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Virtual South Berwick Village

South Berwick, Maine

Victorian writer Sarah Orne Jewett feared that her perfect little Maine town was about to be swept away by progress. But 100 years later, it is still here, and still much as she left it. Now distant readers can stroll this 19th century village without even leaving their chairs, thanks to Old Berwick Historical.



VISIT South Berwick Virtual Tour

We hope this is the beginning of a trend. More Seacoast towns have begun telling their history online. Lane Library in Hampton, NH has an extraordinary archive. Dover Library has joined in. But South Berwick is the first to create a virtual downtown walking tour.

This grassroots effort, created by the Old Berwick Historical Society, takes you down Portland, Main, Academy and Norton streets. More than 80 structures are covered on the web page and half of those include in-depth articles created by society volunteers.

South Berwick Historical Society Archives

South Berwick is best known from the nostalgic fiction and poetry by Victorian author Sarah Orne Jewett whose house is now a downtown museum. As a special feature, the Sotuth Berwick tour offers links between historic facts and Jewett’s fiction. Jewett lived in South Berwick from 1849 to 1909 and might be surprised to see how much of her beloved river village still survives.

South Berwick village got its start as a commercial center when an old stagecoach route connecting Boston to Portland went through in the late 1700s. The region was settled much earlier and local archeological digs show elaborate buildings dating from the 1640s. The Sarah Orne Jewett House, built about 1774, is probably the oldest house standing in the village, but many other buildings come close. The Academy Street Inn was once a home built by the prosecutor of the 1873 Smuttynose murder at the Isles of Shoals.

Also known for Berwick Academy, founded in 1791, the village makes a great out-of-the-way walking tour. The active downtown, white churches, old cemeteries, 19th century homes are classic New England. Besides the Jewett House and Counting Museum downtown, visitors can easily bicycle to Vaughan Woods park and the historic Hamilton House nearby. Walkers can easily wander across Salmon Falls River to tour Rollinsford, NH next door. The Salmon Falls region is increasingly known for the number of artists, craftspeople and musicians living there. -- JDR

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