll want to come back.