With its rows of tidy brick buildings filled with shops and cafes, laced with cobblestoned streets and narrow alleyways, Newburyport, MA, is a strollers’ paradise. Situated on the Merrimack River, just three miles from the Atlantic Ocean and about a hour’s drive from Boston, this waterfront town is home to about 18,000 year-round. It also welcomes a seasonal influx of tourists, who come to hike and bird-watch in nearby Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, wander historic Market Square, attend the many food and cultural festivals here, and just generally soak up the coastal vibe. Surf and sand lovers appreciate the proximity to Plum Island Beach, as well as Salisbury Beach to the north (helping to earn Newburyport a spot on Yankee’s list of “25 Best Beach Towns.”). There’s a lot to see and do in this New England gem, easily making it a terrific weekend-getaway option. So if you’re tempted to come and stay awhile, check out the following roundup of favorite Newburyport, MA, hotels and inns.
On a quiet street in the historic heart of town, this inn tastefully blends the benefits of contemporary construction with the elegance of Federal style. All the amenities typically found in executive hotels are here, in five unique suites with working fireplaces. Crowning the inn is a lovely cupola with 360-degree views overlooking downtown and the broad Merrimack River rolling out to the sea.
If you yearn for pounding surf and a long stretch of sand to walk barefoot for hours, it’s hard to think of a better beachfront locale in New England than Blue, located on Plum Island in Newbury. This Lark Hotels property is smack-dab on the beach, next door to the coastline and marsh of Parker River Wildlife Refuge. Blue offers five stand-alone cottages plus eight rooms and suites. Among the most impressive options here is the 2,200-square-foot two-bedroom oceanfront suite with four decks, a hot tub, full kitchen, and wood-burning fireplace, and a private beach. Named a 2017 Yankee Editors’ Pick for “Best Updated Favorite.”
Built in 1803 by shipbuilder Thomas March Clark, this three-story home is now a genteel bed-and-breakfast that conveys the grace of a bygone era. The common areas and 11 guest rooms are furnished with a medley of New England antiques (the Hale Room, for instance, features a 19th-century sleigh bed and an antique wrought-iron stove). The inn’s historic character is further underscored by architectural details as window seats, decorative moldings, and wide pumpkin-pine flooring. In fine weather, guests can find a sunny or shady spot to relax in the perennial gardens, which offers sitting areas and a gazebo.
Perched on Brown Square Park in downtown Newburyport, the Garrison Inn is still sparkling from its $1 million renovation in 2011. The 24 rooms in this four-story National Historic Landmark building merge an overall clean and modern look with the industrial spirit of a newspaper letterpress workshop (a nod to native son William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator). A made-to-order breakfast and an afternoon tea service are included in the room rate; other perks include free access to the Y across the street.
Guests rave about the location of this inn, just steps from bustling State Street but just around the corner on a quieter, tree-lined side street. There are 37 guest rooms to choose from, ranging from wallet-friendly standard rooms to two-story honeymoon suites with Jacuzzi, roof deck, a gas fireplace, and a full kitchen. While the overall vibe skews a little more hotel than inn, you can buy a bit of pampering with add-ons such as a “spa basket” filled with Plum Island Soap Co. goodies or a delivery of flowers and chocolates (both from local shops).
If you like overnighting in a place with plenty of character, this teensy bed-and-breakfast is worth seeking out. Owners Anne Dodge and Chuck Kennedy opened their two-bedroom operation in 2006 in their home, which is not only a classic bit of Newburyport architecture (a brick row house built in 1845 for local mill managers) but also a landmark of World War II lore: Former owner Gordon Welchman was a brilliant English mathematician who had helped break the German Enigma code. The accommodations reflect the owners’ love of travel, as the rooms are decorated with art and textiles from far-flung countries. But note: Anne and Chuck’s globe-trotting ways also means that the B&B closes down in the winter, when they decamp to warmer climes.
Do you have recommendations for Newburyport, MA, hotels and inns? Let us know!