I went to Newburyport Massachusetts this past weekend to see my beautiful friend Kate. We’ve been friends for 23 years. Needless to say, I was very excited.
She invited me to stay at her house for one night with her 2 adorable children, along with her new yellow Labrador puppy, and darling husband.
Upon arrival, I was greeted with a custom performance that included flips, splits, break dancing, and a dance party to the song Happy. What a welcome!
We then headed out to dinner in Amesbury at a lovely little place called Flatbreads. Flatbreads fires up artisan pizzas in their giant wood-burning oven that is smack dab right in the middle of the dining room. We cozied up at a table for 4 right next to it to stay warm.
The kids are mesmerized by the fire and by watching the young people sliding the pies in and out of the oven. I ordered a salad and they were happy to customize with all their yummy pizza toppings. They brought out fresh dough for the kids to play with. It was a really nice cozy evening and I highly recommend a trip there if you are ever in the area. They have several locations, so just check out their website.
The next day we packed up our bags and set out. Our first stop, in Newburyport, was at a delightful little local coffee shop that happens to make amazing crepes called Commune. They serve up Counter Culture coffee and we sat there for about an hour in their very comfy sofa catching up and making a plan for the next 2 days.
After coffee, we took off to our 2-day retreat at a historic farm about 30 minutes away in Rowley, Massachusetts. Kate had made reservations at The Bradstreet Farm, which is the second-oldest continually operating farm in the U.S. It was originally deeded by King Charles I of England to Humphrey Bradstreet in 1635. So cool!
Upon arrival, Michael the owner introduced us to the farm residents; goats, sheep, ducks, chickens, and a pig. They were so cute! The goats were my favorite. Then he tells us about a hike on his property that would take us out all the way to the ocean. Yes, please! He verbally explained how to get out there and we took off. We had to trample through about a foot or so of heavy wet snow, but it was so fun! The trail took us around the field, through the woods, and through a frozen marsh. I was ecstatic! We don’t get heavy snow like that down in North Carolina. I was stoked to get to walk through it and be outside. Hiking is probably one of my favorite activities to do. Hiking with a friend is a double treat. We aren’t distracted with phones, kids, or pending tasks and we get to talk and connect while exercising. It’s perfect.
Anyway, we never saw the ocean but we didn’t care. We turned back towards the farm throwing snowballs and eating snow.
Once we got back, we unloaded our stuff, checked out the kitchen in our little apartment that was connected to the big farmhouse, and made a list of what we wanted to have for the next 2 days. The first and probably the most important thing was coffee. They had K cups, which I just don’t do! We decided we would get a French press and some local coffee. Michael had stocked the fridge with fresh chicken and duck eggs, milk, orange juice, white and red wine, and chocolate! Those were very nice touches. You can book Michaels farm apartment called Dolores cabin through Airbnb.
This area is also known for their antique shops. I swear the entire area has been preserved since colonial times, so needless to say the antique shops are aplenty. We visited one right across the street from the farm called Salt Marsh Antiques. Very friendly and helpful people with an amazing selection of antiques, if you are in the market for a cool New England piece, they will surely have it.
After antiquing we took off for Tendercrop Farm Market in Newbury. Every time I visit Kate, I make her take me there. It’s a farm stand market that sells what they produce on their farm, so it’s all their own products and few other local provisions. We picked up some fresh bacon, cheese curds, baby kale, avocado, cultured butter, cream, a loaf of French bread, and of course coffee.
Our next mission was a French press, so Kate called around and found one at Starbucks in Newburyport (call and ask for Jackie, she is amazing!). So back to town we went. We picked up our new pot and then wandered in and out of some little shops in town. I love Newburyport, it’s a quintessential New England coastal town. Brick buildings line the streets, brick alleyways all against the backdrop of the coastal waters.
My favorite shop was Best of British they carry fine imported goods from the United Kingdom and Ireland. The lovely ladies inside helped me pick out a new tea called Paris. They were so nice and took a lot of time to explain loose leaf teas, how to use them, and how to brew them. I have become a regular tea drinker and was very excited to break away from my standard evening chamomile!
After shopping, we went back to the farm and got ready for dinner. We had 5:30 (yes we are old and like to eat early and it’s wonderful!) reservations at the historic 1640 Hart House in Ipswich. This place has an amazing story if you have a few read about it here.
We enjoyed an amazing meal, I had steak, Kate had pumpkin ravioli and we enjoyed more conversations by candlelight.
The next day, we made breakfast and enjoyed our amazing French press coffee and a morning fire in the fireplace. We then set out for a winter hike at Old Town Hill.
This hike would take us up on and over the hill for an amazing view of the Great Marsh and the ocean. The ice on the trails was a bit hard to navigate, but we learned that a little squeal every time we slipped helped balance us out somehow, echolocation maybe? Not sure, but it helped! We laughed and talked all the way up and back. It was probably the highlight of the entire weekend.
I left the next morning, sad to say goodbye and happy to get back to my crazy 3 kids and a wonderful husband.
If you are looking for an easy and affordable weekend getaway, I would highly recommend the little towns in the northeast Boston area of Newburyport, Newbury, Ipswich, Amesbury, and Rowley. You are close to the ocean, can enjoy wonderful hiking trails, historic culture, and friendly people. You won’t regret it!
Love to all,