Walking tours of historic Ipswich are led by Town Historian Gordon Harris, who tells the stories of the town’s historic houses and the people who lived in them.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.” 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.
Regularly-scheduled guided tours
Dates and Times: Guided walking tours in 2021 can be added to the calendar by request and are open to the public by signup. Group size for each tour will be limited to about a dozen people. The charge is $10 per person, or $100 per group. Please pay by cash or check at the beginning of the tour. Tips are appreciated.
Reserve a space on this tour, or request a tour by sending an email to: email@example.com or text Gordon Harris (978) 979-6598. (No voice mail please). Leave your email address and the date you are requesting. Scheduled tours for which there are no signups may be cancelled without notice. Preregistration is requested but not required unless the group size is already too large.
Custom ancestry and architectural tours
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. Tours were recently provided for descendants of Isaac Cummings, William Fellows, Reginald Foster, William Story, and Richard Kimball. The minimum charge for special group tours or custom tours is $100 for the group.
To arrange a custom group tour, email Ipswich town historian Gordon Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include ancestors, houses or locations you are interested in seeing.
Meeting House Green, North Main & the East End
Description: This one mile tour begins at Meeting House Green and visits the East End Historic District, including North Main, East, Summer, Water, and County Streets. Extended tours and options include the South Green, High St., and the Old North Burying Ground, taking up to two hours, depending on the pace of the group.
Location: This tour starts in the garden at the intersection in front of the Ipswich Public Library on Meeting House Green. View at Google Maps.
Ipswich walking tour from the Ipswich Visitor Center
Description: This full version of the Historic Ipswich tour starts at the Ipswich Visitor Center and follows the River to Water, Summer, County East, Meeting House Green, North Main and South Main Streets., with a total distance of 1.4 miles. This tour takes up to 2 1/2 hours and is for participants who can walk at a steady pace. (Slower walkers will enjoy the shorter version that starts at Meeting House Green).
Location: The Ipswich Visitor Center at 36 South Main St. View location.
- View a comprehensive 4-mile Historic Ipswich tour online or follow on your cell phone
- Download a comprehensive 4-mile tour of historic Ipswich as a PDF document
Some scenes from the tours: