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 by town historian Gordon Harris, who tells the stories of the town’s historic houses and the people who lived in them.
Tour of Historic Ipswich: This 1.5 hr. tour starts at the garden across from the Ipswich Public Library on Meeting House Green. Distance is about 1.2 miles, and visits Meeting House Green and the East End (N. Main, East, Summer, Water, and County Streets.) Highlights include First Period houses and the Ipswich River.
Two-hour historic Ipswich tour: This occasional comprehensive historic Ipswich tour starts at the Ipswich Visitor Center and follows the River to Water, Summer, County East Streets, Meeting House Green, North Main and South Main Streets, with a total distance of 1.5 miles. This tour takes a full two hours, and is for participants who wish to walk at a faster pace with fewer stops. This tour adds South Main St. and the South Green Historic District.
Old North Burying Ground: This one hour leisurely walk includes up to a hundred gravestones carved between 1673 and the late 1700s. Town historian Gordon Harris shares the stories of the interred, many of whose houses still stand. This tour is conducted in the mid to late afternoon in the spring and fall when the sun’s shadows make the inscriptions easier to read. The start location is the front gate at the Ipswich Old North Burying Ground at 63 High St.
Charge: The charge for regularly scheduled tours is $10 per person, minimum $60 for a requested group or family tour (See custom and ancestry tours below). Payment may be made by cash or check when we meet, or in advance by Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reservations are no longer required.
Custom ancestry group tours by request
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.” Many people trace their roots back through several generations to Ipswich, one of the earliest towns in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Ipswich is the country’s best-preserved Puritan town, and its residents have been the proud custodians of its history. Town historian Gordon Harris researches and leads customized tours by request 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. Custom tours were recently provided for descendants of Isaac Cummings, John Baker, Henry Pinder, Henry Gould, William Fellows, Reginald Foster, William Story, Richard & Ursula Scott Kimball, and John & Judith Perkins.
Charge: The charge for custom ancestry tours is $15 per person, minimum $100.00 per group. Payment may be made by cash or check when we meet, or in advance by Paypal to email@example.com.
To reserve a custom tour: Email Ipswich town historian Gordon Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate your ancestry or architectural interest, and a way to contact you.
- 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: