Walking tours of historic Ipswich

Historic houses on Water Street in Ipswich MA

Historic Ipswich Walking tour short and long versions

The short tour (in red) starts from the Public Library. The longer tour (in red) starts at the Ipswich Visitor Center.

The historic neighborhoods of Meeting House Green, High Street, the East End, and the South Green offer well-preserved streetscapes of 17th to 20th century homes.

Walking tours of historic Ipswich are led on weekends by Town Historian Gordon Harris, who tells the stories of the town’s historic houses and the people who lived in the them.

Tour Locations:

Tour Schedule

Scheduled Sunday afternoon tours begin in the spring and continue into the fall. The charge is $10 per person, which you can pay with cash or check at the beginning of the tour. Small children are free. Please leave your name and the date of the tour you are interested in joining. Tours are canceled if there are no pre-registrations. Email Gordon Harris at historicipswich@gmail.com.

To reserve a regularly scheduled tour or to arrange a custom group tour, email Gordon Harris at historicipswich@gmail.com.  (The minimum charge for special group tours or custom tours is $100 for the group.)

Lower Summer Street, Ipswich Ma Historic Ipswich Walking tour from the Ipswich Visitor Center - Join Ipswich Town Historian for a tour of the South Green, the East End, Meeting House Green, and the Ipswich River, sharing the stories of the town's historic houses and the people who lived in them.
Walking tour of Ipswich Meeting House Green Walking Tour of Historic Ipswich from Meeting House Green - This tour of the most historic areas of town starts in front of the Ipswich Public Library at Meeting House Green and includes North Main, Summer, East, and Water Streets. The tour generally takes 1 1/2 - 2 hrs.

Self-guided tours

A comprehensive self-guided tour can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF document.

Custom Ancestry Tours

The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.” Ipswich is the country’s best-preserved Puritan town, and its residents have been the proud custodians of its history. Many people trace their roots back through several generations to Ipswich, one of the earliest towns in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Town Historian Gordon Harris leads customized tours for people wishing to “walk in the footsteps of their forefathers,” in which we visit the neighborhoods, houses and gravestones of early settlers and their descendants. In July 2019 he led tours for descendants of Isaac Cummings, William Fellows, Reginald Foster and Richard Kimball.

Some scenes from the tour:

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7 replies »

  1. Regarding the Walking Tours – highly recommended! If you want to learn why they built the way they did, Gordon knows his stuff. These people were practical, orderly and committed. They had town rules for building and for respecting the land. To top it off, seeing a home that was built by, or belonged to, your own ancestor is really exciting. I love this town, and I’m so thankful it has been preserved. Thanks to Ipswich and all those who have worked, and continue to work, for this amazing history.


  2. As a descendent of early pioneer Isaac Cummings, it was a special moment to be standing on land he owned as his life in Ipswich was described. Gordon made history come alive for a tour bus of descendents. Thank you Gordon.


  3. My mom’s family has been in Ipswich and Rowley since the Great Migration and we lived there back in the early 70s. I need to head up that way and take this tour.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is one of the best walking tours I’ve been on. Gordon’s knowledge of the history of Ipswich allowed us to understand the daily life of Ipswich resdents from the time the town was established through the Revolutionary War and beyond. We learned things the history books omit. It is worth your time to take this tour!

    Liked by 1 person

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