Sometimes being critical becomes an obsession and not a rational practise. When a visitor comes to Newburyport, they are often struck by the sheer beauty: the bay, the city, the river. They gaze in wonder at the monstrous Federal homes and the breathtaking view of our downtown. They enjoy sitting at the docks watching the boat traffic or staring out at the sillouette of Plum Island. They aren’t looking at what is wrong or serching out what isn’t perfect. They soak up the atmosphere and sit back and enjoy.
I on the otherhand, having lived here for over two decades, know every wrinkle and every defect (and if I dig deeper could probably find more) and I look at the city with an eye of what it could become, a truly fantastic magic place. I constantly fight off familiarity which is why I like to travel. Yes, some places I go are pretty amazing but the ‘period’ that punctuates my trip is to realize when I return that I live in such a pretty place. One journey I took to London and practically kissed the road in front of my house because it was so wide! (Ancient cities tend to have lanes designed for small carriages and pedestrians.)
I have decided to refrain from negative analysis (There is plenty of time later) and enjoy all the new developments around the City. Things are happening all around – the sound of the water on Inn Street harkens me back eerily from when I heard it as a teenager, the new Clipper City Rail Trail and its accompanying partner, the Marsh Trail in Salisbury, the Harborwalk and the Powder House. The nice looking Brown Square with its National Park quality interpretive panels. I enjoy the lunch scene around town and the coffee houses that are so fine to choose from while the restaurants are packed. The Custom House is humming along (Their gift shop is the closest thing to an official ‘Newburyport Store’ that our city could have) and the Historical Society complex with the nation’s first mint well on its way to being fully restored. Our parks are nothing less than spectacular from Atkinson to Mosely Woods, Bartlett Mall to Joppa Park. Then, of course the Audoban Joppa and the Parker River Wildlife centers are great introductions to Plum Island and the Great Marsh. Westward, I see Maudslay State Park and Curzon Mills and the Little River Bike Path and Nature Trail. And I am just getting started…
It is good to take a breath and enjoy all the treasures of our city.*
* The only thing that could mar our situation is if the Chain or Whittier Bridge were shut down.