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ex plo r i ng n ew engl a nd s

spir itual heritage

Seven Daytrips for Contemporary Pilgrims
b y g a rth m. rosell

copyright 2011 by the ockenga institute of gordon-conwell theological seminary all proceeds from the sale of this book are used for the various ministries of the institute.

ex pl o r i ng n ew engl a nd s spir itua l h e r i tage

Seven Daytrips for Contemporary Pilgrims

g a rt h m. rosell

welcome to the exploration of new englands spiritual heritage

o region of the country has been blessed with a richer or more diverse spiritual heritage than has New England. The powerful religious revivals of the Great Awakening in the eighteenth century, under the ministry of gifted preachers such as George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards, broke out in scores of towns and villages throughout the Massachusetts Bay Colony, bringing spiritual refreshment to literally thousands of individuals and congregations throughout the colonies. The great story of Americas missionary outreach around the globe also has its roots here in Massachusetts from the remarkable labors of John Eliot and David Brainerd in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the 1806 Haystack Prayer Meeting at Williams College and the 1810 founding of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to the commissioning of Americas very first overseas missionaries at Salems Tabernacle Congregational Church in 1812. Here too one can find the beginnings of American private and public education: from the elementary and grammar schools that were established throughout the colony in the early seventeenth century and the founding of Harvard College in 1636 to the establishment of such distinguished institutions as Mt. Holyoke College for the education of women and Andover Theological Seminary for the training of pastors and missionaries. Indeed, the early Puritan settlers, many of whom had themselves been educated at places like Cambridge and Oxford, were so deeply committed to education that despite the many hardships and deprivations with which they had to contend in those early years, began immediately to establish the necessary laws and structures to support their educational goals. The settlers of this region were also ardent reformers. They loved the Church of England, calling it our dear mother (to borrow the words of John Winthrop), but wanted to see
Introduction |

its worship and practice more closely aligned with the teachings of the Bible. They loved their families and wanted to ensure that those living in their homes knew the Scriptures and were seeking to obey their teachings. They loved life and color and earthly possessions, contrary to the caricatures that are frequently used to describe the Puritans, but they knew in their heart of hearts that their real treasures were in heaven. Here too the intrepid explorer can find the early foundations of political, economic, social, artistic, religious and intellectual structures whose trajectories, in some cases, have continued to our own day. Political giants, from Benjamin Franklin to John Adams, have lived in our cities. Literary giants, from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Nathaniel Hawthorne, have walked on our streets. Great poets, from Anne Bradstreet to Emily Dickenson, have lived in our houses. Social activists, from William Lloyd Garrison to Susan B. Anthony, have spoken in our assembly halls. Inventors, from Eli Whitney to Samuel F. B. Morse, have labored in our laboratories. Artists, from John Singleton Copley to Winslow Homer, have painted in our studios. Sports heroes, from Babe Ruth to Ted Williams, have played on our fields. Architects, from Buckminster Fuller to Louis Henry Sullivan, have sketched in our offices. And faithful pastors, from John Cotton to Phillips Brooks, have preached from our pulpits. One could explore this region for an entire lifetime, without ever exhausting the storehouse of riches that can be found in such abundance in town after town and around virtually every curve in the road. Exploring New Englands Spiritual Heritage was designed specifically to aid the contemporary pilgrim in exploring the Christian history of this remarkable region of the world. It is unique, in a sense, since its focus is primarily (albeit not exclusively) on the spiritual dimensions of New Englands long and distinguished history. Other guidebooks, which one can find in great abundance on the shelves of any bookstore or library, are available


