Newburyport Gets a Great Book Review

Wednesday December 22, 2021

Photo: Stewart Lytle / The Town Common. Ghlee Woodward with her book on Newburyport’s history

NEWBURYPORT – If you are looking for a last-minute present that will wow residents or non-residents of this destination for history tourists, you need look no further than Ghlee Woodward’s insightful book, Newburyport Clipper Heritage Trail, Volume 1.

The book that details the history of Newburyport received a five-star review by Jill Rey of Readers View. 

“Readers of Newburyport Clipper Heritage Trail Volume 1 may never have heard of Newburyport, Massachusetts, but after reading this thorough volume of nine self-guided tours through history, they will quickly add it to their next travel destination,” Ney wrote in the review published Dec. 3. 

She wrote: “Despite many road trips and hours spent sightseeing the world, I had never read about such a quaint and historic town like Newburyport. Nestled along the eastern coast of the United States, just 35 miles from Boston along the Merrimack River, this comprehensive walk through history is captivating, engrossing, and educational.” 

Rey and Woodward shared a common upbringing. They each had a “history obsessed father,” and the well-researched tours described in Woodward’s book, “fit right in with my childhood,” she said. 

“I’ve spent many days traversing old battlefields, walking through various tours of dams, and watching countless hours of the history channel,” Rey wrote. “And yet the history seeping along the banks of the Merrimack River, specifically in this coastal town of Newburyport, was more captivating than many of my own historical experiences leading up to this point.”

After several years with the Peace Corps abroad, Woodward returned to Newburyport to work with her father, Todd, conducting historical tours of the city, particularly its cemetery. Ghlee continues those tours today, perfecting them with a website, mobile apps, a well-marked trail and now Vol. 1 of the city’s history. Vol. 2 is expected to be published next year. 

“Woodworth draws readers in, beginning with the history of the town’s architecture and shipbuilding to the revitalization of the properties, main streets and downtown after a historic fire,” Rey wrote. “The wherewithal and foresight of some of the town’s citizens have made this into a tourist destination that I will certainly be adding to my list of road trip destinations.”

The 300-page guide to Newburyport’s history “is an oversized book when held in one’s hand, yet the size lent well to the many pictures laid out within,” Rey wrote. “Ultimately, this book’s purpose was to lead its readers through nine guided walking tours through the town. The pages hold tours through the then and now of the city’s prominent landmarks and citizens.”

Ghlee, who is a descendent of one of the first settlers, has “crafted a well-documented and memorable account of this small, river town. With more volumes yet to come, I can’t imagine a more fitting historian to bring Newburyport’s history to the masses.”

Vol. 2, entitled Plum Island to Maudslay State Park, offers more tales of the Clipper City, including Wonder Woman’s connection to Newburyport, the little community of Grape Island and the success of the women’s right to vote in Newburyport. 

To purchase a copy of Vol. 1, Ghlee at or call her at 978-462-2010. Copies are also available at the Museum of Old Newbury, contact or at 978 462-2681.

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