Our first stop was Plum Island, at the end of the scenic highway we had been following for days.
Plum Island light house, just off the beach on the north end of this barrier island.
A board walk takes us to the beach, which is on the shore of the mouth of the Merrimack river.
Down the island we stopped at the visitor's center of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge to get a guide to a trail we wanted to explore.
The center of the island is covered with shrubbery and small trees.
The mainland side of the island is part of the Great Salt Marsh that fills much of north coastal Massachusetts.
From the salt marsh to the woodland.
Bright red Virginia Creeper decorated the trees and shrubs.
At the top of the island.
From Plum Island we moved up river to Newburyport.
Like many river towns, old mills closed long ago. Newburyport once produced 20% of the nations shoes. Now the mill buildings have been converted to shopping malls.
Yep, we found a Starbucks in an old brick building.
Salt box houses represent the second phase of home building in New England.
Newburyport is the location of the birthplace of the Coast Guard in 1791.
On High Street we find the grand old homes.
Next stop, Amesbury, Mass. Why do we chose these small towns? Well, I look at routes on the state atlas, find towns, Google them, find that they are charming or interesting or historic, and add them to the itinerary. We didn't spend a lot of time here, but this was another mill town on a waterway with a revitalized city center that made use of old mill buildings. And we found interest and beauty here.
This church has an annual pumpkin sale to raise money for charitable causes. What a sight to round a corner and find this!
There is history here
and local claim to fame.
We were headed for Haverhill for our next overnight, but we side tracked just a bit for another famous resident of the area.
Haverhill was interesting too, with grand homes along the Merrimack River, but we were ready by then to find our hotel, get some dinner and settle in for the night.