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for those who wish to explore other aspects of the storyfrom the regions literary and military contributions to an exploration of the arts and politics of New Englandbut few resources have been available for those who wish to visit historic sites connected with religious leaders like George Whitefield and D. L. Moody or with the great revivals that swept across the region with such regularity and power. The design of the book, as the reader will soon discover, is quite simple. Seven regions in what was originally known as the Massachusetts Bay ColonyIpswich, Newburyport, Salem, Boston, Plimoth, Northfield and Northamptonhave been selected as starting points for our explorations. Within each section, the traveler will find maps, suggested stops, pictures, illustrations, readings and brief descriptions of the sites along the way. At the end of each section is a brief list of suggested books should one wish to read further, and a section called A Closer Look, designed to explore a selected person or topic in greater depth. Readers can appropriate as much or as little of the material as desired. As you begin your explorations, we hope that each experience will prove to be not only educational and intellectually stimulating, but also spiritually enriching. Indeed, it is our prayer that with every stop you make and with every description you read, as Thomas Watson, the great Puritan pastor, might have phrased it, you might find that God is speaking to you.

Garth M. Rosell Professor of Church History Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Introduction |


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table of contents
introduction............................................ v daytrips boston................................................... 3 ipswich................................................... 31 newburyport......................................... 57 salem..................................................... 81 plimoth................................................. 101 northfield............................................ 119 northampton........................................143 appendix how to use this guidebook..................161 planning for your journey..................162 directions to start your journey........164 suggestions for further reading......... 171 about the author.................................. 173 acknowledgements................................ 174

Introduction |


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map of boston




18 17



1 5 4 2 6 8 7

12 11 10 13 9



The Boston daytrip begins in the center of the city at the State House building near the Boston Common. The journey continues north through the city, eventually ending in the area called the North End.

Boston |

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While Paris may have its romantic charms, Rome its amazing historical sites, San Francisco its beautiful harbor and Hong Kong its incredible energy, there is no city in all the world quite like Boston. Its rich and multilayered history; its beautiful setting; its outstanding educational, medical, technological, financial and scientific institutions; its delicious seafood; its ethnic diversity; its fascinating architecture; its avid sports fans; its odd pronunciations; its quaint neighborhoods and its beautiful church steeples all serve as powerful magnets drawing many of us back into the city again and again to explore its delights.
START THE JOURNEY: Your tour of Boston begins on the Boston Common at the Massachusetts State House. (For specific directions, please see page 164 of the Appendix). ADDRESS: 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA

the boston common and the massachusetts state house

Among Bostons most treasured sites is the Boston Common (1634), Americas oldest public park, and its younger neighbor, the Public Garden (1837), beloved by locals and visitors alike for its beautiful pathways and famous swan boats. Indeed, the fifty-acre tract of land known as the Boston Common, at which we will begin our exploration of the city, has belonged to the people of Boston since it was first established in 1634 as a military trayning field and as a place for the feeding of Cattell. Across the years, it has played host to a wide variety of events from public hangings (at the Great Elm), military exercises, duels to settle arguments, musical and sporting events, burials (at the Central Burying Ground where Gilbert Stuart and others rest), sporting events, church picnics, bonfires and Boston Common from the State House
Boston |
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religious services. Most of Americas presidents (from George Washington to the present day) have visited the Common, many of the worlds literary giants have walked its paths, and some of Americas most famous preachers (from George Whitefield to Billy Graham) have addressed huge crowds assembled under its trees.

K. Gelinas

Boston Common

The Swan Boats in Bostons Public Garden

Boston is a memorable and beloved spot to me, wrote Charles Dickens. The site [at the top of the Common] is beautifulproviding the observer with a charming panoramic view of the whole town and neighborhood. Oh that Common, Nathaniel Hawthornes wife Sophia recorded in her diary after strolling along Beacon Street for the first time in 1829. I could hardly keep my feet upon the sidewalk, so bubble like, balloony were my sensationsthe full rich foliage, the hills, the water, inflated me. Bostons first European settler was William Blaxton (Blackstone), a Cambridge-trained Anglican minister. Along with his 200-volume library, he settled just northwest of Beacon Hill in 1625 in an area then known as Shawmut (Living Waters). The establishment of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, however, did not come until 1630 with the arrival of the great Puritan layman, John Winthrop (1588-1649) and his party of settlers from England. Troubled by what he came to call the declininge tymes of spiritual vitality in England, Winthrop (a graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge and a practicing lawyer) began in 1629 to develop plans for

