#16 Newburyport, Massachusetts September 26-29, 2000

Tuesday, September 26: Touted as the Zip Code Mini (Newburyport 01950), this first mini in a major-reunion year was the 16th for the Class of '50 and was hosted by Pete and Joan Buchanan, who also did the 1987 mini in Salem. They were assisted by Ken and Garie Perry and Joe and Jeanne Green, who spearheaded the Cincinnati Mini in 1993. The brick, four-story Garrison Inn, a national historic landmark built in 1809, served as headquarters. Registration during the afternoon was followed by cocktails in the hosts' top-floor suites with an ironing board bedecked in orange serving as the bar. It was a short walk to Joseph's Winter Street Cafe where, at tables for four or six, the classmates, companions and guests were treated to a gourmet dinner. Pete introduced the owner/chef and noted that he was a former neighbor and friend of the wry humorist Ogden Nash, whose poem about the martini graces the men's room.

Wednesday, September 27: Most of the attendees spent four hours or so on the Atlantic Ocean aboard Cap'n Red's 95' Prince of Whales, watching for nature's marine mammals. Alas, most of the gentle giants were elusive and spotting a Minke became a highlight of the trip. A leisurely afternoon was spent enjoying the myriad of historic sights in this seaport that is rich in history and beauty. On the south bank of the Merrimack River, the area, originally inhabited by the Pawtucket Indians, was settled in the 1630s by European immigrants and became a city in 1764. Many excellent restaurants provided dinner venues for groups before all gathered at the Firehouse Center for the Arts to hear Bob Milne, acclaimed as one of the greatest ragtime pianists ever, present a special performance for Princeton Class of '50. Oh, what a treat for all and his spirited "Tiger Rag" was a showstopper. His unique way of bringing his music to life with stories about the composers and the tunes kept all enthralled.

Thursday, September 28: It was a bird-watchers' paradise as the mini-reunioners traveled to Massachusetts Audubon Society's Joppa Flats Education Center where four guides briefed their groups about this restored ecological feeding stop for birds migrating along the Atlantic Flyway. Afterward, we caravaned to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's 4,662-acre Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on nearby Plum Island and spent several hours checking off a variety of feathered birds.Then more free time for lunch (many opted for host Pete's suggestion and gathered at Mad Martha's) and to absorb the colorful atmosphere of this enchanting part of Essex County. Acclaimed as a seaport for all seasons, Newburyport lived up to its reputation with salubrious weather. Another gathering in the 4th floor suites was an opportunity for attendees to socialize. The creme de la creme of dining experiences was the evening's gathering at David's Restaurant in the Inn. Long-distance awards were presented as well as announcements of coming events Charleston '01.

Friday, September 29: To wind down from this super mini, the attendees could either head north to Hank and Hilde Bird's home in Cundys Harbor, Maine, for water activities, hiking, great scenery and lunch or head south to the Buchanans' who extended hospitality at their lovely home on the North Shore in Beverly, with sightseeing opportunities nearby.

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