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Founders Memorial showing William Blackstone welcoming John Winthrop and the other settlers in 1630 4
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a New England colony. By August 26, 1629, he and eleven other Puritans had signed an agreement to emigrate to the New World, provided that the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony could be legally transplanted. Shortly before leaving Yarmouth, Winthrop addressed an historic letter to the Church of England, calling her our deare Mother, and adding these significant words: Wee leave it not therefore, as loathing that milk wherewith we were nourished. These comments indicate that the Bay colonists were non-Separatists (in contrast to many of the settlers of Plimoth and Salem who had made a clear break with the Church of England). A further confirmation of this fact is that when Separatist Roger Williams came to the Bay Colony in 1631, he refused a position in the Boston church because it refused to renounce its fellowship with the Church of England. In early April of 1630, a fleet of four ships, led by the Arbella (named in honor of Lady Arbella Johnson who was on board) of 350 tons, embarked for America. Seven other ships were to follow later. After a brief stay in Salem, they settled in Shawmut (renaming it Boston, in honor of Isaac and Arbella Johnsons home in England).

1. Massachusetts State House The Boston Common (1634) (1798), designed by Charles 1 Bulfinch 2 Beacon St. 2. Augustus St. Gandens bronze relief (1897) of Colo9 nel Robert Gould and the 54th Regiment of Massachu10 setts 12 11 3. Park Street Church (1809) 13 4. Park Street Subway (1897), oldest subway line in 3 4 America 5 8 5. Freedom Trail Information 6 Center 7 St. ont 6. Boston Massacre MemoBoy Trem lsto rial (1888) n St . 7. Central Burying Ground (1756) 8. Parkman Bandstand (1912) 9. Founders Memorial (1930), showing William Blackstone welcoming John Winthrops Party to Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 10. Frog Pond (1826) 11. Papal Mass Plaque (1981) commemorating the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979 12. Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1877), a Civil War memorial (Near this spot both George Whitefield (1740) and Billy Graham (1950) preached to 23,000 and 40,000 respectively.) 13. Site of the Great Elm, destroyed by a storm in 1876 Charles St.
Park St.

Boston |

The Massachusetts State House was designed by New Englands first architect, Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844), and built in 1798 on land once owned by the John Hancock family.

John Winthrop Plaque

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Massachusetts State House

At the front of the State House you will notice the statues of Horace Mann (1796-1859) on the left and Daniel Webster (1782-1852) on the right of the central stairs. Mann is considered by many to be the Father of the American Public School System and Webster was a great American statesman and orator. Inside the State House, you can find a plaque honoring Charles Bulfinch and a series of portraits of early Bay Colony leaders such as John Winthrop, Henry Vane and Simon Bradstreet.

Did You Know?When it was originally

established in 1630, Boston was significantly smaller that it is today. With the growth of population, the community was able to quadruple the citys available space by reclaiming many of the large expanses of tidal flats that surrounded the tiny peninsula with landfill from all of Bostons hills. The contrast in size between the old city and the new can be seen on this bronze plaque from the Keany Square Building.
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for further reading

Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990). Garth M. Rosell, Bostons Historic Park Street Church: The Story of an Evangelical Landmark (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2009). Francis J. Bremer, John Winthrop: Americas Forgotten Founding Father (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). Robert Middlekauff, The Mathers: Three Generations of Puritan Intellectuals (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999). Alan Heimert and Andrew Delbanco, eds., The Puritans in America: A Narrative Anthology (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985). Francis J. Bremer, The Puritan Experiment: New England Society from Bradford to Edwards (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1995). Arthur Bennett, ed., The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2003). Joanne J. Jung, Godly Conversation (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011).

Boston |


a closer look

what can we learn from the puritans?

There may be some who wonder why anyone would spend time exploring the historic sites of New England. Given the fast-paced contemporary world in which we now live, what can these ancient places and people possibly teach us? Who but a dusty antiquarian or nostalgia buff would imagine that an Anne Bradstreet or a John Cottona Jonathan Edwards or a George Whitefieldmight have something useful to say to a sophisticated postmodern generation such as our own? To all who might honestly harbor such questions, let me suggest four possible reasons for exploring once again the world of New Englands earliest European settlers. First, and perhaps most important, is the fact that these early Puritan settlers point us to God. They were, as Leland Ryken has suggested, God-obsessed people. Such an affirmation, of course, sounds strange to modern earssince, by contrast, many of us might be more accurately described as self-obsessed or at least self-centered. Whatever faults the Puritans might have had, and they certainly did have their faults, most of them clearly understood that their two primary goals in life were to bring glory to God and to serve the common good. We, on the other hand, have often lowered our horizons to purely personal goalstending rather to expend our energies on what John Trapp liked to call the worldlings trinity that is, the pursuit of pleasure, profit and preferment. Created for the purpose of glorifying God, should it come as any surprise that we find so little satisfaction when we seek only to glorify ourselves? What a different church we would have today if we could once again, like the Puritans, make God the very center of our lives. A second reason for looking to the Puritans is that they point us to Gods Wordthe holy Scriptures. The Puritans, after all, were people of the book. Tie [Gods Word] about your neck, wrote one Puritan, write it upon your hand, lay it in your bosom. When you go [out] let it lead you, when you sleep let it keep you, when you wake let it talk with you. The Bible is a love-letter sent to you from God, wrote Thomas

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Watson; therefore, read it till you find your hearts warmed....Let it not only inform you, but inflame you. What a different church we would have today, if we would once again, like the Puritans, center our lives on Gods Word. A third reason for exploring the world of the Puritans is that they point us to what God intends us to benamely, His holy people. God would not rub so hard, wrote William Gurnall, if it were not to fetch out the dirt that is ingrained in our natures. God loves purity so well, He had rather see a hole than a spot in His childs garments. What a different church we would have today if, like many of our Puritan predecessors, we would genuinely hunger and thirst after righteousness. A fourth reason for rediscovering the great Puritan tradition is that these remarkable people help to point us to what God has called us to donamely, to complete the reformation of His church. The term puritan, after all, emerged in the early 1560s (just a generation after Henry VIIIs break with Rome) as a less than friendly designation for those in the Church of England who were convinced that the work of reformation had not yet been completed. These Puritans not only shared a profound dissatisfaction with the kind of broad church that had been established as a middle way between Rome and Geneva but they were also bound together by the life-changing experience of conversion or new birth. This, Alan Simpson has argued, was the very essence of Puritanismor in the language of Oliver Cromwell, this was the root of the matter. Why then do we seek to redig old Puritan wells? It is, I would suggest, because they have so much to teach us. It is because they point us once again to God. It is because they remind us once again of the centrality of Gods Word. It is because they call us once again to holiness of life. And it is because they hold out the prospect of spiritual renewal. What a different church we would have today if we, like the old Puritans, could be gripped again by these great and abiding truths.

Boston |


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map of ipswich



1211 9 7 6 4

10 9

See Inset Map


Inset Map

5 4 3 2

13 14


Primary Map

The Ipswich daytrip is a journey through the present day towns of South Hamilton, Ipswich and Essex as shown on the primary map. Most of the stops on this journey are located in the town of Ipswich and are detailed on the inset map above.

Ipswich |


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Ipswich was initially much larger than it is today. When it was originally founded in 1634, by John Winthrop, Jr. and his colleagues, it included the land now occupied by three New England towns: Ipswich (named after a town in England), Essex (founded in 1683 and also carrying an English name) and Hamilton (incorporated in 1793 and named after the American political leader, Alexander Hamilton). In due time, the three sections of the original town named Ipswich constructed their own meeting houses and eventually constituted themselves as completely separate towns: the First Parish of Ipswich (Ipswich proper), the Second Parish of Ipswich (known as Chebacco and now known as Essex) and the third Parish of Ipswich (known as The Hamlet and now known as Hamilton). Leading these three congregations were a succession of godly pastors. In the First Parish, for example, after a relatively brief pastorate by Nathaniel Ward (who had to vacate the pulpit due to failing health), the congregation was led by four generations from the same family: namely, Nathaniel Rogers (1636-1638), John Rogers (1638-1665), John Rogers (1686-1745) and Nathaniel Rogers (17451775). Your visit to Ipswich provides a splendid opportunity to think together about the enormous impact of faithful pastors as well as the spiritual practices and worship patterns of the early Puritan settlers.

Ipswich Cemetery

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Ipswich |


START THE JOURNEY: Your first stop on this journey will be Hamilton Congregational Church in Hamilton, MA. This was the site of the the Third Parish of Ipswich in 1714. (For specific directions, please see page 165 of the Appendix). ADDRESS: 624 Bay Road, Hamilton, MA

the first congregational church of hamilton the third parish of ipswich (1714)

Since both Hamilton (sometimes called the Hamlet) and Essex (sometimes called Chebacco) were originally part of Ipswich, what we now call the Hamilton Congregational Church (established in 1714) was originally known as the Third Parish in Ipswich. The first church building of the Hamlet was constructed at the corner of Bay Road and the Farms Road in 1713. It was 50 feet in length and 32 feet wide with doors at each end and a main door on the side opposite the pulpit. A second church was built on the same site in 1762. It was 60 feet long and 44 feet wide, and it included a balcony. This building was remodeled and reoriented in 1843.

Manasseh Cutler

First Congregational Church (Hamilton) (1762)

The actual organization of the Hamilton congregation took place on October 27, 1714, when an Ecclesiastical Councilconsisting of pastors and elders from the churches in Rowley, Wenham, Topsfield and Ipswichwas convened to give public reading to the church covenant and to ordain the new pastor-elect, Samuel Wigglesworth. Wigglesworth, a Harvard graduate, served the church until his death in 1768. He was succeeded by Manasseh

George H. Sprague, A History of the First Congregational Church of Hamilton (Hamilton: published by the church, 1964), page 7.

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Public Domain

Across the street from the church is a cemetery containing the remains of many of the areas early settlers. The first president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and longtime pastor of Park Street Church in Boston, Dr. Harold John Ockenga, is also buried there. His body was laid to rest in 1985, following a beautiful service in the Congregational Church at which Dr. Billy Graham was the preacher.
Drive north along Route 1A for approximately 4 miles.

Harold John Ockenga

ipswich (1634)

Soon after the settlement of Boston in 1630, Governor John Winthrops eldest son (John Winthrop the Younger) was commissioned by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to settle the region north of Boston known as Agawam. With twelve others, in 1634, he organized the first permanent settlement in the area, re-naming it Ipswich. The Indian Chief Masconomet, the Sagamore of Agawam, agreed to give up all rights to the land in exchange for twenty pounds sterling.

of the First Congregational Church of Hamilton in 1745. Whitefield noted the occasion in a journal entry for February 1745 with the following words: Returned to Manchester on Thursday night and preached twice yesterday at Ipswich Hamlet, 4 miles from Ipswich Town, for the Revd Mr. Wigglesworth, who treated me with great civility and told me when I called on him last Wednesday, that there had been a gracious outpouring of the blessed Spirit in his congregation, and that my preaching some years ago had been blessed to several of them. The meeting house was much thronged, some were obliged to stand without, and Our Saviour was pleased to countenance our waiting upon him. Surely these words in the 8th Psalm are wondrous sweet.

George Whitefields Journals (Edinburgh: THe Banner of Truth Trust, 1998, pp.547-548).

Did You Know? George Whitefield (at the age of 30) preached in the first church building

Ipswich |

Harold John Ockenga Archives, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Cutler. This unusually gifted manpreacher, teacher, lawyer, physician, Revolutionary War chaplain, botanist, astronomer, early member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and leader in the passage of the famous Northwest Territory Ordinance of 1787served the church as its pastor for fifty-two years.


Driving north along Route 1A, dont fail to notice the beautiful open fields and the quaint farms and homes. This must certainly be one of the most interesting and beautiful roadways in America. Watch carefully, and you can spot a number of colonial homes along the way. They are often marked by modest signs on the front of the buildings, indicating the original owners and the year in which they were first built. Although it is difficult to know how much of the original structures are actually still a part of the buildings, as most have been Foliage along Route 1A repaired or remodeled scores of times since they were first constructed, they do have a wonderful way of taking us back many centuries in time.

As you enter the town of Ipswich heading north, Route 1A makes a sharp left after Argilla Road. To the left, at the end of the South Green, you will see a small stone marker honoring Ezekiel Cheever and Nathaniel Ward. ADDRESS: 1 South Village Green, Ipswich MA

south green monument to ezekiel cheever & nathaniel ward

A few roads east of this spot were the dwelling and school house of Ezekiel Cheever, First Master of the Grammar School, 1650-1661 On the east side of the common was the house of Rev. Nathaniel Ward, Minister of Ipswich, 1634-1637, Author of Simple Cobler of Aggawam and Compiler of the Body of Liberties House of Nathaniel Rogers, Pastor 1638-1655 was on the west side

here stood the first meeting house of the second parish 1747-1837 expedition against quebec, benedict arnold in command, aaron burr in the ranks, marched past this spot in september 15, 1775.

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how to use this guidebook

stops along the way

Numbered diamonds represent a stop on your journey. Each stop is an opportunity to visit an important landmark or historic site. Red diamonds indicate that specific driving directions to that destination can be found on pages 164-170. You will notice that some chapters begin with more than one red diamond. This means that there are alternate starting points for your journey. You are welcome to choose where to begin!

1 2

Throughout each chapter you will see boxes like this containing driving or walking directions from one stop on the journey to the next. Whenever possible, a specific street address for the stop will also be provided.

did you know?

Did You Know? These sections, scattered throughout the book, offer an
interesting insight, historical fact or additional piece of information intended to further expand your understanding of the material.

for further reading

If we have successfully whet your appetite, you will appreciate the For Further Reading section found at the end of each chapter, and the extended bibliography provided at the conclusion of this book.

a closer look
You will find a section called A Closer Look at the end of most chapters. This section is designed to explore a selected person or topic in greater depth. You are invited to read this material at your leisure.

Appendix |


planning for your journey

This book has identified seven starting points for your journey. However, we do not recommend that you try to visit all the areas covered in this book in one day! Below you will find a list of recommended one-day itineraries. We hope you will find these suggestions, as well as of all the resources of this book, to be helpful aids on your pilgrim journey!

If You Only Have One Day, We Recommend...

option 1: boston
Boston definitely deserves an entire day unto itself! This is a walking tour, so wear comfortable shoes and prepare for a day of exploring the city on foot!

option 2: ipswich and newburyport

The Ipswich and Newburyport tours can easily be combined into one full-day tour. In fact, the Newburyport tour is designed to follow the Ipswich tour, with a stop in the town of Rowley in between. For the most part, you will be driving from one stop to the next, so these tours involve very little walking.

option 3: newburyport and salem

The Newburyport and Salem tours may be combined into one full-day tour, with a stop in the town of Wenham in between. The Newburyport portion of the tour involves minimal walking, as you will be driving from one stop to the next. While in Salem, there will be a moderate amount of walking around the city as you visit various historic sites. You will drive to the last few sites on the Salem tour.


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